When Scientific Explanations Don't Cut It.

Imagine a life without wonder. Wonder is something fabulous and brings an exciting flavor to life. Wonder sometimes helps us to place higher value in its object.  We wonder in beauty and value it higher than ugliness.  We wonder in excellence and intrigue and power and splendor. All these things cause us to wonder because in each object of wonder there is something beyond us. If we could all paint like Michelangelo we would simply see his work as ordinary.  Wonder brings fascination and awe. In terms of God, wonder helps us to trust. 

When Job was suffering in loss and sickness, his three friends came along side and gave explanation.  Their explanations were devoid of wonder.  They believed they had the answers for Job’s condition but were only exacerbating his pain and sorrow. Job desperately needed something to hold on to in the midst of his trouble.  He was steadfastly attempting to trust God while his friends were wearing him down with accusation and explanation. Job was fraught with sorrow and without answer. In stating his innocence, Job seems to stray in not acknowledging his own human sinfulness in the presence of God.  He later repents of his attitudes about himself and God. 

One of Job’s friends, Elihu, brings an argument about God’s wonder.  In the presence of God’s wonder, Job should realize whether he is innocent in this particular circumstance or not, he falls short of the glory and awe of the Creator.  Elihu says, “Remember to extol his work, of which men have sung. All mankind has looked on it; man beholds it from afar. Behold, God is great, and we know him not; the number of his years is unsearchable. For he draws up the drops of water; they distill his mist in rain, which the skies pour down and drop on mankind abundantly. Can anyone understand the spreading of the clouds, the thunderings of his pavilion? Behold, he scatters his lightning about him and covers the roots of the sea. For by these he judges peoples; he gives food in abundance. He covers his hands with the lightning and commands it to strike the mark. Its crashing declares his presence; the cattle also declare that he rises.” (Job 36:24-33). 

Perhaps you might remember back to your primary school years and think of the first time you learned about the water cycle. Sometimes it seems that when know more about something the less wonderful it becomes in your ability to explain it.  We might be tempted to say that Job and Elihu had not really studied the scientific realities of the water cycle and therefore attributed natural explainable phenomena to God. Elihu wrote of clouds and rain and wondered in something that we can give natural explanation for today. This would be a mistake. Firstly, the bible clearly shows that human beings were created without any lack of human intelligence and ability to scientifically reason beginning with our first parents. We should also be careful never to be so arrogant as to use a scientific explanation to deplete the glory of God.  On the contrary, the more we know about something the more we should be amazed at the brilliance of our Creator who has made it possible for us to understand a minute fraction of an infinite amount of information. God is the God who created the water cycle.  Regardless of our understanding of general operations, we must always acknowledge that God ordains every crack of lightning and every roar of thunder.  He is in charge of every rain drop and sovereignly ordains each and every high and low pressure system. The clouds, thunder, lightning, wind, rain, hail, snow, clouds and the sky itself is his creation and is ordered and sustained by his hand.  We might understand some of the operation of cloud formation and weather systems, but we are not the creators of them.  We are not sovereignly using them for our eternal purpose.  We cannot explain their origin or the establishment of the very laws that govern them. All of this must cause us to wonder.  

For Job, this is the defining argument by which he truly trusts God in his most trying time of life.  Elihu’s statements in Job 36 are a mere forerunner to the two chapters of questions God asks Job about his creative power in order to bring Job to his knees in wonder and to repent of any arrogance in the sight of God. 

This same argument extends to us today.  Jesus says to his disciples that if God provides food for the birds, how much more will he for us.  We should wonder.  Birds survive under the providence of God.  If we are more important to God than birds, the wonder that we see in his provision for them has even greater significance for us.  Wonder takes away the pettiness of our earthly worries to help us see that the God who loves us is infinitely more awesome than any of our human explanations. God IS the explanation for all that we cannot explain.  He is our only point of worthy trust and our only point of hope beyond the explainable frailties of this world. We need a God of wonder beyond our explanation otherwise there is nothing else to live for and no answer for our troubles.