The Mathematicianís Prayer
By Kim Harvey

Dear God,

You have given us a world filled with the logic of science and mathematics. For many years, I have admired the perfection of your creation, the stability of knowing that many mysteries of the universe can be unraveled through the equations imbedded within it. We have confidence that one plus one equals two, that two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen produce water, that 16 ounces always equal one pound. What confounds me, Lord, is why simple laws of nature do not hold true in your word. Time and again, I see examples of supposed equations that, we are told, cannot be true; that scholars, having spent years studying and interpreting assure us are not what they may appear, on the surface, to mean.

For example, Acts 2:38 states: "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins... " Here, you seem to say:

Repentance + Baptism = Remission of Sins

How can this be so? Respected religious leaders of our day assure us that baptism is not essential, but merely an outward sign of an inward grace. Baptism, they affirm, takes place after salvation but is not an integral part of salvation. But why does 1 Peter 3:21 state that baptism saves us, (not the washing of the filth from the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God). And why does Mark 16:16 say that he who believes and is baptized will be saved?

Another point of confusion is Matthew 7:13-14: "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."

The number of lost > The number of saved

This is so hard to accept, Lord, when respected biblical scholars teach us that your infinite mercy does not allow you to mete out such harsh punishment on any of your creatures. That the concept of hell is foreign to your nature, and that, most probably, it does not even exist. That the many references to it should be discounted, even ignored. But why, Lord, if there are no lost, say there are many? If there is no hell, why the numerous scriptures that refer to it? And if there is no hell, where do the devil and his angels reside? Or does the devil also not exist? But then why Matthew 25:41, "Depart from Me, you cursed, into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels..."

In James 2:17: "Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead."

Faith - Works = Dead

Again, in verse 20, "But do you want to know, 0 foolish man, that faith without works is dead?" Dear Lord, all the religious world knows that salvation cannot be contingent on works, or man would earn his salvation. Rather, we are taught that if we believe in Christ, we will be saved--Belief = Salvation. But then why does Philippians 2:12 tell us to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling? And why does James 2:19 say that even the demons believe, and tremble! Are demons saved? Does this say belief does not equal salvation? Or are these the demons that may not exist? And why is a man foolish for not knowing that this is not true? And what about .... oh, never mind, perhaps we should move on.

Exodus 20:11: "For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them..."

Creation = 6X, where X = Days

I just don't understand how this could be. Theistic evolutionists teach us that you created the world through means of natural evolution, over millions of years--certainly not in six days. They see, as evidence of this, the oil and coal deposits present on the earth, the fossils and dinosaur bones, and the millions of years needed to carve the canyons and create mineral deposits; and they use the carbon dating process to prove it. They tell us that man, too, evolved slowly from lower life forms. Yet, your word tells us in Genesis 2:7 that you formed the body of a man before you ever gave it life. "And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living being." And Lord, if Luke 1:37 is true, and nothing is impossible for you, couldn't you have created an old world if you chose to?

In Mark 9:1: "Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power." If we assume this was written about 30 AD, and that the people in the audience could not have lived more than 120 years, this means the kingdom would have to come no later than 150 AD.

30 AD + 120 years = 150 AD

But the religious world awaits your Sonís return to the earth so He can establish this kingdom, which you seem to say came by 150 AD. And why, dear Lord, do you say in Colossians 1:13: "He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins." How can we be conveyed into a kingdom not yet established?

Finally, Lord, Luke 11:17 has caused much confusion in the religious world. "But He, knowing their thoughts, said to them: Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and a house divided against a house falls."

Kingdom/Itself = Fall

Lord, surely theologians have stated that there must be unity in our diversity, that what we believe is not as important as that we believe; that peaceful coexistence is vital to our religious survival. Galatians 1:8-9, says: "But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed." This leads people to think that what we believe is more important than being unified. What about Matthew 10:34? "Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword." Could this lead us to conclude that perhaps, unity is not the most important consideration. Again, Luke said: "Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away." {Luke 21:33} This seems to say that diversity will not bring about the extinction we must so diligently guard against.

Lord, in this world you have given us, it is reassuring to know that the laws of nature will always prevail. It gives us stability, security, and a knowledge of right and wrong. Yet, in the religious world, confusion appears to reign. Why, Lord, must theologians warn us against taking your word at face value? Why must we look for deep-seeded meanings and hidden agendas? When is an apple an apple, and when is your word a symbol of your deity? How do we know when we interpret these hidden meanings appropriately, and when we miss the point completely? Why canít the average man read your word and learn about you? Dearest Lord, the apparent inconsistencies of the law confound me; they confuse me. They cause me to question and, forgive me, doubt sometimes. I know I am but an imperfect being, a simple-minded soul imbedded in the concepts of logic and reason, but help me to accept, Lord, give me the ability to understand why You said things you didnít mean. And what, dear God, could you have meant when You made the statement in 1 Corinthians 14:33: "For God is not the author of confusion but of peace, as in all the churches of the saints." Amen

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