Missing Pieces

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. – Hebrews 11:1

Just read.

The sound of single gunshot in the bckyrd woke his fmily. The uncomfortble proximity lso bruptly pulled him wy from his erly-morning ptio coffee. Pushing his mug side he stepped cutiously to his fence nd peered into his neighbor’s yrd. There ws Joe lying on his lwn, with gun in his hnd. The 911 Opertor received two ner simultneous clls reporting   shooting.

Every death investigation first determines the cause: accident, suicide, or homicide. In this case, every piece of evidence suggested suicide. One piece, however, remained absent.

The investigation had gathered the elements needed to explain what happened that morning. But when you read a paragraph with a vowel omitted from use or assemble a jigsaw puzzle only to find one piece missing, you get frustrated . This kind of thing just gnaws at an investigator. While, in itself, a lack of evidence is not evidence, a casing does not get up and walk away by itself.

Analysis indicated a semi-automatic handgun fired the fatal shot. A spent casing would eject from the weapon. Yet several searches of the thick St. Augustine lawn, using varying search patterns and metal detectors, yielded no casing.

But the fictional super-detective Sherlock Holmes did say, “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” Further inquiry revealed the missing casing had indeed walked out—in the boot tread of a responding Emergency Medical Technician at the scene. Case solved. Thank you Sherlock!

I suppose it would be cool if a divine being divulged the secrets of every crime scene with clear, precise, no-pieces-missing detail when I walked in. That is not a reality I currently enjoy. Unless we blatantly refuse, most of us do have the ability to fill in the blanks and read the first paragraph.

I have worked several crime scenes in my career in which physical evidence was minimal. But the fact it wasn’t there was a fact. In training investigators to deal with frustration I use the analogy of a jigsaw puzzle. We have more than enough pieces of the puzzle to see what the picture is. Look for the missing piece but don’t get frustrated if you can’t find it. Sometimes it’s not humanly possible. Frustration only hinders other aspects of the job.

I could have obstinately refused to continue the investigation because one piece of missing evidence. The need for a new career would quickly follow the epic stupidity. But as in all choices, I could have. Instead, by using the God-given ability to reason, my capacity to analyze crime scenes increased. The gift to determine truth for myself grows with each scene I work.

Faith works in a similar manner. But in the exploration of faith, there is a Divine Being willing to walk us through the mysteries of creation pointing out clues in written scripture and personal revelation.

Most people desire a deep understanding of the truth in the universe around us. The Spirit of God plants a seed of faith deep inside us. We instinctively know something or someone exists beyond just us.

I am no different. But the reason I have the faith I do, as noted many times on this blog, is because I objectively investigated the statements and claims of the Holy Bible for myself. My faith in them has only grown. God has given me the investigative capacity for examining the clues He has provided, “no matter how improbable.”

This yearning to know drives the growing field of Christian apologetics. Christian apologetics has been around since Christianity began. The Apostle Paul adeptly defended his faith on Mars hill in the book of Acts. The field holds great importance because some refuse even the possibility of biblical truth. They fear a revelation and actively oppose it. Cultural dominance of social media and global connection makes a defense of our faith, with gentleness and respect, more important than ever.

As with the ability to read the first paragraph, God gives most people sufficient investigative ability in matters of faith. I am, as the writer of Hebrews 11:1 related, assured in my faith because the evidence I have found convicts me of the truth it reveals.

I have been blessed by being part of the book launch group for the revised and updated edition of: Evidence That Demands A Verdict by Josh and Sean McDowell. Evidence is a deep archive-level “bible” of Christian apologetic knowledge. Navigation through the greatest mysteries in existence could be greatly aided by this book. It might provide you with the missing pieces of  your  puzzle.  I encourage everyone to read it upon publication.

Please allow the same advise I give new Crime Scene Investigators. Just because you don’t have all the pieces to complete the picture puzzle at once, don’t get frustrated. You can enjoy the picture you do have immensely. Earlier I said it might be nice if answers to all the questions were handed to us with no missing pieces. I think that would rapidly become boring though. I do love working my way through a good mystery. Do you?

Would You Leave My Grandparents Out Of This Please?

Jan Gossaert, Adam and Eve, c.1520 'The Northern Renaissance: Durer to Holbein' at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace - www.royalcollection.org.uk  2 November 2012 - 14 April 2013  Credit - Royal Collection Trust (c) 2012, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II  This photograph is issued to end-user media only. Single use only. Photographs must not be archived or sold on.
Jan Gossaert’s, Adam and Eve, c.1520

 

O Timothy, guard what has been entrusted to you, avoiding worldly and empty chatter and the opposing arguments of what is falsely called “knowledge” which some have professed and thus gone astray from the faith. 1 Timothy 1-6:20

The news story regarding the “Genetic Adam and Eve” is revitalized again. Reportedly new data regarding when these people lived has been found. I know that using the names is an attention draw. However, I would appreciate all parties involved leaving my grand parents’ name out of it. They are not talking about the biblical Adam and Eve.

I personally do believe in a biblical, historical, first man and woman created by God as the predecessors of all mankind. I realize many scientists, and others, do not hold my beliefs. I also completely understand why some Christian scientists, and others, are attempting to support biblical scripture by the argument about DNA. However adding more to the crowd noise doesn’t help the situation.

In his letter to Timothy the Apostle Paul wrote about this very thing. It does little but detract from the real purpose of the whole Bible.

Other than the book of Genesis only one other raises as much discontent—the book of Revelation. I find it amazing how the first and last books of the Bible draw so much away from the ones in between them. Particularly as the events in them remain hidden in time. They can never be proven unless we either go back in time (which is not likely), or reach the last day (at which point it won’t matter). Until then the majority of debates based around them are moot.

As a Crime Scene Investigator I know certain criteria must be documented to prove the value of evidence in a case regardless of findings:

1. The location and time of collection.

2. The method of collection used.

3.  How it was processed.

4. Who had custody of it through the entirety of the process.

If these qualifiers are not met, the evidence is invalid. It will not be accepted into court and its collection pointless. The debates and arguments about the scripture of Genesis and Revelation all fail in one of these areas. Without them one side will never be able to convince the other side they are right.

Light was created in the beginning by God. God will be the light which removes the need of the sun and moon in the end of time. God came to the cross for us all somewhere in the middle of these times. A cross lit from front and back casts shadows to the front and the back. Our only hope of salvation is presented in both books but merely as shadows from the center. The heart of the Bible is the cross.

By all means read and study Genesis and Revelation. These are vital parts of the whole. You will be blessed by them. And, yes, be a defender of your faith in God, through Jesus Christ. There is a definite need for apologetics in our world. Nonetheless do it as the Apostle Peter adjured. Not through endless debate but by giving an account based on the center of “the hope that is in you” .