“The Fundamental Answer”
Our entire lives appear to revolve around questions! This very statement generates its own pivotal question: Where would we be without questions? They are the very life-blood of our existence.
Parents often grow weary when bombarded by the endless questions of their offspring. I remember my own mother’s exasperated response to my whining ‘why’ questions. “Because ‘why’s’ a crooked letter – and you can’t straighten it” she would say.
But a celebrated scientist, Julius Sumner-Miller, became known for his trademark questioning: “Why is it so?” he would always ask. And the fact remains that the greatest scientific discoveries have all stemmed from questions about life, the universe and our place within it. The greatest technological advances have all emanated from fundamental questions. Indeed, every branch of human learning has at its core, a continuous matrix of questions.
A provincial newspaper running a daily column designed to answer readers’ queries, once listed the top ten unanswerable questions. Here’s one of them: “I’m nine years of age and have a cat that likes eating. He really needs to go on a diet. He also eats mice. How many calories are there in a mouse?”
A nervous student once fronted up for a two-part – oral and written exam. He didn’t mind the written examination but, broke into a sweat at the thought of the oral exam. Asking advice of one of his friends, he was warned that any hesitancy in his answers would be interpreted by his examiners as ignorance. He must answer decisively and try to give the impression that he had a good knowledge of the subject – even if he didn’t.
Sure enough, a difficult question soon popped up on an unfamiliar science subject. Although unable to answer the question, he nevertheless responded boldly: ‘I’m sorry. I’ve covered that ground and know the answer – but at the moment, my mind’s gone blank!”
“What a tragedy!” said the examiner. “Scientists have been searching for an answer to that question for the last two thousand years!”
Some years ago, while walking along a street in Johannesburg, South Africa, a Scotsman noticed a piece of paper in the gutter on which was written in large letters: ‘Five thousand pounds reward!’
Curious, and thinking of what he could do with such a substantial reward, he stooped down and retrieved the paper. It turned out to be a four-page gospel tract. On opening it he read: ‘Five thousand pounds will be paid to the person or persons who can answer the following question: “How shall we escape, if we neglect such a great salvation”?’ Needless to say, the reward remains unclaimed to this day!
The fact remains that there are no loopholes in God’s plan of salvation; no mitigating circumstances that will allow us to make excuses for failing to embrace the love of God; no valid reason for ignoring God’s clearly stated command to love Him first and foremost – and to love each other with the same commitment.
We can ask peripheral questions all we like – and we do – but in the end, the fundamental answer’s the same: We were created to love God in response to His love for us. That’s the bottom line. And with faith and trust thrown into the equation – it’s not too difficult!