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Thankful Awareness

I’ve been shooting some one-minute videos recently. You might want to check out the one I did on being thankful because I’m writing this blog entry from those thoughts.

 

I was out walking around on a beautiful day, and it got me thinking about how I’m able to even KNOW it’s a beautiful day in the first place. We don’t often take the time to think about things like that, do we? I mean animals, so far as we can see and from what the Bible teaches, are creatures of instinct. They have emotions such as curiosity or happiness, but there is no evidence that they are capable of thinking about their own thinking or have any ability to consider their instincts to decide if they will respond to an instinct or not. This is the fundamental difference between us and animals. We share biological things such as the need to eat food or drink water, and in that sense, we are animals also, but unlike other biological creatures, we have a rational capacity to exercise free will. This capacity allows us to consider an instinct or a desire from a nearly detached, objective point of view. We can have arguments with ourselves about whether or not we are going to give into a desire (a temptation) or about the “rightness” or “wrongness” of a potential action.

 

Rational free will also gives us the ability to experience joy. Joy is something greater than the adrenaline rush we call “happiness.” Happiness flares up when we eat some chocolate cake or flares out when we find a maggot in the mix! Joy, however, is much deeper. It is a reflection from within on the goodness of an experience. It is a moral response, and when we function as our Creator intended, we can experience joy even in the midst of other challenges. Joy is an assurance that goodness is a real thing, and our Creator designed us specifically with the ability to feel a cool breeze on our face and think, “This is a good thing,” rather than just react to a temperature difference. It is for this reason that God calls us to be thankful. He could have made us in such a way that we would miss the goodness of sunshine pouring out on daisies or the beauty of the sky reflected on the surface of a lovely, still, mountain pond.

 

But why did God give us this capacity? Why not make us just like other biological creatures?

 

I think the answer is that our awareness of goodness spurs us to be aware of HIM. Since all effects in this universe – that is, things that began to exist – are only effects because of their Cause, it follows that an effect can only have attributes that come from the Cause. In other words, an effect can never be greater in attributes than its cause. This means that the goodness we experience on a beautiful summer morning is only “good” because God is goodness itself in a pure sense. All that is good is only good because God, as the Cause, is good FIRST. God designed us to recognize this so we would be drawn to relate to Him. Gratitude and wonder at what God has made beckons us to do this, so God wants us to be thankful as a means of connecting with Him in a relationship.

 

Just something to think about…

 

 

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Hi Pat,

Thanks for the good read (pun intended). Yes, lots to think about in this. I recall hearing someone talk about the discovery of DNA and it was said that when they first observed it, they realized that they were looking at that which gave them the capacity to appreciate what they were looking at :)


When you mentioned the animal instincts it occurred to me that animals probably can’t choose to ignore the urges that strong instincts create, which means they largely obey their instincts without questioning them. It’s interesting that people have instincts that God has written into our DNA and our hearts, but can choose to ignore them. Unfortunately, that leads us to be able …


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