From the chair:
“But, as it is written,
‘What no eye has seen, nor ear heard,
nor the heart of man imagined,
what God has prepared for those who love him’—
these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit. For the Spirit searches everything, even the depths of God. For who knows a person’s thoughts except the spirit of that person, which is in him? So also no one comprehends the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.”
-1 Corinthians 2:9-13
Every time I read this passage, I’m challenged as a scholar. It seems to say that certain essential truths at the world are beyond the limits of human reason, as if human reason were a good car with a full tank of gas that could go far but what we need to know is on the other side of the moon. We need to know a hope beyond ourselves, and we cannot get beyond ourselves. We are ourselves.
That’s why the hope has come to us. That car will never get itself to the other side of the moon, but depending on what it is on the other side of the moon we need to know, perhaps it would come to us. In fact, he has come to us, in Jesus Christ.
“‘Do not say in your heart, “Who will ascend into heaven?”‘ (that is, to bring Christ down) ‘or “Who will descend into the abyss?”‘ (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? ‘The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart’ (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim); because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” (Romans 10:6-10)
From the desk:
Barth’s thoughts on the above passage (maybe my paper will focus on this instead):
“To the image of God in man which was lost in Adam but restored in Christ there also belongs the fact that man can hear God’s Word. Only as the Word of God is really spoken in spite of his sin and to his sin, only in the grace with which God replies to sin, can this possibility revive. But in grace it does revive: not, then, as a natural capacity in man—it is grace after all that comes to sinners, to incapable men—but as a capacity of the incapable, as a miracle that cannot be interpreted anthropologically, nevertheless as a real capacity which is already actualized in faith, regarding whose existence there is no further room for discussion, whose existence can only be stated, since in becoming an event it already showed itself to be a possibility even before any question about it could arise.”
-Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics I/1, p.231 (T&T Clark, 1975 ed.)
“The chair” is the one Annie aptly chose for the corner of our living room, and it’s where I am committed to daily hearing from God’s Word–the Word I above all else hope to speak to others. “The desk” is the one by my coffee grounds and spare charger (if I get to the library early enough); it’s where I have the privilege of reading and thinking all day, where I intend to learn for others’ sake.