Sometimes, indeed often, we build and maintain our paradigms for our own comfort. Our worldviews are usually less the result of careful, dispassionate, sober-minded analysis and more the result of self-serving, special pleading, rationalization of our sin. We believe not because these beliefs commend themselves to our minds but because in our minds the beliefs commend us. It is these habits of our desperately deceitful hearts that make us miss the voice of God. He speaks, but we hear what we want to.
We come to our Bibles with this most fundamental presupposition—whatever the Bible may be saying, it can’t be telling me that my life needs to be fundamentally changed. Wherever the Bible calls for such change, it must be addressing someone else. Out of this presupposition flows what I call “the diabolical art of simultaneous translation.” This is what happens when our eyes roam across the very words of God in Scripture, but our minds change what we read into something safe, something reasonable, something inoffensive. Jesus, for instance, tells us not to worry about what we will eat or what we will wear, that this is what the Gentiles worry about, and that we ought to know that we are under God’s care. What our minds hear is something like this: “Those people who are more prosperous than I am need to stop worrying about money. When I get as prosperous as they are, I will be pious enough to no longer worry. Those worrying prosperous people really ought to be ashamed of themselves.”
Continue reading God’s Hammer, R.C. Sproul Jr.’s contribution to the November issue of Tabletalk.