The Process is Life

Scriptures say that creation testifies to God. Science is simply the study of creation. It is the gathering and studying of the testimony of creation. Which is why I think that it is important for people of faith to be using science to deepen our understanding of God and his ways.

We see Jesus doing this, for example, in his teachings about seeds dying and bearing much fruit. It’s not just that Jesus was using a process which people were familiar with in order to explain something. It’s that this familiar process of creation is actually a living illustration of a much deeper, mysterious spiritual truth. It’s not just a coincidence that a seed works the same way that our spiritual life does. Rather, it’s reflects something purposeful in creation that testifies to God’s creation.

When you learn to see creation this way, all of life becomes imbued with deeper meaning. And it provides a corrective to our erroneous ideas. What we believe about God and his ways must be consistent with this universe he made.

That might seem to be a big claim to make, however, allow me to share something I read recently which illustrates just how deep this rabbit hole goes. I’m going to get all sciency with y’all for a bit. But I’ll make it simple and if you bear with me, I think you’ll see how taking creation’s testimony seriously can be a spiritually fruitful endeavor.

So, what I’m going to be talking about today has to do with the very origins of life. Not necessarily how life began – that’s a mystery we are rapidly closing in on. But the why. Why is there life at all? Continue reading “The Process is Life”

Consciousness and Genesis 1

I want to write about my personal theory on the story of creation told in Genesis 1 today, but I can’t think of any interesting or clever way to start the post. So I thought maybe I could find a good joke about creation to use. After looking for awhile I found this little gem:

A minister, a priest and a rabbi went for a hike one day. It was very hot.
They were sweating and exhausted when they came upon a small lake.
Since it was fairly secluded, they took off all their clothes and
jumped in the water.

Feeling refreshed, the trio decided to pick a few berries while enjoying
their “freedom.” As they were crossing an open area, who should come
along but a group of ladies from town. Unable to get to their clothes in
time, the minister and the priest covered their privates and the rabbi
covered his face while they ran for cover.

After the ladies had left and the men got their clothes back on, the
minister and the priest asked the rabbi why he covered his face rather
than his privates. The rabbi replied, “I don’t know about you, but in
MY congregation, it’s my face they would recognize.”

Of course that joke has nothing to do with creation, but it’s funny so in my infinite wisdom, I’ve decided that’s what counts. Now . . . moving on to the story of creation.

One of the oddities of the story of creation in Genesis 1 is that the order in which things were created makes no sense. First there’s day and night and then later, after there was land and plants, but before there were animals, the sun, moon and stars get made. Water was apparently pre-existing and had to be separated from air to make the sky. So on and so forth.

For creationists, none of this matters because somehow that’s just how God did it. For people who run a wee bit deeper and wider than that, both logic and science say that it couldn’t have happened like that. Those who reject religion say the creation story is just something people made up to explain the world and really means nothing. Christians who don’t blasphemously reject the evidence of God’s own creation in favor of man’s understanding of scripture figure the point of the story is that God made everything, he made it with purpose and it is good.

I personally have my own pet theory about why the order of creation is all jumbled up in Genesis 1. Continue reading “Consciousness and Genesis 1”

Fundamentally Flawed Podcast With Rebecca

I had a chance to chat this afternoon with Alex Botten on his podcast show Fundamentally Flawed regarding the perils and problems with teaching kids literal creationism.  We had fun.  And kind of ripped on advocates of literal creationism.  I hope you will head over and check it out. If you are unfamiliar with my ideas regarding evolution and Christianity, I have a page on … Continue reading Fundamentally Flawed Podcast With Rebecca

So, What’s the Deal With Adam and Eve? Part 2

The Creation of Eve 12-13th Century Mosaic Monreale Cathedral, Sicily

So, it’s been light blogging because I’ve been recovering from having my gallbladder removed last weekend.  And percocet makes me mean.  So I’ve been applying the adage my boys have heard 1 times a day since they learned to speak: “It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt.”

But I’m off the dope and wanted to get back to our earlier discussion on Adam and Eve.  (To understand this discussion, I suggest reading What’s the Deal With Adam and Eve? Part 1 first.)  When we left off, Adam had determined that there was no gibbon that tickled his fancy and God put him into a deep sleep.  Then God took a rib from Adams side, closed the spot with flesh and fashioned woman. 

A few things here.  The man is put into a deep sleep.  This can certainly mean simply that Adam was unconscious.  Under full anesthesia, if you will.  However, because we are also reading the story as an allegory, it can be informative to go a little deeper.  When we sleep, we are still alive.  We are not aware of what is going on in the physical world, but we dream.  Our brains are busy doing clean-up work that can not be tended to when we’re busy using it while awake.  And often we wake up and remember none of it.  If we do, as often as not, we’re left with an impression which is more emotion than anything and hard to put into words.  Continue reading “So, What’s the Deal With Adam and Eve? Part 2”

So, What’s the Deal With Adam and Eve? Part 1

Facepalm. Words. They fail.

I am fascinated with the creation stories.  I have mentioned before that it was the habit of ancient Hebrews to meditate by holding two thoughts which seem opposed together in your head at once.  I may have also mentioned that I have both a very high regard for scripture and I value science as a tool for understanding how God’s other testimony – creation – works.  Which right there creates a conflict which many people think they can make go away by picking the side that makes sense to them and hanging out there.  But I always figured that if God made the world (which I believe he did) and scripture is true (which I believe it is – in all sorts of surprising ways) and science was saying something different, God had an answer.  And not like, “well I only made the earth look billions of years old in order to see if you would trust me enough to think it’s really 6000 years old.”  A real answer.  Two true things cannot contradict one another.  If they are in conflict, it doesn’t mean one is right and the other is wrong.  It means we don’t understand them well enough yet.

So with this as my mindset, I set out holding these two ideas – biblical creation and the evidence of science – in my head at the same time and meditating on them.  Continue reading “So, What’s the Deal With Adam and Eve? Part 1”

In Which I Call Creationism Demonic

From “Thinking SciFi”

“O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.” (Psalm 139:1)

Perhaps the most frightening attribute of God is that He knows everything about us. Everything! He has “searched” (literally “penetrated”) us and “known” (“understood”) us. . . Furthermore, He is everywhere around each one of us (vv. 7-10), wherever we are or could be. He fills all space, and there is no escape.

Go ahead, ask me where I found that quote.  Or even better, how ’bout I up the fun quotient and give you some options. Was it:

a. A site promoting atheism

b. A humor site skewering religion 

c. A devotional piece from the Days of Praise blog put out by a Creationist advocacy group

I’ll give you a moment to figure it out. . . Oh wait – did I give it away?  Yep, this “be afraid, Be very afraid” moment has been brought to you by none other than The Institute for Creation Research; a highly profitable venerable institution promoting creation “science”.  The very same people whom a federal judge recently said  are “entirely unable to file a complaint which is not overly verbose, disjointed, incoherent, maundering and full of irrelevant information.” Good to see our tax dollars hard at work there, eh?

This upsets me.  My opinions about the theological viability of creationist interpretations aren’t something I’m shy about.  I truly believe that it’s demonic.  Whether you understand that to be a metaphor for our ability to create and perpetuate evil or as satan whispering in your ear, the answer is the same; it is demonic.  Continue reading “In Which I Call Creationism Demonic”

I Love Evolution! (A Christian’s Perspective)

One of the primary purposes of creation is supposed to be to provide a testimony of who God is.  It’s a shame that so many religious people fail to get that.  But for anyone who cares to look, the details which emerge are amazing.  They are amazing in their own right, but they are also amazing because these details are ones that God put in … Continue reading I Love Evolution! (A Christian’s Perspective)

Why Creationism Does Not Honor God

I’m going to start my day by ticking people off! Just let me say at the outset that I am not saying that people who hold a belief in what is called “biblical creationism” do not honor God.  They may or may not.  But the belief system itself does not honor God.  Why?  Because it denies the work of God’s own hands.  The creation is … Continue reading Why Creationism Does Not Honor God

The Platypus and Evolution

For people who are interested in these things, there is a fascinating article in the Washington Post about the genetic code of the platypus.  Scientists just finished mapping the odd animal’s DNA and not too surprisingly, it’s odd.  What is particularly useful about this is that scientists have been able to map segments of the platypus’ genetic code which are similar to those found in … Continue reading The Platypus and Evolution

“Expelled” Exposed

The National Center for Science Education has put together a website to respond to the new pro-Intelligent Design movie “Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed”. It is called Expelled Exposed. I have to say that red flags were raised for me when I heard a podcast about the movie based on this premise:

Have you ever noticed that Christians are fine with having God and science coexist? In fact, Christians see scientific discoveries as strengthening their faith precisely because they reveal the marvel of the world. So why is it that so many scientists seem to hate the idea of God so much?”

Um, yeah. Loonies like Richard Dawkins aside, suffice it to say that this has not been my experience of the “conflict” between Christians and science. I have already made known my stance on creationism and intelligent design.

Part of my problem with creationism and intelligent design has always been the dishonesty used to sustain the argument against evolution. I suppose it isn’t too surprising to see that this dishonesty isn’t limited misrepresenting main stream science and scientists. It turns out that many of the stories used in the movie to demonstrate this supposed intolerance for alternative views are misrepresentations as well.

For example, one scientist featured in the movie, Richard Sterberg, claimed that after using his position as editor of a small scientific journal to publish a pro-intelligent design article, he was fired from his post as editor, forced out of his office at the Smithsonian, and made to turn in his keys which gave him access to the Smithsonian’s specimin collection which he needed in order to do his work. Turns out that he had put in notice 6 months prior at the journal, had to move offices along with everyone else in his work area as part of an office re-arrangement and needed to turn in his keys so he could be issued a key card that would work with the new security system. Continue reading ““Expelled” Exposed”