"Reason," said Noah Webster, "is the director of man's will."
What does that mean? Further, would Webster have anything to say about the ability to reason in our society today?
Perhaps he might respond, "If there are no absolutes, there is no possibility of reasoning in regard to solving difficulties.
If there is no such thing as cause to effect, if there are no absolutes, there is no possibility of showing that man can reason as to whether a thing is right or wrong."
Do folks search for answers to problems today by looking for the "cause and effect" involved in solving problems, commonly referred to as using ones ability to reason?
Are we rational creatures? What does God say about all this?
One of the first words children say is, "Why?"
And think of the thousands of times you've said "because!" It is simply amazing how many times a day the word "because" comes off the tongues of millions of people all over the world.
Indeed, you may have noticed that it makes little difference from what nation one comes, by what tongue one converses, or what beliefs one holds the word "because" slips off the tongue as easily as blinking ones eye.
Even those who contend there is no such thing as cause and effect (only "chance") use that word constantly.
Why is this?
Apparently we come into this world asking why; apparently we grow up wondering why; apparently we spend a lot of time trying to find reasons for everything that happens in our world.
It seems we are always trying to find the reasons for the causes and the effects.
Think about a time you may have had to have your roof repaired. I remember a friend telling about that.
There was a terrible storm in December that blew shingles off the roof.
It leaked like a sieve but, because it was so wet and rainy we could only put temporary patches on it.
Here is a series of cause and effects: a storm caused shingles to blow off a roof; because of the loss of the shingle "it leaked like a sieve"; because the weather was wet and rainy the work could not be done properly; because the work couldn't be done properly the repairs had to wait for better weather: cause and effect over and over.
When we look at what the Word of God says about this phenomenon we discover manís faculty for reasoning.
The Bible has much to say about reasons and reasoning. We are reasoning when we thinking from cause to effect.
For instance we say: "because-then" or "therefore, we acted." Noah Webster also, who studied the Scriptures in relation to the definition of words, gives us further insight into the subject of reasoning.
He tells us it is:
A faculty of the mind by which it distinguishes truth from falsehood, and good from evil, and which enables the possessor to deduce inferences from facts or from propositions.
For instance, Samuel reasoned with the Israelites to prove they already had a king: God.
He said..., "It is the Lord that advanced Moses and Aaron, and that brought your fathers up out of the land of Egypt."
"Listen," he said, "and I will reason with you before the Lord of all the righteous acts of the Lord, which he did to
you." 1 Samuel 12:6-25.
How could they know God was their king?
All they had to do was exercise their reasoning powers: "Because God is the one who took care of us through Moses and Aaron, because He is the one who gave us victory over our enemies: therefore the Lord our God is our king."
In Isaiah God, himself, stated plainly that not only were the Israelites sinners but there was a remedy for that condition.
He said "Come now, and let us reason together" in regard to their plight.
He said, in effect, "Although you are stained by sin, you can be white as snow," referring to the sacrifice their Messiah would make on the cross.
Much later Paul reasoned with pagans, stating that men can reason from that which may be seen (visible) to that which can be "clearly seen from the foundation of the world" in order that they may know the truth about themselves and the Creator of the world.
He reminded them that they were without excuse because all they had to do is look at the universe which had to have had a creator.
Paul states clearly, "the invisible things of God from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse," (Romans 1:20).
Paul argues that, obviously, the ability to reason was one of the things man was able to do from the very beginning.
We see this in the fact that the second conversation between God and man took place in regard to a discussion requiring the man to "come, now and reason": God said to Adam, "Who told thee that thou wast naked?
Hast thou eaten of the tree, whereof I commanded thee that thou shouldest not eat?"
Adam was then expected to give a reasonable response. What did Adam say to God?
"The woman whom thou gavest to be with me, she gave me of the tree, and I did eat."
(We usually call that "passing the buck" and Adam was the first "buck passer.")
Was he reasoning from cause (eating of the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil" or did he try to excuse himself?
Are excuses the same as giving answers using the ability to reason?
We have examined the idea of reasoning rather thoroughly. A short examination of the subject "excuses" will soon settle that question.
Excuse, n. A plea offered in
extenuation of a fault or irregular deportment; apology. Every man has an excuse to offer for his neglect of
duty; the debtor makes excuses for delay of payment. 1. The act of excusing or apologizing. (Websterís 1828 Dictionary, italics mine, ed.)
Does this sound like Adam?
Did God then say: "Oh, well, thatís all right?"
You know what he said! "Cursed is the ground for thy sake."
Sin has consequences. An outline would look like this: A. cause: sin-eating of the forbidden fruit; B. effect (consequences): the ground was cursed.
It is not difficult to understand that this is a cause and effect universe!
Itís also easy to differentiate between reasoning and making excuses.
The ability to reason has many uses, of course.
Man can use this ability when he investigates the universe, as well as when he is thinking philosophically as demonstrated above.
When man reasons wisely he is able to think wisely about liberty and servitude as did our Founding Fathers, do investigative research-particularly as to how the universe came into existence and a host of other things as many creation organizations are doing today.
He is able to build things1
(think about architecture and machines) and, when necessary, make war with a successful
What a wonderful faculty our God has given us.
The next time one of your offspring answers a question like, "Why didn't you finish what I gave you to do with, " "Because ........" you won't be surprised at their response.
And maybe, when you answer their "why" questions with "Because..........." you'll realize anew that you're probably both exercising the faculty God gave us without even thinking about it. Isn't that amazing?
But what if we don't or can't use the faculty of reason? This will be addressed in a subsequent article. I hope you will look for it.
For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? Luke 14:28
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2. Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? Luke 14: 31
03/01/2006 by Roberta Wright
I like this ("Why Mother?" article) a lot.
I would have kept reading even if I did not know you personally.
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