Edward F. Lundwall, Jr.
From birth, each person begins to learn how to function as an individual and in relationship to others. Without sufficient mental and moral principles, self and social relationships prove to be limited or even destructive. Babies are not taught how to learn, they simply learn. It seems to be an innate capacity. Some may face greater challenges to learning, some learn patterns from their families that are not wholesome. Through experience the wise find it necessary to jettison patterns of behavior that are not helpful. Some learn to distinguish between what is helpful and leads to a better way of life and some do not.
Being created in the image of the Creator suggests that humans have a greater ability to learn than other creatures. From controlling fire to splitting the atom, the history of mankind reveals this exceptional quality. Our nature is such that we can accomplish great things in the service of our fellow man, but that when we substitute a false self-image we can also produce great suffering. Consider the determined efforts of evil men to exterminate millions of their fellow human beings.
As Creator, God has the supremely greater intelligence and the authority to show us the way to fulfilling life. He provides each with sufficient intelligence and discernment to regulate our lives so that we thrive. But He also gives us freedom and with that freedom comes a great responsibility of choice.
There comes a point when we are accountable for our own actions and choices. In some circles it is believed that human reach the age of accountability at about 13 years of age. In Judaism, for example, boys go through the bar mitzvah at age 13. For Jewish girls the bat mitzvah takes place at age 12. From that time, they are responsible for their choices as adults. Thereafter, God is not only Creator and Teacher, but also the Judge.
Christians believe that God is a just judge and that He can be trusted to bring us through times of trouble, even troubles that we bring upon ourselves. We read in James 4:12 -"There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the One who is able to save and to destroy..." When we humbly turn to Him in repentance, God looks upon us with mercy. That is the beginning of a new life of learning and growth.
The learner who lives according to divine judgement will be renewed. That person is like a tree with roots deep in the earth. The storms of life cannot topple that tree. That person is like a tree by the water. It will not perish in times of drought.
The mature Christian who takes responsibility to live according to divine judgement has the assurance that he will "give account to Him who is ready to judge the living and the dead." (1 Peter 4:5) And his conscience is clear.
The intelligence of humans is a gift from our Creator and the gift is to be used responsibly. We are to be ever mindful of the accounting that we must give to God, our Judge.