28 All this came upon King Nebuchadnezzar. 29 At the end of twelve months he was walking on the roof of the royal palace of Babylon,30 and the king said, “Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?” 31 While the words were still in the king’s mouth, a voice came from heaven: “O King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is declared: The kingdom has departed from you! 32 You shall be driven away from human society, and your dwelling shall be with the animals of the field. You shall be made to eat grass like oxen, and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High has sovereignty over the kingdom of mortals and gives it to whom he will.”33 Immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar. He was driven away from human society, ate grass like oxen, and his body was bathed with the dew of heaven, until his hair grew as long as eagles’ feathers and his nails became like birds’ claws.
34 When that period was over, I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me. I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored the one who lives forever. For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. 35 All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does what he wills with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can stay his hand or say to him, “What are you doing? 36 At that time my reason returned to me; and my majesty and splendor were restored to me for the glory of my kingdom. My counselors and my lords sought me out, I was re-established over my kingdom, and still more greatness was added to me. 37 Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, for all his works are truth, and his ways are justice; and he is able to bring low those who walk in pride. ~Daniel 4:28-37
Daniel, as a true prophet of the living God, his word, or God’s word came true for King Nebuchadnezzar. I see this as something of a parable (not that I don’t see this as a historical event, I do!) for humanity in general. We are all born into this world in the same state, with the same proclivity for an incurved existence as Nebuchadnezzar; it’s just that he had more available to him, as far as material and pleasurable resources. Nevertheless, he did what we do; indulge himself in self-adoration, finally to the point that God said that was enough—God graciously and mercifully humbled him.
It isn’t until God does the same for us, for modern humanity that ‘reason’ returns to us; reason being that orientation where we have right knowledge of God resulting in right knowledge of ourselves (something which Calvin knew something of). Aren’t all humans prone to live like socio-paths, like feathered loons (to one extreme or another) without a right orientation to God; without bowing the knee to God? Sure, we are good at fooling ourselves into thinking we are ‘normal’ sentient human beings who live relatively well ordered lives (at least relative to the Jones’ next door); we are good (well kind of) ordering chaos in such a way that we think we have got things together. But of course the knowledge of God, the knowledge of the cross won’t let us honestly live like that for very long; reason will return, and in this dispensatio it is at the cross where the humiliation and exaltation of God and humanity in Christ have met, where genuine reason and right-mindedness have come.
Personally I went through a season of life (many years ago) where I thought I was losing it, mentally. The only place where I found intellectual and heart solace was in the place where Nebuchadnezzar found it; with the recognition that God alone rules heaven and earth, and it is therein where I found my place as His creature. Reason for humans can only be present when they are rightly oriented to God. That orientation does not come willingly, but only through God’s choice for us in Jesus Christ to put us to death with Him at the cross; and then to raise us with Him as new creations—that’s the reason that radiates God’s Kingdom, the resurrected life of the eternal Son, Jesus Christ. Reason has returned for humanity in Christ, in His resurrection, and now in our participation with His resurrected humanity.