All Things Dull and Ugly

A while back, I made a post on the issue: why would God create the spider wasp? Today, I received the following question from a reader and, as my reply was beginning to get a bit long-winded, I thought that instead, I would attempt to answer it here in open forum. By the way, I remember another blogger doing a kind of ‘ask questions’ thing on his blog and it is something I would also be quite happy to do, so if you have any questions for me, please send them here.

The comment also contained a link to a Monty Python rendition of Eric Idle’s All Things Dull and Ugly. The song makes the same point as the question with which the post was dealing i.e. if you believe that God created the universe and everything in it, then he didn’t just create All things Bright and Beautiful.

So here is the question (and thanks for asking it Marc):

You are correct in stating that a paradox does not disprove God. However your initial question “Why Would God Create The Spider Wasp?” is still left unanswered. What is a proper creationist position on that?

My first thoughts are that the creationist perspective would probably be better addressed by a ‘creationist’. The label is something that not many people would apply to me since, amongst other possibly contentious beliefs, I think that evolution is God’s creative process and I also believe in an ancient Earth.

That said, I did want to address the fact that I had left the original question unanswered. That is perfectly true. The point I wanted to make was that it is easy to construct questions that are difficult, if not impossible, to answer and you don’t have to be a genius or an atheist to do it. Furthermore, you can put God into those questions or you can leave him out.

For example:

  • Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (circular reference)
  • Can God create a stone he cannot lift? (paradox)
  • How did a fool and his money get together in the first place? (joke)

They are good questions and, as the popular song says, “there are more questions than answers and the more I find out, the less I know.” In fact, there really are no great answers, there are only great questions. It would be just as easy for religious people (Christians and others) to compose impossible questions for atheists to answer. Such inability to provide an answer does not however prove that God exists.

There was an episode recorded in the gospels in which a group of religious people (chief priests and scribes) asked Jesus a question after he had thrown the money changers out of the temple:

“By what authority do you do these things?”

Jesus said to them, “I will ask you a question. Answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things.”

Now I don’t know about you, but I think that is a fair response don’t you? You know, answer my question and I will answer yours – seems perfectly fair to me. Jesus then showed them how easy it is to construct a trick question by presenting them with a question they were not able to answer and, as a consequence, he did not feel obliged to answer their question either.

To return to the subject of the spider wasp and the creatures mentioned in the song All Things Dull and Ugly, it is a good question. Well done for asking it. That is why I believe we are here; to grapple with the great questions. But, don’t be seduced by those with pro-atheist views that such a question somehow disproves the existence of God.

5 thoughts on “All Things Dull and Ugly

  1. Paul

    In the same vein I once read or heard the following tale:

    A very irritated person inquired from an old lady why, oh why, God saw fit to create the common fly. They added no value in the greater scheme of things and were an only an absolute nuisance in their hovering around foodstuff and buzzing around people.

    Her reply was that they fulfilled a very important need in that they forced people to live clean and not to be negligent regarding being hygienic about themselves and their immediate environment.
    Makes you think hey!

  2. Delton

    I believe we may find things ugly but someone may come
    along and think it is beautiful. and vice versa.

    As the old saying, “beauty is in the eye of the beholder”.

    The bible says God looked at each creation and found it perfect. To God it must be beautiful. As for proving that God exist, I think proving that God exist is next to impossible and on the other hand, proving God does not exist also is next to impossible.

    Evolution and creation by a Big Bang may be true but I would like for someone to tell me where the material or gasses came from and also who struck the match to set off the explosion.

  3. DR

    Good post, and I like the angle you took. I think there are some questions to which there are no answers, and never will be. And that’s okay. Some of the best questions are the ones that make us improve just by *thinking and wondering* about them. In fact, to try to answer them would be beside the point. I mean, can you imagine a wise man offering a parable, and then some arrogant guy comes along and ruins that peaceful thoughtful moment with, “ya ya I know the answer, here’s the answer, blah blah blah.” So I totally resonate with your belief that we are here to grapple with the great questions.

  4. Reginald E. Forbes

    Your comments on “Why Did God Make The Spider Wasp” was very interesting. I’d like to add my two cents. I agree that it is much easier to ask questions than to answer them, but I would also say that we cannot always explain God’s motives for doing things. There are some things only God can explain. If we knew everything about God, He would not be God. There are some deep things that belong to Him.I’m content to wait until I see Him to find out the answers.

  5. Lauren

    I think that ugly and beautiful are labels that we humans stick on things to distinguish certain characteristics from another. One day while visiting my mom and sister, we were looking out into the backyard. In back of that is slough which eventually turns into the Willapa River. This was October and the green of spring and summer turned to the browns of autumn. I pointed out all the different aspects: the shades of brown and light yellows of the grasses, the stark branches of trees that dropped their leaves, leaving them etched against the landscape. The pale blue of the sky overhead, how everything worked together in harmony. My sister turned to me and said, “I never noticed that before.” I said, “There is beauty everywhere when you just notice and not dismiss it.” Even my mother “saw” it. Whether or not it disproves or proves the existence of a god isn’t the answer or question. It’s when we create dissonance, that we start looking for it. Great article.

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