Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Why Do Christians Do That?

I am always puzzled by the opposition that folks create between science and religion. Why is that? Science is facts. Just like statistics, it is in the analyzing of the facts that matters. If you told me that we finally discovered the origin of the universe and it was a magic crystal, I would reply, "Wow, God made a magic crystal! How clever God must be to do this."

"It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us." --Stephen Hawking, A Brief History of Time

Regardless of how we got here, whether through evolution or intelligent design or magic beans, it all comes down to God. Why is creation less wondrous if we believe in evolution? Putting the Book of Genesis aside, why do creationists think that God could not have created evolution? Is God not that powerful? Is God not that creative or clever? I say He is. I say that science is a gift from God whereby we are called upon to use the gifts we are given to understand ourselves and our world. God didn't say, "Well, here ya go. It's all for you to have dominion over just don't freakin' try to learn anything about it." No He did not. In fact, God gave us our sense of wonder and curiosity, not to mention our intelligence and persistence. Using our gifts to discover the nature of ...nature would not be a surprise to God!

I will tell you here that this very argument had my ideas referred to as that of the Gnostics and therefore blasphemy in, of all places, my Sunday school class. My husband loves this story! Of all the places where you can assume everyone around you is a bona fide Christian, you would think such silly accusations would be non-existent. Well, I love my church and I love the person who said that to me. I like a church where you can speak your mind and you are forgiven, no matter how goofy you are.

Early church leadership fought over the concept of a flat earth and over a geo-centric universe, stating that going against such thought was blasphemy. No, the truth is the truth. The truth was so important that the word is used 228 times in the NIV translation of the Bible (224 in the King James Version). 78 times in the gospels the words of Jesus "I tell You the Truth" are recorded. Why would a God of truth not want us to know what the truth is?

The problem for some is in the Book of Genesis. If God wants us to follow the truth, know the truth, and hear the truth, as I believe He does, then Genesis must be considered an allegory and not historical record. Can you imagine a supreme being trying to explain the origins of life to a human living in 1500 BCE with no or limited knowledge of science, mathematics, other cultures, medicines, space, genetics? This is someone who had not only never envisioned a microscope, but also had no idea of the concept of the cell. This is someone who had not only never envisioned a telescope, but also had no idea of the concept of the expanding universe. Scientific theory had not been created. Travel was via foot or pack animal. Although there was agriculture, there was no artificial refrigeration. Cooking was with the use of fire. Paper was precious. Humans died of illnesses such as hemorrhoids. There was no aspirin. There were no antibiotics. I have to admit, even today, we are too un-advanced for God to explain the origin of life without simplifying it for us! God is telling us something. We need to listen and be respectful of the truth.

Remember, when asked, Jesus said above all love God and love one another. He did not mention the Book of Genesis. He did not say hold as fact and history that Adam and Eve started all peoples. He said above all, love God and love one another. I have to think that those words indicate we should not bicker over science but rather should learn what we can from one another.

God would have known that we would eventually figure at least some of it out. God wants a relationship with us. God wants us to get along. Perhaps Genesis was appeasement of our curious minds until we could fill in the gaps using the brains God gave us with knowledge built upon the ideas of one another. I have to feel that a Being that so wanted us to love one another as well as to love Him would appreciate this method!

Although I am saddened by persons like Charles Darwin who allowed science to re-frame his thinking to move away from God, this doesn't make his work any less helpful, and it doesn't make God any less the Creator. Recently, Darwin has taken quite a few hits from Christians. First, let's remember that he did his work in the 1800s. What scientific theory from that time do we still have in any area? Obviously there are gaps, errors, and inadequacies. Nevertheless, his observations help us in understanding the world in which we live. Although he lost his faith, his work does not do that to me.

I think God must get as tired of this debate as I do. Why do Christians keep wanting to give away science to atheists anyway? It doesn't lessen God's power to acknowledge science when you recognize that it all comes from God anyway, regardless of how He saw fit to advance it or create it. Evolution doesn't mean God took time away or started something and just took off. God is all around us!

God is great however He made the universe and beyond. The unofficial debate between religion and science seems silly and useless to me.

For your glittering eyes:

"Even if there is only one possible unified theory [the unification of quantum mechanics with an understanding of gravity], it is just a set of rules and equations. What is it that breathes fire into the equations and makes a universe for them to describe?" --Stephen Hawking

1 comment:

Mandy said...

Well said, Nadia! I really enjoyed reading this post. Keep up the good work! Amanda

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