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Our goal, our chief end, is to glorify God in all that by which he makes himself known, in all his works of creation and providence.

By Dr. Owen Anderson, Research Director

To explain this I’m going to start very directly with how our name reflects our beginning point: clarity. We start with the principle of clarity. Some things are clear. Basic things are clear. Basic things about God and man and good and evil are clear to reason.

There is a connection between each of those sentences. Some things are clear because the opposite is nihilism - nothing is clear. And that is self-referentially absurd. It contradicts itself and we should give no time to it.

What is clear is especially the basic things. If the basic things aren’t clear then the less basic things won’t be clear and nothing is clear. Again, nihilism. We can learn to identify the basic things. This refers especially to logically basic. Not practically basic, or psychologically basic, or experientially immediate, but logically basic—assumed by our other beliefs. Basic things are about God, what is eternal, and man, creation and human nature. And once we get human nature we get the distinction between good and evil. These things are clear to reason. It is by reason we make these distinctions. God and non-God, man and non-man, good and non-good or evil. If these basic things are not clear then nothing is clear. And if they are not clear to reason then there is no other sense in which they can be clear. Reason is fundamental to all other aspects of our personhood. We use reason to distinguish our feelings and will. We use reason to find meaning.

That is where we start in the next part of our name—reason. We need some idea of what reason is because it is so often misidentified. Reason is not the same as reasons, or naturalism, or rationalization.

Reason as the laws of thought is that by which we make distinctions. It is that by which we understand. It is that by which we distinguish God from non-God. We affirm here that our highest good is to know God. Without the ability to distinguish God from non-God we could not know God—especially the eternal power of God. Only God is eternal, has existed from eternity, and can bring creation into existence.

We come to have knowledge by reason. This is true in terms of using the laws of thought to form concepts, judgements/beliefs, and arguments. It is true in terms of using reason to interpret our life and experiences as we look for meaning. And it is true in terms of using reason to reply to objections or challenges which is necessary if we want knowledge instead of just the appearance of knowledge.

This is where we move into the moral law. Because we ought to know some things—we ought to know basic things. This is what it is to be a human. The good for a human is based on human nature. The distinctive feature of humanity is our ability to understand, or use reason. Human dignity is grounded in the capacity to understand. It is here that the is and the ought collapse into one. We are a human and we ought to live as a human. The moral law is a description of what choices are necessary for achieving the good. It is summarized in the 10 commandments. Those are further summarized in the greatest commandment. These begin with our knowledge of God. God as our creator is the determiner of good and evil for human nature and as rational beings we ought to know this and pursue this knowledge is our highest good.

The moral law is then applied into all areas of life. We see this in the 10 commandments. We are not to misrepresent God. There are implications in all levels of human life for doing so. We are not to treat the means for knowing God with contempt; we should have a concern for consistency. We go can into the areas of our work and hope, of authority and insight, human dignity and rationality, friendship/marriage sex and love, value and talent, truth and justice, and suffering and the good.

So we see that this moral law is clear, comprehensive, and critical. It is clear because it is clear what is good and it is clear what is human nature. It is comprehensive in that it applies to all areas of human nature. There is no aspect of human nature outside of the good and the moral law. And it is critical because it is a matter of life and death. In keeping the law there is life, and in rejecting it there is death. Our highest good and our deepest misery are connected to our knowledge of God, or our failure to know God. Our meaning or our failure to find the meaning that is in the world.

That makes our connection to culture. Culture as human life and activity together. Culture is built on some shared foundation, sometimes pictured as a city. And we are looking for that city with foundations, whose builder and maker is God. Attempts to build human culture on some other foundation will not last. They will not provide the meaning that humans need. This leads to divisions and decay. These are inherent consequences. They are present consequences.

Human culture is an expression of human life into all areas. There is a richness to it. But when taken apart from the good and aimed at something less it comes short and does not fulfill. This emptiness is filled or satisfied in some other way that leads to excess. If we want to renew culture we must get the good in focus so that we have the moral law in place. And this is what connects and reinforces each of these points. Our focus is on the knowledge of God; the knowledge of God is to fill the earth as the waters cover the sea. This is fullness. God is to be known in all his works of creation and providence, which reveal the glory of God. So we want to get this lasting foundation in place so that we can go on to this maturity and fullness in knowing God and making God known. This is our goal and we look forward to pursuing this together with all who join us, and growing in our knowledge of God.