What can God replace
"On the day you eat from the tree, your eyes will be opened and you will become like God," said the serpent to Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden. She cleverly touches on the noble and uncanny passions of the human being: to discover and recognize, to become knowledgeable. Even more: to be omniscient! (Faust: I know a lot, but I want to know everything).
As far as human history can be traced back, people search, collect and create knowledge. The term science means nothing else. Who creates knowledge, wins power. Power over nature, power over space, power over morals and power over other people. And maybe one day power like almighty God. This ignites and stirs up good and bad passions at the same time. The snake knew exactly what to lure with.
Search for knowledge and understanding as old as humanity
In human history there were moments when people "had their eyes opened" in a special way. Remains and reflections of these enormous breakthroughs in knowledge and power can be found hidden and open in the Bible. The story of paradise resonates noticeably, what luck it must have been to suddenly be able to live in a garden. A planted garden, that was paradise! Now salvation had come. God himself was walking here.
A few thousand years later, the Tower of Babel. With so many "towers" we overlook the fact that this story in a few words reflects the construction of a first city. Something that has never been seen before arises. Dams and canals, pyramids, temples and an army to ward off the enemy. The towers reach the sky.
Belief in progress seizes people
Then another huge step with the development of the natural sciences, technology and industry. A hundred years ago, the belief in progress seized people like a storm wind. There is not much left for the salvation of mankind. If we continue to research, then we no longer need God. The French Revolution overthrew him and installed the goddess of reason.
Rockefeller built his skyscraper in the center of New York. He had pictures of the coming salvation painted on the walls of the huge entrance hall. One shows a crucified woman, symbol of humanity, she hangs agonized on the cross, technicians, doctors and fitters rush over to lift her from the cross. At last humanity will be redeemed from all cross and misery. We have the knowledge. God didn't help, now we're helping ourselves.
Knowledge can be uncomfortable
The snake knew what it could use to seduce people, not with malice, but with the noblest wish that people feel: to heal the world. The snake hid only this: that we are mortal. Knowing about it is uncomfortable because it reveals our impotence. Death moved into the paradise of the garden: You shall be back to earth! In the cities, immortality could not be captured in spite of temples and towers and king, mummification and filled graves. Even our modern science cannot. The dream of omnipotence becomes the nightmare of powerlessness. Our knowledge is piecemeal (1 Cor. 13,9). Those who have eaten from the tree of knowledge must perceive good and bad.
Darkness and ignorance are scary. For example, earlier researchers tried to look behind nature (Greek: metaphysics). When filming was invented, a missionary wanted to impress his black community in Africa with it and filmed in the village. Months later, the film came back developed and was shown to everyone. Three villagers who had died in the meantime also appeared on the screen. When people saw this, they got up and looked behind the screen. If something appears in front that is incomprehensible, people are urged to look behind nature.
Faith cannot replace science, and science cannot replace belief
The dividing line today is not between science and belief, but between wrong and right belief. If scientists believe that modern knowledge can replace belief, then they are unbelieving and if believers believe that because of their belief they know everything better, then they are superstitious. Faith cannot replace science, and science cannot replace belief. Both are indelibly in us.
Faith is not an invention of Christians, but a gift from God in us to seek light in darkness. What religion can do is draw maps of life and show the way. Everyone has to go by himself. Life is the teacher who teaches everyone what his belief is worth. Our Christian faith offers people very good maps and directions that no one should throw away unchecked:
Tasks of faith
First our faith connects our visible nature with a God and Creator, although no one has ever seen him or grasped him. So far, no power has managed to break this connection, not even the serpent from paradise. In other religions, people associate nature with spirits and demons, with black magic and sorcery. Some modern scientists associate nature with meaninglessness or with the image of complicated machines. We believe in a creator.
Secondly Our faith connects our courage and our trust, which we need in the dark, with God's love and mercy, and turns human trust into God. Pagan religions associate God with fear, blood sacrifice, and blind obedience. We believe in the God of love.
Third our faith connects illness, suffering and death with Rabbi Jesus of Nazareth on the cross. Nobody takes it off the wood there. His opponents call out to him: Help yourself and get down from the cross! Nobody stands by, not even God. With this event we connect the liberation from the fear of having to make heaven on earth itself. Every human heaven has still created its hell. God lets his kingdom come by itself. Suffering and dying acquire a new value with the cross; they are not signs of victory for death, but waypoints back to God.
Fourth our faith links our lives with the Holy Spirit. This means that from his world, which we cannot see, he visits us again and again, accompanies, rebukes, guides, comforts and saves us. In this way true faith grows, creates knowledge, learns to hope, believe and love, until God transforms our knowledge and ignorance into divine wisdom, just as he made wine out of water at the wedding in Cana.
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