Tuesday, March 23, 2010

the reasons I believe: creation

Reason #1: Looking at the world and being disappointed.

Reason #2: Creation.

In a sense the debate about evolution vs. creation is, for me, supremely irrelevant, and completely fails to address the substantial problem of existence: origins. (Add to that that I'm just not all that interested in science.) Regardless of the age of the earth, of the adaptation and evolution of human kind, of my personal interpretation of the book of Genesis, evolution cannot explain the philosophical problem of the spark of existence.

How is it that something is here at all? Our knowledge of the "Big Bang" alone makes it very clear that something hasn't always been here, and I don't think belief in a designer is all that far-fetched when you consider the other options.

And then there is the astonishing, amazing unlikelihood of the universe. To provide you with a cliche, standing at the top of a mountain and surveying everything around me is something that, for me, minimises the possibility of chance by rather a lot. Seeing something of the order that governs even the smallest organisms. Watching a child grow. Wondering how such beauty could simply evolve of its own volition. Viewing by chance the raw power of nature and our own defencelessness. It's strange, given that my other reason to believe so far is a rejection of the reality of the (social) world as it is. The (natural) world, as it is, is so wonderful that I do not think it is possible without a Creator.

All this makes the following Bible verses really resonate with me:

For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. Psalm 139: 13-14

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 men are without excuse. Romans 1:20

For these reasons, if I ever tried to be an atheist I would be a very bad one. I cannot get out of my head the sense that there is something too amazing here to be a fluke.


So far, I am aware that my reasons to believe lead only to belief in a God, identity unknown. The reasons I specifically chose to follow Christ will come soon.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

the reasons I believe: looking at the world and being disappointed

No. 1 reason to believe in my series on faith: Looking at the world and being disappointed.

I cannot get over a feeling, when I look around me, that something has gone terribly wrong. I study history, and the history I study is only of the last eighty years or so, and yet there is so much evidence of human evil that it would be enough to persuade me.

Here's what this says to me. SIN MATTERS. I know it's an unfashionable word, but it seems to me to sum up a reality - that human beings know that the Good is preferable, but for some reason the Bad remains a fundamental part of our reality. We can't get it out of our system. I certainly can't get it out of mine. I am part of the problem, and I'm never going to be able to solve it. The evil we commit is not excusable. And the evil we commit may be "small", because most of us have been lucky enough to be placed in contexts in which our actions affect few other people, but it is nonetheless evil.

I could, having come to this conclusion, live miserably and guiltily, try hard to do good, but wallow in guilt whenever I, inevitably, stuff up. I could stop caring, and just live for myself, taking, taking and taking, and making myself the centre of the universe.

Instead, I've found a God who gives hope in the midst of this disappointing, crazy world. He offers forgiveness for sin, because he took human evil seriously enough to send his Son to take the punishment we deserve so fully. He gives me strength to fight my natural selfishness, and he gives me assurance that when I stuff up, he'll take the blame off my shoulders. He gives me encouragement just to keep swimming, as Dorie in Finding Nemo says, struggling along hand-in-hand with the Creator who made this world and who one day will restore it.

Friday, March 19, 2010


And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. Hebrews 11:6

You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that—and shudder. James 2:19

Lately on this blog my posts have been rather "negative", in the sense that they've been arguing against something (in the last two cases, atheism or, more accurately, atheists). I want to change this. And I've been thinking a lot lately about the reasons I believe, and what it is that I believe in.

And this is just it, really - faith. There are so many implications about our views on faith displayed in the way we Christians do things that I'm not sure are always right. We are ashamed of doubts. Or we slam other denominations for not believing exactly the same doctrine as ourselves. We hold up actions above faith; we hold up faith above actions.

And I look at the two verses displayed above - seemingly contradictory to someone without faith, perhaps - and try to take in both messages, messages which are like two hands joining.

So I'm going to start a little blog series about faith. Not an all-encompassing diatribe covering all time and all space. Just on how faith works itself out in my head, in my life, in my confusion, in my moments of clarity. I will say no more now, but I will leave you with the verse that has been running through my head for weeks now:

Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2