In the modern Western world, many people have trouble believing things that can’t be adequately explained intellectually or scientifically. The next time someone challenges your faith because you can’t describe to their satisfaction the nature of the Trinity – how there can be three persons, yet one God – how Jesus could be God and a man at the same time, or how predestination and our free will can co-exist, you might want to walk them through the following thoughts.
Let me relay a passage from my book That’s a Great Question: What to Say When Your Faith is Challenged that offers some perspective on seemingly contradictory facts.
There are many things in life that we can’t explain. One of the few useful tidbits I recall from my college physical chemistry class is that scientists have developed two descriptions of the nature of light. One is that light is composed of waves. The other is is that light is made up of packets of energy that behave like particles. Light exhibits characteristics that are consistent with both these theories. The only problem is that these two views seem mutually exclusive. How can light be made up of both waves and packets of energy? Yet it apparently is.
Does the fact that I can’t explain this conflict mean that I refuse to use the headlights on my car until someone reconciles this scientific anomaly? I don’t think so. Skeptics often camp on paradoxes in the Bible, turning them into contradictions and showcasing them as examples of how the Christian faith isn’t trustworthy (Victor Books, 2007, p. 216).
So even the almighty world of science can’t reconcile clashing factors of known realities. And yet faith in science is seldom questioned, and no one “walks away” from science because it can’t adequately clarify everything about the universe.
You might keep this example in mind the next time someone tells you they can’t accept Christianity because the concept of the Trinity (or some other aspect of the faith) “makes no sense.”
In my next article, I will offer another perspective that may make it easier to relax intellectually, even if there are mysteries we can’t fully explain. That example appeals to something we know about whales and dolphins. Stay tuned.