Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Instead of evolution: faith

“… Have faith in the LORD your God and you will be upheld; have faith in his prophets and you will be successful." 2 Chronicles 20:20 (New International Version)

I pray daily that God strengthen my faith in the inspiration of the Bible, especially the book of Genesis. I have to choose consciously to continue believing that God exists, that the Bible is the Word of God and not the Word of wise men. I have to want to continue believing. Sometimes the only proof that God exists is how he’s changed my life and continues to change my life from the self-centered and vain existence I’ve lived on and off for most of my post-childhood experience.

Sometimes in my moments of doubt, or low-brow intellectual posturing, I have to fight against the nagging suggestion that Moses is the only one responsible for the entire book of Genesis. What I mean is, in weaker moments I’ve wondered if this ancient genius, who was a byproduct of an advanced civilization, Egypt, didn’t himself synthesize much or all of Genesis from his great education, as well as his original mind.

If this were the case, it explains much of the supposed problems with the two creation accounts, the beginning of sin, and why we are here. It also, of course, creates other problems: if we’re alone in the universe, then it’s up to us and no one else to solve all or some of the problems we’ve inherited and which we’ve created. If humankind fails and blows up planet earth some day, and if it turns out, we were the only intelligent life in the universe to begin with, then how pointless it all would have been. We evolved from single-celled organisms. We lived, we loved, and we died as a species. Perhaps somewhere else in the universe, the miracle of life would come into miraculous existence again. Or perhaps, after the Big Crunch, there would be a new Big Bang and the entire miracle of life just might happen again? Or perhaps we’re only one in an infinite number of universes. Perhaps somewhere in one or more of those other universes there are intelligent beings or will someday be intelligent beings who will ask the same questions we’re asking now.

I personally hope and pray that Moses didn’t originate the Torah all by himself and in effect --because of a need to create a new system of thought and culture-- the entire Judaeo-Christian belief system that has been handed down to us. I hope instead that God gave Moses all or the more essential elements of the Torah. Perhaps faith is really about not believing what you'd like to believe, but what you need to believe in order to live a meaningful life.

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