the Poehler Lecture Series: Faith and Learning, Head to Head, Heart to Heart.
Tuesday night was a night of great intellect and faith. Brothers, Dr.
Dale and Dr. Thomas Trapp, began their presentation with some insight as to
what it was like growing up in the Trapp home. They both described their
first birth when they came into this world, their second birth as they were
baptized and confirmed, and their final birth when they enter the Kingdom of
Heaven. The theme of the night was "Faith and Learning; Head to
Head, Heart to Heart." Dr. Dale's role during the presentation was
to describe the scholarly aspect of faith, learning and living. He did so
through his profession as a professor in the physical sciences. Dr. Tom
touched on the more spiritual side of faith, learning and living through his
role as a Theology professor and as a minister.
Dr. Dale's discussion
during the lecture was about the mysterious versus the miraculous. He
compared many of today's findings in science to the many miracles in the Bible.
There is a lot found in scientific research that seems to defy natural
laws. Dr. Dale used Lenz' Law as an example. By Lenz' Law, a magnet
that is dropped down a metal tube will take longer to fall. This is
because the energy induced by the falling magnet causes a current opposite of
the magnetic flux. This current pulls the magnet in the opposite
direction making it fall much slower than normal. He also showed a
diagram that went through the sizes of known objects in the world from
incredibly microscopic to an amazing vastness in size. He said these very
things are unfathomable and yet they are accepted. When compared to
miracles in the Bible, the mysteries seem just as unimaginable as the miracles,
but the miracles are seen with skepticism by many. Both of these are
outside common experience but they were already there before they were discovered.
They are both so majestic that they cannot be fully understood. He
refers to Psalm 8 when saying that God does not want us to limit our studies to
certain topics. God has created this world for us to discover and learn
and through our faith we can understand the wonderment of this world.
Dr. Tom Trapp refers
to 2 Corinthians chapter 5, "For we live by faith, not by sight. We
are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home
with the Lord. So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at
home in the body or away from it (v. 7-9)...For Christ's love compels us,
because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died.
And He died for all, that those who live should no longer live for
themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again (v. 14-15)."
He described faith as being a way of necessitating Christ. God was
in the beginning, He is now, and He is the future. Dr. Tom used a
triangle diagram to represent God. Creation took a fall from God, but
even so, God went looking for the lost. God continued to have grace for
the lost creation and then sent His son to be the savior of the world.
Through Christ, creation has as brand new relationship with God. A
relationship with God is not that of reward and punishment; rather, it is one
where God has it all taken care of and is taking care of His creation. It
is not what His creation can do to receive a reward.
What is important is
what motivates creation and what is inside of creation, that being the Holy
Spirit. Creation is to ask for help in using what it already has to
glorify God. God is the active one. It is not about what creation
does, but it is about what God does and has already done through salvation.
Sanctification comes through the Holy Spirit working in creation.
Creation is active in Christ. God helps creation look for ways in
which it is to respond and He gives the answers and guidance. Creation
acts it all out. It is difficult to fully understand what God has
planned, but creation must trust that He is the One working everything out and
will give His creation the answers needed to fulfill His plan. It is not
what creation does, but what He does through His creation. Creation is to
listen to the world to know how to understand what God tells it through nature.
Some situations can never be fully understood. Some of the answers
will never be told. God works for the good of every situation (Romans
8:28), and not all things that happen can be rationalized, but all of Creation
can believe that God uses everything for His intended purpose.
Dr. Tom Trapp gave the
audience some analogies for how to carry out the faith and trust in God's plan.
A rowboat is rowed while facing backwards. The rower is always
looking behind to where he has been rather than to where he is going. A
rowboat is like the Hebrew concept of time. What is known from the past
can give guidance for the future. An airplane falls when there is no one
operating it or when one jumps out of it without a parachute. Dr. Tom
explained that humans are born with a falling condition. God says that He
will not stand for that and humans are not to bring others down. God says
not to use His name for evil. A vacuum cleaner either works or it does
not depending on if it is plugged in or not. Humans in faith must try not
to be wishy-washy. It is normal that events in life cause the faith to
wane, but it is one's duty to want the Holy Spirit to strengthen their faith
once more. One is to not decide that faith is only important sometimes
without caring much if that faith has waned. This leads into the idea of
"inside versus outside." One must have a yearning to strengthen
his faith, but one must realize that God already has him. He is already in
and it is not him who allows himself to have faith; it is by the work of the
Holy Spirit that one is to have faith. The last of the analogies was the
idea of married versus dating. As mentioned earlier, God has a
relationship with creation. This relationship is not something that
creation has to win because God is always there and creation always has that
Dr. Dale and Dr. Tom
left the audience with some thinking points. Humans are to have
"cross" eyes; that is to look at the world through faith. They
are to have "tomb" vision by living in the world knowing that they
already have that relationship with God. They are in the tomb with Him.
God has given humans talents that He intended to be used for His glory.
Dr. Dale and Dr. Tom showed that both faith and learning coexist. Through
the comparison of mysteries and miracles, it seems that it is hard to have one
without the other. Humans are to expand their minds and their hearts in
order to grow and learn through and with God. Humans' task is to not just
train for life here on earth. The question humans must ask themselves is
who calls the shots? Ultimately, it should be God leading every person's
life, and if one finds that God is not at the head of the line, things need to
change. Humans are to look at life within the framework of what God has
done and humans are not in charge of other's hearts, only their own. If
one's life is set in God and something light in one's heart in which one is
moved by it, then one should go for those things. God will continuously
It is difficult when
seeing the bad things in the world to trust that God is guiding. How much
greater is it to trust in God amidst all of the awful; instead of losing faith
in Him, why not lose faith in man? The human reason for becoming skeptical
in the miracles of God is because they want an ultimate reason and rational
explanation. They use knowledge to try and figure out something that can
never be proved with worldly minds. This knowledge becomes god to them
and the place limits on the unlimited. One will never be able to
understand that which one does not know; just because it cannot be rationalized
does not mean that it does not exist.
The Poehler Lecture,
presented by Dr. Dale and Dr. Tom Trapp, was absolutely wonderful. They
presented insights to various aspects of faith and learning that helped give a
better understanding of how they can coexist. It provides much confidence
and encouragement to know that no matter what we do in life, God is there to
guide. It only depends on if we let Him guide. God is that parent
that says He will support me in whatever career/life path I choose. He is
continuously walking alongside me. I will make mistakes and stray from
His approval, but He is still there and will always be there to help.
To God be the glory!