Today is Valentine's Day, but I'm not going to blog about St. Valentine or the modern holiday named after him (you can Google that easily if you want). I'm also not going to blog about the element Lawrencium, first synthesized on February 14, 1961.
But I am going to blog about love, specifically in reference to our love of God and how it relates to intellect and education.
A man once asked Jesus, "which is the greatest commandment in the Law?" (Matthew 22:36) Jesus replied: "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself" (Matthew 22:37-39, ESV).
This response is interesting on many levels, but for our purposes what is truly fascinating is the call to use the mind in relation to our love of God. This is especially relevant at a time when Christianity is under attack by various critics. One false charge often made is that Christianity is anti-intellectual, relying on a leap of blind faith and emotions alone rather than any kind of sound reasoning.
Biblically speaking, this is quite a misunderstanding. Not only does Jesus value the use of the mind in relation to loving God, but God is also a reasonable being. In Isaiah 1:18, for example, God says, "Come, now, let us reason together ..." First Thessalonians 5:21, moreover, encourages us to "examine everything carefully" and "hold fast to that which is good" (NASB). Paul also emphasized the importance of reason in relation to faith when he said in response to a doubter, "What I am saying is true and reasonable" (Acts 26:25, NIV).
This doesn't mean that we're pure logical beings, called to love God only with our minds in some sort of detached, robotic way. There's room for intellect and emotion in the Christian life. God wants us to think and feel deeply, but we need to be careful about keeping the life of the mind and the life of the emotions in a healthy balance.
When creating curriculum for Sonlight, one of my goals is to always encourage and help children along so that they can use their God-given intellects to seek true understanding of the world around them. We are blessed with wonderful mental capabilities. In our lifelong pursuit of education and wisdom we should strive to love God with heart, soul, and mind.