Alright guys, we have a new question for this week from the congregation.
“I have always wondered why there’s a problem with evolution vs. God’s creation. The big bang was a spark created by God. God’s hand was the science of evolutionary changes. Why can’t science and God’s creation both be possible?”
Great question. As I said in worship, every question is welcome because the only way to gain understanding is by engaging in discussion and study over challenging topics in Scripture.
How the world was created certainly falls into this category.
I’d like to answer this question over the next three or four weeks. Let’s begin this discussion by exploring a bird’s eye view of the creation story in Genesis 1-2:4. Next week we’ll take a look at the particulars of the story.
Sometimes, when talking about the creation of the world, this question is asked:
Do you believe in science or do you believe in the Bible? (as if they are mutually exclusive).
For some reason, the stories of Genesis have become a battleground between a literal reading of Scripture vs. the rationalistic push of science.
Personally, I have never understood the tension here.
Whether God created the world in six literal days or whether the earth is millions of years old is quite beside the point of what the text is attempting to convey.
Our starting point must be with the theological claims of the creation story. Too often the “science vs. faith” debate has distracted us from actually having to grapple with the claims that this story makes.
For instance, let’s look at the first two verses of Genesis.
“In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters.”
The very first theological claim in the Bible is that there is a beginning to time and to history. God chose to create. And the first act of that creation was bringing chaos into order.
From time to time in my ministry I hear the question- “If God created everything, then who created God?” Its a honest question that seeks to grasp the logic behind belief.
The problem is- We ask that question from within our perspective of time being linear…
-progressing from beginning to end
-from now to later
-from past to present to future.
We see life as a timeline, starting in one place and then ending somewhere else.
These categories lose their helpfulness when they are used for God, because God is outside of time. In fact, it might be helpful to say that God created time, for ‘In the beginning, God was already creating…’
God does not fit in our categories of time or space.
Ok, ok- so God is the creator. Got it. But how did God choose to create? Evolution? The Big Bang? Did God just snap his fingers?
The method that God uses to create is less important than the reality that God has created. God could have made the world any way he wanted to- that’s not the issue. The central claim of the text is:
If God is a creator, then you are a created being.
If you accept this premise then your whole life changes. Because you really only have two options here.
Option 1- You are not a created being. Instead, you are a random gathering of cells and molecules that have come together by chance and a bit of luck.
Many people tend to believe this, and they are good and genuine people who seek to do good in the world. But in this perspective, is there an overarching purpose to life? Is there a reason that you are here?
Option 2- You are a created being. If you are a created being, then the creator must have had a purpose for creating you.
Genesis claims that there is a reason why you are here. You were not created by chance or happenstance. You are intentional.
The author of Genesis puts it like this:
“Then God said, “Let us make humankind in our image, according to our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the wild animals of the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps upon the earth.”
If you are a created being, then you are created in the very image and likeness of a loving, creative, purposeful God. You are a result of a divine joy and creativity.
Your purpose is to bear the image of God in this world. Through art, through family, through recreation, through study, through exercise, through conversation- when you participate in everything that is life-giving, you reflect the image of God.
But what about Adam and Eve and the snake and all that stuff?
That comes later in the story, and we’ll get to that. But the starting point of the Bible is that God has purposely created, and his creation is very good.