Friday, February 7, 2014

The Fingerprints of Creation

"Daddy, where do babies come from?

This question strikes fear into the heart of many parents. Most children start asking this before they can adequately understand what the processes involved - and not just the physical aspects, but the emotional and intellectual ones. So we ask ourselves:

How can I explain this accurately so that she can understand?

And we do the best we can. We use simple language to convey the bigger picture. We don't include details that will make things more confusing and complicated. As she gets older, she will undoubtedly continue to ask questions, and we increasingly provide more information as appropriate for her level of understanding. Good parents know that their children have to learn at their own pace, and they adjust what and how they teach accordingly. Eventually, as our children grow, we understand that increased knowledge and emotional maturity will allow them to understand the processes involved to the point where they can gain more knowledge themselves.

Are we wrong to simplify the process? Is our simplified version incorrect because it didn't fully explain everything? 

No. The point of answering the question wasn't to be 100% accurate and detailed. It was to answer the question so that our children can understand. Understanding is more important than giving complete and detailed information. As our children grow up, they come to realize that the version with which they were presented initially wasn't complete, and they understand why. 

Would God have done anything differently?  

Why would God include science in scripture? What would be the point? It has only been within the last 150 years that science as a field has made significant progress, and the majority of people don't study it. If the Bible was written in order to help men understand our relationship to God, what would have been the purpose to include scientifically accurate information? In fact, wouldn't the inclusion of it lead to more confusion than clarity? How do you think that passage of scripture would have read? 

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"In the beginning, God caused all the matter and energy in the universe to explode out of a point smaller than the size of a pin.” 

Oh, great. Now I've got to explain matter, and energy, and they don't even know what a pin is....
 How about I just say, 

"Let there be light?"

It has the same message, but this way, I don’t have to explain atomic theory. They can figure that one out themselves when they are ready for it.  
- - - - - - - - - - 
The Bible isn't scientifically accurate, and I don't think we should expect it to be. There are many examples of scientific inaccuracies in the Bible, not the least of which involve the order of creation events. A quick Google search will point most of them out to you pretty easily. But in reality, the scientific inaccuracies in the Bible shouldn't surprise you anymore than finding out that "love" is not all it takes to make a baby.

If the message you want isn't there, 
maybe there's another message you need.

Maybe the creation story is meant to tell you something other than an exact retelling of events. Maybe it's telling you about the bigger picture. 

Maybe God wanted us to know that He created the world - that this world is His - and that we should treat it like it's His. If this is God's creation, don't you think we should respect it? Adam was created to till the ground and to name the animals - not to plunder and destroy.

Maybe God wanted us to know that His time isn't our time - that we should be patient in dealing with spiritual matters. That what may actually be a long time for us is really rather short in terms of eternity. When we get impatient, when we lose faith, maybe the creation story is telling us that we need to focus on God's time, not ours.

Maybe God wanted us to know that we are made in God's image. And if we are made in His image, what does that tell us about ourselves? It tells me that I have great potential, that God - literally - sees Himself in me, that I should not take advantage of my body or take it for granted and that I should treat my body with great care – to keep it in the image of God. 

Does that mean that I'm not special?

Some have a hard time accepting that we could be a special creation of God if we were created through scientific processes that took billions of years. If you are struggling with this, let me ask you something. If you could create something instantly without any significant time or energy investment, how would you feel about it? I don't know about you, but I don't often think much of the things that I can create instantly without effort. After all, I can always just destroy it and start again. But if you've been spending months, even years, on one creation - a book, a piece of music, a perfect recipe - then you would likely cherish that creation. It would be precious to you. So far from making me feel insignificant, the idea that God spent 4.6 billion years to get me here makes me feel awfully special.

If God created the world, and the world works through science, then there is one conclusion...

God works through science.

Just because we can't see all the answers today doesn't mean that there are none. Maybe some of the answers aren't going to be found in easy and obvious places. Maybe real truths, eternal truths, can be found in the fingerprints of His creation.

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