Lest They Do to Us What We Did to Them

Belated thoughts about the Ark of the Covenant and the 2016 election.

I had an idea for a sermon, but it didn’t really make sense for my church, so I’m publishing it here.

In I Samuel 4, Israel fights the Philistines. They lose, badly, so they decide to take the Ark of the Covenant into battle. They lose worse, the ark is taken, and the priests are killed.

But what’s interesting to me is I Samuel 4:8-9:

 Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, in order not to become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.” (NRSV)

The Philistines are afraid that if Israel defeats them and gains liberation, Israel will do to them what they did to Israel.

That’s white fear: if white people in the US are outnumbered, white people will be subjected to the same ill treatment white people have subjected Black and Brown people to.

Nevermind that the goal is liberation for everyone, and that privilege is not a zero-sum game: someone else gaining privilege does not necessarily mean I lose mine.

But that fear that you’ll get treated the way other people with less privilege have been treated? That says that at some level, we already know it’s wrong.

That fear is a powerful thing. Look at that quote again:

 Woe to us! Who can deliver us from the power of these mighty gods? These are the gods who struck the Egyptians with every sort of plague in the wilderness. Take courage, and be men, O Philistines, in order not to become slaves to the Hebrews as they have been to you; be men and fight.” (NRSV)

That fear of being treated propels the Philistines to action, and in verse 10, Israel is slaughtered and the Ark of the Covenant is captured.

But… Israel had the Ark of the Covenant when they started this battle!

In theory, at least, God is supposed to be on their side. They have a righteous cause. And they get absolutely crushed by the Philistines.

When I saw that, it reminded me of the 2016 election and how every pollster thought Hillary Clinton was going to win. She would’ve been the first female president, and Trump was absolutely terrible. (Yes, Clinton probably also would’ve been terrible, but not as terrible as Trump, or at least not so obvious and celebratory about it).

All the polling showed Clinton was going to win easily, but it failed to take into account the fear the oppressors had of the people they’d been oppressing.

Take courage, “real Americans,” so you won’t find someone else’s religion pushed on you as you have pushed Christianity on them.

Take courage, men, so women won’t start trying to control your bodies.

Take courage, white people, so that you won’t find your kids unable to get into a good school because someone else has an unfair advantage; so that people won’t assume you did something wrong just because of the color of your skin.

Take courage, cishet people, in order to not have someone else shove their ideas about gender and sexuality down their throat as you did to LGBTQ people.

Take courage, people who have a little money in your bank account because of capitalism, lest a socialist come and take what you have and give it to someone who has less.

I’m not saying everyone who voted for Trump had that fear. I personally know a number of people who voted for him because of his stance on abortion (which is a whole other thing) and for no other reason – at least as far as I know.

But I can’t help believe that what the Philistines say they’re afraid of is relevant for some, if not many voters: That they will do to us what we did to them.

(Double that fear if you stack it with the white American evangelical persecution complex).

It’s possible – if not likely – that Israel might have actually subjected the Philistines to forced servitude as they did to Israel, but in the US, people who are less privileged don’t want to harm people who currently benefit from privilege, antifa hoedown and occasional talk about guillotining the rich notwithstanding.

I don’t think that’s the whole answer to “Why did Trump win in 2016,” but I thought it was interesting and wanted to share.

It also makes me a little anxious for other upcoming elections, because, as this story shows, a righteous cause is not always a match for fear that you’ll be mistreated the way you’ve mistreated others.

“The Heart Is Deceitful”

above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” -Jeremiah 17:9, KJV

Don’t trust your heart.

If I have heard that message once, I have heard it a dozen times. “The World” says to listen to your heart, the Bible says not to listen to your heart.

Or does it?

Later in Jeremiah, 24:7 says that God will give them a new heart. Ezekiel 11:19 and 36:26 echo God’s desire to give his people a new heart. A Newer Testament verse that I cannot locate right now reiterates this desire. The writer of Psalm 57 says that his heart is steadfast. The author of I Timothy has as his goal love from a pure heart. In Luke 6:45, Jesus says that the good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth what is good. In saying this, Jesus seems to be assuming that good men are possible, Romans 3:23 notwithstanding.

I believe that this single verse is what has allowed for the shutdown of the evangelical heart. How often have we heard things like “I wish I could [act in a loving way toward someone who is doing something that I disagree with], but the Bible says…”

The Bible has become a shield to protect us from following the good desires of our hearts. We would act in a loving way, but some obscure verse in the Bible prevents us from doing that. Continue reading ““The Heart Is Deceitful””

Dark Knight Rises and The Myth of Redemptive Violence

There be spoilers below. If ya don’t want ’em, don’t read it. Still, I whited out as many spoilers as I could. Select the invisible text to see the missing words.

Dark Knight Rises was pretty epic, as movies go. I left the theater with dozens of thoughts tumbling around my mind, centrally this one: Could Bane and Natalia have been saved?

I pondered it over and over again. Where did things go wrong for Bane and Natalia? What was broken in them? How could it have been healed in a non-violent way? What could the common citizens of Gotham have done to show the evil Bane that they were now as he once was? If they had done it, would he have been saved? What was it that made Bruce Wayne a vigilante for “true justice?” Would Bruce’s story play out that way in the real world?

The Myth of Redemptive Violence has been around for a very, very long time. At its core is the idea that evil is located somewhere else, evildoers cannot be redeemed, and they must be destroyed / stopped at any cost. The myth itself is that evil looks like it reigns a while, but then at the end (spoiler alert for almost every movie ever) our brave single hero (or small team of heroes) digs deep within and finds, either within or without, the power to be mightier than those evildoers bent on the destruction of the world. Basically, good overcomes evil with Superior Firepower.

And that (spoilers) is exactly what happens in Dark Knight Rises.

What’s wrong with that, you ask? Well, it depends on your worldview. As Christians, we follow a guy who defeated evil with good, a guy who, instead of killing his enemies, died for them. A guy who destroyed evil by letting evil crush him. We do not overcome by Superior Firepower, but by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.

Dark Knight Rises is a pretty legit action movie, with lots of crunchiness going on, including a barely-veiled reference to the Patriot Act and lots to think about regarding moving on past tragedy, as well as a fascinating perspective on what will make us happy / save us (true love / getting married). It’s optimistic and idealistic to the end… but I don’t think it goes far enough in its idealism.

Maybe we’re prone to believe this myth because this is the myth we’ve seen seem to play out for so long, and it’s worked out fantastically for us. Maybe it’s because having superior firepower is the only thing we’ve ever seen “defeat” evil. And maybe that’s because we live in America, where we’ve been “overcoming evil with Superior Firepower” since day one. Maybe if we lived under an oppressive system, we’d see things diferently.

Or maybe we’d just hang on to our Myth of Redemptive Violence and pray for Superior Firepower.


Newsboys Tell Nietzsche that God’s Not Dead, Add Nothing To The Conversation

In a statement released today, scientists have concluded that, based on their research, God is a myth.

These words open the music video to the Newsboys’ music video “God’s not dead” (embedded below).

A newspaper headline in the video says “God is a myth.” A billboard reads “No evidence that God exists.” An article online says A tweet comes across a smartphone that says “God is dead,” with an image of Christ carrying the cross. A man reads an article that says “Man is just another animal.” A tweet pops up on a screen that says “Everything came from nothing.” Another man watching a news show on his iPad sees a news anchor discussing “How can God allow evil?” He looks up in shock and disgust, and then the chorus starts:

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

My God’s not dead
He’s surely alive
He’s living on the inside
Roaring like a lion

He’s roaring
He’s roaring
He’s roaring like a lion

The video’s Christians (I think they’re the band members) immediately correct the misinformation being spread. One writes a blog titled “We are made in the image of God.” The twitter user replies “everything came from SOMETHING!” The man watching the news video switches furiously to a video titled “God Gave Us Freedom to Choose. Man Chose To Do Evil!” Then he gets up with a self-vindicated look on his face. And the Newsboys’ lead singer slaps his newspaper titled “God’s Not Dead” over another reader’s paper that says “God is a Myth.” And then the chorus starts again. Everyone gets happy. People watch a video that says “Complexity of Life Points to Design.” Another blog says “I was dead but am alive forevermore. -Jesus.” At a (Newsboys) concert, people hold up signs that say “God’s Not Dead.”

For what audience is this video and song intended? If it’s for a non-Christian audience, it is highly unlikely to convince them. They are more likely to view “God’s not dead” (if they view it at all!) as proof that Christendom’s smug self-assurance will continue.

I looked up Friedrich Nietzsche, the originator of the “God is dead” quote. As it turns out, Nietzsche, like many who are violently anti-Christian, grew up on (surprise!) some variation on Christian. He was raised Lutheran. He even went to seminary to become minister in his father’s place. However, he found Christianity squashing. Pushing. Crushing. He came to believe that mankind could only ever truly be free if we got rid of the idea of a God who was going to get us for everything bad we did. I can sympathize with his frustration, honestly. And in spite of Nietzsche’s dislike for what went for Christianity, Christopher Rodkey says that Nietzsche had a great deal of respect for Jesus.

The quote “God is dead” comes from Nietzsche’s book The Gay Science (which had nothing to do with homosexuality, by the way). It’s from a chapter called “The Madman.” In it, a madman rushes into the town square:

“Whither is God?” he cried; “I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning? Do we hear nothing as yet of the noise of the gravediggers who are burying God? Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.

Nietzsche’s madman challenges me. He pushes my preconceptions, forces me to re-examine what I think and search for new reasons to believe. He reminds me of a story from an old book in which a man who claims to be God is crucified.

* * *

If, however, the Newsboys’ song is for Christians, it may be even worse than if it’s intended for non-Christians. It reinforces our preconceptions. It reminds us in short form of all the reasons we should believe, provides bumper-sticker responses to the hard questions, and the video shows us that an angry disunderstanding should pervade our interactions with those who disagree with us. Rather than enter into a dialogue, rather than reading what those who disagree with us have to say, we should simply put our fingers in our ears and utter a diatribe: GOD’S NOT DEAD, HE’S SURELY ALIVE! Because that is what’s most likely to convince the skeptics and convert the unbelievers. (Just kidding) The Newsboys respond to Nietzsche’s madman in like: The madman says God is dead, the Newsboys say God’s not. This conversation would be appropriate. …If the Newsboys were 2-year-olds.

I find “God’s Not Dead” immensely troubling on two counts: First, it fails to provoke its audience as good art should, and second, it further polarizes those who believe and those who do not.

Good art provokes. It flips our pre-conceptions and slips in another way of seeing things. In an episode of the BBC TV show Doctor Who titled “Vincent and the Doctor,” the Doctor visits Vincent Van Gogh. At the end, Van Gogh shows the Doctor and his companion what he sees when he paints Starry Night:

Van Gogh: Hold my hand, Doctor. Try to see what I see. We’re so lucky we’re still alive to see this beautiful world. Look at the sky. It’s not dark and black and without character. The black is in fact deep blue. And over there! Lights are blue. And blue in through the blueness, and the blackness, the winds swirling through the air… and then shining. Burning, bursting through! The stars, can you see how they roll their light? Everywhere we look, complex magic of nature blazes before our eyes.

The Doctor: I’ve seen many things, my friend. But you’re right. Nothing’s quite as wonderful as the things you see.

 Art shows us what was always there but we never saw. It tilts the frame so we see things anew. It puts words to our hearts’ deepest dreams, longings, and fears. It shows us things we’ve seen a million times in a way we’ve never seen them before, and it shows us things we never imagined could be true that are. It provokes us, pushes us to see the world in a different way. It lets us see the world through the soul of another. “God’s Not Dead” does none of these things.
* * *
Fifteen years ago, Rich Mullins said that the current trends in Christian music were “Shallow, mindless, stupid, and perfectly harmless at best.”

“God’s Not Dead” allows both parties to adopt a rather smug self-righteousness: the non-Christians can say “Those stupid Christians” and the Christians will say “Those stupid non-Christians.” We hold up our slogans and they hold up theirs, and absolutely nothing good comes of any of it. Worse than failing to further the dialogue, “God’s Not Dead” turns the serious conversation about God’s existence or non-existence into a cliché-shouting match. Our idea of a conversation about atheism is quoting “The fool has said in his heart ‘There is no God,'” somehow forgetting that the atheist with whom he is disagreeing has no reason to accept that verse as God’s word because the atheist doesn’t believe God even exists to have written it!

The Newsboys used to be good. Well, good with aliteration and catchy phrases and tunes that stuck in your head. They can do better. Christianity can do better. And I won’t even comment on the biblical veracity of the idea that Jesus lives inside of us, or the silliness thinking that telling someone that “I know Jesus lives because he lives inside my heart” will convince them of anything.

* * *

I can’t just leave you depressed, though. Some good has come out of Christian music lately. Like Jason Gray’s album “Everything Sad is Coming Untrue.” The album title comes from this scene from Lord of the Rings, which automatically makes it better.

Samwise thinks that Gandalf has died, but when Gandalf appears before Samwise’s bed and Samwise finally awakens, Gandalf asks,

“Well, Master Samwise, how do you feel?”

But Sam lay back, and stared with open mouth, and for a moment, between bewilderment and great joy, he could not answer. At last he gasped: “Gandalf! I thought you were dead! But then I thought I was dead myself. Is everything sad going to come untrue? What’s happened to the world?”

Jason Gray, in the song of the album, asks

The winter can make us wonder
If spring was ever true
But every winter breaks upon
The Easter lily’s bloom
Could it be everything sad is coming untrue?
Could you believe everything sad is coming untrue?

Broken hearts are being unbroken
Bitter words are being unspoken
The curse undone, the veil is parted
The garden gate will be left unguarded.

“Everything Sad is Coming Untrue” shows us what was always there but we never saw. It tilts the frame so we see things anew. It puts words to our hearts’ deepest dreams, longings, and fears. It shows us things we’ve seen a million times in a way we’ve never seen them before, and it shows us things we never imagined could be true that are. It provokes us, pushes us to see the world in a different way. It lets us see the world through the soul of another.

 Listen to good music, kids.

Newsboys – God’s Not Dead (Official Music Video) from newsboys on GodTube.

Also: What news sources were the newsboys getting their articles from? I’ve never seen such headlines!

Edit August 9, 2012: Christopher Rodkey wrote his essay as a student at St. Vincent College in 1999, not a professor as was stated previously. He is now the Reverend Doctor Christopher Rodkey and is currently the pastor at Zion Goshert’s United Church of Christ in Lebanon, PA. He now teaches part-time at a college and a seminary. For more about Rev. Dr. Rodkey, please see Zion Goshert’s web site. And thank you, sir, for your correction.

God Is For Us

Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right hand of God, and who also is interceding for us.  -Romans 8:34

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how we should pray, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with inexpressible groanings. -Romans 8:26

Why does Jesus intercede on our behalf before the Father? And why does the Holy Spirit intercede for us? Does God not like us? Does Jesus have to ask the Father to back off and not burn us to a crisp?

Let’s start with The Father. Where do we stand with Him?

What then shall we say about these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Indeed, he who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all – how will he not also, along with him, freely give us all things? Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is the one who will condemn? -Romans 8:31-34a

If God is for us, who can be against us, right? Well, how do we know God is for us? If giving up His own Son for us all doesn’t say God is for us, I don’t know what will! If God justifies us – and there is no higher court for the accuser of the brethren to appeal to – then God (the Father) is, unequivocally and without a doubt, for us.

So if God is for us, then why is the Spirit interceding for us? Well, Rich Mullins once said that we never know what we’re praying. That God hears us not according to our understanding, but according to His wisdom. And I think that’s what the Spirit does. We don’t know how to pray right, or what to pray for, but the Spirit of God is praying for us. God is praying for you. God the Spirit is praying to God the Father for you. “And hewho searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes on behalf of the saints according to God’s will.”

So if God is for us, then why is Jesus interceding on our behalf? Christ is interceding before the Father on our behalf – He died for us and He rose for us. It’s like… Just in case God forgot – which He won’t – Jesus is standing beside the Father reminding Him and pleading with Him for us. And God is already for us!

So we have God the Father, who’s sent Jesus for us and declared us not-guilty. He is for us.

We have God the Son, Jesus, who came for us and made us not-guilty, interceding on our behalf before the Father who is already for us!

AND we have God the Spirit, interceding before the Father on our behalf and according to the will of the Father so that we never have to fear that we’ve prayed a bad or stupid prayer, to the Father, who has Jesus also interceding on our behalf before the Father who is already for us!

Paul asks, “Who will bring a charge against God’s elect?” It’s not “Who will get God’s elect condemned,” it’s “who will bring a charge?” The devil wants to accuse us before God and he can’t get a guilty verdict because he can’t even get into the courtroom!

With things being as they are, who anywhere is going to get between us and God? God is already in our favor, Jesus and the Holy Spirit interceding before the Father on our behalf! The answer to Paul’s rhetorical question reads like a crescendo:

Who will separate us from the love of Christ? Will trouble, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? As it is written,

For your sake we encounter death all day long; we were considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we have complete victory through him who loved us! For I am convinced that

neither death,
nor life,
nor angels,
nor heavenly rulers,
nor things that are present,
nor things to come,
nor powers,
nor height,
nor depth,
nor anything else in creation
will be able to separate us
from the love of God
in Christ Jesus
our Lord.


Projects and Promises

“God, if You don’t want to control everything I do, and I can’t control what You do, then what is our relationship good for, anyway?”

Controlling God.
I was pondering how my prayers don’t really tend to impact too much what God does. That after I prayed that the cold would stop. (I woke up this morning to a day that never pulled its way above freezing.) It occurred to me that a lot of my prayers seem to go unanswered. So many have come true, though.

Imagine. “Prayer coming true.” What a phrase. It’s almost like a wish. I used to know kids who would start their prayers with “I hope…” instead of “I ask…”. I tried to explain that they were using the wrong format; you don’t tell God you hope He does something; you ask Him to do it. But maybe that makes the disappointment easier to handle – you told God you hoped He’d do something, but He doesn’t.

Instead of asking God straight-up, we tell Him how we hope things will turn out. That way He’s not obligated to accept or reject our requests, and us with them. ‘Cause let’s be honest, we all have at least one thing we asked for that God answered no. Suffice it to say, our prayers don’t control God. Continue reading “Projects and Promises”

Be Better.

As a culture, Americans aren’t very nice to ourselves. We have a million self-improvement classes, we go to school to get grades, and we measure our value by the numbers on our paycheck and 401k, the words that are or are not in front of and behind our names (PhD, President, etc). We judge ourselves by the cars we drive, or the cars that other people drive and we can’t, the houses we live in, the houses we don’t live in. The college we get accepted into, our GPA, how beautiful or handsome or rich our spouse is, how respected we are, or aren’t, or how famous we are. Or how our bodies look.

As Christians, we’re not much better. And we’re more committed to our self-improvement. No gym memberships for us, we go to church. We worry if we don’t spend an hour every day in devotions. (Some of us get so discouraged at being unable to spend an hour that we don’t even spend five minutes). We worry about our prayer life, then feel guilty about worrying because Jesus told us not to. We measure our value by whether we’re called, or (some of us) whether we speak in tongues, or tithe, or how much we tithe, or how much we volunteer. Whether we’re good people. Continue reading “Be Better.”

Me vs Them

I hate “Us vs Them” Christians. You know the type: Every other denomination is going to hell in a handbasket, and they have a handle on the truth, and if only somebody would listen to them, the world would be a much better place. They go to small churches and have small minds and occupy small worlds where everybody is against them. They try to convert people to their way of thinking, and scare them off in the process.

That’s the kind of church I grew up in.

Since then, I’ve matured. I’ve realized that us vs them Christianity is evil. I’ve finally gotten a handle on the truth, and if only they would listen to me, the world would be a much better place. I try to convert people to my way of thinking, and scare them off in the process.

Oh dang. Continue reading “Me vs Them”

The Purpose-Driven Boatwright

“How old was Noah when he entered the ark?” My girlfriend thought it was an innocent question. How was she to know that it could unleash something so crazy?

Really Weird Bible Stories Episode 2: The Purpose-Driven Boatwright

Noah. Weird dude. Born in a wicked generation. Not even a murmur that he mighta protested their funerals. First sentence in the Bible about him says that God liked him. Second sentence says this is his story. Third sentence: he’s a righteous man, blameless, and he walked with God. Fourth sentence, he has kids. Nice story; makes you wish ya coulda known the guy. No list of things he did or didn’t do, just that he was righteous and did nothing wrong, not exactly what he did or didn’t do. The Bible seems uninterested. Weird, I told ya. All we know is that God liked him, and he was a righteous dude. Interesting that it tells us that God liked him before it says he was righteous.

Then God tells him to build an ark. First recorded interaction between God and Noah, God says to build an ark. And Noah does it. No mention of protest. I guess they were tight and Noah trusted God.

The guy spends 120 years building a boat. A really really big boat. He spends 120 years of his life building a boat. Talk about the purpose-driven life. But wait a second – he spends 480 years without a whimper about purpose. He spends his life walking with God. Guess you could say his “purpose” was to save the whole human race… and he spends 480 years of his life not doing it. Talk about weird. Worse still, he spent those 480 years walking with God! God didn’t even tell him. Guess he was a sleeper agent.

So what did he do in those 480 years? He made a living. He walked with God. He married a pretty girl and they made (at least) 3 babies and got old together. They watched those babies grow up and find pretty girls to marry. Noah’s lovely bride doesn’t even get a name; we just call her “Mrs. Noah.” It isn’t written that by our modern standards he’d get tagged righteous, vis.: he never read the Bible (it hadn’t been written), he never went to church… Though I guess if you’re the only righteous man on earth it’d be fair to say there wasn’t a church to go to! On the other hand, II Peter 2:5 calls Noah a “preacher of righteousness.” But maybe that was after the warning of the flood, who knows?

You know the rest of the story: the flood happens, everybody else drowns, and only Noah and his family are saved. They get off the boat, Noah builds an altar and makes a sacrifice, and God is pleased and makes the first rainbow.

But here’s the part that the Sunday School teachers don’t put on the flannelgraph (because it’s not rated G): Noah grows some grapes, makes wine, and gets, well, plastered. Can you blame the guy? In his lifetime he watched the whole human race drown. Then he takes off all his clothes in the tent. Ham, one of his three beautiful babies (now quite old) sees his dad inside without his clothes on, then goes out and says, “Hey, Shem, Japheth, Dad’s inside without his clothes on!” Shem and Japheth walk in backwards and put a blanket over Daddy until he sobers up.

Then he does. He finds out the stories of who did what. He blesses Shem and Japheth, and curses Ham’s kid Canaan. Weirdness. Next thing the Bible says is that Noah died 350 years later. Guess his purpose was over.

10 kudos to the first person who can explain Noah’s purpose for the last 350 years of his life.

Episode 1: Wives for the Benjaminites


Readers looking for a bullet-proof treatise on the existence of God are advised to look elsewhere. I am prejudiced in favor of God, and this tale of mine is one filled with holes and assumptions. In many cases I trust arguments made by others that I don’t bother to link, repeat, or even reference. But the rationale presented below has been sufficient to convince me of my conclusions. Ironic, in a post titled “know.” But we know very little anyway. Just ask Descartes.

Is God Real?
The central realization when I decided I wanted to give myself to God again in 2007 was the realization that “God is real, and He loves me.”

And so the central question for my doubt would have to be “Is God real, and does He love me?” The doubt had been a long time in coming. In most stories, things happen that shatter your faith, and in my story things like that sure had. For a long time, I held onto faith out of sheer desperation. At some points, I knew for sure that God was real. And at other points I wondered if He even cared… until His love overwhelmed me and I was sure He did again.

But the deep doubt finally resurfaced: Does God exist? And does He love me?

And so I asked. I wrestled. I talked. I prayed to a God I wasn’t 100% sure existed. I begged Him to exist.

Creation, I decided, could have been the product of random chance, maybe. Love could just be biological. Beauty could be a trick of biology, too. It could be familiarity assumed as beauty – mankind has seen trees for as long as we’ve been around, and we’ve all seen trees on warm sunny days which we decide socially to be “good.” Maybe Trinitarian theology – God is three and one in loving community – was created out of the realization that people are happier together. Large coincidences, to be sure, but that could be all there was to them. Coincidences and naturally occurring phenomena.

But creation was the crack in the armor, the Achilles heel of doubt. So many things are  set such that if they were only a little tiny bit off, life would never have happened. Even if Biological Macro-Evolution had been the cause of all life, random chance must have had help. And philosophy insists on a first cause. God must exist.

What Manner of God?

But what manner of God is He? Does He care? Or has God adopted a sort of hands-off approach to creation: Plan really really well and thus not even need to give it nudges? Continue reading “Know”