I have wondered before in this space, wondered why science and our faith seem always to be at such odds. I have lamented the idea that fear is driving the Christian’s response to science and therefore is driving many intelligent people away from our faith and our churches.
What I did not address in my previous musings is how it seems that every time there is a new scientific discovery, a new theory about our world and our universe, both sides seem to leap upon the premise as proof of their point of view.
Whether we speak of the observation that the earth revolves around the sun or the theory of big bang cosmology, every new discovery or theory is at the first seized upon to carry wide-reaching theological and philosophical consequences.
Those who do not believe in our God grasp at the new discovery to be used as a new attack against Christianity. Those who do believe either dismiss it out-of-hand as patently false, a conspiracy of scientists who twist the facts to suit their own purposes, or else (perhaps more embarrassingly) try to use it as the basis for a new defense for proving their beliefs to the world.
Yet each time this occurs, when “the popular hubbub has subsided and the novelty has been chewed over by real theologians, real scientists and real philosophers, both sides find themselves pretty much where they were before.” ~ C.S. Lewis
One would think that we, as humanity, would learn. I suppose, though, that what was true in the third century, BC, is still true today. There is nothing new under the sun.
We would do well, I think, to remember that the purpose of science is to try to figure out how things work. Science does not give ultimate explanation for the origin and existence of the universe or answer questions concerning the purpose of the universe or of our existence.
Perhaps our role as believers is not, after all, to prove our faith beyond a shadow of a doubt. Perhaps this attempt is what leads us to seize upon science as either a hoax or a tool without really knowing the first thing about the particular theory or discovery we are discussing. This, I think, leads to the valid complaint among unbelievers that we tend to speak hotly about things we do not understand.
Perhaps, instead, we should remember that faith is something that can be pointed to, that can be supported by evidence and can be intelligently concluded to be true, but is not something that can be proved in a way that people cannot help but believe.
When our faith can be proved in such a manner, that, I believe, is the day we will call Judgement.
What we believe always remains intellectually possible; it never becomes intellectually compulsive. I have an idea that when this ceases to be so, the world will be ending. We have been warned that all but conclusive evidence against Christianity, evidence that would deceive (if it were possible) the very elect, will appear with Antichrist. And after that there will be wholly conclusive evidence on the other side.
But not, I fancy, till then on either side. ~ C.S. Lewis
Arms raised to the sky
Music swirls around
Voices reach to the heavens
Heaven reaches back down.
Hands cleaning and scrubbing
Words of kindness reach out
Placing others before you
Giving to all those without.
Fingers clenching the blanket
Tears slip to the ground
Head bowed in anguish
Whispers of praise still resound.
All this and more
Is Creation’s purpose
Let all life be filled
With this splendid worship.
Much of the time it doesn’t work out this way because this world is so broken and can be so dark, but every once in a while you are allowed to be a part of, or at least catch a glimpse of, something that points toward something more, something bigger, something so sacred that you want to cup it gently in your hands, speak of it only in whispers, breathe soft so as not to disturb it.
There is a boy. A boy who grows up. A boy who falls in love with and marries a girl. A girl who discovers she is pregnant with a son and fast on the heels of that revelation discovers that she is dying. There is a boy. A boy who sinks down. A boy who clings to his son in order to keep his face above the waves that are drowning him. A boy who continues to seek God even though most of the time he is not convinced that such a God exists and all of the time feels an anger toward Him that threatens to burn his heart into ashes.
There is a God. A God who longs to be found, who deals gently and softly with those who are wounded. A God who slowly soothes and cleanses and heals the heart of a boy using, in part, the heart of a girl.
There is a girl. A girl who has lost the mother she loves yet chooses to cling to the God who gifted her such a mother in the first place. A girl who loved a boy yet was willing to give the boy up to God to be sure that his newly healed heart belonged to God alone.
There is a boy and there is a girl and, most of all, there is a God. A God who is using a story and a wedding and a marriage to tell me and to tell you that there is hope and there is truth and above all there is love. A God who wants you to know as you sit in the dark, hiding or weeping or perhaps both at the same time, that there is light in this dark.
Perhaps it seems like just a candle flame in the dark, flickering uncertainly as though a whisper might extinguish it, but I saw this weekend in the beauty of a wedding that this tiny flame will spread and will pierce the darkness and the darkness will not overcome it.
What I saw this weekend in the crazy-loud joy, in the riotous music and lights, in the feasting and laughing and wide-open grins made me want to jump up with my arms flung out and shout Silence! Listen to the small voice, to the message so sacred and precious, so unbelievable and so true that it makes you stand rooted to the spot with Thomas and whisper My Lord and my God.
Christ is risen. Hold it gently in all of its holiness. He is risen, and because He is risen, His love never fails. In your darkness, in your brokenness, in your fears and doubts and loneliness and amidst all of the shattered pieces that might never get put back together in this life, He loves you and His love never fails.
Much of the time it doesn’t work this way, but this weekend I was a part of something that points toward something bigger and brighter and truer. It is precious and it is holy, so lean close and hear me proclaim in a whisper this thing that is unbelievable and so true. Christ is risen. He is risen and His love never fails you and even though we never fully emerge from the darkness in this life, one day there will be nothing but crazy-loud joy and riotous music and feasting and laughing and light, such bright and brilliant light that the darkness will flee in terror to the deepest of the depths.
So take heart. Be brave and strong and true, and let Him shape your hearts into hearts that are beautiful, hearts that bear to each other that precious, flickering holy flame of love. Take heart.
May the Lord answer you in the day of trouble!
May the name of the God of Jacob protect you!
May he send you help from the sanctuary
and give you support from Zion!
May he remember all your offerings
and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! Selah
May he grant you your heart’s desire
and fulfill all your plans!
May we shout for joy over your salvation,
and in the name of our God set up our banners!
May the Lord fulfill all your petitions!
Now I know that the Lord saves his anointed;
he will answer him from his holy heaven
with the saving might of his right hand.
Some trust in chariots and some in horses,
but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.
They collapse and fall,
but we rise and stand upright.