Sunday, January 30, 2011

God Has to Follow the Rules?

I am a Christian, a Christ-Follower, Believer, "religious", "Bible-Toting-American"...whatever label you wish to put on me. I believe in ONE God, the only God of the universe. I believe He is all-powerful, all-knowing, and ever-present. I believe every word of the Bible is true. I also believe that God hears our prayers and actually does something about them, i.e. answers them. Sometimes the answer is "no;" sometimes the answer is "wait;" and sometimes the answer is "yes." God is God; I am not. HE is the one that determines how things will be.

Prayer is not about ME getting what I want--it's more about me submitting my life to God's authority/direction. Putting my trust in Him to know what is best for my life. But I still pray. I still ask. And I still believe that, even when things don't go the way I think they should, God knows what is best, He knows how His answer fits into His perfect plan much better than I ever could.

So, to my point, I got a phone call the other day from a friend who also identifies himself in much the same way as myself. The reason for his call was to ask me to pray for a friend of his that was having some serious medical problems and would be going through surgery that week. "Sure," I said, "I'll pray. Let me know how things go." I hung up the phone and prayed. (I find that if I tell someone I'll pray for them, and I don't do it right then, I tend to forget. That may be an entirely different post.)

A few days later, my friend called to let me know the surgery had been a success. His friend was recovering nicely and should be able to return to a lifestyle they enjoyed prior to the surgery. We both commented on how good God was/is to answer our prayers and how grateful we were that we believed in and served a loving, healing God.

As we continued to talk, the conversation turned to the Bible, specifically Creation. I am a 24-Hour Creationist, i.e. I believe God created everything in six, 24-hour periods ("...there was evening and there was morning, the first day...", etc.) by simply speaking it into existence. That's how I read the account in Genesis and it seems pretty straightforward to me. My friend doesn't believe that way. He believes--in a nutshell--that God did indeed create "the heavens and the earth" as it states in the Bible, but he believes God put things in motion over a period of millions and millions of years, having put into creation all of the DNA/molecular structures and allowing men, animals, sea creatures, and plant-life to evolve into what we see today. He reads the "days" in Genesis as being figurative, long periods of time.

I asked him why he believes that way and he explained:

I believe God created everything, but there are things in Genesis that just don't add up or make sense to me; things that appear to be figurative in nature. I also have a hard time believing that on the first day (or period) of creation, God created light, but it wasn't until the FOURTH day He created the sun, moon, and stars. Now how is that possible? The Bible says God created light and darkness on the first day and called them morning and evening. That's just not possible without the sun!

I knew a rebuttal would be fruitless, so I just commented something like, "Well, we will just have to agree to disagree on that one, " and we finished the conversation with some small talk and a promise to get together some time soon.

Later in the day, I was thinking about what he had said. His explanation sounded good, if you contend that God HAS to do things in a particular order. But that puts limits, i.e. human limits if you will--on God. If God is God and capable of CREATING an entire universe, who says HOW He has to do things? And what really got me to thinking was the prayers we had prayed. We both believe that God is all-powerful. We both believe that God is capable (not because we prayed, but because He is God) of healing someone, whether it be through the skillful hands of a surgeon OR by reaching into our human realm and completely removing a cancer as if it had never existed!!

If God can make cancers disappear, not to mention intervene in the courses of human history, direct the actions of men, cause events to come about, that from a human standpoint, seem totally insurmountable...who says He can't create LIGHT without a sun?! If you believe Jesus could take five little barley cakes and some sardines and feed over five thousand people, I don't believe it's that much of a stretch to believe God can create an entire universe, instantaneously having all the laws of physics, etc in place, capable of sustaining life and do it simply by saying "it is so"...and do it in any order He sees fit.