trying to grow
in matters that are so obscure and far beyond our vision, we find in Holy Scriptures passages which can be interpreted in very different ways with out prejudice to the faith we have received. in such cases, we should not rush in head long and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search for truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it.
when i think over my youth, i have many positive memories of activities with my father; unfortunately the larger image in my mind is that of a father who is disappointed in my vast different-ness from him. i know that i received a large portion of my intellect from my father, but at times it seems like that may be all i got, and as a boy it was certainly impossible to see how i ingerited any of his strength and physical prowess. i am not the one you want to pick for your team when it comes to sports (with the exception of national ball, as i would come to learn in high school; but we’ll save that for another day). i have yet to meet a sport that i am not just barely good enough at to royally suck. i can almost bowl straight, i can run fast for 1/8 a mile before my asthma kicks in, my heart is kinda weak, ad my allergies make the outdoors a passion that brings with it misery. no, i am not athletically minded in the list, and far a tall, skinny black guy in america, that’s no fun. the only saving grace i have physically is that despite my lack of athletic abilities, i am actually quite adept at fighting; training in 2 different martial arts forms for 8 years, i have my own “mma” style that involves actual martial arts techniques, not just brute force, allowing me to use the knowledge of centuries of slightly built men who knew how to use their minds and bodies to defend themselves and their loved ones.
it was apparent to me as far back as i can remember that God did not make me for physicality in the sense that my dad would think. yes, i can chop wood and mow lawns, i can carry tremendous amounts of weight and work long hours of physically demanding work with little to no food or rest; my ancestors were slaves after all. but my body is weak, and slight, and it does these things by the sheer power of my will. ability does not equate to destiny, especially when that ability is out of necessity and not desire. no, my passion has always been the exercises of my intellect, with reading serving as a pleasure beyond compare. i enjoy learning, the acquisition of knowledge, and not just to feel like i know, but to share it with others, to talk about it, to delve into it and explore its limitations. the imagination is my gym, the library my favorite team, authors are my players and coaches. my father is a well read man, literate in every sense of the word, but he is not a “reader” in the sense that my mother, my sister and i are; we will sleep 2 hours a day to read books, maybe even forego sleep altogether to finish one, that’s what readers do.
of all the books i enjoy, there is none like the Bible. raised in a Christian home, i was exposed to it early on and frequently; a fact that i am eternally grateful for. its instructions are wise beyond compare, its stories are many and engaging, and its knowledge is complete. my love for and pursuit of knowledge has taken me to many lands intellectually over the years. philosophy, art, sciences, religions, i avidly engage in and study all of these, as knowledge and its acquisition are pleasing to me; but never have i come across anything as compelling and inherently true as the Word. it was easily apparent early in my life that science would be a pursuit of mine, as no other field is acutely a tuned to an intellect like me, which enjoys study and reasoning in the pursuit of knowledge; while i love philosophy and art to no end, it is certainly science which holds my heart. but my parents are not very science-minded individuals. they are not ignorant of scientific theory and principles, and their knowledge certainly surpasses that of the average persons, but they are not scientists, and would not call themselves such. because of their limits, they correctly pointed to the Word for all matters of clarification. if a matter was confusing or conflicting to them, they defaulted to the Word.
i am one of the few scientists i have met in my course of studies who believes in the”young earth” model, which says that the earth is not millions of years old, but thousands. i have come to this belief for two reasons: the Bible states very clearly in which order things were made, which seems to contradict the order that evolutionists offer, and i have yet to meet a physicist that can convince me that the laws of gravitation, nuclear forces or speeds of light and radioactive decay must always have been constant in their values. i have this belief, which has not limited my ability to engage in and learn vast quantities of scientific knowledge. but i recently came back to my sense with regards to my walk in Christ, and i seek daily to strengthen my relationship with Him. in this endeavor He is reminding me that not only did He make me, but He made me a man of intellect and reason, and He did this for His purpose; i simply need to study and learn so that i may be ready to rightly identify and then defend the Truth in a world which has somehow come to believe that either there is no truth, or the truth that is is bleak and depressing. so i study and learn and grow.
bonhoeffer, lewis, colson, smith, zacharias… i am now reading at least a book a wek again, a fact which feels me with joy. as i have read and seek to grow i have begun reading a book by francis s. collins, the head of the Human Genome Project and a Christian. this book is challenging for me because he is a firm evolutionist, a view which i honestly had not approached with as open of a mind as i should have. if i am to learn, i need to be open. i am not open to anything that is contrary to what is inherently true, but as st. augustine said, there are a number of things which actually are not an issue of salvation but merely elucidation. the issue of old earth versus young earth is not one of salvation, and unfortunately too many on either side have treated it as such. as i read collins, i am challenged by information which implies the view of evolution as true; and i agree that if these assumptions are true, it would make senses. as i said, i am skeptical at the metaphysical level, not the biological one; i do not believe that the physics presented re entirely accurate, and that the “constants” that we assume have not been studied long enough to be called such. after all, we have only been studying these things for about 100 years, so though they seem constant locally in time, they may not prove as such in the long run. but the Bible has been tested for thousands of years, criticized and attacked constantly, and yet it stands. time after time new discoveries prove how accurately it has been transcribed over the years, revelation after revelation in science only serves to further prove that these men in tents knew more about the universe through faith than modern man can even appreciate. the Bible spoke of “the Big Bang” long before science. the Bible always said that light pre-existed stars, a fact science just came to appreciate. the Bible says the universe is expanding, with God stretching out the heavens with His hand, now we understand that it is through science. i read collins with an open mind. science may one day prove evolution, or many other things which ultimately do not matter when it comes to salvation. i will not place my heart so heavily on an issue that is not clearly ellucidated in the Word such that should revelations future shake it my faith crumbles with it. but these things are non-negotiable: God created the universe; God made me in His image; God seeks to know me personally; as a man i am filled with sin and unable to commune with Him, a Holy God; God desires to commune with me so intensely that He sent His only Son, in the form Jesus Christ, to live and die for my sins so that in accepting Him as my Savior, i can be with Him; God raised Jesus from the dead to prove my eternal destiny with him; God fills me with His Holy Spirit, to protect, keep and guide me until the day i will be perfect and complete in paradise with Him. on these things i will stand, and no amount of knowledge will ever shake it.