Saturday, July 20, 2013
The following statement has been floating around the Internet for several years. I am not sure to whom it should be attributed:
Atheism: “The belief that there was nothing, and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason, creating everything, and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned into dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense.”
There is something in us that longs to be in control and understand everything. For that which we do not fully understand, we tend to create our own explanations. Sadly, those explanations, particularly about God, are paltry.
Because we instinctively feel that if we describe Him as anything more expansive than our own understanding or comfort level, we cease to be the center of our universe — and we come face to face with real truth.
“A man can no more diminish God’s glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, ‘darkness’ on the walls of his cell.” — C.S. Lewis
When I read the quote on atheism it reminds me of trying to cook without having a clue about what is needed for something healthy and tasty to happen.
I remember dragging a chair into the kitchen to cook because my mother told me I could use the stove when I was tall enough to reach the counter and could clean up after myself. After the chair was positioned near the sink, I could tell she was debating whether she’d let me use a chair to meet those requirements. I think curiosity must have won out over better judgment.
“What would you like to cook? Would you like some help?” Mom asked.
“No! Don’t help me! It will be a surprise!” I said. “Can I use anything I find in the kitchen and ‘frigerator?”
As she poured herself a cup of coffee and affirmed I could use any food items I found, she settled in to watch the goings on. Of course I had absolutely no clue how to cook and had only experienced the deliciousness of meals that had been prepared for me to enjoy.
I believe sometimes our spiritual journey can begin like that. We are surrounded by the created goodness of God without really understanding anything about Him or how things came to be, and a spiritual hunger begins to stir within us. A longing and searching for truth begins.
So, with all the experience of having eaten good food, and with the permission from my parent (kind of like the free choice God gives all of us to make our own decision about being in relationship with Him)… I commenced to making what I have since termed as the “Inedible Concoction”. I opened cupboards heretofore unexplored and started pulling out all sorts of things to mix together. Seasonings galore ... cumin, tarragon, pepper (lots of pepper), salt, anise, rosemary, celery salt, garlic powder, cinnamon, Italian seasoning, dry yeast, sugar ... anything I could reach I plucked from the shelf and put on the counter. I had not the slightest idea where they came from, how they would taste or what would happen to the dish I was preparing when I tossed them in.
How often have we heard a new philosophy or perspective and just thrown it into the mix of our world view, without really understanding where it came from, what it means, or what its effect would be? The Bible encourages “Test all things; hold fast what is good (or true)” in 1 Thessalonians 5:21. God expects and encourages us to scrutinize anything we hear, including His word, and to ask what it would look like to put it into practice and live it out. To ask ourselves “Why do I believe what I believe? And what do I believe?”
Once the seasonings had been lined up, I investigated the refrigerator. Eggs, celery, Worcestershire sauce, A1 Steak sauce, mustard, ketchup, pickles, left over mashed potatoes, bologna and several other items. I started cracking open eggs (and picking out shells), pouring sauces and condiments and carefully cutting up what I had pulled from the refrigerator. I blended them into a bowl. It didn’t look very appetizing, but I thought something magical would happen with the finished product. You know, after you apply heat, you can really see what you’ve got.
Then I added all the spices from the cupboard. My thought was “more is better.” After furiously stirring the ingredients, I let my mother know I was ready to fry up our meal.
She took another swig of coffee and came to help me find the right skillet and volunteered her services as the fry cook. In went the oil. Burner was turned on. When the pan was ready she let me pour in a healthy sized glop of the dark, slimy sludge.
Oh, my goodness. As the mixture started to heat, a horrific odor began to arise, which got worse as eggs turned solid. My unbridled confidence in my culinary expertise plummeted at the rate the stench arose.
My father raced in from the yard asking, “What happened? What’s that horrible smell? Is everyone OK?” I was mortified. Mom told him that everything was fine, and I was learning how to cook. Dad shook his head, They exchanged a knowing glance. He opened the windows and doors and went back outside.
When it was ready, I wasn’t prepared for how horrible it actually tasted. It made me gag.
It took quite a while for the smell to dissipate. After everything was cleaned up, my mother again offered to help me make something, and I was far more appreciative than previously.
I love Psalm 34:8, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good.” As they say, the proof is in the pudding.
So how does your life taste? Are there any parts of your life that are bitter or sour? Areas where you’d welcome the touch of the Master Chef?
God is good, and His mercies are new every morning. He longs for us to invite Him into the kitchen of our life to work alongside us, with His guidance, forgiveness, love and direction. It’s His desire to be invited into our lives through His Son, Jesus Christ so that we “may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height, to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God” as we learn in Ephesians 3:18-19.
God pursues us with not only the intention of building a rich relationship, but with the desire to give us profound revelation about our individual purpose in life and understanding of the abundant life He has planned. He will also allow us to form our own belief structure though as He looks on, after we push Him aside. That being understood, when the “heat” or adversity of life begins to rise, we all get to taste what either we’ve concocted on our own, or what He has prepared for us. It is completely our choice and called “free will”. I’ll promise you that what He has prepared for us will be life sustaining, savory and fulfilling and nothing like the Inedible Concoction we make.
Atheism would have us believe that God doesn’t exist at all. Christianity is all about a relationship with a God who keeps on showing His love toward us. Meeting Jesus Christ marks the beginning of a new era for every person. Dr. John Lennox of Christian Apologetics and Research Ministry makes the choices between atheism and theism (belief in God) clear: “There are not many options — essentially just two. Either human intelligence ultimately owes its origin to mindless matter; or there is a Creator. It is strange that some people claim that it is their intelligence that leads them to prefer the first to the second.”
“We all want progress, but if you’re on the wrong road, progress means doing an about-turn and walking back to the right road; in that case, the man who turns back soonest is the most progressive.” — C. S. Lewis
“Oh taste and see that the Lord is good”…. Remember, the proof is in the pudding.
The Rev. Mikki Jones co-pastors Grace Christian Center with her husband, the Rev. Dave Jones. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should call Catherine Hicks at 609-526-8312 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.