The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.Albert Einstein
Everyone has questions. Who am I? Does God exist? What happens when I die? We seem to be built to ask. And just when we think we’ve got it all figured out—just when we think we’re safe from all those pesky doubts—something inside of us cries out for more answers to more questions.
Our Questions and Science
It’s at times like this that we run for cover, hiding behind figures and statistics and studies—the facts, we call them. But the questions seek us out, refusing to allow us to rest in a closed world where everything can be weighed and calculated and assessed.
After the geologists and the botanists have told us what our world is made of and the chemists and the biologists have told us what we are made of, the bigger questions remain and haunt us. Why is the world here? Why we are here? Why do we have the ability to perceive and understand the world in a way that the world cannot understand and perceive us?
Science is a wonderful tool for measuring the physical world and predicting what that world will do, but it can only take us so far. If we have a mind other than our brain and a soul other than our body, then we will have to seek elsewhere for knowledge of them. The questions that simply will not go away are precisely those that lie outside the scope of science, that demand supernatural and metaphysical answers.
A good place to start is by studying our own conscience. That part of us that tells us what we should do and how we ought to behave seems to stand outside the natural world of Darwinian survival of the fittest. In fact, that voice within that tells us it is wrong to use and manipulate others for our own profit cannot itself be a product of natural selection—for natural selection impels us to do whatever it takes to preserve our genetic material.
Our conscience tells us two universal things about the human condition: We should behave in a certain way. But we do not.
It is because of the dissonance between what we ought to do and what we actually do that we feel guilt. Just as pain is a signal that something in our body is broken, so guilt is a signal that our soul is out of whack. Not out of whack within the natural world—for the natural world knows nothing of oughts and shoulds—but with some type of supernatural origin that imbued our soul with a purpose.
A Divine Creator
Such reflections inevitably point us toward the idea of some sort of divine creator—a creator many call God—with whom we were once in fellowship but no longer are. But if that breach between creator and creature exists primarily within the soul, within that part of us that lies outside nature, then we must turn to a source outside of science for answers. Furthermore, if it is we who have broken off from God, then it is God who must initiate the dialogue that will provide us with answers.
But how can a God who dwells outside of physical time and space communicate with us? How can he reveal himself to us? He can do it to a certain degree through the power and majesty of the natural world, but such messages are—and must be—general and lacking in intimacy.
If we are to understand what we must do to restore that broken fellowship of which our guilt is a constant reminder, then God must speak to us in human words. Throughout human history, people have believed that God has revealed his will by inspiring prophets to speak his words and to write them down in holy books: the Bible, the Qur’an, the Gita, and so on.
If we want to find answers to our deepest questions, we must sift and weigh such books to see if their messages are consistent and grounded in reality. Do we have good reason to trust the sincerity and authority of those who wrote the words of revelation? Can the claims they make be checked against what we know of history? Do those words have the power to transform lives?
For if they are the Word of God, then they will be a doorway to bringing us back into a right relationship with the one who created us. They will lead us on our journey to know God. Until we begin that search in an honest and open way, the questions that lie beyond science will continue to taunt and haunt us.
So welcome. Make yourself comfortable and take a look around. Explore God.
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