Prevailing Winds "For the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is there is freedom . . ." 2 Cor. 3:17, TNIV

February 5, 2014

Filed under: Uncategorized — keelyem @ 9:42 pm

As I said yesterday, I was disappointed with the debate — I apply the term loosely — between Bill Nye of Science Guy fame and Answers In Genesis creationist Ken Ham, livestreamed at the NuArt before a group more or less split down the middle between Ham and Nye supporters.

But before you read my post, you ought to take a look at this:

I am a Trinitarian, Bible-revering, saved-by-grace-through-faith Christ follower who believes that God created everything ever in the universe — about 15 billion years ago through the astonishingly complex and beautiful method of evolution. I belong to a group called BioLogos founded by Dr. Francis Collins, who headed up the team that encoded the human genome and who is a conservative Christian evolutionist.  As the article points out, there are many of us.  It would’ve been better if Ham had debated someone from BioLogos — someone who also reveres and knows Scripture, as Nye clearly doesn’t — so that the Church and those outside it wouldn’t witness yet another embarrassment to Christianity.

Because it was embarrassing.

Nye didn’t know enough to ask Ham what he thought about two distinctly different creation accounts in Genesis, and Ham clearly wasn’t going to volunteer that there was a conundrum.  What Ham did do was offer silly things to explain serious things — that the observable expansion of the universe is explained and predicted by the Bible’s declaration that God “stretches out the heavens.”  That’s not only intellectually dishonest, but frankly embarrassing — embarrassing not only because it’s so silly, coming from a Christian who insists he’s a scientist who ought to be taken seriously, but also because it violates the purpose of the Bible he pretends to revere.

The Bible is the declaration of God’s relationship with humankind, culminating in the Incarnation, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.  Every verse has the announcement of Jesus Christ as its intent; every chapter carries with it the joy of God’s redemption of God’s people.  The creation accounts in Genesis are given us to introduce us to the God whose method of creation is no less holy, no less powerful, for taking place over billions of years via evolution.

That statement only violates Scripture if we read it with the expectation that its pages were intended to offer a Divinely-inspired guide to science, diet, sex, courting, dating, marriage, military history, architecture, cancer cures, finance, Church polity, and childbirth.  But that’s not what we’re to glean from the Bible, and when we try to insert into it (eisegesis) what we think we need, then our taking from it (exegesis) will be incomplete and misdirected.  Genesis was written to a pre-scientific people about events in a pre-populated time as well as during the time of a pre-literate population, with the intent of announcing that GOD CREATED — not HOW God created.  The Genesis 1 account lays out the rough stages of what we now know to be the processes of evolution — and we rejoice.  We don’t rejoice because God did it in six, 24-hour days, or over millions of years without evolution, or even through Darwinian evolution.

We rejoice because GOD DID IT.  The joy of science seemingly met with the frivolity Ham evinced in the debate tells us how.  Scientific discovery, by Christians and not-Christians, incidentally, tells us that the universe is billions of years old.  Geology demonstrates an Earth-age in the millions.  Archaeologists reveal people-groups existing longer than 6,000 years ago.

Do we believe that our God gave us deliberately false information in the Divine “book” of Nature, if we were to receive Genesis as literal scientific information?  More to the point, are we honoring God by simply declaring that all of those scientists are not only wrong, but motivated by an anti-God world view?

A more crucial question:  Are we interested in honoring God or in protecting false understandings of the nature, message, and intention of Scripture?  Based on what I saw last night, Ham, who made a huge deal about the “kinds” in Genesis 1, is in the grip of a tremendous confusion of categories himself.  He does his God and his Church no favors in reveling in it.

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