“Surely your turning of things upside down shall be esteemed as the potter’s clay: for shall the work say of him that made it, He made me not? or shall the thing framed say of him that framed it, He had no understanding?” Isa. 29:16
There has been an ongoing spat in the editorial pages of the paper that sponsors this blog over the subject of evolution.
I understand that this is just another skirmish in the culture wars, but I just couldn’t resist a comment or two about it.
The whole idea that science somehow undermines God is in my estimation silly.
If you believe in God, almost by definition you also have to believe that there can be no power greater than God. Given that, then you also have to agree that God doesn’t need your help to defend Himself. He really does have it all under control.
Science isn’t about disproving the existence of God. Science is all about developing a deeper understanding of God’s creation and the truths that order that it. Science works because it continues to question the status quo without the limits of belief. If science discovers something that challenges current understanding, the old understanding is eventually abandoned and a new understanding takes it’s place.
Isn’t this what we Christians are supposed to be doing here too? We are supposed to be replacing the old earth-bound Adam with a new spiritual man. We work out our own salvation by increasing our understanding of who we are and how God is directing our lives. Every time that we become complacent because we think that we have it all figured out, God lovingly turns everything upside down. We regain our humility, agree that we don’t know as much as we thought we did, and resume our study and prayer.
Where religions and some Christians tend to jump the track is in feeling that they somehow have to spring to God’s defense when it is actually just their own beliefs, and not God that are being called into question.
Today’s creationists are the same folks who feared 400 years ago that God would somehow be undone if science disproved the Bible claim that the earth was the center of the universe. Just like the creationists, “devout” scientists in that age struggled to contain a growing body of scientific evidence within the belief system of a literal Bible. They failed then because they confused belief with science, and they are failing today for the same reasons.
A sun-centered universe eventually gave way to the big bang, but it did prove that the Bible is not nor was it ever intended to be a literal description of creation. God and the Bible, however, survived. That’s because God and His universe are in harmony and the Bible remains a sufficient guide to working out our place in that universe. The Bible remains relevant through the ages because it is NOT a scientific book. It is a spiritual book, a metaphor useful for instruction in whatever circumstance we find ourselves.
That’s why you can look at the current conflict between creationism and evolution as just another loving example of God patiently overturning a too narrow and literal reading of the Bible so that those who are reading it can make better use of it for their growth and understanding.