Thursday, June 9, 2011

A Basis for Faith and Morality, Part 3 of 4

When something dead touched anything in the Old Testament law, that which was touched was always made unclean and unfit for anything useful or good. The corruption of evil in us taints every good deed we would perform, even religious deeds, making them incapable of being received by God, Isaiah 64:6. Only when we receive life and are cleansed by the blood of Christ for remission of sins may we offer to God service that God considers acceptable, Titus 1:15-16.

Our best efforts are ones stained with sin and death, according to Scripture. Until we receive life in Jesus’ name, given by the coming of the Holy Spirit to regenerate and seal us when we believe, we are unclean and incapable of being touched, much less used, by a holy God. We must rid ourselves of the notion that mankind has always existed in this sinful state, and this state was meant to be our norm; good and right will exist long after evil and wrong have been removed from God’s universe: proof alone that these are parodies of the former. In summary: if something is not right then it is a perversion of God’s perfect will; wrong may be defined as a choice that places man’s arbitrary will over his Creator’s. Why do Christians insist that their way alone is right? How many runners win a race? All religions are competing truth claims that avow to perform essential functions: namely a way to God/salvation/release from karmic debt, etc. By very nature, by the God-given reason we are endowed with, we contend with rival claims not as shades of truth like a kaleidoscope of spiritual realities. We deal with them as competitors in a contest. Is this not what Paul hinted at in part when he said, “Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world?” 1st Corinthians 1:20.

Scenario 2c: illogical faith
Now I would like to address the atheist. Here is an interesting and complicated worldview to grasp. Anyone rejecting special creation via an omnipotent deity has in some sense espoused Evolution. Atheists live as though their lives have meaning, but hold a belief system that teaches them they are only glorified animals. They value moral qualities such as love, hope and faith, but these moral (and therefore abstract and irrelevant) qualities have no place in a physical, self-governed universe. Such notions are the creation of culture or faulty genes that inhibit one’s evolutionary climb. Survival of the fittest and natural selection (an oxymoron) have no place for emotion. Emotion hinders, caring for others is counter-productive to self-preservation. You may believe something to be true (in this case Evolution) but you live as though you don’t actually believe it. Do you see the animal kingdoms behaving as people do? We are an intelligent, perceptive, emotional, relational race that utterly dwarfs everything else on this planet. Yet Evolution as a faith teaches us that we are the products of untold billions of accidents over an equal amount of time, many such accidents of such improbable capability of occurring that it is embarrassing to consider.

Is there faith in such an explanation of reality? What if the atheist who truly believed this lived out his belief? One has faith that the earth is billions of years old, and we are the inheritors of an advanced genetic makeup that has brought us out of the primordial ooze to make us monkeys, and then men. We are the product of random collisions of atoms, and our thoughts are nothing more than a static jumble of neutrons and electrons at work; there is no depth behind them because the concept of thought (independent of the physical brain) has no place in material, organic Evolution. We have been cursed with a thinking mind that gives man conscious thought and direction in a directionless, amoral world. What faith is there in such a chance constitution of life? If you and I are cosmic accidents (which is hardly intellectually satisfying as some proponents of Evolution admit) what keeps order? What created order, sustained order, and promises to remain orderly? It is not faith sustaining in the least to marvel at the scope of the universe and the natural order and realize that there is no reason behind any of this. That you marvel at its beauty and ponder the ingenious construction that goes against the very principles of Evolution, which are, as Solomon aptly stated, “Vanity of vanities,’ says the Preacher, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity (futility or nonsense),” Ecclesiastes 1:2.

You are searching to implant order and purpose in a system that is telling us there is no order; it was accidental, and there is no purpose; pure chance brought the human race into existence and life actually has no point. Rather than marvel at the universe, or the world, or human complexity, I would marvel at the fact that we accept that something was created without a creator! Life is essentially a complex grouping of information encoded in us; how chance or time could ever hope to generate information is beyond anyone’s wildest guess, and guess they have. Information, as daily experience attests, comes from one source: an intelligent agent. We create information; but in the case of the most massive, incomprehensible act in existence (the creation of the known universe) many intelligent people are willing to turn a blind eye and make an exception to the rule. Evolution goes against the grain in science and daily experience. Love, hope, faith, beauty, joy, etc. truly exist, as do our thoughts that guide our actions and words daily. Man is more than a collection of atoms and synapses firing in our brains; we are moral, intelligent, spiritual beings. The faith Evolution suggests we embrace is, at the end of the day, blind. And this only makes sense, since blind chance and “natural selection” (which cannot select anything; that predicates conscious choice) combined to orchestrate all that we presently see.

Love is spoken of frequently in the Bible. It is seldom romantic love, though this is made mention of in passages of Genesis. Erotic love (that is love demonstrated in sexual union) is displayed in The Song of Solomon between a husband and wife. But the love most touted, and rightly so, is the love of God. God is love, the Apostle John informs us. God, who is a Trinity, existed before the material universe came into being. Father, Son and Holy Spirit had a perfect union of love between the three persons of the Godhead. Love is entirely relational; like faith and hope, love must have an object to anchor upon. Sometimes we are egotistically in love with ourselves, sometimes we love inanimate objects or pets. What God tells us love is for, however, is to be given to Him (worship) and to our fellow man (fellowship).

When God created mankind it was to a purpose that He might bring us into a love relationship with Him; that the creature might worship the Creator and glorify Him, while the Creator would provide for His creatures and dwell with them. In the context of the Bible’s meta-narrative love’s reality and place in man is understood; when we were made in God’s image we were created relational beings, with the capacity to articulate our thoughts and feelings and to share them with others. Not only that, but we share our lives with others in bonds that are entirely abstract and unexplainable, but entirely real, that run in the form of parents to children, siblings, friends, and married couples. In light of what the Scripture says regarding the topic, see 1st Corinthians 13 and the entire epistle of 1st John for a good place to brush up on Biblical love.

1 comment:

  1. It seems to me that it would require more faith to believe in evolution than to believe in a creator who made it all work since the probabilities are so small. As Romans 1 states the existence and basis for God is obvious from the things he created, and to be an atheist requires deliberate denial of all evidence by faith.

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