The bewilderment of Nicodemus

The topic of evolution and creationism continues to be a hot topic of debate in this day and age.

Proponents of Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution (where only the fittest survive) say that Science has mounting evidence in favour of the natural selection process and that through this process, populations and species of organisms have evolved over time. In line with the evolutionary reasoning, humans share a common ancestry with apes.

Creationists, on the other hand, believe that the world was created by God in six days. This included God’s creation of man and woman:

‘Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”

So God created mankind in his own image,
 in the image of God he created them;
 male and female he created them.’ (Genesis 1:26-27 (NIV))

Depending on which side of the camp we belong, the debate is either powered by scientific data or Scriptural truth. While creationists believe in the Biblical account of creation, evolutionists contend that creationists lack scientific evidence. At best, evolutionists may say, the creation account in Genesis is part of Biblical mythology and is not to be taken literally.

Intellectual reasoning or the eyes of faith?
In Chapter 3 of the book of John, we are introduced to Nicodemus, a member of the Jewish ruling council. Nicodemus is curious about Jesus — curious enough to come and visit Jesus (presumably secretly) at night.

Nicodemus is convinced that Jesus is a “teacher who has come from God”. Why? Nicodemus reasons: ‘…For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.’ (John 3:2 (NIV))

Jesus gets right to the point and wastes no time in explaining to Nicodemus: ‘…“Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.”‘ (John 3:3 (NIV))

Nicodemus, presumably baffled by what Jesus said to him, tries to process this information in the most logical (and literal) way that his mind allows him. He relies on his intellectual reasoning and “scientific” understanding of how things are supposed to work: “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!” (John 3:4 (NIV))

After Jesus goes on to explain further, Nicodemus is still baffled and asks: “How can this be?…” (John 3:9 (NIV))

Nicodemus’ struggle to comprehend reminds us that while Science has indeed helped us understand how the world around us works, it has its limitations. No amount of laboratory and field tests, and other evidentiary data, has solved the deep mysteries of life. By the same token, while medical Science allows us to understand how things work in the human anatomy, it doesn’t explain life’s origins.

Among other things, Jesus says to Nicodemus: ‘I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things?’ (John 3:12 (NIV))

Are we like Nicodemus, insisting for answers based on our intellectual reasoning?

Or, through believing in Jesus, have we allowed ourselves to see His amazing creation from the eyes of faith?

‘For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.’ (John 3:16 (NIV))

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