The one thing that defines me more than anything, maybe more than everything else combined, is my faith.
I’m a Christian. This means many things. I could summarize the most salient points, but the result would be either too long to hold anyone’s interest or too short to relate it in a personal way.
I’ll start with this: I believe in God.
I believe in a specific God: the God of the Holy Bible. God is not a generic notion of omnipotence, He is not a freely interchangeable concept of deity, and He is not a vague cosmic force. He is the God of scripture; the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob; He is the great “I am”.
I have believed in God since I was very young. I don’t remember a time when I didn’t have some sense of Him, but I was eight years old when I took my first conscientious step of faith. A pastor from a small church in Arcata, California explained to me the ideas of sin and forgiveness, separation from God and the free offer of reconciliation through faith in His son, Jesus. I made a decision. We knelt together on the small patch of lawn in front of the church and he led me in prayer.
My family didn’t attend church at that time and so for years my faith stagnated. It wasn’t until I was sixteen years old that a friend (who would later become my wife) challenged me to reexamine my beliefs. I did, and found they hadn’t changed. At the same time I found I didn’t understand them very well. I’ve spent the past twenty-plus years correcting that.
I examined and tested and re-examined my faith over the years. I studied the Bible. I earned a degree in physics. I read philosophy and mathematics. I questioned everything—everything I learned, everything I experienced only reinforced the faith that first took root when I was eight years old. Those roots have held firm through both intellectual challenges and personal trials. They survived my darkest nights, the times I found no comfort in them, and they grew deeper and stronger than ever.
I still have quite a long way to go, and so I’ll keep exploring. I’ll examine my faith each day of my life until that last moment when, having taken my last step, everything I hold dear and true is put to the final test.
Suffice to say I’m confident in the results.