So here we are in week 6 of a 15 week study. I’m constantly surprised at the things I’m picking up from this study based on Timothy Keller’s book, The Reason for God. If you are new here or aren’t reading the book, the summary can be found at Ni Hao Y’all. Let me say again this week, Stefanie’s summaries are fabulous. I’m amazed at what she manages to do each week.
So this chapter… it didn’t jump out at me. I have a VERY SIMPLE mind. I never questioned that a miracle is anything but miraculous. If I’m going to believe that God can create the world, how can I not believe anything else? Water to wine, miraculous healing, raising from the dead… miracles are miraculous. I always left it at that. Then I read this chapter. I must admit at first glance I was sort of blowing it off. I was using my simple mind as a crutch. I am not a scientific thinker. This is not something I have a problem with or wrestle with on a daily basis. In the past when I’ve entered into a discussion with someone who is having a problem reconciling science and the Bible, I point them to Lee Strobel’s book, The Case for Christ and move on about my day. I’m finding that maybe these are things that I need to reconsider.
lucky blessed to grow up thick in the middle of the Bible belt. I attended public school. Maybe it’s because I was out of school for so long, but in my science classes, if the Big Bang theory was considered I also hear, “Who knows how God works?” Evolution was taught but I never remember questioning if God created the world. The most I ever remember questioning was how the timeline worked with dinosaurs and life spans and how all the years add up. I think I chalked it all up to God is bigger than me, how can my feeble mind understand? After reading this chapter I realize I might need to be a bit more diligent with my faith for when my kids come to me with these questions.
I also remember several years ago taking my kids to the Virginia Aquarium in Virginia Beach. We went all the time when Arleigh and Hanan were little. On one trip, we were there with a dear friend and her granddaughters. As we walked around, her granddaughters were old enough to read EVERYTHING. Mine weren’t old enough yet. I remember her reading one plaque that showed a certain evolutionary process and she was horrified. As a former teacher she couldn’t accept this theory printed as fact on the wall. Sadly, at the time I couldn’t understand why she was so worked up. I think I always just had this mindset, maybe it happened that way. I don’t know how God works. Now I understand that she saw this as flying in the face of everything that the Bible teaches. I pray for her wisdom.
The thing I most appreciated about this chapter, Stefanie mentions in her summary. I’m choosing to save some time and just copy this from her summary.
But most important is what this text tells us about the purpose of Jesus’ miracles. “They lead not simply to cognitive belief, but to worship, to awe and wonder. Jesus’s miracles in particular were never magic tricks, designed only to impress and coerce… Instead he used miraculous power to heal the sick, feed the hungry, and raise the dead. Why? We modern people think of miracles as the suspension of natural order, but Jesus meant them to be the restoration of the natural order,” Keller says. (p.99) “The Bible tells us that God did not originally make the world to have disease, hunger, and death in it. Jesus has come to redeem where it is wrong and heal the world where it is broken. His miarcles are not just proofs that he has power but also wonderful foretastes of what he is going to do with that power. Jesus’s miracles are not just a challenge to all our minds, but a promise to our hearts, that the world we all want is coming.” (p.99)
I think this is something I’ve always knows but never stopped to really contemplate. We all know that Jesus worked miracles. How often do we stop and consider the why behind the miracle? I love the perspective that instead of a “suspension” of natural order, a miracle is a “restoration” of natural order. I started this chapter thinking it would be an easy peasy skim since clearly, I have no problem believing that the Bible is not a scientific reference book but instead a guide God sent for us. I finished it convicted that this is something to contemplate more often.
Backing up a bit in the chapter, Keller lays out something that often think is very true. Again, I’m going to copy Stefanie’s summary.
“Alister McGrath, a theologian with an Oxford doctorate in biophysics, writes that most of the many unbelieving scientists he knows are atheists on other grounds than their science.” (p.93) One of the other reasons, a leading sociologist notes, is our relationship with fellow humans, Keller says. “Scientists, like non-scientists, are very affected by the beliefs and attitudes of the people from whom they want respect.” (p.95) Peer pressure rather than science is influencing beliefs.
Peer pressure is influencing our beliefs everywhere. I think back to the last chapter… and the next chapter. I think as humans we want to be the cool kids. We want to be accepted. We don’t want to be politically incorrect. We move to the justification of well, everything. We crave acceptance and respect on so many fronts that we are folding on what we know is true. It’s sad really.
Stefanie’s question this week:
Question: Has the seeming incompatibility between science and the Bible been a hindrance to you in your faith? And if so, has anything in this chapter changed that perspective?
I never saw the incompatibility between science at the Bible as a hindrance to my faith. Then I read this chapter. I realized that I was refusing to consider it. Just because I refused to consider it doesn’t mean that I had total faith. To have faith, you must give the subject consideration and choose to believe.
For more about this chapter visit Ni Hao Y’all by clicking the button…