It's OK for Engineers to Believe That God Did It All


The Premise

77% of the citizens of this country call themselves Christians. I’ll save you the trouble of clicking on the link. That’s a US Government Census Bureau report I’m linking to.


That’s a solid, real majority. It’s not even close to a minority. It’s so far in the majority category that, well, let’s put it this way: 25% more adults identify themselves as Christians than those who voted for Barak Obama, and he’s our new president elect. (Sidebar: McCain didn’t lose by a lot. He got 46% of the popular vote, and that’s cool.)

This 77% of the adult population of this country hold beliefs, the major tenet of which is succinctly stated by John 3:16:

For God loved the world so much that he gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. (NLT)

Guess what that “believes in him” involves? Believing that Jesus died and rose from the dead. That bit is nicely summarized in the Apostles’ Creed, fifth line in:

The third day he rose again from the dead…

So, to summarize: 77% of Americans call themselves Christians, so 77% of Americans believe that a man died and was raised from the dead, as in came back to life.

When was the last time you saw that? I mean, this is not the kind of event that you see on ER, where some docs with some paddles yell “Clear!” and jumpstart a heart. This guy Jesus was dead for three days—stuck in a big hole in the rocks for three days, stinking, rotting, being more and more dead by the second.

Jesus came back to life. And a lot of us believe that.

The Question

So if Jesus came back to life because his father, God, willed it to be so, why is it so hard to believe the rest of the Bible?

As an engineer, I had a hard time with the rest of the Bible because I had to have explanations for everything. I was OK with Jesus’ being raised from the dead without explanation, but it just didn’t work for me that, say, the Red Sea was parted without some sort of explanation as to how God did it. Winds, volcanoes, whatever—I had to have an explanation. I am, after all, an engineer, and we don’t believe jack without an explanation.

But I got over that hurdle one day when I recognized that (a) I am not God (well, I knew that before “one day”), (b) I will never fully understand why God does things, and (c) I will never fully understand how God does things.

For (a), I think that revelation explains itself. I don’t have to do a whole lot of soul searching to recognize that I am not God. Heck, I’m so human that if I were any more human I’d be… well, just more myself.

For (b), I know that I will not ever understand fully why God does things because really, really awful things happen in this world and we do not find answers in the Bible, in prayer, or in any other God-given knowledgebase. I have pondered the words of a lot of well-respected authors and teachers, and they have reached the same conclusion: We just don’t know why God lets bad things happen. To us, in our limited ability to perceive His reasons, they just happen. I have had to learn to accept that recently, especially in light of the afore-linked recent awful event.

So I make the leap to (c) because if I can’t fully know why things happen, then I find it a lot easier not to know everything about how things happen. I mean, what do we really know? After all of our digging, our research, our attempts to explain the phenomena of this world, we find that the more we find out, the less we know.

Think back to Newton’s days when the pinnacle of knowledge about physics was explained in relatively simple equations such as F=ma and the like. Not content to accept that as fact, we kept digging and ended up discovering that it’s not quite right, that it’s a bit off in certain situations, that it has some limitations. And we started digging into the Why? of that limitation. Pretty soon, we’re building a giant ring of superconducting magnets and are looking for particles which defy explanation, and all sanity and reason as Newton knew them are out the door.

Now, I’m not saying that we may never understand something at its most basic elemental level, but I’m saying that we’re going to work very long and very hard to do so, and it still won’t come close to touching the either the how or why of God. I’m now OK with that because I already accept that I can’t know everything, that I can’t understand everything, that I have limitations because of what I am and who I am.

Once over that hurdle, I’ll put it bluntly: I’m lazy. It’s a lot easier to accept the Bible’s explanation because usually the simplest explanation is the correct explanation. The Bible’s explanation is very, very simple.

God did it.

Against that, you might argue that scientists are doing experiments and providing explanations and the Bible is just a theory and you can’t do experiments against that particular theory. True enough, but remember The Premise? What you’re arguing, in essence, is that while you are willing to accept one “impossible” part of the Bible, you’re completely discounting some or all of the other “impossible” parts of the Bible. Are these other “impossible” parts of the Bible any more impossible than that one part that you do accept?

Impossible is impossible is impossible. There aren’t varying degrees of impossibility. It either is or it isn’t impossible.

So back to the question: Can you accept other parts of the Bible at face value and take them on faith?

Yes I Can

I can safely say, Yes.

Yes I can. Yes I can take all of that on faith, and no more.

I hope you can, too.

So… Now What?

That’s where I am. I, an engineer, am taking the Bible on faith, and faith alone. I know that some of what the Bible is true because I’ve seen it firsthand, but I’ve not seen enough in my short career here on Earth to conclusively prove that rest of it is true. Thus it’s on faith that I accept the rest of the Bible is true.

And that is OK.

So if you’re an engineer and are wondering if it’s OK to believe such far-fetched ideas as creationism, miracles and other supposed nonsense, yeah, it’s OK. At least, God thinks so. And it’s all about Him, now, isn’t it?

So why not dive right in? Explore your newfound faith! It’s refreshing and I think you’ll love it—I know I have.

A post script: You won’t catch me trying to infer from the Bible how dinosaurs and humans may or may not have coexisted on the Earth at the same time. Nope, not me. I have my own theory which is that God can make things look however He wants ‘em to look, and He takes a great deal of pleasure in watching us solve things, figure them out, and discover, much like we do with our own children. He could have made everything on Earth look only 6,000 years old, if He’d wanted to. But He didn’t. Why not? I don’t know.

Or at least that’s the way I see it. Care to disagree? That’s OK, too.

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