We Believe, Don’t You?

This is the list of the descendants of Adam. When God created humankind he made them in the likeness of God. Male and female he created them, and he blessed them and named them “Humankind”when they were created.

When Adam had lived one hundred thirty years, he became the father of a son in his likeness, according to his image, and named him Seth. The days of Adam after he became the father of Seth were eight hundred years; and he had other sons and daughters. Thus all the days that Adam lived were nine hundred thirty years; and he died. (Genesis 5:1-5, New Revised Standard Version)

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being. What has come into being in him was life,[a] and the life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not overcome it.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness to testify to the light, so that all might believe through him. He himself was not the light, but he came to testify to the light. The true light, which enlightens everyone, was coming into the world.

10 He was in the world, and the world came into being through him; yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to what was his own. and his own people did not accept him. 12 But to all who received him, who believed in his name, he gave power to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood or of the will of the flesh or of the will of man, but of God.

14 And the Word became flesh and lived among us, and we have seen (John 1:1-14, New Revised Standard Version).

******

I am not a Treky. For those of you who are like me but don’t know what that means, I am not a huge Star Trek fan. In fact, I don’t even like Star Trek the original series. That is complete heresy to a real Treky. The truth is, I really don’t even care much about science fiction at all. Its just not my genre. All that being said, I did become a casual fan of Star Trek The Next Generation. I’m not at all sure who started us watching the show, Cindy or one of the boys, but I could at least tolerate it and actually grew to like it because the writers were not afraid to tackle moral issues on the show. I didn’t always agree with their treatment of these issues but I did appreciate their willingness to address them, particularly the more controversial issues.

If you never watched the show, the Captain of the U.S.S. Enterprise was Jean-Luc Picard. Most of the plot-lines revolved around Captain Picard. One recurring but not regular character, in fact, according to my research he was one of the few recurring characters on the show was Q. In fact, Q was in more episodes of Next Generation than any other who was not part of the crew. Q was an anti-god of sorts. He wasn’t Satan by any means but he was eternal and he was omnipotent, all-powerful. He was very God-like but he also fell far short of the God we all know and understand. And, he was continually stirring up problems for Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise.

In the episode titled, “All Good Things…” Captain Picard and the crew of the
Enterprise are dealing with a space anomaly they know little or nothing about. Then Q enters the scene.

As Q and Picard are looking at “the beginnings of life on earth,” or at least the possibilities of life on earth, we see one of the scientific theories of creation and life. Two proteins are floating in a puddle of goo. The theory is, unlike the television show, the two proteins come together and create the first single cell organism. It divides into two single cell organisms who in turn divide yet again. Eventually, the theory goes, the single cell organisms evolve into multi-cell organisms. As time passes they too evolve into ever more complex organisms which eventually evolve into land animals and then to humans and life on earth as we know it.

There a couple of problems with that theory. The theory, at the very least, implies either that there is no God or God isn’t active in the world around us. By this theory God wasn’t active then and God certainly wouldn’t be active today and I have a great deal of trouble with that idea as I feel sure is the case for most of you as well.

How can anyone look on this world and think all this just happened? I don’t get it. With all that is around us, it all happened by chance? When Cindy and I were on our trip to California a few years back, on more than one occasion I looked around me and wondered to myself, “How can anyone look on this and still believe God doesn’t exist?”

To look out over the Grand Canyon and to see that beauty, how can you say there is no God or that God doesn’t drive the creation? I said the same through the San Diego Zoo with so many of the animals. Think about this, a koala eats nothing but Eucalyptus. The particular species of eucalyptus, while grown in many parts of the world today, these species are native, exclusively to Australia. Coincidentally, the only place koalas are found in the wild. How can anyone look on that and believe it all happened by chance, by accident.

Look at your child, your grandchild, your parent, your friend or even look in a mirror at yourself. The human body is complex. Many of you know about my newborn granddaughter. She wasn’t eating when she was in the emergency rooms they checked yer blood sugar. It was so low it wouldn’t even register. I have no idea how many of you have had blood sugar issues during your life. I have. I don’t have a clue how that little girl was feeling except to say, I know how bad I feel when my sugar is in the 30s or even 40s. If my sugar gets below 90 I start feeling bad and it can get scary in a big hurry. Anyway, here is the point. Our bodies are so complex that a blood glucose reading down just a few points makes a difference between feeling fine and feeling like you were just run over by a truck. How bad do we feel when our normal body temperature is off by even as little as a degree? How could something as complex as the human body have come into being just by accident? How could it happen without some kind of Supreme Being there and working to drive that creation? And, I am not even beginning to talk about the complexities of the human mind and soul.

I know, it’s all just a big coincidence. My favorite current TV show is NCIS. According to the show’s man character, Leroy Jethro Gibbs here is no such thing as a coincidence.” I personally, however, in general at least, will not take it that far. I think things can happen by coincidence, but a coincidence as large as all this has to be.

Today on the blog, we are beginning a series discussing the Creed. Today we are looking at the first part of the creed, “I believe in God,
the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth…”

Our lesson from Genesis this morning is the beginning of the creation story. “When God began to create the heavens and the earth—the earth was without shape or form, it was dark over the deep sea, and God’s wind swept over the waters—God said, “Let there be light.” And so light appeared. God saw how good the light was. God separated the light from the darkness. God named the light Day and the darkness Night. There was evening and there was morning: the first day.” According to the Bible, before God entered the picture there was nothing. The earth was nothing more than endless water, I believe God also put the water there but there really isn’t anything to back that up. There was no life, plant or animal. There was no land or light.

There was nothing but a dark, vast sea of emptiness. And, in these first
five verses of the Bible, God swept in and began to change everything. First, God gave light to a dark void. And, God said it was good.

I chose not to read the whole creation story from Genesis 1 but it is all there. The creation of land. Then there was the creation of vegetation. God said it was all good. Then God saved the pinnacle of creation for last. God created the human creature and said it was very good.

It’s all there. I find it interesting that those who believe in a strict theory of evolution have such difficulty with the creation story. Even if you want to carry it that far, the Biblical narrative and Darwin’s theory don’t deviate from one another all that much except to say that Darwin sees it happening by chance and the Bible makes it clear that God drove the creation process and I would argue that God is still driving that particular car. It is all structured. It is all organized. It all comes together in a special way that the
only logical solution is, God was getting it done. William of Occam lived from 1287-1347. He was an English Franciscan friar, scholastic philosopher, and theologian. He suggested a principle, later to become known as Occam’s razor stating that in the absence of certainty among competing hypothesizes, or competing theories, the simplest, the one with the fewest assumptions, should be the accepted truth.

Would the simplest theory be “this all happened by chance?” Would the fewest assumptions be that in the entire universe the right two proteins would exist in the same galaxy, the same solar system, the same planet, and the same puddle of goo on that planet? If you are one of those folks, I am sorry, but I remain unconvinced. The simplest explanation, the explanation that makes the fewest assumptions is, a Supreme Being, a Being you and I would call God, created all we can see and all we cannot. While I cannot
say with certainty, I believe William of Occam, based on him being a theologian, would agree with what I am saying.

The Genesis narrative isn’t the only place you can find this idea in Scripture. Tradition credits Moses with the writing of Genesis. Much of the time we treat the ancients as unenlightened, and Moses would have to be considered an ancient. By Jewish calculation Moses lived circa 1390-1270 B.C. So, by the time of Jesus and the disciples were walking the planet some 1300 years had passed. John the Apostle lived from circa 6-100 A.D. From that, we could make the assumption that John was more enlightened
than Moses. Yet in our lesson this morning from John, in the first five verses of John’s Gospel we read, “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. The Word was with God in the beginning. Everything came into being through the Word, and without the Word nothing came into being. What came into being through the Word was life, and the life was the light for all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness doesn’t extinguish the light.”

“The Word was with God and the Word was God.” Admittedly, John is
showing much more of a theological bent than Moses, but none the less, John is saying in essence the same thing. Nothing came into being without the Word, without God. And, God is the light that shines for all the world to see. God is light shining in the darkness. “I believe in God the Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth.”

Those are the words we say we believe. We believe there is a God, and that
God is very real and is all powerful. We believe God has the power to bring bright into darkness. We believe that all we have comes from God and God
created all that is in the world today. Sometimes we are co-creators with God, but God is still in control over the creation. I guess there have always been those who would argue the creation was nothing more than a happy accident. There are those who would believe everything was created by a big bang. There are those who believe a couple of proteins came together and it was the birth of life on this planet.

There is an awful lot of coincidence to swallow for a group of people who
generally don’t believe in coincidence. For me, and I would hope for you, I
choose to follow Occam’s razor. In other words, I choose to follow the Bible
when it comes to learning about the creation because I believe it to be the
simplest theory to follow, all the rest just muddy the water with thoughts and ideas that have difficulty coming together, after all, in the Star Trek version of creation the two proteins never come together and life itself never happens on this planet.

No, the simplest way to explain it all, it is not just a coincidence. It is
the creative hand of Almighty God.

Have a blessed day in the Lord

Seeking the Genuine,
Keith

Copyright 2020, J Keith Broyles, All Rights Reserved

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