Struggling to Believe


(Mervin Bitikofer) #22

And of course many big issues may remain unsolvable with or without God in our picture – as God doesn’t seem to be reducible to one of the tools on our tool belts. But it is such a nicely loaded tool belt we’ve been given! And for that, I’m thankful to the Giver.


(Robin) #23

Completely agree, Mervin.


(C David Ross) #24

Evan, thank you for expressing your good and very reasonable questions. God is faithful to reveal answers in accordance with one’s questions. Questions are an indication of one’s readiness to accept challenges to their limited understanding and to then recognize with appropriate awe the expanse of God’s answers. No one should be alarmed at the seeming depth of their doubt or developing disbelief – that is just an indication of the magnitude of the answers God will provide as one faithfully continues the journey. We demonstrate we are ready to learn when we ask of God (James 1:5-8). Ask and you shall receive, seek and you will find, knock and it will be opened to you (Matt. 7:7). This is a promise from God. Looking from the perspective of God changes the view of everything!


(Neal Heires) #25

Evan,
Yes! I have been in that position indeed and I struggled 40 years before I found my answer.
It is indeed unfortunate that Young Earth Christians (YECs) continue to propose only one answer, and then when young Christians go to college become overwhelmed by the preponderance of scientific evidence to the contrary.
Ironically, my non-denominational church is about to embark on a series around Creation or Evolution, and featuring the recent movie “Is Genesis History?” and even bringing in the producer of the movie to speak at our Sunday services. I met with our head pastor and gave them the BioLogos critique on the movie and expressed my concern how teaching young earth history with bad science, will only lead to loss of many young Christians when they go on to college. I am afraid you are one of the potential victims, but God bless you for asking for help.
The pastor was open to my comments and hope he heeds them and at least provides the counter viewpoint of “Old Earth Christians”. The key point is that OEC is NOT heresy, and YEC carries with it the burden of losing Christians. Jesus warns that you dare not lead one of my little ones away from me.
But to answer your questions on how do you explain it all, God has revealed concepts to me that I believe are true, relating to time dilation explaining how a day to God and the Holy Spirit is different than a day to us now looking backwards, and how through quantum physics God being infinite in time can overcome the uncertainty principle and choose his creation. You can find a basis for this in science, and in the bible (to God a day is like a thousand years). I have just drafted up something that I believe provides an explanation of Genesis per these biblical and scientific principles, and maybe someday it can be a blog on BioLogos.
But in the meantime believe this: there is TRUTH, and after 40 years of my personal search for this truth scientifically, and philosophically, I came back to God, Jesus, and the Bible and the this TRUTH. As Jesus said, “seek and you shall find”, as long as your heart burns for the truth. Jesus will not let you down. He will bring you home.


#26

** I personally think such actions are reserved for incredibly important and unusual circumstances**
Strange then that creating human beings with which to populate therefore is not incredibly important and a very unusual circumstance in your view.
Very strange.


#27

Hi Evan,
I was once in your situation and just in the nick of time God pulled me back from the brink and led me to Jesus.

If one examines the evolutionary paradigm one comes back to the fact that life needed to arise all by itself from purely random chemical and physical processes. This in itself is in stark contradiction to the very basic principles of science that we know and in fact requires a blind faith in the magical properties of material that must have existed wayyyyy back in the past.

As for God sparking off the first life and then letting it “evolve” over billions of years - as biologians must believe - that simply means that it is NOT the same God as the one in the Christian bible. It is a worship of another god altogether.

The bible is clear - everything was created in 6 days. This is clearly stated in Genesis 6 and then confirmed in Exodus 20:8-11 and Exodus 31:17.

Anyone saying anything in contradiction of these words of necessity has to mangle and wring the plain reading and meaning of the words to suit their own point of view - mostly to justify a belief in something that is impossible.

To get another view on the issues at stake please go to creation dot com or answersingenesis dot org.
There you’ll find that it is fully possible to believe in the total bible text PLUS have no fear from real science. The myth of evolution and abiogenesis is a lie of the biggest proportion.

But as always - it’s your choice. To believe the bible as written or to accept the just-so stories of people who believe in the age of rocks rather than accept the word of the Rock of Ages.

God bless your search for the truth.


(Phil) #28

The gospel is clear, but the Bible is rather difficult in places. Put the original text in you hands, and you could probably not tell whether to read the Hebrew from the right or the left, much less make any sense of it.
We all must rely on interpretation, and the particular human interpretation you are relying on, that of AIG. is sadly lacking in depth and understanding of the original text, and projects modern science on words that are not purposed for that. Ultimately, that leads down the road of doubt when the it is realized the “science” of that worldview is a house of cards,


(Christy Hemphill) #29

This poster has been corrected multiple times on his misrepresentation and misunderstandings of what evolutionary theory says and doesn’t say, and multiple attempts have been made to explain evolutionary creationist exegetical approaches. It is probably best not to engage, and just smile and nod and wish him a nice day.


(Noah White) #31

Hi Evan,

I’m pretty much in the exact same place you are (have been for about a year now). I hope I’m not violating your request by throwing a few more questions into the ring here–I mostly don’t want to clutter up the Forum by starting a new topic since what I’m asking are similar questions to yours.

My biggest problem right now stems not so much from evolution, but from cosmology and theoretical physics. When I think primarily anthropocentrically, theism and the Gospel make so much sense.

But modern cosmology just weighs on me because I feel like it only adds weight to the argument that Christianity is unlikely–of course, it’s somewhat in-line with the fact that in the Bible God uses small people to enact big change but I often find it hard to imagine that this tiny speck in an immeasurably large and old universe somehow has it figured out.

The idea of a multiverse, too, makes my stomach turn. I know it has its scientific detractors but it just feels inevitable that it’s going to be proven true sooner or later. That just seems to be how the history of major scientific discoveries has worked–someone has a hunch, it can’t be verified initially, then it gets confirmed and we’re further shown how downright mundane we are. I’m not opposed to being humbled, of course, but I can’t help but wonder why God would make the book of his word (the one people have to take on faith/trust) so anthropocentric and the book of his works (the one people can observe empirically) so depressingly large. Again, multiverse doesn’t kill theism or Christianity at all (some of the leading researchers in it are Christians) but I feel it is another lead weight on the scales in favor of the opposite worldview.

I also know that a good amount of Christians both past and present have no problem with aliens but that’s another discovery I dread, and yet feels basically like a given, given the way scientists talk about it (books like “Rare Earth” seem to be an exception–and even the author of that book is an expert in extinction and writes prolifically about the demise of humans). I doubt, even if alien intelligence exists, that we’ll interact with it, but as a likelihood, it feels probable given the sheer amount galaxies in the universe.

Believing in God is instinctual to humans, and that’s what’s scary, because instincts are not necessarily good at finding truth. Instinctually, we never assumed we were developed from other species, or that the universe was so indifferent to us. But both seem to be true to some extent.

None of these issues are per se insurmountable to our faith, obviously. But if you get enough hits, eventually you score a run–and sometimes a couple of these feel like triples to me.

If the tone of this post feels despairing, it’s probably because I’m having a rough day. I know several of you on the forum have discussed these issues with me, and it’s encouraging to see the posts of some people here who have gone through the same thing (I’d love their opinions on the issues I’ve outlined as well) and I’m always willing to give the benefit of the doubt to the worldview that offers hope and purpose and love and justice. But I don’t want to just believe it because I like it. Thanks for sharing, Evan, and thanks for any replies to this. Let’s keep searching for the truth.


(Phil) #32

Noah, I think we all have those days, at least those of us who will admit it. (And the rest lie about it :wink:

Certainly, when you think about it, you can look at the ID guys figures on the odds of life happening, and conclude it might take something the size of an universe to produce humanity if God wanted to use natural processes to create.

One thing that helps is to get more comfortable with doubt, and some of Peter Enn’s writing such as the Sin of Certainty and his blogs may be useful.

Ultimately, the fact is that Jesus said we need the faith of a child, not a conclusion based on the preponderance of the evidence. That is not all that easy to do for those of us stuck in modern thought, and perhaps never was. I always find it somewhat ironic that the scientific Biologos types :slight_smile: ultimately seem to have a more metaphysic view of spirituality, whereas is seems the literalistic young earth crowd seem to insist on the physically concrete.


(Mervin Bitikofer) #33

Your (our) feelings of inevitability in some of this are understandable. That’s the Copernican Principle (or mediocrity principle) in our cultural awareness. Also keep in mind we don’t generally have cultural awareness of the multitude of failed hunches – we only know of the ones that panned out. We all know what x-rays are, but almost nobody will ever have heard of n-rays. So current hunches are definitely not inevitable. But there is a good historical warrant for perspectives of privilege breaking down. And that does feel pretty threatening to us while we are busy claiming our status as “little lower than angels” and forgetting the “what are mortals that you should care for them” preamble.


(George Brooks) #34

@Prode

Yes, I can see how you would come to say that. But I do not find the creation of humans to be “strange” enough to explain 6 days … made from dirt …

It’s very quaint, granted, compared to the Persian creation story, which says humans were made from rhubarb. But at least the rhubarb is alive … and the color of its veiny leaves is red.

The story of making humans out of dirt strikes me more as an Egyptian fable … and thus it would be strange for Yahweh to do things like the Egyptians…don’t you think?

Speaking of which … don’t you think it’s strange that Yahweh would impose the same penalty on the Egyptians that Moloch would impose - - taking the first born ? Ezekiel doesn’t even try to deny it…


(Jay Johnson) #35

Paging @Casper_Hesp

You sound like Pascal: “The eternal silence of these infinite spaces frightens me.”


(Noah White) #36

Not sure if we’ve discussed Pascal before, but he’s one of my absolute favorites. So many relevant insights and thoughts that resonate deeply with me. An absolute favorite of mine from Pensées:

Reason’s last step is the recognition that there are an infinite number of things which are beyond it. It is merely feeble if it does not go as far as to realize that. If natural things are beyond it, what are we to say about supernatural things? … Know then, proud man, what a paradox you are to yourself. Be humble, impotent reason! Be silent, feeble nature! Learn that man infinitely transcends man; hear from your master your true condition, which is unknown to you. Listen to God.

And yes, Casper is always a welcome presence in this discussion! I’m sure he’ll notice some repetition in my issues here :wink:


(Noah White) #37

Thanks Merv, this is very encouraging. A good reminder of the preamble to Psalm 8 is indeed a good reminder. It’s a difficult balance–I can feel that mutliverse or alien life is unlikely, but I must also “assume the worst” (I know that’s a subjective thing, but for lack of a better phrase), and figure out how to potentially reconcile these things with my faith.

I guess feel that the danger is perhaps that I’ll feel the faith becomes ad hoc and “unfalsifiable” in that no matter what the evidence is I’ll refuse to give it up (if that makes any sense). Any thoughts here?


(Scott Jorgenson) #38

Yes, my thoughts exactly. In fact, at this stage in my progress as a Christian, what troubles me from science the most is not deep time or evolution, but something perhaps even surer than those: the vast spatial immensity of the cosmos. The universe is, as the Hitchhiker’s Guide says, really really big, and we and our whole earth are so incomprehensibly tiny in proportion to the whole, that, as the psalmist says, “what is man that you are mindful of him”? On my darker days, Christian faith with its seeming anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism can look like wishful thinking simply on account of our being such a terrifyingly Pale Blue Dot. I have to remind myself that it is not the science as such that compels me to feel this way; it is my emotion and mood in response to it at any given time, and it is best to draw a bright line in between before taking my feelings too seriously.


(Noah White) #39

Thanks for the reply, Phil. About 5 minutes before you replied to this I was discussing it with my mom and she mentioned childlike faith being important, and then about 10 minutes after that, I was clearing out some bookmarks on her computer for her and one of the open tabs was to this Oswald Chambers devotional. I’ll look more into Enns’ blog, thanks for the recommendation and encouraging words!


(Jay Johnson) #40

Good thoughts. But on the anthropo-things, what else are you to do? Lose yourself in Woody Allan-esque navel gazing and angst, or live a life? I appreciate something that Wittgenstein said to his friend, O’ C. Drury, who was having second thoughts about his decision to become a doctor rather than a priest:

But remember that Christianity is not a matter of saying a lot of prayers; in fact we are told not to do that. If you and I are to lead religious lives, it mustn’t be that we talk a lot about religion, but that our manner of life is different. It is my belief that only if you try to be helpful to other people will you in the end find your way to God.

Near the end of his life, Wittgenstein wrote this observation:

“One of the things Christianity says, I think, is that all sound doctrines are of no avail. One must change one’s life. (Or the direction of one’s life.) That all wisdom is cold; and that one can no more use it to bring one’s life into order than one can forge cold iron. A sound doctrine does not have to catch hold of one; one can follow it like a doctor’s prescription. – But here something must grasp one and turn one around. – (This is how I understand it.) Once turned around, one must stay turned around. Wisdom is passionless. In contrast faith is what Kierkegaard calls a passion.” (Emphasis in original.)


#41

Thanks, Christy. So what you’re really saying is that you’re sticking with a belief that is based on non-science no matter how people try to point you to a better way. That is your choice. It is basically the same as the pure unbelieving evolutionist: Do not debate Young Earth Creationists so as to avoid giving them any credibility.

By the way, in your haste to discredit me you seem to have made the assumption that I am unaware of the necessity that evolutionists have of separating abiogenesis from evolution. If you look carefully at the way I made my statement you should see that I pointed out that the evolutionary paradigm of necessity leads back to a requirement for abiogenesis. IT’s simply inseparable, no matter how you slice or dice your words.
If you don’t agree with the atheist on evolution then you basically have to invent your own version of it. Which is of course exactly what biologians have done - they put God in the gap to cover for how the first life arrived on earth, thereby bypassing the impossible situation of abiogenesis.But of course also falling head-first on the fact that evolution itself as defined and implied by Darwin is simply impossible. But of course you’ll disagree vehemently with me about that, otherwise I wouldn’t be writing this in the first place.

Good luck with your point of view.


(Christy Hemphill) #42

Here’s your smile :relieved: and nod :+1: .