Don’t Forget God’s Sovereignty
How Great Literature Helps Us Understand Our World
BY BILL STUTZMAN*
Falsely accused and imprisoned, Boethius has lost everything and cannot understand why. While wallowing in the empty comforts of self-indulgent poetry (did someone say, “Spotify”?), who should appear before him but a vision of Lady Philosophy? She suggests that the diagnosis and cure for Boethius’s true imprisonment—one of the mind, spirit, and soul—is to remember his nature in God, God’s purposes for him, and God’s good sovereignty over all things.
During their conversation, Boethius covers themes relevant in any era. In the spirit of the classical commonplace tradition, here are a few of his gems.
“[N]o sudden change of circumstances ever occurs without some upheaval of the mind” (22).
We live in a broken and fallen world, so we shouldn’t be surprised when we find ourselves rattled by change. Yet God uses such times, and we’re reminded that our anchor cannot ever be in ourselves, especially in days of trouble and woe.
“Commit your boat to the winds and you must sail whichever way they blow, not just where you want” (23).
Ideas have consequences, so when we begin to support or follow pieces of bad worldview thinking, we had best beware of getting blown further off course than we ever intended. As Rich Mullins once sang, “We are not as strong as we think we are.”
“If a thing has no beauty of its own, its dignity varies at different times according to the opinion of the people who use it” (55).
When we fail to recognize the God-given beauty in Creation and in one another, we cannot help but abuse one another’s dignity in ever distorted ways. “Give unto the Lord the Glory due His name; Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness” (Psalm 29:2). Treating others with dignity in the Lord is a form of right obedience and worship, and that is beautiful. Failure in this leads to violence.
“We ought to pray to the Father of all things. To omit to do so would not be laying a proper foundation” (66).
Amen! No matter the endeavor, our first step ought to be to commit our work to the Lord. “On Christ the Solid Rock I stand; all other ground is sinking sand!”
“Everything that is known is comprehended not according to its own nature, but according to the ability to know of those who do the knowing” (126).
Take comfort in this, brothers and sisters: God knows us!
The year 2024 marks the 1500th anniversary of Boethius’s Consolation of Philosophy, which C.S. Lewis called “one of the most influential books ever written in Latin.” Even if you’ve never heard of it, you’ve probably been influenced by the many authors and images it has inspired, including the “Wheel of Fortune.”
At just over 130 pages, depending on your edition, The Consolation won’t overwhelm the busy reader and will amply reward the patient. And the odds are good that you’ll find in its pages answers to some of the questions you’ve been asking yourself for a long time. Tolle lege! Take it up and read!
*BILL STUTZMAN is Headmaster of Classical Christian Academy in Rathdrum, ID. He has worked as a teacher and an administrator in classical Christian education for over 20 years, and served as a host for the Repairing the Ruins Conferences in 2020-2022.