In our current message series, God’s Not Dead, we’re looking at the scientific and philosophical evidence for the existence of God. We want to grow in our faith by understanding the reasoned basis for what we believe.
One of the most common arguments for atheism is the imperfect universe. How could an omniscient, omnipotent, perfect God create a universe with so many inherent design defects? Any earthly manufacturer who had sent a product to market with the same kind of built-in flaws would surely have been sued many times over for products liability and ultimately forced into bankruptcy. Consequently, the universe could not have been created by an intelligent mind. Or so the argument goes.
As a result, many skeptics and non-believers turn to naturalistic explanations for the origin of life on Earth and the development of humankind, Darwin’s theory of evolution being the most common. Indeed, evolution is an attractive alternative to the theory of intelligent design because apparent imperfections in the natural order can be easily be explained by a process that does not involve God and does not have humans in mind. In this view, design defects are not attributable to an intelligent mind that should have known better.
But this misunderstands who God is and how he works, which is something that religious people in the course of the centuries frequently have misunderstood. In the gospel reading this week, for instance, the Pharisees condemn Jesus for eating with so-called “sinners” because they are seeking a perfect order. In response, Jesus sets them straight with three parables about seeking the lost. With God, there are no rejects and the imperfect are never really lost.
Today there are many of us who are still seeking a perfect Church. All are not welcome in their eyes. But our vision is to welcome the unchurched and to create an irresistible environment for those people who don’t like or feel uncomfortable in church and may not know all the words to every prayer. We don’t have a dress code. We don’t enforce silence. We just try to love and accept everyone who comes through those doors, which is what Saint Paul means in the second reading when he says Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. He loved the unchurched and so should we.
With a tremendous flash of light and energy, a perfect universe came into being billions of years ago. It was created in perfect harmony. Whatever “defects” our limited minds can accurately identify in the created order are the result of human folly and disobedience. Yet, God is not a God of the perfect, and it is God’s magnificent intelligent design that brings the imperfect to perfection through the love of his Son, Jesus Christ.
—Father Roger Gustafson, Pastor
Father Roger Gustafson