The Pieces Just Don’t Fit (Part 1 of 2)

There’s something about a rebellious 7th grader and a one thousand-piece puzzle set that just don’t mix. But there I was, sitting at a table, being punished, having to painstakingly and meticulously piece together this stupid image of a serene farm in autumn, a farm I cared nothing for and saw no beauty in. But under penalty of after school suspension, I had to finish it.

So what does a bratty, undisciplined pre-teen do when he is faced with a crappy activity he hates? Why, he ruffles through the pieces and finds the more colorful ones and slams them together into one big mob–whether they fit or not! The rest of the pieces get discreetly thrown back into the box when the teacher isn’t looking. “Close enough”, I figured. No after school detention for me that day!

Had the teacher looked a little closer, my plot would have been foiled. Old and nice, white-haired and soft-spoken Mrs. Cloud in her early 70’s would have seen that the pieces I mashed together were not a perfect match at all, but oh how eyes with less than 20/20 vision can reduce one’s powers of perception!

I never noticed it as a believer, but so many things in God’s most holy of books didn’t fit with what I was taught about the natural world. I could see the logic behind Bible statements, “And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.” (Genesis 1:16) But my view of the natural world - much like our jumbled and contorted puzzle above - didn’t quite fit with Bible mythology.

For one, the sun and moon end up not being able to obey orders all the time. Heavy cloud cover often blocks out sun and moonlight. In the case of a meteor or comet disaster, such as the massive one that touched ground in the Yucatan Peninsula some sixty five millions years ago, wiping out the dinosaurs, sending thousands of cubic miles of dirt into the sky, blocking out light and changing Earth’s climate drastically, the results were cataclysmic. Over fifty percent of life on Earth was destroyed. For almost half a year in the northern and southern Polar Regions, the light of the sun is not to be seen. The inhabitants there live in deprecating darkness. The orbital mechanics of Earth have it so that the moon only shows up in the sky a number of nights per month. So even under ideal conditions, this “lesser light” doesn’t do his job, and never does he do it well. There’s no way by moonlight to see if there are any bugs in my sleeping bag if I’m out camping, and certainly not enough light to read the Bible before bedtime as God would want us to do!

Then, of course, there is the fact that if people had been around three billion years ago, the moon would have been a real bastard! The moon has always been a record-holding mass murderer, producing natural disasters; back when Earth had six-hour days, the moon brought massive tidal waves that pulverized Earth’s surface daily, but you wouldn’t know that today. Today, the moon has gone from overzealous to near apathetic when compared to the earlier impressions he made. He is starting to get lax on his duties as he is retreating from Earth at about an inch and a half per year, slowly but consistently losing his grip on our beloved planet. How this is supposed to “declare” the glory of God in the firmament is beyond me. If it does, God’s glory must be as fleeting and changing as these celestial evangelists that declare it.

Then there is the problem of the moon having craters. Not exactly what you would expect to find in a flawless creation of God large enough to stabilize our planet and solicit awe from mankind. The thing is scarred with craters, and these are marks of a chaotic past, not an orderly creative one. The moon is a testimony to death, to catastrophe, and not life or universal harmony of God’s workmanship. It should be an embarrassment for the Bible believer because by the looks of it, it wasn’t created at all, but formed naturally in a planetary collision billions of years ago. That is what science says happened. More than anything else, the moon is like a great big tombstone to Earth—gray, dead, barren, and over our heads. It just lacks our names!

I am embarrassed to say I once believed that a greater light was made to rule the day and a lesser light was made to rule the night (even though there weren’t two lights, only one, the latter being a simple reflection of the former), but I have since come to understand that neither were “made” for anything or anyone, anymore so than Sirius B was “made” for the Dogon people of Africa to worship as the creator of all life on Earth. But this is not all. The real tickler is to follow.

The Bible says, “He made the stars also.” Oh, just like that! God made the world then the stars! What’s wrong with this picture? We know that stars had their origins before everything else we see around us, certainly long before planets. But to Bible writers, God creating stars was just as trivial as picking up laundry detergent at Mr. Patel’s local Sac n’ Save corner store on your way home from work. The stars were just an afterthought of God…nothing big, certainly not colossal nuclear reactors or nurseries of planets like we know they are now. They were unimportant except to serve as points of light in the sky, testimonies to the creative power of a ghost. This would be a more than forgive-able error for people of that time period to make had believers in this myth not claimed divine inspiration, and thus, infallibility in all matters, secular and religious.

The unsurpassed arrogance boggles the mind…Biblicists want us to believe that the ultimate meaning of NGC 598, the Sombrero Galaxy, M81, Andromeda, and all the other hundreds of billions of galaxies in existence were really created as heavenly testimonies to exalt and extol a Hebrew war-god on a planet far, far away called “Earth,” who commanded his people to kill lambs and turtledoves so that he can take pleasure in the smell of it (Psalm 19:1-5; Leviticus 1:9; 12:6). Like an ugly, middle-aged, business tycoon with a hairy back, who buys a Ferrari just to be noticed by floozy college girls less than half his age, God created galaxies and stars just for us to look up at and admire! The very thought calls for a contemplative sigh of amazement!