Friday, May 15, 2009

Success

I recently had an email exchange with one of my readers (other than my mom), and he asked me these questions:
If you don't get charged up about ancient bio-molecules, what does charge you up? If you had to make a short list of the most exciting evidences for a young creation, what would it include?

I think he might have meant them to be the same question, but they're not the same to me. I'm going to answer them in order, first, what charges me up and then what excites me about creationism. I thought this would be a good followup post to that downer about Failure.

What charges me up? God's grace! I know that's probably not what you wanted to hear, but that is what charges me up. And I'm not just talking about salvation, either. I'm talking about all of God's graces, His bountiful and abundant gifts to every one of us. I really like this quote from Frederick Buechner's Now and Then:
Listen to your life. See it for the fathomless mystery that it is. In the boredom and pain of it no less than in the excitement and gladness: touch, taste, smell your way to the holy and hidden heart of it because in the last analysis all moments are key moments, and life itself is grace.

Beyond the theological reality of grace, I love stumbling onto it in my daily life. I love the smell of rain. I love hearing the first frogs of the season. I love the cool of fall after the steamy heat of a Tennessee summer. I love a nice, fat piece of blueberry pie made with fresh Michigan blueberries. I loved relaxing with my friends over authentic goulas at the Blue Swan in Prague. I love wandering the forest alone and listening to the silence, which is never very silent. I love sitting patiently for twenty minutes trying to take the perfect photo (and occasionally getting one that's not half-bad). I absolutely adore a fresh blanket of snow and a temperature so cold it hurts to breathe. I just about flipped out one year coming back from Europe and passing over Greenland with not a cloud in the sky. So beautiful you wonder how you can bear it.



And grilled octopus. I'm really fond of grilled octopus. (Yeah, I'm weird. I admit it.)

I'm sorry if that's not what you're looking for, but that's what came to mind. Creation is oozing with the wonders of God's grace, if only we'll stop for a moment to appreciate it. If you're a Christian and that doesn't charge you up, you're probably unchargeable. OK, maybe octopus isn't your thing, but you can make your own list.

What excites me about creationism? Actually the question was what is my list of the "most exciting evidences for a young creation," and I suppose I could list a few things that I think are pretty neat. The Catastrophic Plate Tectonics model, Andrew Snelling's ongoing radiohalo work, Art Chadwick's dinosaur dig, baraminology.

But that's not what really gets me excited. To understand me, you have to understand that the questions are ultimately more important to scientists than answers. Oh sure, we like getting the answers correct and knowing stuff, but that's not what gets us up in the morning. We figure out one thing, and then we're on to the next question. Sometimes the real challenge is figuring out how to answer a question or even how to formulate a reasonable question that we can answer. Here's a few of my favorites (which you've probably already read about if you've read anything on my blog):

1. Why all the similarity in creation? Why do I have proteins significantly similar to those of bacteria? Whence the "vertebrate archetype?" I think God wants us to know something about Him, but I can't quite see what it is. Sometimes this question is frustrating because I haven't yet figured out how to ask the right question. I think I'm close to an answer, but then... not. Like I'm hovering on the verge of eureka. It's hard to explain.

2. Now that I think about it, there is no #2. #1 is it. Figure that one out and the answers to most of our other questions will just fall into our laps. We'll be able to see what the created kinds are and how to recognize them. We'll instantly see the places where creation went "wrong" and that will tell us how it happened. Knowing the created kinds will make biogeography semi-intelligible. And chimps - we'll know why God made chimps (and Australopithecines, but I'd just be happy understanding the chimp genome).

So in the end, I guess I'm searching for the voice of God, the words He etched into creation. It's the words of God that call me out of bed in the morning. That seems fitting. Spending a life seeking God's voice sounds like a success any way you slice it.

I'll let Jesus have the last word again:
Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:7-8, ESV)