Today, I walked into our local bookstore and saw in the mystery section finally in paperback, “Mr. Monk in Outer Space.” I love the Monk TV series and I’ve thoroughly enjoyed the novels. I honestly didn’t care too much for the last one though of “Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants.” That’s part of what I’m writing about. So far though, this one has my attention and I think I am onto something in it as to who committed the crime.
Maybe you’re a mystery fan also. I’m going to be using Monk as my example, but you can easily fit in whoever you wish. If you’re watching a mystery program on TV, you watch and you’re trying to find out how everything fits together. You’re sure that X committed the crime and maybe you know why. Maybe you don’t know who committed it instead. Maybe you think you’ve got the case nailed. Either way, you love it when the summation happens.
That’s when the scene changes and everything goes into black and white. On Monk, that part begins with the legendary words “Here’s what happened.” Then, the crime is shown again and you see how everything fit together and all of those loose pieces you couldn’t figure out make sense and if you didn’t get it, you sit back and kick yourself and say “I should have known!”
At least, that’s how it should be.
That’s one reason I was disappointed by “Mr. Monk and the Two Assistants.” That one just didn’t piece together. I got to the end and said “That doesn’t make sense. There’s so much left unexplained.” If that happens to us in a mystery, we are disappointed. If there’s a solution to the mystery, it should have explanatory power.
I am amazed that we approach reality the same way. We look at the world and see so many things and think there needs to be an explanation. A naturalist will point to evolution and a Christian will point to the hand of God. We see the empty tomb of Christ and no one says “It’s empty. So what?” Instead, everyone tries to come up with an explanation. As a Christian, I side with “God raised Jesus from the dead.” Our skeptics have their own theories, but everyone tries to explain it.
This is particularly interesting when we get to the Problem of Evil as it’s called. We immediately see evil and think “There has to be an explanation.” Please note that. The only reason one objects is to find an answer. If there is no answer, then we simply end up with nihilism. Everything is meaningless in the end. We complain about evil because we want there to be an answer and deep down, most of us think there is. We don’t believe this is senseless madness.
Why do we approach it that way? Because we believe there is order here. We believe that somehow, everything in this universe is supposed to fit together. Even the evil that we don’t understand is supposed to fit in somehow. This event that seems so foreign to our world will make sense in some way. There must be an explanation.
This is one thing I try to do in my apologetics. I don’t want shallow answers. I want answers that fit and explain things. Too often, we can give minute answers to questions. Now I realize there are times you have to give a basic answer due to time constraints or something of that sort, but there are times that you need to give more and you should give more. Souls are too important to give just simplistic answers to.
Thus, as I go through this mystery book, I think about that. How good is the book? That will depend on how well the explanation coheres together. No matter how many funny scenes there are with Monk in it, the overall grade will be based on the question “Does it make sense?” What about our explanation? Are we looking for an explanation of life that makes sense or not? This is the greatest adventure of all after all, and it has the greatest author of all. Do we not trust him that it will make sense in the end?