Paradise Green: Letters to My Dad
Author: Scott Cherry

Chapter 2
October 10, 2008

October 10, 2008

 

 

 

Dear Dad,

 

It’s been a long time since I’ve written to you, and I’ve been meaning to for a long time.  First, it was great having you stay with us the last while you were here last month.  We always love having you stay with us—especially JoEllen.  She always says that after you ‘re gone.  When you said you were leaving the next morning, it took me by surprise because it felt that you had just arrived.  I wasn’t ready for you to go yet.  Oh, by the way, you left behind the book I wanted to loan you. …For that matter, did you ever find that audio book—The Good Life—that I gave you?  You said you would return it after you listened to it, and now I want to listen to it.  I hope you can find it.

 

I know religion, faith and God are not your favorite topics to discuss, so I generally don’t try to get into it when we’re together.  So I hope you can tolerate a personal letter more than a personal conversation.  It is a subject that many people feel is a private matter, but I believe that it’s too important to ignore. It’s my impression that you are an atheist or an agnostic (don’t know, not sure, skeptical at best).  I hope you agree, however, that if there’s any truth to this message then it has eternal import. What I want to do is briefly state my case for God from Creation.  I hope I can show you that there are some very sound reasons to believe in God and trust him too. 

 

There are different ways I could approach this subject, some of which are evidentialist in nature (i.e. based on hard evidence).  But rather than appeal to the hard evidence per se, I'd rather assert that this perspective simply offers a better explanation for the world and humanity the way we all experience it.  What I mean is this: the biblical creation account in Genesis portrays a world that flowed out from a supreme Creator and his desire to create a world of beauty and purpose.  He created because it is his nature to create, supremely that which is good and reflective of his glory and beauty (that’s why we have beauty in the world, for example, and why we have the human ability to take pleasure in beautiful things).  He also created all life forms in their incredible array of rational, functional and anatomical complexity, the most complex of which is the human, of course. 

 

These days all this is essentially attributed to evolution by naturalists.  That’s what you believe, right?  Some naturalists still give the credit to the Creator as the "first cause" or "grand engineer" of the evolutionary process.  But most do not.  So there are basically only these two competing worldviews.  My argument is simply that the creation account in Genesis 1-2 is the only view that adequately explains the way things are and have always been as far back as we can see and gather evidence.  Unless I'm mistaken, the non-theistic view of evolution can offer none.  If you haven’t read these two chapters in a while, Pops, would you crack open that lonely old Bible I found in your bookcase the last time I was there?  Or read a modern translation on BibleGateway.com. 

 

I could give many examples of this (e.g. what I said about beauty). Simply stated, it is the observation that humans seem to reflect the Creator's design in many ways, especially in terms of human purpose.  The biblical account states that God created humans with both a purpose and an unquenchable need to pursue it; and, if possible, to know it and live out that purpose.  Everyone feels that they have some purpose, or at the very least that they should have one—yes, even you, Pops.  That is, for a person to believe that he has no purpose is very unsatisfying if not intolerable.  Even if a person believes that he has no God-given purpose he will still try to create his own, because purposefulness is hard-wired into our psyches or souls.  As soon as a person really believes there is no purpose to his existence he will inevitably lose hope, because a sense of purpose is, among other things, what we crave.  We crave it because we actually do have a purpose, one that is given to us by God. First, the text tells us that we were given the great responsibility of managing the earth, for example. (Gen. 1:26-28)  I would go further to say that even this is part of a higher purpose—to live as God's people and bring him glory. Now you may not think that is a very satisfying purpose, but the main point is that we all have this yearning to know our purpose, and it’s a general principle of reality that we do not yearn for what does not exist.  Wouldn't it be ridiculous if we were always hungry and thirsty and there were nothing whatsoever to eat and drink, and if we didn't even need to eat and drink? 

 

The yearning for purpose (and the purpose for yearning) is simply one of the spiritual indicators that He who designed us was himself purposeful, because purpose is inherent in design.  Further, a sense of purpose is simply part of an even higher yearning that is common to all humans, the yearning to be happy (i.e. fulfilled, satisfied, content, etc.).  This is what really drives us.  And that is for the very same reason: God created us to be happy people, to enjoy him abundantly as we live out our purpose in him.  The reason you were a student at Wayne State, and later Cornell, Pops, is because you believed that your life would be more purposeful and fulfilling if you were well-educated…and you still do.  If this were not so you would not have done it.  You want to be happy like everybody else, and this is how you went about to achieve that.  Right?  My point is, again, that these desires are part of your nature that point to God. 

 

So, this is what we could call my argument for creation by purpose. We could extend this argument in a lot of different directions, I suppose, and not without some objections.  You may offer yours if you like.  But let me encourage you to look to God as the source of these desires and yearnings.  And be assured that if he has given you the capacity for purpose and fulfillment, and for other related things like love, he has most certainly provided the source of finding them--it is in Him, and no place else. 

 

More later . . .

 

 

Love,

Scott

 

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