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Wednesday, July 26, 2017

There Be Dragons

I live in Arizona and have friends and family in California, so a couple times a year I head out the I-10 and back to make a visit. There is, on that route, a small town in the California desert called Desert Center. Strange town, but beside the point. At its off ramp there is a ridge on the other side of the interstate that runs perpendicular to the road. It is narrow and a deceptive mile or so long. For years I drove by and saw a ridge. Then, one day, I said, "Hey, that looks like a dragon."
Alligator Ridge, Riverside County, CA
Turns out, I'm not alone. Turns out the ridge is called "Alligator Ridge" and lots of people think there is a resemblance. If you look at the end of it, there appears to be a rock formation that could look like a dragon's head. The ridge has these jagged rocks at the top that look like the back of a dragon. It tapers off at the end like the tail would on a dragon. It really does resemble a dragon. Here's the funny thing. I used to never see a dragon, and now when I go by I can't not see a dragon.

Yes, I know, it sounds odd, but I'm pretty sure you've done the same thing. Staring at a random pattern on a carpet or a wall or rock formation or cloud and you see something definite. Maybe it's the configuration of the car in front of you and you see a face. Suddenly you know it's there. Could it have been intentional? Look away, look back, and you'll still see it. Someone else might say, "I see an elephant" and you know they're wrong. You can't "unsee" it.

We're all like this, and in much larger terms than dragons in rocks. Say, for instance, you haven't considered the idea and someone says, "You know, the whole world is matter. It is physical. There is nothing but matter." And you buy it. You agree. You operate on that premise. At that point, you cannot "unsee" it. You can't not see the dragon. Someone says, "What about love?" and you're pretty sure that love is a chemical reaction, a firing of synapses, maybe some hormones, because the world is matter and there is nothing else. Someone might tell you that God created the world and you know that can't be true, all evidence to the contrary, because you know that the whole world is matter and nothing else. Maybe someone tells you about this guy, Jesus, who was born and executed some 2,000 years ago that came to life a few days later. "Oh, no," you're pretty sure. "That doesn't happen." But this guy is smooth. He lays out the evidence. And it is convincing. So you say, "Okay, I can see that; I'll go along with you." This guy gets excited. "So, you're ready to come into a saving relationship with God?" "What?" you say, baffled, "No. I said I believe that Jesus rose from the dead. Nothing about a relationship with God. I assume that everything is matter and that this Jesus rose from the dead by some natural means that I just don't know about yet, but that's all." Because having seen materialism as the basis for all life, you cannot unsee it.

Beyond the light-hearted dragon in the desert, I have my own basis of operation from which I cannot deviate. God is, and His Word is true. For the materialist, reality is determined by the material. For me, reality is determined by God and His Word. My lifelong effort is to align my understanding of reality with what is in His Word, with what He has revealed about Himself. Why? Well, I've tested both presuppositions and I cannot make the former provide answers to what we see in life, but I'm seeing all sorts of correlation between God through His Word and the world around us. Materialism cannot explain origins, love, morality, and a host of other things, but a biblical premise answers all this and more. And having tested it -- having seen it -- I cannot unsee it. It makes sense out of "rocks". Other versions don't make it.

You're obviously free to run with whatever you want. Some hold to pure materialism, absolute humanism, devout secularism. Others try syncretism, trying to meld humanism and materialism with spirituality. Some even call it "Christian". It's not. There are Christian deists -- claiming a relationship with God but pretty sure He's a "hands off" God -- and practical atheists -- assuring us that they're devout while living as if they're not. None of these seem to hold the answers that a biblical worldview have. So you go with those. I'm going to enjoy mine. And, hey, you're welcome to join me in it.

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