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Sunday, November 15, 2009

You Can Love God and Science, Too!

Hello folks-

I promised this weekend that I would post to my blog some thoughts on a few of the challenging topics that come up in Genesis 1-2. We didn't "dig deep" into many of these topics at our service- we intentionally chose to focus on the bigger picture of what we learn about God. But that doesn't mean that other issues which arise are insignificant. This week, I am going to try and post on 3 or 4 of those "hot-buttons".

One of the most significant questions has to be the scientific accuracy of the creation account, and particularly the creation of man and woman. In Genesis 2, we find the following words: "And the Lord God formed a man's body from the dust of the ground." Also, "He (God) took one of Adam's ribs and closed up the place from which he had taken it. The the Lord God made a woman from the rib..."

These are interesting ideas, to say the least. What do we make of these? Did God use real, literal dust to make man? Did he truly reach into the blood and guts of Adam's side and pluck out a rib for the building blocks of Eve? Some (what I would call Biblical literalists) believe this is exactly how it happened. They don't care how because they are convinced that if the Bible says it, then that's exactly how it happened. What is sad, in my opinion, is that this can force some well-meaning Christians into really awkward stances, especially when it comes to science. If God really created man from dust, just like that, then a Biblical literalist has to reject out of hand almost any scientific discovery concerning the roots of humanity over the last hundered years. Without even considering the data or the validity of it, they have to assume it's false because they already "know" how we came to be.

To put it simply, this looks foolish. It sounds and feels ignorant. Many Christians grow up afraid of science, because they are concerned that somehow science will discredit God. But what if all of our science and research is actually revealing God's creative design and his loving nature? Here are some of my thoughts about creation and science:

1) Genesis 1 and 2 are not written as science or history. While these chapters may have statements that sound scientific or historical, that is not the aim of these words. So it is unfair for us to try and twist and turn them into scientific proof texts that are air-tight reports of how God created earth and humanity. Genesis is the story of God and his people. We learn far more about God from these passages than we do about the how, what and why of creation.

2) Genesis 1 and 2 leave tons of room for good, healthy scienctific pursuits. As I read these chapters, I am impressed at their beauty and their openness. I believe that someone could embrace the findings of evolution AND embrace a loving Creator God that stands behind it all. A Biblical literalist just rolled their eyes and closed this blog, but it's true! Read the chapters yourself, keeping in mind they are not science or history, per se, and see if you don't find room to believe in many different kinds or methods of creation. What I DO believe is significant is the God who orchestartes it all. I am FAR more concerned about what you do with Him than what you do with this account. (Even the brevity of these chapters should convince us that God is not trying to tell us HOW he created- I mean, basically 50 verses total. That's it. The introduction to most science essays is longer!)

3) We can take a rational, eductaed approach to science. When researchers come out and say they've discoverd a 7 billion year-old man, what's your immediate reaction? I think many Christians say "no way" and ignore the article without giving it serious thought. Now, I am not saying that every scientific discovery is accurate or un-biased. I'm not saying that every scientist represents the data with 100% accuracy. But I am saying that it's okay to read, study, and learn from them. Because here's the truth- science can never explain away God. The more we learn, the more fantasitc, wonderful, and amazing we find creation to be. And if that's true, it would stand to reason that God himself, who designed it all, would be even more fantastic, wonderful, and amazing.

So, did we come from real dust? I don't know. What I do know is that God made me, and then He breathed life itself into my lungs. No matter what else I believe, this fact alone tells me that I matter to God. And so do you.

May you know the loving Creator on your journey today,


PS- I would love to hear your comments and feedback! You don't have to agree with everything I say. Let's process these ideas together. All I ask is that your comments be appopriate and civil. This blog is not intended to be a zone for heated debates and name-calling. Other blogs do that very well! But if you've got real questions and real doubts, then this is the place for you! Be totally honest here. What questions or struggles do you have with creation and science?


NTStudent said...

Believing in creation should not necessarily mean we believe in a particular view of creation. We believe in the creator of all; that he breathed out the stars and all that is; that all came from and depends upon him.
We may or may not believe in a recent 6-day creation; we may believe that he operated in some variety of interventions. I have collected a rather good library that leans toward the intelligent design side, but also several top notch scholars who promote the literal view, too.
To me it is such a vast topic that my old brain swims with the various arguments and details. However, the reasoning, logic, mathematical statistics, and other evidence -- despite what the Richard Dawkins of the word says -- makes the whole of nature too vast, too complicated, too impossible to believe it "just happened." It just would take too much faith to believe that --and I think, as Norman Geisler titled his book, "I Don't Have Enough Faith to Be an Atheist" -- I don't have enough faith to believe that earth, life, and the variety of creation happened from nothing.

Pastor Nick said...

Well said NT-
I've often thought the same. You can't deny the fact that world came from somewhere at some point. Either matter just appeared, or a divine force orchestrated and created. God makes more sense when you put it in that context!

Melanee said...

Hi Nick~

Very thoughtful post. So interesting to find this tonight, because I just pulled the whiteboard out this morning before church, and had this exact discussion with my girls. We discussed the possibilities of the timeline of the creation, and the debate between science and Biblical literalists. I asked them if they thought it were possible that science and God could be a perfect, logical, and spiritual combination. They agreed. Chloe said that the details and organization of science only affirmed God's brilliance. (In different words of course, lol).

All truth comes from God, whether it is given to agnostics or otherwise. In other words, just because the messenger does not attribute the message or methodology to God, doesn't mean it doesn't come from Him.

I love the spirit and truth of this scripture from the Book of Mormon. I know. God even loves the crazy Mormons enough to impart light to them too. :-)

Mosiah 4:9

Believe in God. Believe that he is, and that he created all things both in heaven and in earth; believe that he has all wisdom, and all power, both in heaven and in earth; believe that man doth not comprehend all the things which the Lord can comprehend.

Keep pondering and writing. What a heritage you are leaving for your children with these posts. Love, love, love it!