David Holford

Unicorns

A pre-kindergarten teacher recently attempted to explain to a child in her class that unicorns are not real. The teacher told her that it was because God didn’t create unicorns and that they were just pretend.

First of all, it is illogical to assume that because there is no present evidence of living unicorns or the preserved or fossilized remains of a unicorn known to exist, that unicorns have never existed. New discoveries, often of things previously thought impossible, are made all the time.

There are natural history accounts of unicorns in ancient Greek literature. There is the persistent imagery across time and cultures.  There’s no scientific reason they couldn’t exist or have existed.

But let’s leave that where it is. Whether or not unicorns exist as living creatures now or in the past is mostly the concern of pre-kindergartners and their teachers.  There aren’t large numbers of a-unicornists trying to convince everyone else that unicorns don’t exist. This is probably because there are not a lot of evangelistic unicornists.

A number of atheists have attempted to explain to me that God isn’t real, because unicorns are not real. The specious logic is that we cannot see any unicorns, therefore unicorns are not real. Likewise we cannot see God, therefore God is not real. Anything one believes in that cannot be seen must therefore be imaginary.

While I think the jury is out on unicorns, let assume, arguendo, that such creatures have never existed. Does the belief by some in an imaginary creature equate to the belief in an imaginary Creator? I don’t think so.

God is, by his very nature, invisible. He is not directly discerned by the senses. Belief in him is a matter of faith. Rational faith, but faith nonetheless.

The rationality comes from looking at the evidence. The sub-atomic physical building blocks of the universe cannot be seen, even though technology is getting closer and closer to being able to do so. However, there is a rational explanation for why they are there. They produce evidence.

Even after main sub-atomic particles were understood – sight unseen – there were various others that were rationally determined to exist because the math said they should.

Likewise before planetary bodies like Neptune and Pluto were seen – as they we unable to be seen unaided, and in the case of Pluto a long time in finding even with telescopic sight and sound – the evidence around them indicated their existence.

As my wife has been studying anatomy and physiology in her return to university, she has remarked on several occasions that she is amazed that anyone with education in the medical sciences could not believe in God. The order and complexity of every living creature defies the possibility of random selection and unguided evolution.

St Paul says as much in Romans 1:20-21

For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.

Part of that great mystery of God came in the Incarnation. From a brief time, men saw with their eyes, looked upon and their hands handled Him. (1 John 1:1) In the life, teaching, death, resurrection and ascension of Jesus, we have greatest evidence of God – not just of His existence, but of His character.

Unicorns existed or they didn’t and it’s of no great moment. God doesn’t just exist. He has a relationship with us. He is the principal actor and initiator in establishing that relationship as Creator. As with all other relationships, it has boundaries and demands. That’s why St Paul in Romans chapter 1 can note that refusing to acknowledge God has much bigger ramifications than just a simple lack of belief in His existence.

Likewise, acknowledging Him, and Jesus Christ Whom he has sent, has much bigger ramifications that just the simple belief in His existence. It is eternal life. I don’t mean perpetual existence. I mean that in Him was life and that life was light of men.

That’s something no pink unicorn or flying spaghetti monster or any other mythical or mocking creature has to offer.

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