Loch Ness Faith

Do you know what happened on this day in 1933?  According to onthisday.com, this is the anniversary of the first sighting of the Loch Ness Monster.  Mrs. Aldie MacKay, driving along the shore of the loch with her husband Mr. John MacKay, reportedly shouted at her husband to stop the car because she saw a “beast” in the water.  And so started the legend of Nessie, the Loch Ness Monster.  Or, maybe not.  A Wikipedia article on the Loch Ness Monster cites a work published in 1961 in which the first sighting of Nessie goes back to an Irish monk, St. Columba, in 565.  Sightings continue to the present day, all contributing to the mystique of the legend.

Since we live in a scientific era, there has been no lack of effort to use modern tools - from sonar to DNA analysis - to try and answer the question once for all:  is there a strange creature (or has there ever been a strange creature) living in the depths of Loch Ness?  Or, are all these sightings the result of over-active imaginations, inebriation, and wishful thinking?

To date (at least according to the same Wikipedia article), there has been no definitive proof of the existence of a monster in Loch Ness.  But how does one settle this kind of argument?  You can’t count what is missing.  The lack of evidence is hardly evidence of the lack of a monster.  That is exactly what the proponents of Nessie (mostly in the tourist trade, I suspect) are counting on.  You can’t discount what you can’t see;  only a sliver of possibility is needed to fuel the speculation.  “What if . . . ?”

It is unfortunate, but the vast majority of people consider faith in God to be the same thing as belief in the Loch Ness Monster.  “Some people just need that,” they reason.  Since “seeing is believing” is one of the predominate pillars of western worldviews, we are quick to smile at and dismiss whimsical desires like believing in the Loch Ness Monster or spiritual beings.  There is, however, a huge difference between faith in Loch Ness and faith in God.

Unlike Nessie, discussion about the existence of God is not dependent on questionable witnesses, fuzzy photographs, or arguments from silence.  The order and design in the natural world cannot be explained without the presence of an Architect.  Without a Creator, we cannot offer a plausible explanation for WHY:  why does the natural world exist, why do we exist, why are humans the only species that can explore and express abstract philosophical concepts like, “What is good?” Even if our current reality started with a massive explosion in the distant past, what is the source of the materials and pre-conditions to make that possible?  If life has no Author, why is it we must all have a sense of hope in order to survive?

There is historical evidence, documented in human time and space, that validates the existence of a supreme being out there. The beauty and marvels of the natural world, the scope and synchronous nature of our universe and galaxy, and the complexity and capabilities of the human mind should all predispose us to see there is something bigger.  

Unfortunately, despite these evidences, our reality is also plagued by dysfunction and an irresistible urge for independence.  We live in denial.  We want to be the authors of our own destiny.  We even go to the extreme of denying the obvious in order to facilitate and gratify our desires.  We displace the credible (evidence for God) with the incredible (the pursuit of Nessie) all to avoid the inevitable conclusions we would face if we were to accept the reality of a Creator God.

If we take the time to pause and reflect on these questions, we must at least acknowledge that something is going on here.  There is too much “out there” to definitively declare, “There is no God.”  The evidence protests against that.  That there is a Creator God is worthy of belief.  This is the essence of faith:  to be convinced by the evidence of the seen to have assurance of the unseen.  

Embracing the reality of God is immeasurably transformational.  Our passions, priorities, and perspective are refreshed.  Even in the darkest days, hope abounds.  We discover a renewed purpose.  God does His good work to produce in us gentleness, compassion, patience, and joy.  Belief in God means someone, like Mrs. Aldie MacKay did 90 years ago, will notice something different.  There will be no need for scientific tools;  the work of the Creator God who changes us is its own evidence.

Graham Bulmer
Lead Pastor
Graham and Sharon Bulmer bring many years of pastoral, teaching, leadership development and administrative experience to the Q50 Community Church plant. They served in Latin America as missionaries for almost 15 years, and have pastored here in Canada.