For those of you who don’t know me, my name is Amanda Newsome. I’m a senior at Transylvania University studying Psychology and Biology.
During my first month at Transy someone told me that I may come to college a conservative Christian, but there was no way that I would leave one. And now I’m sitting here on the verge of graduation, not even able to remember who this person was, thinking about how very very wrong they were. There seems to be this narrative that education must edge out faith. People talk about how they are too logical for faith or they just simple can’t believe in a Creator. Given this warning before beginning school, I feared going into my science classes plagued by many what if’s. What if my professor pushes atheism? What if I am taught that only evolution is a possibility? Or worse—what if it works? I had a fear that I would be so pressured by unbelievers that I could slip myself--that I would begin to rely on science and my own abilities rather than God and what I know Him to be.
So here I am finishing my college career and what do I think? I think that I could not be more in love with my Creator or amazed by what He has done. Learning did not test my faith, it strengthened it. Genetics—fascinating. How else would everything on such a microscopic level work together to make every single thing that we see on this planet? Four nucleotides. Only four nucleotides of DNA recombine to make every single living thing. Reproduction—There is nothing more perfectly orchestrated than the birth of a child. And the most amazing part is that this thing—this baby—that was once nothing will grow up to have a personality, feelings, thoughts, ideas, talents, and may be a piece of the puzzle to something amazing in this life that God already knows about. Wow. How is that even possible? When I try to understand it, I can’t even wrap my mind around it. Individual atoms come together in specific combinations that keep me alive. The food that I eat is converted to things that my individual cells need and somehow they all work together and communicate so that everything gets where it needs to go. And what holds these trillions of cells together? Laminin. A structure in the shape of the cross is what holds literally all things together. Colossians 1:16-17 says 16 For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. 17 He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. All chemistry just so happens to work perfectly to sustain our lives in processes that we have no conscious control over. I can’t believe that all of this is chance. To me, logically, leaving this up to chance makes no sense at all. If left up to chance I’m not sure that anything could exist at all, but a species like our own in a perfectly balanced world stands no chance. The way that our brains work is nothing short of a miracle of God and that’s what it is. What is a thought? Can you measure the mind? Can you weigh a soul? You can track electric impulses but ultimately no. We can’t explain exactly how we think or feel and how this works. But it does and it’s amazing. And the fact that we can even think about this is amazing. God created something that not only works in this incredible way, but in a way that allows us to question it and learn.
And these feelings don’t just apply to science. Ethics—thank you, God, for instilling a moral compass in humanity that allows us to even come up with something such as ethics. The fact that we can put others before ourselves and empathize is nothing but a minute reflection of You. I praised you every time I got to go to an ethics class because You gave us the ability to even think in this manner. Philosophy—thank you for creating the great minds that were able to conjure up these thoughts and philosophical ideas and conversations from nothing. Without You they would not have the freedom of thought to give us the readings that we have today. Ancient history—the amount of innovation that came in this time to invent and build the technology is amazing. And the fact that it is preserved for us to see is awesome. Thank you. Calculus—someone coming up with this had to be divine intervention. You gave us this incredible ability above any other species to think in this way.
In every fact, equation, and idea that I learn, I have no choice but to praise the Creator. Without Him, I have no logic. Logically, I can’t reconcile all of the amazing things that happen around me every single day. Chemistry has had me on my knees praying for mercy, but also on my knees saying, “Wow, God. You are good.”
And this wasn’t always popular in the classroom with my classmates or my professors. Sometimes defending your faith simply means that you hold onto your beliefs and you aren’t afraid to say these things out loud in class maybe to the person next to you or your lab group. Other times this attitude will have people question you. I once had someone who is a proclaimed atheist ask me how I could be a logically thinking person and still believe what I believe. This is someone who I had had many classes with and on this night I had a chance to share with him in the student center of our school. He knew the story of the gospel already having been raised in a Christian home and so his question to me was how I had faith.
My answer was simple: I just do. I explained to him that that was the beauty of faith. I didn’t have to think it through. It wasn’t like our organic chemistry lab where every molecule had to be explained and accounted for. I told him that I had faith because looking around this world I could not believe that it was chance. I asked him what he thought happened when this life was over. His reply was nothing—he believed that he just ceased. And I asked him then what was this all for? How did he convince himself to get out of bed every single morning with the weight of the world on his shoulders? I told him that I didn’t know how I would go on every day with all the terrible things going on in the world if I didn’t believe that there was something greater after this. He pondered this for a minute and said that he still just couldn’t believe it. So I said one more thing to him asking if I could appeal to his logic.
Let’s say that I am right about the existence of my God. What have I gained? I have gained a source of peace and joy. I have gained someone to turn to when this world feels like it’s too much. I’ve gained something, whether you believe it is a placebo effect or not, that alleviates my fears, and gives me calm in the notion that I don’t have to be in control of what happens in my life. There is someone infinitely greater than myself who has an amazing plan for me that He will carry out if only I rely on Him. And if I am right, I have gained a place in eternity with my God where I will be allowed to worship Him until the end of time. What have I lost? Nothing. I was wrong in the eyes of humans and now when my life is over I will simply cease to exist experiencing nothing at all.
Let’s say that you are right about the existence of my God. What have you gained? You have gained a life full of pessimism, hate, and struggle in the very short time your soul was allowed to exist by chance. You have gained the stress of what it means to be solely responsible for the path your life takes. You have gained what it means to rely on humans who are ultimately unreliable. You have gained unimaginable grief that you have no way to explain or console. What have you lost? You have lost not only a life full of joy on this planet, but an eternal life spent in a place where there is no sadness, no fear, no pain. You will never see the Creator that made everything here spin into motion. You have lost not only the ability to have joy on this earth, but to have joy forever.
So, logically, what makes more sense?
The Bible says:
1 Peter 3:15 “but honor the Messiah as Lord in your hearts. Always be ready to give a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you.”
2 Corinthians 10:5 “We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ.”
I may not have changed his life that night, but I may have planted a seed. I could have ignored this chance to share my beliefs and that may have been easier, but I chose to defend my faith and I’m really glad that I did.