A couple of weeks ago I blogged about my conversion experience, and I focused most of my writing on the before and after. As in, before that moment I didn’t want anything to do with Christianity, and after that I felt a peace and joy I had not before known. But there was something else in my parent’s van that evening, which I will call the in-between.
This in-between is the essence of our free will.
I read a blog today by writer Matt J. Rossano, titled “Would Evidence of God Mean the End of Atheism and Christianity?” If you have a minute I would recommend taking the time to read the whole post, as it raises some interesting questions, not the least of which is evident from its title: Rossano asks his readers to consider the possibility that science one day will prove God.
According to Rossano, such an event – undisputable evidence for God, making Him “on the same footing as gravity, evolution, and the germ theory of disease” – would mean the end of both atheism and Christianity. The atheism part makes sense. But why Christianity?
Rossano explains, “…A fundamental tenet of Christianity is free will. It is no stretch to say that Christianity without free will is simply not Christianity anymore. The Christian God grants humans free will and will not interfere with its exercise… This is all standard, mainline Christian theology and it all gets utterly demolished by convincing scientific evidence of God.”
Rossano goes on to say that since we aren’t really free to “believe or not believe in germs, gravity, evolution, or other firmly established facts,” then if God somehow found Himself in that category this knowledge would take away our free will.
“But if God is like gravity, then I will suffer the consequences of breaking his laws just as surely as I’ll break my neck if I step off a cliff. Love of God is as meaningless as love of the inverse square law.”
Whole books could be written about the theological ideas in that last quote, but let’s just say that I agree completely with the first sentence and not at all with the second. Why? Because of the in-between.
God calls us into a relationship with Him, but the inverse square law does nothing of the sort. At no point in my entire education did I feel the voice of calculus or organic chemistry in my spirit, asking me to trust and follow. Belief in itself isn’t the only issue.
I believe in germ theory, but what difference does it make in my life if I don’t wash my hands or use a Kleenex? Such knowledge – belief in the existence of something – usually demands an action. That is the in-between, the moment of decision. The “so what?” moment.
At the time, I knew without a doubt that what I felt or heard that evening was none other than Jesus Himself. I believed in His existence, but I could have walked away. Instead I chose to follow, and in doing so I discovered that belief in a relational and all-powerful God is infinitely more fulfilling than belief in gravity. And certainly more exciting than the inverse square law.
Even the demons believe. So what? It’s the choice to follow that matters.