Home > 365+ Days of Enjoying God, Christianity > Day 24 of Enjoying God: Transcendent

Day 24 of Enjoying God: Transcendent

Andromeda Galaxy image from apod.nasa.gov

As humans, people are capable of reason and understanding. But I also believe that people are finite and incapable of understanding everything.

Which is why I’m always amused by some atheists or people who believe that humans can perfectly know and understand everything. (I’m also amused by Christians who act similarly as God does not reveal everything through the Bible.) Did the Big Bang really happen? Maybe. But why couldn’t God have been behind the cataclysmic event? Why do science and religion need to constantly be at odds? Why can they not compliment one another?

I enjoyed reading Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature by Robin Brande. A teenage girl, who used to be part of a fundamental Christian church, is challenged by the theory of evolution in her science class. Her faith is challenged by science and she discovers that science and her faith do not need to contradict each other, but rather that Biblical text can even support scientists’ theories and assertions.

But does everything need to agree? Do humans need to know and understand everything there is to know and understand? I don’t believe so, and I believe it’s rather arrogant for humans to think that it’s possible to know all and understand all.

From a Christian point of view, I have always thought it very odd for finite beings to try and decipher an Infinite Being. It doesn’t make sense to me that something with limits would be able to fully grasp knowledge of something that is limitless.

God has revealed a portion of Himself to us through holy words, through some dreams and visions, through prophets, and most importantly, through His son Jesus. But if there’s more to God that He hasn’t revealed to us, is it absolutely essential that we know what that is? The transcendence of God means that He is beyond (human) comprehension. So instead of constantly trying to figure out who He is and what He’s up to beyond what He’s already told us, let’s simply enjoy Him as He has made Himself known to us.

  1. R P
    January 17, 2011 at 10:00 PM

    I think most atheists would agree that science and faith don’t have to be at odds. In fact, I’m not aware of any scientists lobbying Congress to pass laws requiring quantum mechanics be taught in Sunday school. From our point of view, the invasion is decidedly one way.

    I also don’t think it’s fair to say (painting with a continent-sized brush) that atheists think humans can know everything. I imagine some do, but as you noted, so do some Christians.

    There is however a very important philosophical reason why we keep looking, why we keep asking “why?” It is not because we think we can know everything. It is because without aking why, we are simply not doing science. That is its very essence.

    Science is not some series of actions performed by a geek at a lab bench. It is in it’s simplest form an attempt to understand things – not everything certainly, but as much as we can – to keep asking why, and when we find an answer that raises 10 more questions, to ask “why?” ten more times.

    If we look through a telescope and see the Andromeda galaxy, we all (atheist and Christian alike) marvel at its beauty and its majesty. But the scientist, who may be either atheist or Christian, stops after a time and asks, “why is it shaped that way and not some other? How many stars does it have and where did they come from? How many other galaxies are there like this, and does that tell us anything about the structure of the cosmos? Why is the universe organized in clumps like galaxies and planets and people and not in a homogenous cloud?”

    The theistic answer to those questions is “that must be how God wants it”, or “it’s just God’s whimsy”, which doesn’t spark a research program. And that’s why “creation science” is doomed to fail – it is fundamentally impossible to prove via physical evidence the kinds of supra-natural things they want to prove. Incidentally that is why “creation science” isn’t its own research program, but simply a method of criticising our research programs (on the theory that if we are wrong, they are right by default, which not only defies basic logic but is horribly insulting to the billions of people in the world who believe in a competing supra-natural account).

    The insatiable curiousity that drives us to find deeper and deeper explanations for things is the very heart of science. That’s what science *is*! Apparently to you it looks like hubris, an assumption that man can know all. But most scientists, when they ask “why”, are not plotting how an answer would get us closer to knowing everything. They’re just doing science.

    • Kass
      January 17, 2011 at 10:22 PM

      Thank you for your response. I appreciate your well-thought out comment and input.

      You’re correct; perhaps I have painted ALL atheists with too broad of a brush which I’ll correct. I’ve come into contact with a few atheists and those particular people have given me the impression that everything CAN be known if we search hard enough.

      I have no problem asking questions why, digging deeper, and using reason and intellect to discover answers. I also have no problems with science. Constantly asking why and doing research, to me, does not equal the idea that man can know all. It was not my intent to give that impression.

      By the way, just because I’m a Christian doesn’t necessarily mean I support creation science, and I agree with your reasons as to why you think creation science is a bit bogus.

      As mentioned in the Evolution, Me, & Other Freaks of Nature book, creationism/intelligent design/whatever tries to explain the WHO behind everything. Well, that’s nice, but science doesn’t care about that. Science attempts to explain the WHAT and the HOW—the mechanics of everything. The Bible is not a science textbook nor was it ever intended to be, and I disagree with Christians who attempt to use it in that way.

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