IT IS NOT ABOUT ME – Ch01-part 3

A Quadriplegic’s Autobiography by JQuisumbing

Click here to read Chapter 1 Part 2

Chapter 1 – He is Real

continued…

I don’t mind saying that Mr. Kilmer’s conclusion that ‘only God can make a tree’ makes the only logical sense of God’s existence to me, at least. Think about how trees produce offspring. How do trees spread their seeds? As far as I know, except in movies, trees can’t walk through the forest like the Lord of the Rings’ Ent character named Treebeard planting seeds. Now, that would be a sight to see, but again, that’s just fantasy. Here’s an observation about forest floors like the Muir Redwood forest just north of San Francisco. Among the tall trees, you will hardly find a single young tree among the older trees. The reason is that any seed landing on that ground, after a long while will end up dead. The forest floor is a harsh environment for any seed to survive. But yet that forest, when not frequently logged by man, will continue to expand as if by design. In every type of forest throughout the world, there is an ingenious ecological system at work.

Let us go back to the redwood forest. There are no young trees among the old growths. However, you go to the edge of the forest and you will find the youngsters. The seeds of a redwood tree are produced in a cone cluster. Now, by itself, the cone is way too heavy for the wind to carry to the forest’s edge. So, how do the older trees propagate themselves? Enter the squirrel which breaks up the cone to individual seeds. Some are eaten, the rest stored in its cheek. Then, a hungry owl snatches it to its nest where the squirrel is devoured, including the seed. The owl flies to the edge of the forest to hunt for rabbits. The seed is defecated whole onto the ground where a chipmunk readily picks it up and chews on it more, breaking off the husk. Small particles of the core with enough genetic material in it somehow get buried in the soft moist soil and it sprouts. By the way, I actually watched this scenario on a TV nature show.

In other similar shows, some trees don’t need the postal services of animals to disperse their seed. There are seeds out there like the whirling, winged seeds of conifers that even a slight breeze can easily launch them into the air. I used to collect these seeds off the ground when I was a kid. The seed had two protruding wings and when I threw a handful into the air, they would hover for a moment like tiny helicopters and gently float back to the ground. Naturalists had described them as an engineering wonder. And why not? For me, nature tells me that there is a great working mind behind all this.

Oh, I can hear the vaulted voices of the wise shouting out in my head, demanding (again) for scientific proof. I’m talking about my evolutionist friends who try to get me to debate with them between Creationism versus Evolution.

Creationism and the study of evolution has been a controversial debate for decades now, leaving many people on one side or the other. Creationism argues that faith should take precedence over science, basing its beliefs on one book for guidance, the Bible. Evolutionists believe that the earth is much older than the Bible describes, and that plants, animals, and humans are a result of a natural progression called evolution. There were no common ancestors (Adam and Eve) from whom we came; it was a natural selection process, stemming from inorganic compounds and nature.

[Thesis by Alyssa Beck, Senior Seminar, December 2, 2002 – http://www.goshen.edu]

I hope you don’t mind, but I still do not want to contribute to the arguments of this debate. Besides, I think there are enough of that online, the latest of which was between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham, an Australian Christian fundamentalist.

The video of the more than two-hour debate, in which Nye and Ham presented their views on how the Earth and its surroundings came about, has been viewed more than 830,000 times on YouTube. At one point, the live event drew more than 500,000 viewers. In terms of who “won” the debate, the audience of Britain’s Christian Today website says it was Nye, hands down. [www.npr.org]

Now, one main reason why I avoid this debate is because I feel there are no real winners on both sides. And TRUTH is not served. However, I can not stand on the sidelines and be a true friend to all. So, allow me to present another angle. I will do this by re-enacting a similar debate between two beloved characters of the hit TV sitcom, ‘Friends’ (1994-2004).

The character of Ross Geller, who was both an academic and evolutionist, was appalled that the ditzy character of Phoebe Buffay did not believe in evolution. Throughout that episode, Ross would adamantly bring her evidence after evidence but she would not budge. In one scene, he implied that everyone can literally see the species evolving in the fossil records found from all over the world. For a while, Phoebe paused in contemplation and Ross thought that she was going to capitulate but then she came back with this, “The real question is, who put those fossils there and why?” The debate then took a turn for Ross, when Phoebe presented her final and may I say disarming retort.

Again Ross came to her with what he called his ‘briefcase of facts’. Before he could continue on, Phoebe cut him off and told him that she was not denying evolution, but that it was one of the possibilities. Ross quickly countered that evolution is the ONLY possibility. Then, Phoebe rose from her seat exasperated and unloaded on him like a mother scolding a stubborn little boy. She said, “Ross, can you just open your mind this much?!” Her right hand was raised comically, gesturing like she was pinching an invisible almond. It was magic! Phoebe rattled on about certain new scientific observations, then delivered her coup de grâce: “Are you telling me, that you are so unbelievably arrogant, that you can’t admit that there is a teeny-tiny possibility that you could be wrong about this?” The look on Ross’ face was just perfect. Like a deer caught in headlights, doubt was clearly written on his face. Kudos to David Schwimmer’s acting (the actor playing Ross Geller).

The funny clincher of this episode was that at the end we discover that when Ross gave in to just a teeny-tiny bit to her way of thinking, the episode revealed that Phoebe was pulling his leg all along and Ross dejectedly retreated out the door to background laughter and clapping all around.

Though this episode of Friends was meant for entertainment, Phoebe’s final question is worthy of all our consideration. Let me explain.

To be continued…

Click here to read Chapter 1 Part 4 (not yet posted)

IT IS NOT ABOUT ME – Ch01-part 2

A Quadriplegic’s Autobiography by JQuisumbing

Click here to read Chapter 1 Part 1

Chapter 1 – He is Real

One question that was always asked of me was, ‘Can I prove that God is real?’

Common sense tells us that no human being could ever give a satisfying answer. But yet, the apostle Peter wrote that we should always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks us to give the reason for the hope that we have. And that we do this with gentleness and respect. (1 Peter 3:15)

Keeping the last part of verse 15 in mind, let me say that I do not consider it my place to make you believe that God is real. I don’t think I could anyway, just like the same way you could not convince me that He is not real. So, how does one get through this enigmatic situation? For myself, it’s again simple. I don’t have to. The Scriptures say that you already know that He is… deep down.

For what can be known about God is plain to mankind, because God has shown it to them. For His invisible attributes, namely, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So that mankind is without excuse. (Romans 1:19,20 ESV)

Somehow, I always knew HE was there. Of course, I could not really explain how I knew until the words of the Bible were made clear in my latter days. For instance, the passage above said that God’s divine nature is clearly seen in the things that have been made… that is, in creation… in nature.

Back in the 1960s, my family took a weekend excursion to the Redwood forest. This was my first time in any forest. Being among those tall trees was fantastic, until our old station wagon drove right through a giant Redwood. I was blown away. I thought that tree was big, until I saw what my dad claimed was the grandfather of trees. It was so humongous… so colossal that I could not believe that it was real. To give you an idea how big that tree was, National Geographic featured a photo of it with 20 or so people encircling the base holding onto out-stretched hands. My eyes tried to follow the giant trunk up to its very top but I comically ended up falling backward. It’s a good thing my dad was close enough to catch me.

Trees are wonderous organisms. Wherever they are in the world, people have visited them from great distances. They cherish, revere and even celebrate them. The tree’s beauty and longevity have sparked inspiration in drawings, paintings, stories, and poetry. One of my favorite poems was written by an early-20th century American poet and a believer named Joyce Kilmer (1886–1918) who wrote a classic about trees.

Trees by Joyce Kilmer
published in 1914

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.
A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the earth’s sweet flowing breast;
A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;
A tree that may in Summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;
Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.
Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Only GOD can make a tree!

To be continued…

Click here to read Chapter 1 Part 3