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A dialogue on God

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posted on Feb, 10 2005 @ 05:16 PM
This is sort of rough but taken from a manuscript I am working on. I just want feedback, criticism, etc. and maybe even invoke discussion. Enjoy

p.s.this is a manuscript so certain events referencing the characters lives won't make sense. However, this chapter seems to stand by itself as a short story and a discussion on the existence of God.

“Yes Rudy?” He looked up from where he had been examining Rudy’s last move and deciding how to counter it. Rudy had progressed well in his rehabilitation and was now walking short distances with some help. The Reverand, seemingly omnipresent, had made it a point to help him into a lounge daily where the two had taken up chess. Up to that point Rudy could not recollect having ever played chess in his life. However it seemed to come naturally to him and he had caught on almost immediately. Now, after two weeks, he was already starting to bridge out in his logic and provide the Reverand a need to think about his moves.
“Why do you believe that there’s a God?” The question came out coldly, not with malice but chilled logic spurred on from the game. He had finally asked it, the question that had been gripping him for years and one that he had formed his framework of logic around so that he would not have to deal with it. Now, after what he had been through in the past weeks that framework was wobbling slightly. Not collapsing, but certainly less firm in their conviction. Now his question came as both a challenge and a request for help, either to firm up his foundation or bring it tumbling down in revelation.
“I take it you plan on making this a long game?” He shot back interjecting humor and bringing a smile to Rudy’s lips.
“Well, I seem to be giving you a little bit more of a challenge as of late?” He smiled in the realization that the Reverand’s moves had become less automatic and now seemed slow and thought out.
“That you have, you are a quick study. So, why do you ask me if there is a God? Is that a question that you have not answered yet in your own life?”
“Well, I thought I had. I thought I had everything figured out and I don’t think you would like it if I told you. I feel bad after all that you’ve done for me recently. I haven’t had a lot of happiness in my life. I turned away from God long ago, and with time I guess I came to the conclusion that there was nothing for me to have turned away from to begin with.” He fidgeted uncomfortably waiting for the reply. Since he had awakened and become aware of his assailant slash benefactor he had wanted to tell him that he was wasting his time. His was neither a life nor a soul to be saved. The kindness he was being shown troubled him, and now that he was beginning to see the old man’s gestures as pure charity without incentive, he was just puzzled.
“I see. Well let me put it this way first.” He had been asked this question many times in his term of ministry and knew full well there was not an answer that could come externally. “If you truly want to know that God exists, all you have to do is ask Him. He has a way of making His presence known, just don’t expect it to be in a manner of your choosing.”
“I’ve heard all that before Reverend, but what happens when I hear nothing?” He asked sincerely.
“Well, in most cases the answer comes at a very different time and manner then you would either expect or request. Time is a limitation of man not God, the answer will come when its supposed to.”
“But I mean, with all the science we are now aware of how can you believe in a creator?” He again asked a sincere question.
“All I can say Rudy is I don’t know how I couldn’t. I’ve not been a minister all my life son, in fact I didn’t become one till I had spent a fair amount of time on this earth. My first understanding of everything came from science, it wasn’t till after I discovered how the Universe worked that I came to believe and trust in a creator. But let me turn this around on you, why do you not believe in a creator?”
“I just see no evidence. The world is pretty messed up and if there is some grand creator he’s certainly turned his back on us. He turned his back on me long ago so I returned the favor.” A trace of anger began to find its way into his voice, being fed from raw memories.
“How did God turn his back on you?”
“He took my parents from me, he took my sister, everything that made me happy was taken away.”
“So you think that God caused your parents to get into a wreck and God caused your sister to die in that fire?” Now it was Rudy’s turn to detect emotion in the Reverend’s voice. There was passion and certainty there, but something else as well. It seemed fiery and somewhat bitter and he didn’t know how to take it. “Rudy, God had nothing to do with that, bad things just happen. This world was not created to be a place of eternal joy, that’s what we’re working for in the next life.”
“But why would an all benevolent creator make a world that seems to revel in misery and pain?”
“Well, he didn’t at first. I assume you are familiar with the Garden of Eden? At first there was paradise. However, we were created in God’s image meaning that we have a spirit, we have intellect and choice. God created mankind with free will and made him steward of the garden. He sheltered Adam and Eve and provided all their needs. But they were not satisfied and partook of the tree of life, the one thing that was forbidden of them. God gave them free will, but without knowledge they could live in paradise in bliss. Once they partook of the tree and gained knowledge of the world, they could no longer stay in the garden.”
“I’m confused.” Rudy interrupted him. “If Adam and Eve had this wonderful life in the garden and now had knowledge, wouldn’t they have realized what a good thing they had and stayed in the Garden?”
“Well, they probably would have but upon eating from the tree of life they were thrown out of the garden forever.”
“That doesn’t sound like a very kind God to me.” Rudy responded. “He gave them paradise and free will then threw them out as soon as they screwed up once. Was the the point that God turned his back?”
“No not at all. Let me phrase it in another way. Are you familiar Tolkien’s trilogy?”
“Of course, the books used to be my favorites and I saw old movies many times when I was a kid.”
“I saw them the day they came out in the theatre.” The reverend reminisced. They were incredible in their day and still hold up pretty well by our standards now. But that is beside the point. Do you remember how Frodo acted when he returned after the war?”
“Yes, he was restless and couldn’t find happiness any longer in the shire.”
“Why was that? Before his adventure he had spent years in happiness doing nothing more then enjoying an afternoon tea and tending a garden.”
“Well, he had seen and done so many things that the simple things no longer did it for him.”
“Exactly. This is why Adam and Eve had to leave the Garden of Eden. Once they had knowledge of things outside their small world, their “shire,” they could have never have been happy there again. Ignorance truly is bliss and once its gone, its gone forever. As they say, you can never go home.”
“So why would God put this tree in the Garden in the first place then?” Rudy asked. “It seems like giving a loaded gun to a kid. They don’t understand its danger but their tempted to try it out.”
“Well, there is a question that has been debated by many men of time, but this is what I think.” Wilken’s replied. “God created man in His image, man was never meant to stay in the garden. God let man start in this paradise, but never intended for that to be the entire experience of mankind. If it had been why would He have given man free will and intelligence? If man had been meant to live in happiness forever, he would have been just as happy never making a decision for himself. So, God put the tree of life in the garden so that man could knowledge in the garden so that man would gain the first kernel in learning, setting him on a path towards greater things and greater understandings. However, there would have to be severe consequences to gaining this knowledge, hence it originally being forbidden and mankind having to make a very real decision to break a law of God to obtain it.”
“So once they had this knowledge, maybe they would have gotten bored with the garden.” Rudy conceded. “But why throw them out on the spot? Why not let them get bored so that they would appreciate the change in scenery more?”
“Because knowledge is useless and most often dangerous if it isn’t tempered in wisdom.” The reverend responded. “If mankind had existed in the garden in perfect conditioned he would have had no adversity and would have become quite intelligent, capable of doing many things both great and terrible. But, he wouldn’t have the wisdom of how to use the knowledge and would have ended up destroying himself with it. I mean, you have made the point of how hard the world is and look how far we’ve come in knowledge and how many times just in the past 100 years we’ve almost wiped ourselves off the face of the earth. No, with great knowledge comes great responsibility, and the only way to that wisdom is gained is when it is tempered in adversity.”
“So God is just waiting around to see how far we get before we bring ourselves to some spectacular ending?” Rudy asked.
“Of course not Rudy. We know from Christ how the world will end. That has already been set in stone. We’re just in charge of getting there.”
“But reverend, what if we do destroy ourselves and therefore never get there?”
“Well, sometimes God does intervene, hence the many miracles of the ages. Perhaps the earliest example is the flood. Basically we screwed up so bad so early that God wiped out the majority of the earth so that those that were left could get a fresh start. Then, they started off in the wrong direction again with the Tower of Babel and action was once again required.”
“The Tower of Babel?”
“Yes, the time after the flood when mankind had sufficient numbers close enough together that they had tamed the wild and started to gain knowledge without wisdom. Their knowledge made them prideful and they believed that they could build a tower to breach into Heaven itself. They started this tower and to stop them, God broke them up into groups with different languages so that they could no longer communicate but with a their group, anyone else would simply seem to babel.”
“Hence the name right?” Rudy interrupted again. “But why would the tower be bad? I doubt they would have made it would they?”
“Of course not Rudy, but that wasn’t the point. They had not gained enough wisdom to become aware of their limitations. They would have dabbled into much more destructive arts then masonry and destroyed themselves. We’ve seen it many times now. Every time a group of people becomes so powerful that they believe themselves invincible, their creations come falling down around them. The Persians fell, the Romans fell, even America weathered the cataclysm of 2010 and while it was a huge tragedy, it knocked us back a peg in assuming superiority in the world.”
“Granted it makes sense on a large scale, but what about on the individual level. If God is just and intervenes on the large scale, why does he still let people hurt others? If God intervenes why is there evil?”
“There is evil, Rudy, because again we have free will. We have free will but on differing levels we have wisdom that determines how we use that free will and knowledge. There are some very wise people on the Earth and there are some very intelligent ones that are not wise and do terrible things. There were Nazi scientists that made advances using Jewish subjects that advanced scientific knowledge incredibly, but the human cost and the evil involved in obtaining that knowledge was staggering. But on a scale of just you and I, it just comes down to free will. If God were to intervene every time someone was about to make a bad decision, free will wouldn’t exist. We would not have choices to make and therefore would never gain the wisdom of making the right ones tempered with the consequences of the making the wrong ones. If God intervened every time he would have to continue to intervene until literally the end of time because we would have no ideas of negative consequences and again we could just advance until we got to an advanced level, made one wrong decision, and destroyed ourselves in the process. But, understand this. In the end there is ultimate justice, this we are guaranteed. Earth was left to the dominion of man and therefore plenty of bad decisions are made, but in the end we are all judged and our decisions laid bare before us.”
“So, basically we’re all in a lot of trouble then?” Rudy added. “If we don’t have the wisdom to make the right decisions in many circumstances, yet we receive ultimate judgment in the end, what hope do we have?”
“We have salvation Rudy.” Wilkens responded with conviction in his voice. “We have the sacrifice of His son Jesus Christ that wiped away the sins of man. We can be forgiven for all of those bad decisions if we accept the forgiveness and salvation offered by the lamb. . We are to learn from our mistakes and we still won’t be perfect, but we are forgiven.”
“What about the people that do really awful things?” Rudy asked. “Like the Nazi’s you spoke of. Could they be forgiven?”
“That my friend, is why ultimate justice is left up to God. All I can say is that God is just and whatever verdict he gives will be so completely just that even those condemned will agree that they deserved it.”
“I see your logic and it’s well thought out, I’ll give you that.” Rudy conceded, looking down to realize that the reverend in his speech had also managed to make his move in the ongoing game and was in fact closing in on checkmate. “But, still that is all in the context that God does exist. Is it not easier just to believe that bad things happen because the universe is random?”
“There lies the part that you have to discover for yourself my friend.” replied the reverend. “You likely will never find physical proof of he existence of God without requesting it on a personal level because He created the Universe in which you live. Think of the Universe as a scientific experiment and God as a scientist. This is beyond simplistic to the reality, but it helps me to wrap my mind around the best explanation I can come up with. God creates the Universe, he sets the laws that it is governed by and he starts everything into motion just like a scientist would with an experiment. Now, if you were part of this experiment you couldn’t look to parts of it to find evidence of the one controlling it. They exist outside of the experiment and therefore are not a part of it except for their interactions with it. Therefore you won’t find existence of God within this Universe because He is not of it, He created it. Looking from within the confines of our existence we can no more determine the nature of God then a microbe in a petre dish could understand the scientist hovering over it with a microscope. The scientist can certainly make his presence known and exhibit complete control over the experiment, but otherwise he is not a construct within that existence. Looking for tactile evidence of God is a fools errand. However, if you pray and ask for His presence to be shown to you, He will make it so when the time is right. Then you will have your proof. Or, if you do come to an understanding of the Universe and how complex yet methodical and logical it is, you will realize that nothing is random and that nothing short of God could have brought it into existence. Our Universe is a marvelous work and a wonder, a true testament to His existence and majesty, and that realization in itself has helped to convert more then a few previously atheist minded scientists.”
“I understand what you’re saying, but I’m still not convinced that you’re not using logic to make existence more meaningful then it is in reality. Maybe the Universe is infinite and therefore we just happened to come about at the right moment of infinity.”
“Well, Rudy, we have a pretty good idea now that the Universe is not infinite. We also find that there are many planets out there that could support life and the Bible supports this. Christ did before he ascended that God has many flocks, we are just one of them. Each of those worlds if they do creates a more complex situation and adds to the odds of it all just being at the right point in infinity as you said. However, even if mankind is the only sentient being in the Universe, I can liken our existence to this. Either there is a God who created us, or our existence is something like taking a watch, breaking it down into the simplest forms of its components, putting it in a bag, twirling it around your head for a year, and then opening the bag to find a fully functional watch ticking away at exactly 11:37 am. I find it easy to believe in God. I have my personal proof, I have my logic, that’s all I need and I hope you can come to the same. However, it is far easier for me to believe that there is a creator then to believe that we’re that watch. That would take considerable faith. Faith in nothing, but faith indeed. Oh by the way, I believe that’s checkmate.”
Rudy looked down to see that his last move had been soundly countered and it was indeed, checkmate.

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