An open Bible and a cup of coffee.

Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”

(Colossians 3:16)

Any rational defense of the Christian faith ought to include some reference to the existence of objective standards. By objective, we mean wholly apart from human opinion. By standards, we are talking about the basis of comparison, that which determines acceptability. Without such standards, there would be no principled way of judging one person’s thought rational and another’s irrational. There would be no way to tell if a person were doing their mathematics correctly either, or whether they were behaving in a morally upright manner. The existence of objective standards squares well with the Christian conception of reality; God establishes the standards according to which we are to live, and move, and have our being. Not only is the atheist unable to account for the (undeniable!) existence of such standards, he is totally unable to account for how we are aware of them. Standards, in the nature of the case, are non-material, abstract, conceptual entities that can’t do anything. They cannot hold themselves in existence and they cannot reveal themselves to us either. I remember reading an article by a secular mathematician who was puzzling over this. Math and numbers seem like ideas, she mused, but they cannot be our ideas because we find ourselves obligated to do our calculations a certain way. What’s more, we often discover surprising, unimagined things about math and numbers. She concluded that humans must have a “sixth sense” that somehow gets us in contact with these abstract entities. The Christian understands that God not only establishes objective standards, He reveals these things to us spiritually in our “heart of hearts.” Along with the objective standards of right reason, mathematics, and morality, there are objective standards of proper musical composition as well. Although there is, admittedly, enormous creative latitude in how we compose and perform music, there remains a real difference between legitimate music and flat out noise. As with the laws of logic, math, and morality, God alone not only accounts for the rules governing legitimate musical production but our awareness of them. Music is a mysterious and wonderful gift from God, intended to be a special blessing to His creatures. For those listening to beautiful compositions, music can have marvelous, supernatural effects (1 Samuel 16:23). Music can sooth our nerves and help us refocus our attention where it belongs. No wonder Elisha refused to prophesy until the minstrel played (2 Kings 3:16). Let us thank our God for the wonderful gift of music today. May we use that gift to bless others even as we glorify the loving and generous Gift-Giver.

God bless you, dear saints,

Pastor John