Can We Think Our Way To God?


C.S. Lewis, author of the The Chronicles of Narnia, was one of the 20th centuries most influential Christian writers. Though his books sparked conversation among believers and unbelievers, some? misunderstood his faith, seeing him as a brilliant man who happened to like the ideas of Christianity. One reviewer wrote that Lewis? autobiography was ?the story of the man who thought his way to God? (emphasis added).

So that raises a question for us: can a person think their way to God? Scripture says no, for sin affects even our thinking. We claim to be wise and become fools (Rom. 1:22). But how then do we come to understand truth about God, and to know God himself? There are all kinds of ways you could answer this. Is it by our feelings: we sense that God is with us, and experience his presence ? therefore we?re convinced he?s there? Is it by our intellect: we reason that God must exist by way of argument, we?ve nailed down the proofs, we?re certain because it make sense? Neither an appeal to emotion or to reason, feeling or thinking, is sufficient ground for our faith. After all, we?re talking about things of eternal consequence. For foolish sinners to know the infinite God, something ? or Someone ? outside of ourselves must exist to ground our faith.

We do not think or feel or way to God; instead, we are introduced to God by the Holy Spirit. This is true at the start of the Christian life, and from that point throughout all of life. Here?s what Paul prays in Ephesians 1:17: ?that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him??

Did you catch that? God gives you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation so that you will know him. (Note: the NIV rightly translates ?Spirit? with a capital ?S?, referring to the Holy Spirit. Throughout the New Testament, it is only the Holy Spirit, not our human spirits, who gives revelation.)

If you are a Christian, you neither thought nor felt your way to God. God, by the Holy Spirit, revealed himself to you. At his initiative, you saw both your sin and the forgiveness available through the cross of Christ. But that revealing work of the Spirit is not finished. Paul prays for Christians that God would give them more of the Spirit. And we too can pray the same. As the Word is preached on Sunday mornings, as you study Scripture on your own, as you pray, as you worship, as you wash dishes and cook meals and commute to work ? in every area of life we can ask God to reveal more of himself through the Spirit. We haven?t plumbed the depths of God; there is more of Him to fill us with wonder, love, and awe than we can ever imagine. So ask: ask for more of the Spirit, who reveals God, the Father of glory, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ. Can you hear his invitation? ?Ask, and it shall be given to you. Seek, and you shall find!?


My wife Anna, son Elliot, and I live in the little town of Franklin, WV. I'm a pastor. I have a degree in wildlife biology, which is useful for pastoring (actually, no). I like books, nature photography, working out, and being with my family. In a previous life I was William Wallace.