Most of us have seen the pictures of the Easter Island stone heads and wonder who and why a civilization would have created such statues. Easter Island is found off the coast of South America, specifically the Chilean coast. Easter Island is one of the most remote locations on earth. Yes, even more remote than the North or South Poles. One would have to travel nearly 2000 miles to find another human settlement, or neighbor to borrow a cup of sugar. If not for the island heads, Easter Island would be just another Pacific island among the thousands that dot the Pacific landscape.
Archaeological evidence suggests that the island was inhabited in the 1300’s by Polynesians who, for reasons unknown, created these massive heads at over 250 locations across the island. Evidence also tells us that the island was originally heavily forested. In the 1700’s, Europeans discovered Easter Island with some 3000 Polynesian islanders, but the forests had disappeared.
In modern years, scientists had concluded that the Easter Island Polynesian culture had decimated the forests in efforts to move/roll the gigantic heads to their current locations scattered across the island.
As to why this extinct and ancient civilization built these monoliths we may never know, but researchers have found large quantities of red paint/dye around their bases suggesting they were painted, and other evidence suggests the island culture had ceremonies associated with the Easter Island heads.
All this I found interesting, but what has surprised me, and caused me to write this particular post, was the very recent discovery that the Easter Island Heads were not just heads, but they had bodies attached.
I remember as a young boy seeing pictures of the Easter Island Heads in National Geographic and wondered who made them, and why they would make them. Nearly 50 years later, I discover there was a whole lot more than just the heads. Some of these statues are 40 feet tall and over 75 tons in weight.
I wonder how many of us will be shocked to find there is a whole lot more to God than just the generic, sterile, rather uninvolved being that so many nod to, like an acquaintance across the room, but don’t really give him much more thought.
No doubt many have devoted their lives to him. Life long sacrificial service is their modus operandi and they gladly give all they have to those in need. Mother Teresa comes to mind, but I am sure there are countless others, who remain nameless except for those they have served, and to our omniscient God.
How many declare, God must be a powerful being, but conclude, due the condition of our world He must have limits? How could an all-powerful-God allow the evil that takes place in the world today? If a God is all-powerful, then he must be powerful enough to stop evil. The problem of evil is one that many Christians struggle with and don’t have an answer to.
Why would God allow the millions to be slaughtered in wars that took place in the 20th century? Why would God allow millions of children to starve in Africa and Asia? Why would God allow the abuse of innocent women sold into prostitution? Why would God allow…?
If we look at the big picture and ask the question of why would God allow, then we must look at the small picture and ask the same. Greg Koukl put it this way in his book Faith Is Not Wishing, “The answer to the question ‘Why doesn’t God stop the evil?’ is the same answer to the question, ‘Why doesn’t God stop me every time I do wrong?’ There is a virtuous quality to human moral choice that both dignifies us and makes serious evil possible.” 1
We can’t expect God to stop the suffering caused by evil in this world unless we expect him to do the same for us on a very personal level. He would have to stop us from lying, cheating, coveting, stealing, blaspheming, and a host of other actions, on every level of our lives. Why do some cry foul when someone lies about them and damages their character, when just the other day they were gossiping themselves? Why do some point the finger at those who commit adultery, yet they have those thoughts on a daily basis? Divorce, debt from greed and selfishness, physical and verbal abuse, pornography, can be found everywhere, but only when people are affected in a way which they don’t like do they want God to stop it.
If people were honest, they would admit that their freedom of choice, to do as they please, is paramount in their life. Too many believers have what Dinesh D’Souza calls cafeteria Christianity. These believers go through life attending church when they feel the need. Pray to God when they have a need. Quote scripture, (more often misquote scripture), when it supports their need. I certainly fell into those categories for many years. “Spare the rod, spoil the child.” “God helps those who help themselves.” “Money is the root of all evil.” “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” 2 These sayings and many more dot our culture and may imply the existence of God, but in reality are used to support the choices of those quoting them. Just as they use their god to support their beliefs, decisions, and opinions.
William Lane Craig wrote, “…the chief purpose of life is not happiness, but the knowledge of God. One reason that the problem of evil seems so intractable is that people tend naturally to assume that if God exists, then His purpose for human life is happiness in this life. God’s role is to provide a comfortable environment for His human pets. But on the Christian view, this is false. We are not God’s pets, and the goal of human life is not happiness per se, but the knowledge of God – which in the end will bring true and everlasting human fulfillment. Many evils occur in life which may be utterly pointless with respect to the goal of producing human happiness; but they may not be pointless with respect to producing a deeper knowledge of God.” 3
When we contemplate the universe beyond our own solar system, beyond our own Milky Way Galaxy, which holds hundreds of millions of stars, and the hundreds of millions of other galaxies, which is expanding and accelerating, we get a glimpse of God beyond the figure head. When we consider the other scale of our existence and peer into the tiny details of atoms, electrons, protons, and gluon’s, which exist less than a billionth of a second, we can only shake our heads in awe and wonder at what God has created.
Romans 1:20 says, “For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” As our knowledge of existence increases with technology, our misuse of God to suit the desires of the heart become exposed. If you put forth the effort, and explore God beyond the need for Him to answer an occasional prayer, you will find there is more to him than you ever realized.
1. Koukl, Greg. Faith Is Not Wishing – 13 Essays for Christian Thinkers. Signal Hill: Stand To Reason, 2011. Print.
2. Houdmann, Michael. “What are the most common things people think are in the Bible that are not actually in the Bible?” Got Questions. Gotquestions.org, 2002. 9/20/2013.
3. Craig, William L. Hard Questions Real Answers. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003. Print.
* Special thanks to Nancy Havlick who sent me the information about the recent Easter Island discovery, which I had not seen or heard about yet.