In 1952, when I was twenty-one and still an atheist studying philosophy at Yale, I picked up a copy of Thomas Merton’s Seven Storey Mountain and began to read about the author’s pilgrimage from secular intellectualism to the Trappist Order. As I read, my mind became enlightened by the reality of the presence of God. It suddenly became clear that behind all the beauty and order in nature and human art there lies a divine creative wisdom, an infinite personality whose beauty is past change. In Merton’s metaphor, it seemed as though a window in the depths of my consciousness, a window I had never seen before, had suddenly been opened, allowing a blazing glimpse of new orders of existence. My mind was suddenly filled with streams of thinking which reordered my understanding around the central fact of God, streams which I knew were not rising from any source within my natural awareness, which now seemed a desert by comparison. Immediately, irrevocably I was no longer an atheist. If someone had spoken to me about a ‘leap of faith,’ I would not have known what they were talking about; for there was no gap to leap. I felt that I was in contact with God.
Richard F. Lovelace, Dynamics of Spiritual Life (Downers Grove, 1979), pages 229-230.
HT: Ray Ortlund
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