“You will always be a child of two worlds”. This is one of my favorite quotes from Star Trek (2009). This quote outlines the allegory that is Spock. He is half-Human and half-Vulcan. This speaks to us in many ways and outlines one of the great topics for the ages, the duality of existence. One can be both a father and a son, a sister and a mother. Duality is one of the great unspoken truths of our existence and one that we accept without hesitation in virtually ever aspect of our lives. This is wherein lies the mistake Ken Ham made last night when debating Bill Nye.
The debate was supposed to be on the merits of Evolution vs. Creationism. Bill Nye argued from the perspective (as he said he would beforehand) of a common man making reasonable arguments. Ham instead chose to argue for the commonly accepted truth that many, not most, scientists are Creationist and their ability to do “good science”. What seemed to be off subject, Ham then turned to use as an example of why evolutionary theory must be flawed. As he continued to argue he narrowed the argument down to basically “Because all scientists are not monolithic in their beliefs, then evolutionary theory is wrong” (Aren’t we glad that criteria is not used to discount Christians?!). Quoting verse after verse of scripture to reinforce his argument (Why use a book that Nye and other scientists consider a book of stories as evidence?). This was a fatal flaw that, in my mind, made Ham sound like a broken record and in those rare moments where true progress could’ve been made, he chose to turn Nye into a joke rather than hit at the real heart of the matter. Additionally, Ham created “areas of science” that are not accepted anywhere else in the world and expected Nye to follow his rules, which he did not.
I must say, however, that I completely understand Ham’s choice to argue the way he did. He feels that Creationists have been on the defensive for many years and saw an opportunity to outline all the areas of his belief on a world stage. I, however, must whole heartedly disagree with it.
I have always felt like a “child of two to worlds”. I believe in Christ, the Resurrection, and the Second Coming but I also believe in the truth and merits of science and its method.
It is, at times, a hard thing to synthesize these two world views. I have many friends who are atheists and others who are Christians (or another religion). I have always been able to get along with both groups because I respect them and they respect me. I have never claimed to have all of the answers nor have they. Yes I have endured the occasional “Corey believes in fairy tales” jokes and they may have endured the “You’re literally an overgrown monkey” jokes but their has never been any malice. This is why I had so much hope for this debate that only on occasion lived up to my expectations.
Ham had a rare opportunity to explain God and His attributes, thereby making God bigger than all. I had the opportunity to discuss this online last night as the debate was happening with several friends. During these discussions my mind kept returning to God and His attributes. Deciding to go toe-to-toe with one of the most respected men in science (also a personal hero of mine) about what amounts to be the minutia of the universe was a great missed opportunity. I want to suppose that I am the third person in the debate and respond to the overall argument of fact vs fact. For some of you that read a couple of the discussions I was having last night this may seem redundant.
First, starting with the bible, I may begin to sound like a heretic but stick with me. The Bible, as I believe it, is the revealed (note: revealed) truth of God through His servants of the Holy Spirit to man. It is meant to be a guide through and to life so that all men may come to know Him. It is NOT the Beginners Guide to the Galaxy that provides star charts in the appendix. It is not meant to be the BE ALL END ALL guide to everything that ever was or will be. It is meant to be exactly what it is. The revelations of God to all men so that they may come to know Him. No where does the Bible claim to be God or to encompass all His knowledge so that man may know it. We can’t stare at it harder to reveal hidden truths that weren’t there yesterday. Bottom line: we are not meant to know everything, and we will never know everything. The bible is from man’s perspective incomplete… but it wasn’t written by man only for man. We are not the author and we didn’t or can’t choose what is or is not in it. It is exactly what God wanted us to know about Himself so that we may come to know Him. Moving on…
Second, My God is not some little wimp that needs me to stand up for Him in the schoolyard. He is the omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent God of the universe who created all things for His glory… period. There is no argument I can give that doesn’t put God into some nice, neat little box so that we may understand it. God is in total control of not just the universe but all universes across all of Creation. Just because our science may present to me evidence that may seem to contradict my beliefs (note: MY beliefs) it doesn’t mean that I must throw the baby out with the bath water. There are things that happen every day in every single human beings life that seem contrary to God and His word… but guess what? God is beyond all that. These petty little facts we squabble about are nothing in comparison to God and His glory. It doesn’t matter that my belief system allows me to simultaneously believe that the universe is 13.7 billion years old yet God created it all in 6 literal days. Why? Because God is not constrained by time, space, reality, or any other aspect of His creation. God exists outside of all of that. Time and space may be linear for us but it is not for God. He can manipulate all of Creation to His will as He sees fit. He doesn’t need for me to agree with or even understand it for it to be so. For me to say that God “can’t do that” is by definition heresy. God can “do that” because He is not contained by any aspect of Creation or any law that my govern it. Just because we are forced to abide by a system of laws set up by our Creator, doesn’t mean He must as well. It brings be around to the age old question “Can God create a rock that is too large for Him to pickup?”… The answer is NO because God exists in a realm of infinite dimensions of time and space and yet is equally balanced in all His attributes. Infinite yet equally balanced? I can’t begin to comprehend that without my brain beginning to short circuit. But that is exactly the point isn’t it? He is totally other and we are totally not. Which leads to me my final point…
Humanity has many enduring qualities that are exemplified in the science that we do as a species everyday. We yearn to learn more, to seek out the unknown. We “Boldly go where no one has gone before” everyday so that we may learn more of the wonders of creation. Last night, we witnessed (see what I did there?) some of the excitement and vigor that scientists show, especially by Nye. Sadly, however, we witnessed the deepest and darkest vice we have has humans, pride. To presume or imply to know all the mysteries of Creation and to proclaim to have it figured out is the height of what is wrong with Christianity as a whole. We know nothing yet we act as if we are in some special club and snicker at those we are commanded to witness to. We know little morsels about Creation and its Creator and act as if we are gods ourselves. Last night, believers had an unprecedented opportunity to reach out and show a small morsel of our God and the love that He shows and it was by and large squandered. I’ve watched it twice and Bill Nye was the only one I heard utter the words “I don’t know” (on multiple occasions). The whole point is that no one knows it all and we are debating so that a dialogue may be started between two seemingly irreconcilable world views. Those moments when no answer could be provided (by either side) were the prime moments to offer a view of the God we serve and His infinitude. They were instead wasted by quip remarks that did nothing to move the ball forward.
In closing, I will leave with the Vulcan I began with and the motto of his culture, IDIC. It stands for “Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations”. That is our God. He is totally other, not of this universe or any other; yet containing it all in His glory. His domain is not this finite temporal plain we find ourselves perched upon but the infinite possibilities of infinitude. He is all, everything, the beginning, the end, He is Jehovah. It is not meant for us to understand His totality of being but only the beginning of His reach and depth of His love. To understand Him we must put Him in a box of some type because we cannot understand Him in full. We cannot grasp all the He is but only the pieces He chose to reveal to us. We must never let our little boxes determine the whole of our understanding, because then we are limiting ourselves to only the boundaries of the box. However, we are commanded to go and that is exactly what we should be doing. Compared to all that we do not know a command is easy to understand. We must: go love, go live, go teach, go explore, go encourage, go serve… Science is an integral part of human history and should not be discounted because it doesn’t fit in with our cookie cutter world view. After all scientists through the ages were executed for teaching what we now take for granted. We are created unique for a reason, so that as a whole we may be better. If God wanted mindless robots then that is exactly what he would have created, but he didn’t. We must always remember the infinitude of our God, His seemingly infinite creation, and the depth of His love… I ask that everyone try, even for a moment, to embrace the complexity of existence. Remember that we are trying to understand small pieces of an infinite pie and things that may seem to be contradictory or paradoxical, may only be a door to a higher level of understanding and truth. Bottom line: Don’t put God in a box…