Man's Complexity -- God's SimplicityHave you ever taken your computer apart and looked at its insides? If you have, you probably saw something like the picture that is on the cover of this journal. For those of us without a background in electronics and engineering, the guts of a computer look impossibly complicated. Mankind has done and continues to do things which are incredibly complex. These things are changing our world and are involved in everything from the microscopic world to outer space. The changes that are happening have the potential for enormous good or tragic destruction for mankind.
The interesting thing about this is that, in spite of our great progress in electronics, nuclear energy, and space, we still have no idea why people behave the way they do. What makes a person fall in love? Why do people feel guilty? What is it that gives one person great artistic ability while another person can barely draw a straight line with a ruler? Why do we have the ability to have sympathy for one another or for an animal? Perhaps the biggest question is what is it that causes things to go wrong in our minds, leaving us with depression, rage, split personalities, and insanity? In spite of decades of theorizing, experimenting, and observing, we have made very little progress in developing any man-made drug or device that makes a positive permanent change in these things.
The difference between what a computer chip does and the things we have listed in the previous paragraph is the difference between the physical world and the spiritual world. In the physical world, all that happens is a product of forces and energies which are easily measured and controlled. Every physics student is impressed quickly in the basic physics course at how easy it is to understand how physical things in the cosmos work and how accurately we can predict what various combinations of forces will do. Just the opposite is true of the spiritual world. Why a person falls in love with someone of the opposite sex might be to some extent explained in terms of hormones or pheromones or a combination of these, but why a person would love an idea to the extent that they will die for it is another matter. All biological explanations seem to fail at a very basic level in this area.
While scientific attempts to explain and understand these spiritual phenomena have failed because of the fact that they are not physically derived, our ability to deal with them on a spiritual level has gotten better for many of us. One of the great challenges for someone like your author in moving from atheism to Christianity is learning to think and comprehend the spiritual. The Bible even tells us that this will be the case:
The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned ( 1 Corinthians 2:14 ).
The more basic concept in this is that we are beings created in the image of God. That image has nothing to do with our physical makeup because God is not physical. It has to do with the fact that what makes us unique--makes us human--is our spiritual component--our soul. Our bodies are not special. All animals possess a heart, lungs, eyes, and teeth. Man's true uniqueness which is beautifully displayed in his creativity, his worship, and his human feelings is his soul. The concept is much like Einstein's theory of relativity. I tell my students that Einstein's theory of relativity is incredibly easy to understand; it is just really difficult to believe! The idea of man being created in the image of God and that our humanness is a reflection of that unique creation is so simple that men tend to reject it. God's simplicity is frequently the best answer to mankind's dilemma, and we would suggest that the cure for many of the problems ripping and tearing at people and at our society can only be solved by utilizing what God's simplicity has given us.
--John N. Clayton
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