Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Theology from the Back Seat

Driving my 13 year old nephew to school this morning.

Him: I’ve been thinking – why do creationist and evolutionists fight so much?
Me: What do you mean?
Him: Well, they both think that only they are right, but they can both be right, can’t they? I mean, they get so mean and nasty. How can a real Christian be that nasty?
Me: Yeah, it bothers me too that sometimes Christians get so nasty.
Him: Yeah, I mean, what happens to their witness? I wouldn’t want to listen to them!
Me: I wouldn’t either. So (opening the can of worms) what do you think about creationism and evolutionism?
Him: (thoughtfully) I really don’t know. I think God did it all, you know, but He used the tools he had. I mean, look at the crucifixion. God used humans to do it, right? Humans made the cross and the nails and the whips and humans put Jesus on the cross, right? But that doesn’t mean that God wasn’t there, somehow. He just used the tools that He had. And like, God used dirt to make Adam, right? He used what he had. And He used physics and gravity to help make the planets. Maybe God used that creation stuff because that was the tool He had. Does that make sense?
Me: (It took me over 30 years to get that – wow.) Yeah, that makes sense.
Him: But you know what bothers me?
Me: What.
Him: I can’t prove that God exists.
Me: (You and me and 2000 or more years of theologians, kid.) Yeah, that bothers me too, but you know what?
Him: What.
Me: What are the kinds of things you can prove?
Him: Well, like science stuff and math stuff.
Me: You’re doing some Geometry, right?
Him: Yeah.
Me: And you can prove, without a shadow of a doubt that a triangle’s angles add up to 180 degrees.
Him: Yeah.
Me: And the base angles or an Isosceles triangle are the same measure? And that the two acute angles of a right triangle add up to be 90 degrees? And lots of other stuff?
Him: Yeah.
Me: Well, think about your Mama. She learned all that too – does she still think about that? Or did she close the book and put it on a shelf and let dust collect on it? Don’t you think a lot of people do that with stuff they can prove? Did you know that there are things in Geometry we can’t prove?
Him: Yeah, like that squaring the circle problem the Euclid found.
Me: Exactly. And did people close the book on that? Or are they still working on it and worrying with it and puzzling over it and thinking about it?
Him: (Eyes getting big in the rear-view mirror) Who-o-o-oa. (Long Pause)
Him: Maybe God doesn’t want us to be able to prove that He exists. Maybe if we did, we could close the book and put it on the shelf and never ever have to think about God again. Whoa. (I roll to a stop and he gets out.)
Me; Exactly. Love you. Have a good day.
Him: Whoa. (Getting bag and walking away. Then he turns and says) Hey, Thanks!
Me: (to myself, as I drive away.) Thanks be to God.

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