My 6-year-old daughter has been avidly reading her kids Bible. She’s read it through several times and is now excitedly reading her sister’s kids Bible, which her sister just got her for 5th birthday this week. Using sister’s birthday presents is always better than using your own, of course. These are the kids Bibles that have a big cartoon picture on each page, along with 3 or 4 lines of jumbo print. They contain most of the stories in the Bible and are divided up with an Old Testament and a New Testament.
I do love how easily my daughter believes in the stories of the Bible. It reminds me of why the Old Testament in particular was structured around passing the faith down from one generation to another.
I also have to catch myself, remembering how easily my daughter believes in the Tooth Fairy and Santa Claus. Arguing with me that Santa Claus exists, even though I tell her time and time again that he doesn’t (against my wife’s will…).
My daughter was reading about Moses yesterday and telling me how she was sad that he died before entering the Promised Land. (I think she learned about the death part at church, not the cartoon kids Bible). I then told her that it is sad, but that everyone dies. She then brightened and told me how it was okay because she’d see Moses in heaven someday and she was looking forward to meeting him and Joshua and hearing much more about their lives and the journey to the Promised Land.
She then starting asking me about miracles. She said she knows that some miracles happen today, but that many more happened in the Bible, and she wished that many more happened today as well.
All of this got my brain thinking about both secular and Christian liberal scholarship around the Bible. Those inside and outside of the Christian faith who chalk the Bible up as a myth and as revisionist history told by the Jews. You particularly hear this about the Old Testament, less so about Jesus as his existence as a human and place in history is almost a foregone conclusion among all types of historians. Though you’d certainly hear the same argument about his miracles and his resurrection.
There are days when my doubts creep in and I wonder, what if they are right?
What if it all is just a bunch of myths? I have plenty of things in my walk with Jesus that pull me back into step with him, but I’d be lying if I said there weren’t times when that gnawing inside was stronger than I’d like.
A pastor friend and I were having a conversation recently about the types of scholarship out there. He made a great point about liberal scholarship, and that is that they come to the table with the presupposition that there is no such thing as the supernatural in existence. Then, they do all of their scholarship from that place. (So then any time you see a miracle recorded, you must automatically chalk it up as myth and impossible, without a second thought.)
Now consider that for the moment. How will your scholarship be colored if you are wearing the lens that the supernatural doesn’t exist? Well, the answer to that is pretty obvious. It also doesn’t do justice to what true, objective, scholarship should be.
This being the case, liberal scholarship’s seemingly strong argument that the Bible is myth takes quite a hit on this account, in my view. Who are they to say the supernatural cannot exist? You certainly can’t prove that, and it can be argued to not even be very likely, but that’s beside the point. The point is you can’t claim scholarship to be unbias and objective, and thus worthy to be heeded as true, if the entire foundation of it is based on a presupposition that is merely an opinion.
So back to my daughter meeting Moses in heaven and her question about miracles.
When she said that, my thought was both, “I do hope that that’s true,” and, “I wish I still had that type of child-like faith.” Then the supernatural hit me. My 6-year-old daughter, my oldest, is standing in front of me. The same one I wrote this blog post about when she was born: Being a Dad = Science Fiction. The day she was born I was blown away by the sheer miracle of her existence. 6 1/2 years later, her existence, as well as the births of her two younger sisters, had become ho-hum to me…like somehow miracles are only miracles if they only happen every once in a while. As she stood there in all of her intellect, sense of humor, joy, and 6-year-old life, it hit me: If God can create life, out of nothing, the life of my daughter who is right here before my eyes…not an inanimate object, but a life full of love…then can’t he also create an afterlife? The more I thought about it, the concept of creating my daughter out of a sperm and an egg seemed much more far-fetched than the concept of there being an afterlife. And yet, here she is.
If he can create the miracle of life every single day, so much that we bore of it, then why not also the miracle of the resurrection?
What a difference our presuppositions make. How does one who does not believe in the supernatural ever look at their children with awe and wonder? How does one rationally explain the concept of love that is so real between my daughter and I? How can one believe that my daughter’s amazing brain has no author behind it?
If you want to see the supernatural, you really just have to open your eyes. For me, it was seeing my daughter’s smiling face, as she pictured what it will be like to see Moses and Joshua in heaven. If God can create my daughter, why couldn’t he also do lesser or equally amazing things like part the Red Sea and heal blind people with mud? I dare you to look at my daughter and tell me she’s a random connection of cells… that when a sperm cell and an egg come together, she “just so happens” to be the result. We have no clue why, but don’t you dare assume it has anything to do with the supernatural! That is completely off-limits. Though we can’t tell you why. It just is.
My daughter is the furthest thing from “just so happens.” She is fearfully and wonderfully made, I know that full well.
So God, thank you for the wonderful reminder, right before my eyes, of the supernatural.
Please open our eyes to see what our big brains have blinded us to.
- Ep. 69: Pastor Jack and Becky Sytsema on being in a mixed orientation marriage and how the Church should treat LGBTQ+ people - August 8, 2022
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- The Flip Side Ep. 67: Jack Sytsema shares about being a gay / same sex attracted pastor in a mixed orientation marriage - June 25, 2022