22/CHHONICLESnit exists, in the succession of events over which He rules sonthat not a sparrow falls to the ground without the Fathernknowing?” He amplified that if, perchance, he were to wakenup in God’s presence, he would say: “Lord, you didn’t givenme enough evidence.”nA world in which God’s design were intellectuallynaccessible, a world where the Siberian rivers flowed south,nwould be very satisfying in many ways; it would also, ofnnecessity, be a straitjacket. The human heart can feel God’snpresence, but to expect that human reason should be able tongrasp His design is extremely unreasonable — and quitenarrogant and silly. Among other things, it leaves no scope fornmankind’s further development.nThe Earth is five billion years old. If we assume that thenevolution of the Sun into a red giant will set the upper limitnon the Earth’s age, then it has about another five billionnyears to go. This does not necessarily set the upper limit onnmankind’s future. The possibility of travel to other stars withnplanetary systems of their own and the attendant prospect ofnmigration to the solar systems of future generations of starsnas yet unborn pushes this limit a factor of 10 or 20 furtherninto the future. In this context mankind is extremely young;nthe species has just been born, and an enormous avenue ofntime beckons. Although many vicissitudes may lie along thenway, it is reasonable to hope that mankind will travel downnthis avenue. Couple this prospect with a recollection ofnmankind’s growth and achievements during the last 2,000 orn3,000 years and it is clear that the potential future growth ofnmankind’s horizons, including his intellectual horizons, liesnbeyond our wildest imaginings.nA boundless prospect? Yes. But some reflection suggestsnthat if God’s design — even in only very hazy outline—laynwithin the grasp of 20th-century intellectuals, the futuren•nThisWoridnA Journal of Religion and Public LifenThe 1988 Erasmus LecturenBiukii [iBTpRinw i> crtuinJOSEPH CASDIHAL KAnSOLUCfTUDO REI StKIAUS—A SYMPOSIUMn•ill -sp. 22nINTRODUCTORY SAVINGS OFFERnf^^ Open my introductory trialnY t o ! subscriptiontoTHISWORLDn(four quarterly issues) for only $15-1 save $5noff the basic subscription rate. If I am’ notncompletely satisfied, I may cancel for a full,nprompt refund on all unmailed copies.nD Payment enclosed D Please bill me.nCITY STATE ZIPnMail to: THIS WORLD, RO, Box 448, Mt. Morris, IL 61054 TB82nwould look a lot more like a dead end. The discoveries andnintellectual developments to come would uncover the plannin more and more detail, until, finally, it lay fully revealed.nAs God’s plan, not any old plan, it would, in some sense, bena bedrock plan and therefore unchangeable. Life’s meaning;nthe future, on timescales short and long; all would becomentransparent to human intellect. Everything — events smallnand large, in the near future or the distant future — wouldnbe predictable.nBut in this place where everything was predictable,nnothing could “happen” in the real sense of the word. AsnGod’s plan became fully accessible to the human intellect sonthe flow of time would dissipate and, ultimately, with thenarrival of “full understanding,” it would evaporate completely.nIt is hard to see how people in this dreaded state wouldndiffer from the zombies who survived encephalitisnlethargica. In such a world only the children and the stupidnwould actually live.nConsideration of the flow of time and the big picturensuggest that Balzac got it right when he said: “I believe innthe incomprehensibility of God.”nSo, is this a call to abdicate from reason? A call tonabandon individual responsibility and surrender to fatalism?nNo, it isn’t. As we travel along time’s avenue we must usenthe light of intellect to show us the way. But we mustnremember that it is passion, not intellect, that powers usnthrough time. The intellect is the handmaiden of thenpassions, and reason is only part, a small part, of intellect.nOur conjectures about time suggest that Western civilization’snrationalist emphasis is overdone and misguided. Itnmistakes a secondary aspect of human nature for somethingnprimary and, as a result, it discusses many vital questionsnbackwards.nTake a Fascinating JourneynInto the Heart of America’snReli^ous SpiritnYou are invited to take a look at America’s most influential journal devotednto the vital relationship between religion and public affairs.nI Here’s your opportunity to join the exceptional men and women who arenI participating in one of the most critical debates raging in America … thendebate over the role of religion in today’s society and our public life. 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