Sunday, August 21, 2011

Can science set us free?

University logos and mottos are a fascinating topic. The current version of the Caltech logo is above. It is interesting that when it was introduced in 1991, they dropped the motto, "The truth shall make you free" which appeared in the earlier version shown below. 
I previously posted about a Caltech commencement address by the Nobel Laureate Max Delbruck where he considered the origin of the motto in the sayings of Jesus. He stated
he [Jesus] has made it apparent that by "truth" he means faith in him, Jesus as the Son of God. He does not mean "scientific truth" or "rational truth" in the Greek sense of the word. Not that at all. Comparing this meaning with that of Millikan's interpretation of the motto you will note that an extraordinary perversion of the original meaning has taken place. 
[Aside: Robert Millikan was president of Caltech from 1921-1945].

The relevant text from John 8 is:
31So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, "If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free." 33They answered him, "We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, 'You will become free'?"
 34Jesus answered them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. 35 The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. 36So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.
How does Jesus set us free? He saves us from slavery to sin [both its penalty and its power over us in both life and death]. We are set free from fear and from guilt. We are free to be and to live as God created us to be.

1 comment:

  1. You got a student alter copy of the old Caltech emblem. The official copy is not prospering the middle finger. The emblem you have above is a frequent student prank or t-shirt copy.