God revealed himself to humanity and ever since then mankind is always striving to better understand Him and our relationship. We continually use our intellect and studies to deepen our awareness and understanding of God. It is very important as God Himself tells us through Isaiah: “Seek the Lord while he may be found, call upon Him while He is near.” (Is 55:6).
It is important to note that this prophecy was given to the Jews while they endured the Babylon captivity. While they were strangers in a foreign land; while they struggled to hold to their Jewish identity among the masses of Babylonians. All that was important to God’s chosen ones had been taken from them, their king, their land, their temple – the only thing left was their faith and their customs surrounding it. They had to find ways in which to practice the first and hold on to the second in this exile; the pressures to succumb to the surrounding culture must have been enormous. But they held on, they survived, indeed their understanding of the Lord grew. They grew because of their total submission to the will of God. They understood that though they tried to come to a more intimate knowledge of God, God was still so far above their capacities they wouldn’t; couldn’t; understand Him completely. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts”. (Is 55:8-9) But that was ok – intellectual understanding of God wasn’t the key to salvation – surrendering to God’s will was. It was the heart that mattered ultimately.
Using the intellect to understand God is a necessity for man, we need to come to a better understanding of how God’s word relates to the times we live in. It is the mission of the Church to do just that. But, as with many different theologians, historical-critical scholars and others, the temptation to separate the ‘surrender to God’s will’ from our intellectual growth becomes overwhelming. It is this constant guard that we are called to each day. We need to always live our life through our belief in God. So each day, as we go through our lives let us remember and pray the words of the father of the boy with demons in Mark’s Gospel “I do believe, help my unbelief!” (Mk 9:24)