Thursday, September 20, 2012
Be Nice to Science
Hey Church, let's stop picking on science. I don't think Jesus likes it. In fact, I think he's OK with science trying to search for all the answers. After all that's how you made it to Jesus if you've really found Him, you just took a different route. Guess what's going to happening. If God is who we say he is, i.e.; eternal, perfect, creator..., I don't think we have to worry about science "proving us wrong". I mean that's not possible, right? God is God, scientists are people, they're not going to stumble upon some theory or evidence that disproves the existence of God, they're going to stumble into God. I realize that sometimes it sometimes seems scary when we look at it from a human perspective and we allow our own fears and doubts to outweigh the truth of who God is, but God's not going to lose this discussion. Maybe if we stop trying to argue and actually demonstrate the things that we say God is, like loving, patient, kind, forgiving, yada yada yada; we can stop being enemies and get to the same destination with all our neutrons in the same multi-verse, after all, he formed us all out of the same pile of dust.
So church, now that I've taken the pressure off you a little bit, and you've decided to be nice to science - because they have actually done most of the useful, practical discovering that's made your life fairly enjoyable (thank you science) - let's talk about what we are and are not really supposed to be doing.
Let's start with the "are not's" since that seems to have been our specialty over the years.
1) we're not really supposed to be trying to prove them wrong to begin with. Think about any situation other than God where you are really convinced that you are right. For instance, you are trying to set up your new washer and dryer. You've done a whole bunch of work running plumbing, running wires, building a shelf to hold all the soapy things and smelly things and stain removery things that you have no idea what to do with. You get everything turned on, plugged in, no leaks, no tripped breakers, but you're clothes aren't clean when you're done, the dryer works but the cloths have some burn marks on them. "what the flip" you say (if you're a christian and you think the other f word that you really want to say might dam you to hell if you say it out loud so you say "flip" but mean F...). You're buddy comes over and says in a condescendingly arrogant and puzzled sort of way, "Joe, what are you doing there buddy? Moving the kitchen down to the basement are you?" And you're like, "no, what are you talking about? This is the new laundry room." And he's like, "well I'm not expert or anything, but I'm pretty sure that's your new dishwasher and wall oven". Ouch, I was really sure I was right. Now I have a few options; accept the truth that has been revealed to me, flat out deny that my fairy intelligent friends has some good reasons for believe this washer is not for clothes but dishes, or I can continue to put Tide where the Cascade should go, and try to figure how long I can broil my underwear before they get extra crispy all the while becoming bitter and angry. Advantage 1, you don't have to worry about being proven wrong, advantage 2, God can make himself very obvious without you having to prove he's not a dishwasher. Romans 1:19-20, "They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God." So science says the laws of the physical world will eventually explain everything. Fortunately we know that means they will point them to Jesus so no need to rub it in or argue anymore, just tell 'em about Jesus and wash up when supper is done.
2) we're are really not supposed to be telling people what they are and are not allowed to do. Technically, that's the Holy Spirit's job. And he's much better and more believable than us, because he's perfect. So it's not coming from a flawed, slightly (or overtly) hypocritical person like myself who thinks they know all the right things to do and then ends up inevitably screwing them up. Not to mention, if they don't really know God or believe in him, there's no reason for them to be bound to some set of rules that may or may not exist (in reality most of them don't exist.) What we're really supposed to do is tell people about Jesus. He said it like this, (according to his closest personal friend John in chapter 15&16) When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all truth. The Holy Spirit is the one who let's people know what they are "allowed" to do. We can point them Jesus as the example. He did it perfectly - the rest of us, slightly off.
OK, that's enough "nots" for you for one day. How about some do's that might help science come around from the dark side (that is a reference to black holes and dark matter, not evil, I am not calling science evil)
1) OK, there's only one. This should be easy. The don'ts are always harder and you'll probably be telling someone what they shouldn't be doing before long, (just like I did to you a couple minutes ago). But if we boil it all down, if we look at the microscopic level or we look at the outer edges of human understanding and knowledge we're going to find one answer. Love. Everything about Jesus is wrapped up in love - Love that is beyond our human comprehension. Even this one thing we have to do is not of us, it comes from God. So the one thing we're supposed to do, the one command Jesus gave us before he went home was to "love others the way he loved us." Guess what? This love didn't come from his humanity, it came from God's divine nature, through the Holy Spirit. So the one thing we're given to do, we don't even actually have to do, He has to do it through us. Over and over the bible tells us love is the most important thing, love is the the one thing that will last, love covers everything, it fulfills all the laws (even the laws physics I presume). So that's our thing to do; be a channel for God to love people through us. We're not told to do religious things, we're not told to do theology, we're not told to be good. We're commanded to love each other the way he loved us.
We claim to have the truth about and access to the single greatest display of love in all of history; that an all loving creator sent his one and only son to pay for a penalty that we could never pay by giving his life for us. One person gave away the most precious gift of life in exchange for our lives. And we want to argue about who has the best theory to explain it all, the best proof that one side is right and one side is wrong, that one way is better than another. All the while we are just a rusty gate squeaking in a wind storm if we don't have love (1 Cor 13:1). Here's the tragic part, if science got to it's explanation of all things and it pointed them to God but they'd never experienced His love anywhere along the way, science still wouldn't believe, it would think the theory must be a mistake because the answer to the equation would be the mathematical equivalent to love.
So my prayer for science and the church is Paul's prayer for the Ephesians, "Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (3:14-20)