Honey, I Shrunk God

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Science is the pursuit of knowledge with an underlying assumption that everything can be understood. But some things lie far above what we can hope to comprehend.

A world fueled by science demands to seek out answers for every phenomenon and quandary. Every process and problem must have an explanation. What is unknown must be discoverable.

While this mindset does give impetus to exploration and discovery, it can also lead to a dangerous assumption: every phenomenon can fit within the bounds of man's understanding. There is not only an answer for every problem, but also an answer comprehensible to finite minds for every problem.

The danger in this assumption surfaces when man dumbs a concept down to fit his understanding. Surely man can observe and understand the natural dimension of the world around him (this is how we are able to engage in scientific inquiry), but what happens when he is confronted with something he cannot fully understand, such as the supernatural? Some concepts can be dumbed down, but some simply cannot. Let us not fall into the trap of making up answers that fit our understanding when we face a difficult dilemma.

I confess that I fall under that same temptation from time to time. I realize that I often try to squeeze God into my little skull and neatly tie Christianity together with a little bow. Theology and philosophy both fascinate me and exhaust me. I want to understand God, so I learn about His attributes and the deep satisfaction that souls can find in Him.

But the problem begins when I try to compress God. Although He can be known by his followers, He cannot be fully comprehended by anyone. He can be understood only to a very small extent. Outside of this area of human comprehension, we must remind ourselves that God's thoughts and ways are much higher than our own (Isaiah 55:8-9). My father once asked a colleague during a meeting whether he thought God was working in such and such a way. The colleague replied, "I do not pretend to know the mind of God." This attitude of humility is one that all Christians should adopt when thinking about and discussing God.

When concepts of Christianity and God apparently come into conflict with traditional thought, logic, or learning, we must take care to not jump to conclusions about things we cannot fully understand. This does not mean we cannot seek answers. I totally support studying God and trying to understand His ways. But when I come to the point where I cannot, my duty is to lift my hands humbly and simply to my God and give Him praise for being higher than I. But Heaven forbid I attempt to chop God up into bite-sized portions that I can easily consume. I cannot hope to truly know God as much as I can if I employ that strategy.

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