Big banged by a short talk on Genesis one air-conditioned evening in the BSF auditorium. It’s messier than primordial soup.
- Life can be crappy, but there will be moments that catch us long enough to experience something beautiful. I don’t even have to look far. The forgettable act of breathing. That I don’t even need to struggle to breathe, move, shit, or eat. That I can enjoy the pleasures of all the senses, and that there even are such senses. That eyes don’t look stupid (and don’t get infected even if they’re exposed to the air). That rocks take on a similar shape to their molecular structure, and occur in all sorts of shapes and lustres. Have you ever considered how an individual male cell and an individual female cell can join together to make one whole new other cell? Pretty amazing. The taste of waffles with bacon bits and fluffy butter. Or a sizzling Szechuan pepper on your tongue. Sunlight. That wounds don’t remain gaping open holes, but actually heal on their own. The way molecules and atoms interact and come together to form all sorts of matter, solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. And that there are things like pressure, gravity, humidity, and physics. That things, whether gasses, body parts, animal populations, or ecosystems have just the right proportions suitable to us. The way bubbles are so fragile but still hold form (and float!). The way even science was designed so that we’d flourish in a fitting and enjoyable environment, without ears growing on our asses (and worse things). In the time and space we’re created into, there is beauty and intelligence in abundance. One could even say there is goodness in abundance, a goodness underlying it all.
- Much as I’ve tried to shake off believing in God, attributing the whole God of the Bible belief as a result of a loving, monotheistic, specifically-the-God-of-the-Bible upbringing, I can’t. I’ve considered whether being reared up in a Christian community just made it so easy for the God thing to make sense, not because it was true, but because I was preconditioned to think that way and accept it as a fact. For a while, I’ve been questioning my perception of reality: Is it flawed or distorted? Has it been corrupted by too many world views and values enough to make it unable to see what makes sense objectively and logically? What if I believe in God because I have an incredibly inception-ized mind? It’s all been implanted, and I can’t think for myself by myself anymore.
- Well……. Isn’t it the same with everyone else? Whether we’re brought up believing in God, a higher power, no god, many gods, or the Golden Rule, aren’t we all helplessly, inevitably, preconditioned? It comes with being transient beings that acquire a history through existing within and moving linearly with time. We all grow up with different kinds of ideologies. Whether or not they have a religious label, it doesn’t need a higher power or literature to be considered a religion. We can think for ourselves by ourselves, but all of us are equally biased. (Some are just more (or less) logical. Haha. The question, maybe, is whether you can analyze logically or not.)
- None of us were there from the beginning of time. No matter how much archeology, carbon dating, etc. we find and study, it still takes a certain kind of faith to believe in the conclusions. No matter how many scientists/theologists support an ideology/belief/world view/idea, it seems like we’re all on the same, slightly shaky footing. It takes just as much faith to believe in God, as it takes to believe there isn’t one.
- Creation vs Evolution blah. They don’t need to be on opposing sides of the ring. Would it be beyond God to use evolution as a method in the creation of certain things? No. He is God, He can create stuff in whatever process He chooses. But I draw the line when it comes to humans originating from apes. I can believe other organisms evolved along the way, changing forms and features for natural adaptation and specie improvement. But not humans from apes. I wouldn’t rule out the possibility that there were extremely hairless apes who could stand up and act more civilized. Or that there were extremely hairy humans who were less civilized (perhaps they can also be theorized as the missing link between man and werewolf). If things did evolve, does it mean there can’t be God? If evolution played a part in the history of creation, does it negate there being a Creator? No. People can argue for centuries about this, which is fine, but it’s better to move on to other more potentially illuminating (or entertaining) topics of discussion instead of letting it divide us. Instead of spending so much time arguing, isn’t it better to see that we have more in common than what we have differently, and act together in taking care of what’s ours.
- As a designer, the things I create have an intention. And you can see my intent through the characteristics of the object. Creation offers us a wide range of intentions to ponder, a wide display of things from which we can reflect on the kind of Creator there is. From eagles nurturing their young, death (and sometimes, dying for new life to take place), the feeling of hunger (or thirst), not just one kind of tree but many trees (and a bajizillion flavors of ice cream)…all the way to orgasms and erogenous zones, the thrill of the hunt (and of being pursued), the sensation of touch, food poisioning, the amount of pressure needed to turn coal into diamonds, perspiration and other forms of excretion… Etcetera.
- Taking the overwhelming glory of all time/space/science/creation into consideration, what kind of Being would be behind all this,
if there was onesince there is one? Creation is a hint. Often it feels like looking at a work of art and not being sure of what exactly you should be seeing. Occasionally you get something here and there… but mostly I find myself waiting for a trusty explanation or confirmation. Maybe it’s in the Bible…?
- Bible + creation side by side, I believe that creation is a hint of far greater things to come. Would someone who made peacocks, salamanders, flying things, exploding things, hermaphroditic fish, and plenty (plenty plenty times infinity) OTHER things (including your brilliant mind) be satisfied plucking harps on a cloud for eternity? No f-ing way. In fact, if this is supposed to be just earth (i.e. a place that is merely a shadow of things to come, a place defined so differently from what heaven is supposed to be) what more the place where the Designer really goes all out? Revelation gives us an idea that at the end of all things (or the beginning of it, rather) it will be an eternal worshipping of God. Worship is not limited to singing praise songs to God. A lot of it has more to do with personal intent and motivation rather than whether an activity can be classified either as Christian or secular. In Chariots of Fire (1981) about a track athlete named Eric Liddell competing in the 1924 Olympics, the runner said, “God made me fast. And when I run, I feel his pleasure.” I believe that when we run, dance, teach, create, rescue, analyze, build, write, harvest, nurture, exercise, and all the other activities where we express what we’re made for, we could be worshipping. Realizing and basking in the glory of God isn’t limited to singing about/to Him, or engaging only in ‘church-ey’ activities. His is a glory expressed and experienced in the excellent pursuit of various passions He’s endowed every one of us.
- God speaks. Most of the time I don’t understand Him. Hell, I don’t even know if I hear Him. But I can’t say He doesn’t speak. I’m skeptical when people are all, “God told me this while I was blabbity blah” when it’s actually them just wanting to hear God so bad that the slightest sign is considered a message from God. Or the “random opening of the Bible and closed-eyes finger-pointing to a verse that so happens to be applicable to a current situation” incident where they think that their interpretation of the verse is God’s signal for them to go on with a certain decision, when they actually just wanted to hear that answer all along. Or they’re actually just good at coming up with the ‘right/moral’ answer (trained through those moral questions in school) that they automatically tell themselves the right thing to do when they’re actually confusing their autopilot answer as God’s direction for them. Not to say they’re all not genuine, because there are genuine, God-planned/spoken occurrences of above examples. I’m not saying that God can’t speak to people with signs, or through the Bible. Who is anyone to limit the ways God can communicate? What I’m driving at is the point that I don’t just want to believe in God because I want to. Neither do I want to believe that certain messages or thoughts are from God only because: a.) I really reeeeeaaaaaally want to be in a conversation with God like LEAPIN’ LIZARDS HE IS SPEAKING TO ME (HE IS SPEAKING TO ME!!!!) b.) I like the content of message so much that my desperation to believe it clouds my judgement/perception of what’s true. Which brings us all back to my being skeptical and hard of hearing, but believing there’s a spoken word and something spoken of through the creation.
- Today, creation does give me ideas about God, reinforced by Biblical stuff. That’s all I’ve got so far (plus a really confusing/wonderful experience two years ago which I might write about someday). I’m stubborn, with a lot of cracks here and there, but I’m not afraid to ask or be honest about what I genuinely believe in or wonder about. Enlightened or not, I’m not closing any doors on God or other things that may contribute or challenge the things I believe in. What’s true will stand true. At the end of it, I just really want to know the truth and hear God. The two could even be the very same thing.
If you made it this far, congratulations. You might outlive me in the survival of the craziest.
Photo by Richard Heeks.