Tuesday, March 17, 2009

GUT and Theology

Some comments I made in a discussion about theological creeds...

What we call creeds and confessions arise from systematic theology--our attempts to organize and summarize the message of scripture. The problem with systematic theology is the assumption that we know enough (that God has revealed enough) to put it all together. But what if God just told us what we needed to know without explaining it all to us? Does it mean that we are somehow compromising the truth because we refuse to be dogmatic (not refuse to discuss and consider different possibilities) about our systematic theological constructs?

We are in a ship navigating a sea and we can see the continents and avoid the islands as we travel to our destination. But is it necessary to know all the landscape of the ocean floor in order to get to our destination? Is it God's will for us to arrive at our destination or to know all the mysteries of the deep? Even so, I still think it is good to explore those mysteries... just don't be dogmatic about them.

What God wants us to know the most is the clearest in scripture. These are the things necessary to navigate through the ocean and arrive at our destination. And these are the things we must hold onto firmly without budging, unlike the mysteries of the deep. Yes, I know it isn't that sophisticated. But I truly believe that sometimes our goal is theological sophistication. We pride ourselves in being able to talk theologically about God, but not in being able to live our lives according to God's Way. We would do better to give up our theological pride and live with simple faith, fighting temptations in our life and serving others.

In physics, of all the things that we do know, there are a number of theories that we can't really prove. But we still use them. One is the model of the atom. We are most familiar with the common Bohr model of the atom. But it is not complete and doesn't answer all the questions. A better model is the quantum model. But they are all models. Gravity is another one. We don't know for sure what it is. We have Einstein's General Theory of Relativity that proposes curvature in the space-time continuum. It is a model. Perhaps one day we can prove it; but not yet. The Big Bang, anti-matter, the density of the universe and the particle nature of light can be described in certain terms. However, we are still seeking a so-called Grand Unified Theory. The GUT would tie it all together.

So far the GUT eludes us. However, that doesn't mean that our universe doesn't work or add up. Physicists are confident that it does all add up... we just don't know how yet. Does it matter how it all adds up? Absolutely. Does it matter that we KNOW how it all adds up? No, not really. But it is interesting.


  1. Speaking from a non-denom perspective, I can tell you that I get really tired of hearing arguments about why one denominational belief is "right" and another is "misguided". Even within the non-denom movement there have been splits. Most noteably (for me, anyway) is the argument about non-instrumental music versus using instruments. I think many things matter much more to us than they do to God. I seriously doubt He's going to be asking whether or not I sang accapella or with a full piece band. I'm more concerned about my answer when He asks me "What did you do for My Kingdom?"