Love or Reason?
Several times recently people have asked me about the hotly debated issue of creationism vs. evolution, and what do I think about it. This is how I decided to answer one of them.
October 28, 2005
Let me give you just a little food for thought, and maybe at least deal with one question you asked. You wanted to know if I believed that God created the world in 6 days, as it says in Genesis, or something to that effect.
Maybe this will ease your mind, but even in my most fundamental days I never thought that God had created the world (or the universe) in 6 literal human days. I do think that the first few chapters of Genesis are the deepest, most mysterious, and probably the most misunderstood of all the Bible stories, and contain almost everything there is to know about life, spirituality and man's problems and the solution to them. But the simplistic way in which it is often presented by my fundamentalist brothers is, to me, way off the mark and often widely misses the main points.
But to begin to give you all my thoughts on that is a much greater task than this little letter, since I'm not writing a treatise here of everything I think I know. I know you know those are stories that have a deeper meaning (all the Bible stories) than their normal "literal" interpretation, and I'll have to tell you, I've spent the past 35 years looking for the understanding and wisdom I believe is contained there. And by no means do I think I have in any way exhausted or wrung out all their meaning, but I do think I have my toe in the water, and maybe have cracked just a bit of the outer shell or husk, and have found for myself what I am convinced is a small grasp of the inner kernel.
Maybe you think a bit like me in at least one thing, and that is that the "literalists" (who are my brothers & sisters as much as people who think like me), if they had their way in our educational systems and in society as a whole, would take mankind back to the middle ages in our thinking. They would prevent the Columbus's from sailing off into the mysterious ocean because they would tell him he would fall off the end of the world.
But also, those issues are not my issues, and aren't really what float my boat. I know the "creationism vs. evolution" debate is important to some, but I believe it is often a smokescreen on both sides for covering up deeper things.
However, I do think the whole of science, rather than being an enemy of "God," has as its function to uncover the intricacies and wonders of God, who is Eternal Unknowable Mystery, and Who is somewhat revealed and made known in every aspect of nature and what we can discover of it. When we discover the deep things of the natural world we are discovering things which speak of God. To me everything speaks of wonder when we consider the natural world, even in this state today which I think is lesser than what it may one day be. And that "wonder" that we see in the smallest and the largest things, from quantum infinitely small things to astronomical infinitely large things, all speak to me of the Creator behind it all.
I always have loved the discoveries of science and wish I had the mind to understand them all, and wish I had the time and resources to really get into it. But that's not for all of us, so I am an interested amateur observer of these things, since I have from a very young man had only one drive and passion, a "calling" if you will, and that is to find out for myself the things of God and the Spirit, and to share them with others who are interested. I became obsessed with that when I was about 19 or 20, first starting out, like millions in our generation, by rejecting the "religion" of my elders and looking very seriously into all the eastern and esoteric philosophies and practices. Some looked into that stuff as a fad since "everybody was doing it" in those days, and then most people lost interest and went on and did other things. But it stayed with me because I HAD to find the inner satisfaction I knew must be there somewhere somehow, which I had not found through meditation and philosophy, and most importantly to me, I had to find out how to produce the "love" our generation said was the answer, ("all you need is love"), but which I had to honestly admit I could not fulfill, and that most of the time I failed at it miserably. (And here please believe me that I am speaking of my own experience, and not saying my experience is or should be anyone else's.)
You know at least one aspect of that story about me, though it's easy when I say what I am about to say, for someone to make judgments about me based on preconceived notions or one's own history with supposed "Christians" (which happens to me all the time). What I'm referring to is my coming (through a lengthy process) to believe that Jesus of Nazareth is who the scriptures say he is, i.e. the Christ (Logos, Nexus, Visible focal point) of the Eternal Invisible God, and that I do believe that he died on the Cross for my sins (failures of love) and for all mankind's sins which are forgiven and cleansed in His blood, and that His VERY Life is then given us in His resurrection by His Spirit which enters into us, which is to me a living reality. And I further have come to see that experiencing in our own inner depths the reality of the cross and resurrection of Jesus, is what constitutes being "born again."
To deny what happened to me inwardly all those years ago would be violence to my being, and would be more catastrophic to me than cutting off my manhood, because from that day on all my life has come from that Inner Source that I began to know in the most dimmest of vague ways then, but since then has grown into a great tree that overshadows and gives life to everything in my life, as Jesus promised in the gospels.
I "believed" a long time ago, stepping out in "faith" into an unknown and to me intellectually offensive thing, and from that stepping out in faith the Living God (not dead religion) has proved Himself every single day in my life, and nothing could make me give it up or convince me otherwise after all He has demonstrated every single day to me. In the same way that I can't logically produce evidence of my love for my wife, or even give any reasons that make sense as to "why," since it is simply undeniable FACT in me that I love her, in the same way I know and love Jesus without great ability to explain it. It offended my mind in the beginning, and from time to time still does, since we see, as Paul said, "through a glass darkly," but I've been caught by the Great Lover, Blesser and Life-Giver of the Universe, the Source of all wisdom, knowledge and understanding, as well as life and breath for all creatures, and have discovered in me a "well of water springing up into everlasting life," as Jesus told the woman at the well. I walked into it long ago with no evidence, almost doing violence to my intellect, because I have an intellect and it functions well, all the while asking all the same questions everybody asks and having all the same doubts, but that leap of faith taken then has proved itself a million times over to be steadfast and certain -- because I landed on the Rock which is Jesus Himself, which he said would withstand all the storms and beatings which life gives us.
I didn't arrive at that by study, or by looking into all the religions out there and comparing them with each other to figure out which seemed to have the best to offer or most agreed with my own thinking at the time. If I was looking for the most logical certainly that one would not be the one to choose. It is actually the most illogical of all the world's "theologies," and especially in our time of technology and empirical knowledge seems like foolish superstition. But Jesus is quoted several times saying, "he who loses his life will find it," and I have found that to be true.
Oh, I know all the stuff that goes around, from the "Passover Plot" years ago, a theory about how Jesus faked his death and resurrection, etc., and in our time the DaVinci code thing, but I'm one of those crazy people who would die for this because this is not to me a "religion" or a set of concepts I believe, or a theology I latched onto (who would die for a theology or a religion?), but a Person I met who lives in me in union, and it is from that Person I live, not my ideas about him. I would die for my wife to protect or defend her, but not for the institution of marriage, because I love HER, not "marriage," and that's what I mean regarding Jesus. I wouldn't sacrifice my big toe for the "Christian religion," but how could I betray and deny the One who loved me and gave Himself for me so that I might live and become the Giver that He is -- not just in the bye and bye over yonder, but right here right now having that Water that quenches all thirsts and is sufficient for all things beyond me?
So this is not even remotely for me a point of debate or argument with anyone, for why would anyone debate and try to prove wrong or right something which can neither be proved nor disproved? It's silly to argue with people over this. It is either believed or not believed, but is not the product of logic or reasoning. It is not part of that process. Now by that I don't mean that I'm not interested in telling what I have seen and heard to others -- of course the opposite is true. I just mean to say that after 30+ years in this, having had, as I said above, pretty much every question, doubt and question come to me (either in my own mind or seriously considered from others), it's something I can't even consider going back from, because it has become in me a fixed and settled thing. Maybe that means I have in the opinion of some a "closed mind," but this has never been a thing of the mind, which is reason and intellect, but of the heart, which is will and love. Psalms says the sacrifices pleasing to God are a humble and contrite heart, and the mind is to be the follower of the heart, not the other way around. We must live from love, not reason. At least that is how it is with me.
So that's it, that's what I'm about, though what I'm doing these days is not going out as an "evangelist" (someone like Billy Graham who tells the basic "good news" in order to move people to the beginnings of life in Christ), but to go to those, usually years along in this faith like myself, who are ready for the deeper understanding of our union with Him as the fullness of our life in God. That we are not separate and apart from Him, but in Him become His living expressions, by His living in us, therefore enabling us to be our true selves.
We can discuss this further anytime as you want.