Monday, August 22, 2011

Luther's Apologetic

Becker, p.141, 142.

Luther saw reason as an enemy of faith and would have been horrified at the thought of reason coming to the defense of the Christian religion.

Luther did believe in the study of logic and philosophy for the student of theology.

He said about himself:  "I had to learn scholastic theology just as Daniel had to learn to speak Chaldean and Joseph had to learn Egyptian."  

He did not believe that philosophy had any positive contribution to make to theology and should be limited in its use and application.

Philosophy must be limited to its own sphere.

He becomes an advocate "of a philosophical scepticism which aims at clearing the lumber of metaphysics from the mind, in order to make room for the complete and unqualified acceptance of the revelation of God in Christ." (Casserley)

Becker, p. 142.

"Philosophy has been called the attempt to explain the whys and the wherefores of the Christian faith in order to 'justify the ways of God to men,'  as John Milton proposed.  All such efforts Luther condemned as arrogant and presumptuous blasphemy."
...Luther:  "The mouth which asks God, 'Why did you do this?" belongs on the gallows.  And if you ask me, then go ahead and ask in the name of all devils, and I will tell you where you can stick your snout."
This "why?"  addressed to God is suggested by the devil, who wishes to search out the hidden secrets of God.  Even a human being does not tolerate it if another man seeks to pry into his secrets in this way, and the Lord surely will not permit it.  He is Lord alone.  and because he is Lord,he has authority to do what he wills, and no one has a right to ask him what he is doing or why he is doing it.  God has his own reasons for doing whatever he does.  if he had to answer all the questions that men put to him, he would be the poorest kind of God (der ermste Gott).  When someone asks why God deals as he does with men it is really an attempt on the part of reason to tutor God...  "But one cannot persuade reason of this.  Much less can one convince it to forget this profitless, damned grubbing and investigating in such high and incomprehensible things, for it always says, "Cur? Quare?"  "Why?  Tell me why!"
When we are tempted to let our reason ask this, we should bear in mind that God is not accountable to us for his works.

 From The Foolishness of God by Siegbert Becker (c) 1982 Northwestern
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