A little different post today…
Many believers, agnostics, science-lovers and curious minds viewed the live debate between Billy Nye, the “Science Guy” and Ken Ham, a creationist known for the Creation Museum. I’ve heard various comments on either “side” really feeling like not much changed that night. Same arguments – different night. I appreciated their willingness to bring their experience and knowledge to the table for growth and education.
Saturday, the Huffington Post featured coverage of a recent interview of Nye in which he states a few concerns about the future of students who are taught creationism, namely that they will be unable to think for themselves. He suggests that evangelicals are holding kids back because anyone who is told to believe in creation will not be able to contribute to society through science, physics or biology.
I respond with joy as I think through this fascinating struggle in society between the mind and what we know as faith.
We could read all day about mathematicians, astronomers, scientists and physicists who have changed the world and fully believed in God, and further have even used science to secure their faith.
Never mind Blaise Pascal, the mathematician, inventor and Christian philosopher who worked in natural and applied sciences. Nye states that to believe in creationism is to forgo the ability – not only to think, but to work in physics or biology. He continues to try and separate the ability to understand science from any kind of faith.
Here are a couple of assumptions with regards to Christianity and creationism:
1. Creationism blocks any possibility for a biological change
In Genesis 3, we find what has been called the “fall” of man – when sin entered the world. Following that sin, God gave some consequences – for men, woman and animals. His consequence for the serpent was to crawl on his belly and eat dust all the days of his life. The snake we know of today is probably not the same creature in detail as it was before the fall. Much happened in the fall, and who knows but what species and kinds changed in various ways.
2. To believe in God means you cannot ask questions
Bill Nye believes children of evangelicals will not have the ability (or permission) to question things. We certainly need to continue the conversation in the church about allowing all questions and not being threatened by doubt. However, I would state that faith itself causes many questions. For various reasons, some are not voiced – but they remain. Secondly, questions are not the enemy of faith. On the contrary – for me, they are the doors into deeper places of trust. I want my children to ask questions I cannot answer. (this will be common) The very definition of faith is being sure of what we hope for but cannot see. If we are able to answer everything, faith is missing.
The search for answers via logical thought has, in fact, been what has led so many back to the original suggestion: There is a God. There may be no better known example than the conversion of C.S. Lewis. A good modern day example might be Lee Strobel, from whom we get the great book for a seeker, Case for Christ.
In regards to reason, I find one thing most fascinating about faith: it is the only thing throughout all time and all people groups to transcend understanding and still capture the mind. Numerous people have tried to think their way from God and end up in His lap.
What we claim and talk about and live within – this faith – is much more than knowledge or experience.
The presence and essence and fullness of God is beyond our mental capacity. He gifts us with the mental ability to stretch out our minds towards Him, yet we are short of His fullness. We cannot withstand the completeness of His glory.
It is the love beyond reason – found in an incomprehensible immaculate conception and resurrection of life – that can freeze the thoughts of man. We cannot merge reason with such actions. This love shakes off all need for reason from the begging and questioning soul. It is this mystery of grace extended towards the most indebted man that gets the attention of the life-long laborer. We do not believe we can actually receive in full – without gimmick – that which we have not earned or worked for.
Love itself is beyond reason. To extend that which may not be returned. To love someone is to risk great loss, to know pain. Our deepest fears are most often related to those we love most deeply. Love cannot always be explained.
I find it harder to believe I came from a rock. In the theory of last universal ancestor, we must all originate from the same first organism – which was stated to be found in a piece of granite. In the published work of Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, he says “Therefore I should infer from analogy that probably all the organic beings which have ever lived on this earth have descended from some one primordial form, into which life was first breathed.”
Did Darwin miss the irony of his own statement, in which he suggests life must have been breathed into the first organism? Yes, life must come from life.
“the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living thing.” – Gen. 2:7
I will raise my children to be thinkers….to search the world over for wisdom and apply it to better this world. I will do everything in my power to increase their education in sciences, math, languages and religion. And with no apology, I will add to it all the hope I find in Jesus Christ and a loving God who created them. Because at the end of the day, wisdom and knowledge alone fall short of a fulfilling life. Eternity is set within the heart of every man…. and love – though it be beyond reason – comes from God.