Last month I wrote a blog titled, “The More I Study Christianity, the Dumber I get.” In that piece I laid the foundation for this article. Last month, I took a bird’s eye view of how our perspective may not include the entirety of the situation. For example, when my toddler climbs the stairs, his confidence overshadows the fact that I have control of the situation. In fact, he won’t even know I’m there unless he slips. Only then will my grasp become apparent. But perspective is not the only piece of the puzzle.
A Comparative Story
A few weeks ago, on a whim, I decided to take my kids to the pool. I have 4 kids (13, 11, 5, and 3) all at different levels in their ability to process information. Without telling the kids where we were going, I grabbed floaties, pool passes, sun screen, and towels. Instantly, 3 of the 4 knew we were headed swimming based on the floaties. The oldest two knew which pool because of the passes. But the littlest only knew we were leaving and she needed her dolls. All 4 kids had access to the same information, but they all processed it differently. In this regard, every kid was ‘correct’ in their assessment, but only 1 of them was ‘right’ in totality. But the story continues…
On the way to the pool, I decided to play a game with all the kids: Who can tell me which way to turn? Every stop sign we came to, each kid picked a direction and then celebrated the one who picked the way I went. Even though we go to the pool often (about 1-2/week), none of them had a full grasp on the route. To shake things up a little, sometimes I’d turn away from the shortest route to go out of the way. We may have taken a little extra time getting to the pool, but there was much joy in watching the baby’s eye light up when she picked the ‘right’ way. When all was said and done, it was the little two kids that picked the most ‘right’ turns.
I think we have a tendency to treat life the same way as the expedition I took with my kids. It is no wonder many of the best metaphors of life contain symbolisms of traveling and reaching a destination:
- Life’s a journey, enjoy the ride – Nissan
- Before you judge a man, walk a mile in his shoes – Mary T. Lathrap (1895)
- Every day is a winding road — Sheryl Crow
- we are trekking a tumultuous, sobering path — @MsPackyetti, Huffington Post
- Life is a highway; I want to ride it all night long – Tom Cochrane
- Life’s a journey, not a destination – Lynn H. Hough, Theologian
- Let us run with perseverance the race market out for us – Heb 12:1
We choose our path
and blaze a trail as we set out see what life lays before us. Like my kids, we gather the data available and set out towards a goal. Just like my kids, calling out lefts and rights, sometimes the turn brings us closer to the destination and other times it takes us out of the way. Of course, the only way to know if the turn is towards or away from the destination is to know where the destination is located.
In life, however, the destination isn’t always where we plan. Sometimes, while trying to achieve objective X, we find objective Y to be far more appealing or achievable. Sometimes, upon reaching our objective, we find it not to be as expected. I remember being well into my 20’s dreaming of winning the lottery. But the fate of the lucky few is often perilous. In one Reader’s Digest article, lottery winners share how they lost friends, still didn’t feel they had enough, wound up broke…or dead; winning the lottery isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But can you really know where you’re going? Isn’t part of the excitement the mystery?
Yes. It is. Mystery and chance are some of the greatest gifts of God. God, you say? Yeah…it’s biblical. Job 11:7, Can you discover the depths of God?; Daniel 2:28, However, there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries; Eph 3:4, when you read you can understand my insight into the mystery of Christ; Matt 13:11, To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted.; 1 Cor 2:7, but we speak God’s wisdom in a mystery, the hidden wisdom which God predestined before the ages to our glory; and so many more.
But science has another plan.
Science wants answers; science wants to be the revealer of the mysteries of life. Check out this perfect comparison of what I mean:
In a web article titled, “23 Things Science Can Tell Us about Life, the Universe, and Everything”, the author writes this point:
“3. What is love, hate, and emotion?
Scientists have largely answered this question already”
Does that sound like science has answered the question? It does to me. But look at the very next segment of the very same sentence, “but as with most neuroscience, the details remain fuzzy.” Wait, what? That doesn’t sound like an answer at all. Rather, that sounds like science is still making left/right turns working towards a goal it doesn’t know where it will lead. Like Alice in the rabbit hole, science takes a bite, a drink, a cup of tea, not knowing where anything will lead—and that’s ok. But the problem comes when this data is arrogantly shared as fact.
A simple Google search of ‘new atheist’ reveals:
–Unusually high levels of confidence—
I think the thing I find the most ironic about the new atheist, is their confidence in the process has become surpassed by their confidence in the outcome. Science does not have all the answers—it can’t. Science will never reveal the final answer because it doesn’t even know what it’s looking for.
Right now there are thousands of scientists all working diligently to ‘boldly go where no man has gone before’. These scientists work tirelessly to find cures for cancer, improve agricultural output, create advanced weapons to both save and take lives, and learn more about our DNA, the universe and rocks. In many ways, each scientific discipline works harmoniously with the others to find uniformity and draw together better, clearer, answers. In other ways, they are all individualistic in their study—not knowing where, or what, answer they may find.
Science, therefore, can never answer every question because it doesn’t know where it’s going—and why should it? It’s a tool, a process, a methodology. Science is wonderful in that regard. But, if we are going to take every ‘answer’ from science as gospel, we are bound for destruction. Prov 14:12 & 16:25 states, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.”
There is nothing wrong with science. In many ways science has helped biblical understanding. Moreover, there is nothing wrong taking of scientific advancements. But it is no place for your hope; science is of no use in deciphering purpose and meaning. Because science has no clue where it is going. And, as the saying goes, if you don’t know where you are going, any road will get you there – Lewis Carroll.
This is part 2 of a series in which we must draw out our perspective in contrast to what is available to us. If anything I have written resonates with you, for good or bad, please leave a comment below. I’d love a chance to share my story with you and the dead end I found at the end of my own selfish pursuits. I’d love an opportunity to share how Jesus, personally, changed my life. Do you know him?