Still our choice

By Jerry Bingle, general manager

Religion vs. science.
Debate over how our planet and universe came to exist has gone on for, well, who really knows how long, because there isn’t even a consensus between the two on how old the universe really is.
But could the question of whether a supreme being (God) or some scientific event (like a Big Bang) gave rise to our existence really have been so easily settled this week?
In a Reuters news story this week, it was reported that in a sermon, Pope Benedict said, “the universe is not a result of chance, as some would want to make us believe … Contemplating it (the universe) we are invited to read something profound into it: the wisdom of the creator, the inexhaustible creativity of God.”
In other words, God was behind the Big Bang.
Well, that should just settle things once and for all, shouldn’t it? Both theories molded together into one plausible conclusion.
Or maybe it’s just one big compromise.
Either way, I doubt that the Pope’s statement did much to change the mind of British theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking.
In a book published last year, Hawking wrote, “Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing. Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.”
Spontaneous creation, huh? And I bet some of your parents told you that they planned to bring you into this world.
I’m no religious scholar or genius scientist, but somehow it seems like at times we try to make things too complicated.
Take for example, the position of some atheists that say science can prove that God does not exist. If there is in fact no God, don’t you think we could have proven it by now? We’ve had a lot of time to work on that theory and a lot of really smart people have worked on it. And if there is a God, does anyone actually think He would allow us mere mortals to fashion a plan that could prove otherwise?
The Pope also said that some scientific theories were “mind limiting” as “they only arrive at a certain point…” That makes sense, because maybe there is a reason those theories can only get to a certain point — such as God only letting us know what we really need to know to freely accept and serve Him. Again, if he exists, He’s not going to give us the ability to prove he doesn’t.
It would stand to reason that one argument to the above is that if there is a God, why would he let anyone not believe in him? The answer to that question would be that whether or not to believe in God is a choice, a choice that God allows us to make (if you believe there is a God). But if you do not believe in God, you need a reason why you don’t believe, right? Hence the quest to prove that he doesn’t exist (which will be futile if in fact there is a God). Follow that logic?
Maybe the Pope is just trying to come up with a simple explanation that acknowledges God as our creator and that He used some process that can be explained scientifically. I can’t say that really coincides with the creation account in the book of Genesis, but at least it makes one key point, and that is that our existence did not simply occur by any kind of accident.
If you do not believe in God, the search for answers on how we got here and our purpose for being here is understandable. But if you do believe in God, why not just take the Biblical account of creation and say “that’s good enough for me. I’m not here to figure out how I got here. In fact, I’ve already been told how I got here. I’m here to glorify my creator.”
In reality, the Pope’s statements probably didn’t settle anything, especially for those who are adamant that there is no God, even if they can’t prove it. As odd as it might sound, their faith that there is no God may be just as strong as the faith of those of us who are absolutely certain that there is.
It’s said that everyone needs something to believe in. No matter what the world’s most prominent religious leader might say or what a really smart scientist might write, we are all left with a choice, one we can believe in. And that choice impacts our whole outlook on life and our view of what happens after our life is over. Whether we realize it or not, it is the single biggest choice we will make.
Think about the results of the wrong choice for a moment. If you believe in and have accepted God’s saving grace and are wrong, what did you really lose? Not much, the way I see it. But if you don’t believe and you’re wrong, well, eternity is an awful long time to spend in an awful unpleasant place.
Ironically, faith enters the picture either way. So the question becomes this: Where are you going to place your faith?