Nature abhors a vacuum, and so does the human mind. When we are presented with a scenario that lacks details, we often supply them from our expectations, our experiences, and our belief systems. In the face of a reported “drug deal gone bad”, a carjacking, or other newsworthy event, if important details are lacking we tend to unconsciously supply them to complete the picture. The mind conjures up details of age, gender, and race. The quest to know the details is the natural tendency of an inquisitive species. It drives our explorations, it drives our scientific inquiry, and it even drives our theologies.
Creation stories, such as presented in the Old Testament, are not only a story about Creation, but examples of the creation of a story. Imagine if the transcribers had known the structure of the solar system, galaxy, and universe. Imagine if they had known the relationship between mass and gravity, time and light. Those “knowns” would have been interwoven into a story that still included created aspects to explain the important unknowns.
As a child in parochial elementary school I was never satisfied with answers like, “Well Mr. Schloss, it’s a mystery”. I was once sent to the Principal’s office because I persisted to question how God could allow non-Christians in China to be condemned to eternal damnation when there was no opportunity for them to know Christianity. I sensed then, as I have come to believe in adulthood, that there is a point where fair inquiry becomes offensive to those who have abandoned fair inquiry.
When we declare natural or human tragedies to be “punishments from God”, or the results of an election, a war, or even a football game to be evidence of “the will of God”, we abrogate our humanity as inquiring beings. Worse yet, we abandon our free will to be agents of change and we become guilty of a great moral failing by pretending to be human in all but mind and deed.
Peace Everyone. Pete Schloss