/** recent comments widget code */ /** end of recent comments widget code */

Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Faith and Freedom to ask the Big Questions: Introduction

Trust is at the heart of any good parent / child relationship. However, this trust does not preclude questions. If anything it assumes there will be questions – lots of questions. As a parent, we long to have our children take an interest in the world around them, in our own lives, and ultimately in finding their own purpose.

I believe this is also true of our relationship with God. At the heart of a good relationship with God is trust, trust that his revelation in the incarnation and in the scriptures is authentic, that this authentic past revelation leads to authentic hope for the future, and maybe most importantly, that we act on this trust in the present. However, I believe he also welcomes our questions about his revelations, his creation, and the implications for our lives. An unquestioning attitude, a “just follow the rules” attitude is for slaves. We are not slaves, but children of God, joint heirs with Christ. Heirs are never disinterested. And that’s why asking questions is not only OK, but also what God desires. Part of our mandate as stewards of God’s creation is to understand it.

A new reader of this blog, Cliff Martin (no known relation), provided me with a list of “Big” questions regarding science & faith, including those to do with evolution – questions he has grappled with for some time. He comments:

In our time, science is opening many portals for viewing Creation that were not available to generations of believers that have gone before. We understand our universe much better than most of those who are responsible for traditionally accepted Christian theology. While we cannot ask science to give us ultimate answers regarding the Creator, or his purposes in Creation, science can at least help us to frame the right questions. Questions that never would have occurred to Christian thinkers throughout most of the Church age. Such questions, and a renewed study of the Scriptures in light of them, might just help us to develop theological understandings that are richer, more satisfying, and closer to Truth. Over the centuries, the Church has been guilty of lagging woefully behind science, sometimes playing catch up for hundreds of years. Isn't it time we begin to give heed to science as it unfolds, and allow it to adjust the parameters of our search for truth?

The questions he poses are excellent questions, and include many of the same ones I have either grappled with, or continue to grapple with. I think these are appropriate questions to share on this blog. Over the next few months I’ll be posting Cliff’s questions here. They should stimulate a very interesting dialog – if nothing else between Cliff and myself.

Note that neither of us has satisfactory answers to all of these questions, not even necessarily satisfactory to ourselves. Do not expect a simple catechism question and answer session. However, I believe asking these questions together, discussing them together, providing tentative answers together, and at times, conceding that there is no satisfactory answer together is worthwhile. This, I believe, is a necessary function of the Church, the community of Christians, the body of Christ. These are not questions we should answer alone. Sometimes, maybe most of the time, God provides answers to his children only through other children. As always, you are welcome to join the conversation.

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

Just a brief note. If this post seems to look different then the first time you saw it, it might be because it does look different. Cliff provided we with some extra comments after I posted that I thought were very valuable so I changed the original post. This change-after-posting action might be breaking a golden blogsphere rule but hey, I'm new & will simply pleed ignorance.