Scientists like to dissect things, to look closer and closer at phenomena until they think they have completely figured it out. They might study one human gene, and then break that gene into component parts and specialize in studying that one part. That’s how one becomes an expert; that, and being asked to a meeting that is over 200 miles away and arriving with a briefcase. When I do research, I’m always amazed at how very specific some of the research is. Here’s a title of one study: β-Glucoside metabolism in Oenococcus oeni: Cloning and characterization of the phospho-β-glucosidase bglD. Fascinating, right?
Supposedly, given enough time, scientists will know everything about everything and will be the source of all truth. It will never happen, but its not nice to kick a person in their core beliefs, so I won’t tell them.
Another approach to truth-seeking is to rake up information from all sources; science, literature, history, religion, and even intuition, and try to grasp the Big Picture. This makes more sense to me for the Big Questions, the universal questions all humans seem to ask in all times and in all cultures. Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? and my favorite: What the heck is wrong with us, anyway? These are spiritual questions, and science, history, religion, and intuition will all provide parts of the puzzle. Even with all those sources, we must realize that we will never actually arrive. We will never actually breathe a sigh of relief, lean back and say, “Now I know everything.”
We’re not meant to reach that point. Sometimes scientists, historians, religious folks, and individuals think they have reached that point. Then they stop seeking and when they stop seeking, they begin to die. If you are full, rested, and feeling fine and decide you will stay exactly like that forever, you will begin to die, because everything is changing around you and you must adjust to those changes to live. You are digesting food, the temperature is changing, and holding perfectly still will eventually break down the skin you’re sitting on. Life is a journey, not a destination. We are here to flow and grow.
Where did we come from? I’ve never seen how taking Genesis as a story instead of science or history makes it irrelevant, or makes the Bible “untrue.” There is a message in all of scripture and there is a beautiful message here. Fussing around about seven literal days and the geographic location of Eden only distracts you from the message.
The message is that God made us from the elements in the earth and our bodies are bound to the earth and dependent on it. But he also breathed his spirit into us and that makes all the difference. Our spirit is not bound to the earth, it is bound to God. We came from him and will return to him in due time. We are his children, we contain “parts” of him, like we contain “parts” of our earthly parents. His parts make us long for life, love, and beauty. His parts make us ask the Big Questions in the first place; it is in us to ask and to seek and to long for we know not what until we connect with him. Our soul finds no rest until it rests in him. When we are connected to Life we can never die and if we are not connected to Life, we can never live. Having found him, we want to know him more and more and there is always more of him to know.
So I have answered the Big Questions in under 1,000 words. We come from him, we return to him, and we are here to grow. As for my personal favorite, “What the heck is wrong with us, anyway?” that may require more space.