19 June, 2008

An Apologetic Moment

I don't care much for apologetics. It seems a silly thing to me to try to prove God exists when the issue is one of judgement and repentance. Preach the word and trust that the spark inside a man will declare God's reality more loudly than any bacterial flagellum.

That said, an apologetic article in Touchstone Magazine caught my eye last week. The author was attempting to prove that it was the atheists who were really stepping out on faith by not believing in God. The absence of proof is not the proof of absence and all that, you know. I don't have the article in front of me, so I cannot quote it. Sorry.

Man, he pointed out, really ought to have a hard time conceiving of God's reasonings. It doesn't make sense for us to grasp God's thoughts. If God were to decide to hide Himself from all but those who truly sought Him, the fact that it made sense to Him would be all the justification He'd require. We would have to adapt to His reasons, and not the other way around.

From there, I got to thinking about how ants and humans interact. They don't. They just interfere with each other. We keep accidently stepping on them, and they keep taking inappropriate notice of our picnics and kitchen counters. And so it's almost hard to prove to an ant that we're even real. They see our acts, the things we create, but they don't really see us. They could even invent a bunch of bizarre rationalizations for why a field became a strip mall, if they cared to put their little hive-minds to it.

But the analogy does not hold, because of scale. We're too close to ants in scale. Ants could interact with us if we only spoke in pheronomes instead of words. And really, they see us just fine when we plop a finger down in their paths.

Which led me to think of microbes. At that difference in scale, I found a much better analogy. Microbes literally don't know we exist. They share the world with us, and we can affect their lives with heat and pharmaceuticals and light, but we cannot step on them and they cannot steal our food. We live in different worlds, even as we share the same world. We can ferment milk to feed the microbes we like, or incinerate our meat to off a bunch of microbes we don't like, but we're never going to amuse ourselves by making a moat around a microbe-hill.

And that seemed a lot more like our relationship to God. The scale of our relationship is just more massively different than any other relationship I can describe.

But why stop imagining just there? :-)

More than merely being generic microbes, we are cells. Each of us is different, and we were meant to colonize with each other. We are meant to come together, with all our uniqueness in full bloom. Then, when we are all assembled, we will be a body - a body capable of interacting with God as peer-to-peer, at His scale.

As long as we live alone, we are nothing. We are not even viable tissue when we are alone. But together, here in this womb we call Earth, we are growing and changing. Little fingers are becoming distinct and a heart is beating. We are confused, because we see only the cells nearest to us (and how oddly misshapen they are!), but God sees things at His scale, even if He entered ours once and now understands it. He sees what we each are becoming, but He also sees what He is making us together, and He is patient in ways we cannot imagine. He'll wait until His perfect goal for us is fully realized.

One day the sons of God will be revealed.

4 comments:

eclexia said...

This is a beautiful post, through and through, but especially in how it ends:

"We are not even viable tissue when we are alone... We are confused, because we see only the cells nearest to us (and how oddly misshapen they are!), but God sees things at His scale, even if He entered ours once and now understands it. He sees what we each are becoming, but He also sees what He is making us together, and He is patient in ways we cannot imagine."

I pause when I read and reread each phrase in that paragraph, as the emotional impact and the implications of what that means hits me. There is a lot packed in there.

I'd never heard anyone make being confused sound so beautiful as you do here :) The microbe analogy--I like it. And it's amazing really, to think about God "getting" the whole microbe thing (both literally and allegorically as you refer to the body of Christ here), at both extremes--because He created and designed the whole system to work the way it does and also because He entered into that system. You made me smile again in amazement at God when I read this--a smile of worship, I think.

Kansas Bob said...

I liked this CP:

"As long as we live alone, we are nothing. We are not even viable tissue when we are alone."

It seems that atheists and Christians alike often are confronted with the same dilemma.. explaining the universe with their heads.. a fruitless endeavor.

It seems that each group need to confronted with the idea of living from their heart.. the only way that we can be connected to God and to each other.

Milly said...

Ok so my first thought was dude needs http://www.terro.com/ the stuff works great and in a sick I’m the judge, jury, and executioner was it’s interesting to watch the little bugage eat until they can only waddle off to kill themselves.

I read on and realized it wasn’t about the ants. ;-}

The last paragraph is touching.

Anonymous said...

Nicely done. But don't forget that our Father also created the ants and the microbes. We can only imagine that we understand.

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