Jed and I were up at 4 AM this morning to get to High School for the wrestling tournament in Ceres. We were out the door by 4:30 A.M. and drove down to school, taking our time since the roads were not plowed yet. A fellow was leaving the casino we have to drive past, in his $60,000 Corvette. I passed him, (he was only going about 10 mph), thinking what an idiot he was for trying to drive in such conditions. We arrived at school and found out the tournament was canceled. Jed and I headed back home and the Corvette was spun out 1/2 mile before the school. He was trying to get it back on the road and about 3 others were trying to push it straight. Pulling over and getting out, I told him plainly it was stupid to try, and to park it here before he causes an accident. I also said I would give him and his lady friend a ride back to the casino. He was not happy about that, but recognized the futility of it. Ten minutes later, I dropped them off and we drove home.
Rare is the opportunity to feel superior when dealing with wealthy. My initial inclination, when I first spotted the spun out Corvette, was to drive by their expensive car with my window down and yell out what idiots they are, laughing as we sped away showering them with snow. Even as I considered the thoughtless and selfish act, I recognized how wrong it would be. So I opted to pull over and help out, besides it would give me even a better opportunity to gloat my superior wisdom in dealing with the elements.
As it turned out I missed out on a great opportunity to talk about the things of God with those two strangers when I gave them a lift back to the casino. Few words were exchanged and I just spent my time basking in the light of my own superiority. Who was the foolish one then? They simply did not know any better, I did. Lesson learned.
Then again, I wonder how hard can it be to feel superior, when, every time I drive by the casino, I just feel distaste for those that go there to gamble and spend their money. Not only did this ungodly attitude surface in the form of a missed chance to talk about God, but missed opportunities to pray for those around me. At least, Christians are not the only ones who can have an air of superiority, thinking they are better than those around them. For a moment, I will gloat that I am not alone in my stupidity.
Not long ago, I watched a debate between Peter Atkins and William Lane Craig. After a particular exchange, William F. Buckly had a chance to gloat, much like I did this morning. During the debate, Atkins said that science was able to answer all questions having to do with existence. Specifically, he said to Craig, “Do you deny that science cannot account for everything?” 1 Craig replied that he did deny that, and Atkins asked him to explain what science cannot account for. Craig went on to list multiple items that science cannot account for and was obviously quite prepared for this question. William F. Buckley, Jr. who was the moderator, thoroughly enjoyed listening to Craig’s reply. When Craig finished, Buckley said to Adkins, “Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.”
Russell Bertrand addressed the question of science accounting for everything in his book, History of Western Philosophy, which I wanted to share. He wrote, “Is the world divided into mind and matter, and, if so, what is mind, what is matter? Is mind subject to matter, or is it possessed of independent powers? Has the universe any unity or purpose? It is evolving toward some goal? Are there really laws of nature, or do we believe in them only because of our innate love of order? Is man what he seems to the astronomer, a tiny lump of impure carbon and water impotently crawling on a small and unimportant planet? Or is he what he appears to Hamlet? Is there a way of living that is noble and another that is base, or are all ways of living merely futile? To such questions no answer can be found in the laboratory.” 2
The more I read about apologetics and philosophy, the more I begin to understand how it can help answer some of the most basic questions we can ask about our existence. R.C. Sproul addresses four possibilities when discussing the possibility of our existence and how, if anything exists, then God exists necessarily. Only recently have I really begun to grasp this. The best way to do so is to use the example of a book you might hold. The four possibilities of this book are:
1. It is an illusion.
2. It was the cause of its own creation.
3. It has always been.
4. It was created.
If you replace the book with the universe, or our existence, you can see that no matter which of the four choices you pick, you eliminate the other three. Only one of them can be correct. Setting aside the first option, that life is an illusion, (unless you’re a fanatical Matrix fan), should not be too difficult. The second option is plain, as everyone knows something cannot be the cause of its own creation. The third option can be investigated and discounted when you understand that time cannot go backwards infinitely. If it did, we would never have reached this moment in time. That leaves us with, it was created. 3
Darrel Falk wrote, “Perhaps, like the work of an artist or symphony conductor, the action of the Creator has been so subtle and all-encompassing that it will never be possible to describe it by using the tools of science. Perhaps we in the world of faith are depending too strongly on the tools of science to point us to God, and perhaps those in the world of science are similarly failing to recognized that the tools of science, which depend upon regularity in nature, are not powerful enough to detect the work of a God who works on his own terms in his own way.” 4
Falk goes on to ask what tools of science can detect a secret wisdom. In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about a mystery that has been hidden, specifically, God’s wisdom. If there is another realm, another reality, a spirit reality, and I believe there is, then how could conventional human wisdom and scientific methods using trial and error possibly detect or even comprehend them? 1 Corinthians 2:13 “This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”
Christians should never be afraid of science and what we can learn from it. The things that we do learn about our universe, from the microscopic to the immense and vast time and space that surrounds us, is often confirmed by the Bible when researched carefully. Science cannot answer all the questions we might have, but neither should the Bible be used as a science book. As we investigate our world, both science and theology should be used to complement and confirm how best we should live.
The Bible tells us how to go to heaven, not how the heavens go. – Galileo
1. TheHonestTheist. “Dr. William Lane Craig VS Dr. Peter Atkins.” Online video clip. YouTube. YouTube, 19 June. 2009. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.
2. Russell, Bertrand. History of Western Philosophy. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1967. Print.
3. Sproul, R.C. Defending Your Faith. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003. Print.
4. Falk, Darrel. Coming To Peace with Science. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2004. Print.