For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be the glory forever. Amen.1
“The world is charged with the grandeur of God,”2 and its every dimension attests to God’s goodness. Creation, our engagement with it, and our engagement with one another brim with potential to orient our hearts and minds to the infinite splendor of God. Yet all too often we worship created things instead of our Creator,3 thereby missing him whom creation was always meant to reveal. This propensity is uniquely evident in the academic context, where we can often operate as though a pursuit of knowledge and a pursuit of Christ are at odds with one another.
But if “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge,”4 then proper pursuit of knowledge must stem from proper relationship with the Christ for whom all things were made.5 We should pursue knowledge not out of selfish ambition or greed, but out of love — more specifically, love for Christ, the living Truth.6 In our Lord, we find the purpose and foundation of all knowledge, for “anyone who claims to know something does not yet have the necessary knowledge; but anyone who loves God is known by him.”7 When centered in Christ, our knowledge is not solely informational, but deeply relational, enabling us to more fully love our Creator and to live in the goodness of his love.
Hope College, then, is not merely a place for minds to be stuffed with information or calibrated for “critical thinking.” It ought instead to be a center of Christian discipleship, where shepherds and sheep participate together in deep formation in Christ. The works of our hands and minds should neither be pretentious displays of self-aggrandizement nor thoughtless regurgitations of undigested content, but testaments to “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.”8 Study in any discipline is an opportunity to see our Lord actively engaged in the world and the people he loves and sustains.
Our hope for this journal is that it will be a witness to God’s goodness and majesty in our present reality. There is, as Abraham Kuyper famously said, “not a square inch in the whole domain of our human life of which Christ, who is Sovereign of all, does not cry: ‘Mine!’”9 Thus, when we explore any square inch, we explore that which belongs to Christ, and (one hopes) we open ourselves to see him anew from a vantage point previously unknown to us. In this spirit of spiritual exploration, our pursuit of knowledge is transformed from a “chasing after wind”10 to an intimate communion with our Creator, and our knowing is transformed from an act of pride to an act of love.
What the following pages contain is a collection of testimonies to the goodness of God, lovingly offered from many square inches of human life. It bears note that The Bell Tower is intentionally ecumenical, meaning that the specific details of perspectives offered do not necessarily speak on behalf of the journal as a whole. While we hold unswervingly to the central tenets of Christianity as expressed in the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds, we also recognize that deeply faithful Christians hold a diversity of perspectives on various secondary elements of doctrine. Regarding such elements, our standard is theological maturity and spiritual integrity rather than perfect internal unanimity. We seek to hold our differences with humility and grace as we await together the day when we all will see our Lord face-to-face and know as we are known.11
We pray that our offering will draw you to a deeper love of God and a deeper gratitude for his goodness. May God’s grace be with you.
Lydia Harrison ’23 is the Editor in Chief of The Bell Tower.
1 Rom. 11:36
2 Gerard Manley Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur,” in Poems of Gerard Manley Hopkins, ed. Robert Bridges (London: Humphrey Milford, 1918), 26.
3 Rom. 1:25
4 Prov. 1:7
5 Col. 1:16
6 John 14:6
7 1 Cor. 8:2–3
8 Ps. 27:13
9 Abraham Kuyper, “Sphere Sovereignty,” trans. George Kamps (speech, Amsterdam, October 1880), The Gospel Coalition, https://media.thegospelcoalition.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/24130543/SphereSovereignty_English.pdf
10 Eccl. 1:17
11 1 Cor. 13:12