We can be very interesting creatures at times—us homo sapien sapiens. We hear of the church choir that did not show up for rehearsal the night the church was struck by lightening and burnt to the ground. We listen intently as we learn that of the eight people who never missed a practice in years, all eight for different pressing reasons unknown to each other, failed to be inside that burning church where they most certainly would have perished if they had attended the scheduled practice like always. It was a miracle. God intervened and kept the faithful home, we easily conclude. Why not—what other explanation is there?
Does God Play Favorites?
Later we hear of a woman killed, and five others injured, after a large tree falls on a wedding party. The arborist is lost for a reason why the tree fell. It was a healthy tree. Why it fell is a mystery. What do we conclude then? Karma? Or could it be that there is no divine intervention after all? I mean, why would God intervene in one situation and not in the other? Does God play favorites?
There are many Christians who believe that salvation is via the grace of God alone. For these people, salvation is something predestined. You are either scheduled to be saved or you’re not, and therefore, no matter your good deeds, your best efforts to appease and satisfy the commandments and ways of the Lord, you may not be saved. It all depends on whether you are a chosen one or not.
The mysteries of life are many but none more complex than sorting out the matters of man and God. For this reason it’s easy to dismiss the notion of any divine being on the basis that none of it makes any sense in a logical rational world among those who have learned to think and question.
I well remember being effectively excommunicated from the faith of my youth. Why? Because I questioned!
I was a seminary student in High School living in Utah where it was permissible to attend seminary during high school hours. I walked across a small bridge that separated the seminary building from the rest of the High School for class. When it came to grade time, I received a glowing ‘F.’ I took this grade to the principal of the high school and protested. I had ‘As’ on all of my papers and examinations—why the ‘F?’
The seminary president and my seminary instructor joined us in the principal’s office where I was informed that I was “a disturbing influence,” and that’s why the grade. I argued and finally was instructed that I could have my ‘A’ if I never returned to seminary. I accepted and left—never to return.
Are questions really so threatening? If a sixteen or seventeen-year-old can stump the missionary’s best, then what does that say about the religion? I suppose to be fair, there is also that old saying about “one rotten apple.” I must have been very rotten in their eyes.
I have lived my life asking questions. I have learned that the question I don’t ask is the one that will get me every time. I have also learned that many questions must be lived into before they can be answered. That is, no amount of future thinking adequately prepares you for everything you will encounter in life, how you will naturally react, and so forth. Regardless of the fancy ideas about how you believe you would respond, the metal you are made of is often undiscovered until called upon.
I have also learned that a question unanswered is only a pause in the promise of life to come. Still—when there are no more questions life has ended. If not literally as with death, it’s ended nevertheless because only our most earnest enquiries fire the furnace in our bosom, warming our beings with purpose. Without purpose there is no meaning. Without meaning, there is no reason to think of ourselves as anything other than an organism struggling for survival.
Does God intervene? Is there a God at all? Are we but cells in the body of one larger something, units of information exchanging our experiences, feelings, thoughts, and so forth, as packets sent up the chain to some larger one cell? These are among the types of questions that lead to meaning and therefore purpose. Though they may never truly be answered, it is the livelihood and vitality of our existence that begs for answers. And it is from my experience that I say, “Little by little we learn, life is revealed, the curtain is turned back, and the fog thins out before us. Our very real learning occurs when we ask meaningful questions.”
As always, thanks for the read and I appreciate your feedback.
NY Time Bestselling Author of Choices and Illusions