Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Baby with the Bath Water

It's ironic how many questions you begin pondering when you begin walking in faith. On any other normal day, I don't think about how the universe was created or what my genetic relationship is to chimpanzees. I find it interesting, sure, but it doesn't define my life in any way.

For whatever reason though, these are just some of the hundreds of questions that people have when they approach Christianity. And sadly, it is the inability of science and religion to rectify their differences that turns so many people off.

"But the Bible says that all of creation was made in 6 days..."
Yes, it does. And obviously, most scientists disagree with that timeline. Not all of them, but most of them believe that the universe began with a big bang and that over the course of billions of years everything that exists formed. Being brought up in a pretty typical, public school education, that's what I have understood to be truth as well, and quite frankly, I don't understand how anyone familiar with the science could dispute it. It seems very solid. It seems well-founded, and I mean, I don't think that the scientific community has banned together to try and hoodwink us with some carefully executed, mass dis-information campaign.

But, I don't think that God is either.

Now, how I rationalize it doesn't matter. In fact, rationalizing it at all doesn't matter. That's not the point. There are any number of concepts in the Bible that I cannot fully understand - the Trinity, the justice of God, the presence of sin, predestination, free will, angels, demons, saints, the death and resurrection of Christ, the identifcation of God as "I am" - just to name a few.

Not that I don't understand their definitions, but to fully conceptualize what they are, what they mean, and how they came about, are beyond what many, if not most, of us are capable of.

Can you even fathom just how big our galaxy is? I mean, really, really get an idea of just how far away 100,000 light years is? Did you know that the sun, just our sun, is 8 light-minutes away? Traveling at the speed of LIGHT, it would still take you eight minutes to get there.

If you can, you've got a better imagination and sense of depth than I do because I really can't. Maybe I'm not supposed to be able to. Maybe that's not the point.

I heard an interview on NPR once with this Christian scientist, and the interviewer asked her how she rationalized the two. I was intrigued by her answer. She said, and I'm paraphrasing, that the reason people have such a hard time trying to rationalize science and religion is because they think that science and religion are trying to find the answer to the same question. However, what they fail to realize is that the question for scientists is 'How?', but the question for religion is 'Why?'.

How the universe was created versus why it was created like that are two different ideas, and the truth in one does not necessarily negate the truth in the other.

Now, why do I say all of this? Well, what I've been thinking a lot about lately is how often I have resisted faith, resisted what I have felt in my heart to be true, because of a singular issue like the creation of the universe.

Why does it matter? I mean, really - on a day to day basis, how often does the question of how the universe was created matter to you? How often do you find that Darwin's Theory of Evolution affects your morning commute?

But the power of God to create and why He chose to do it - that does affect me daily. Why am I here? What is my purpose? Is this what I am supposed to be doing with my short life here? Am I doing right by my children? Why do I deserve their love? Why do I deserve them at all? These are questions that faith does give me answers to. These are questions that I need answers to.

There are so many profound truths in Christianity - so many words of wisdom and peacefulness and hope and love. There is so much good in it. Why would I throw that all away - the baby and the bath water - just because it conflicts with something that I can't possibly understand the greatness of anyway?

Now, am I curious to know? Sure. I'm human, and we are curious by design. Curiosity is the driving force behind intelligence - but it is not uniquely human. Wisdom is, and as many people know, there is a difference between intelligence and wisdom: "Intelligence is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad."

So in closing, I am thankful that God made me intelligent, and now I pray that He will grant me wisdom. I pray that this stumbling block of "How?" will be removed from my feet and replaced by a stepping stone of "Why?" I pray that God will continue to open my eyes and my heart to His wisdom, His intelligence, and His grace.

Ephesians 5:15-16

15 Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the best use of the time, because the days are evil.

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