This blog has suffered enough from neglect. (Oh, the "tryanny of the urgent" in life which can keep us from the things we enjoy most!)
And then, there was a most frustrating start to our Story campaign (our 31-week walk through the Biblical narrative): I know it was not as bad as I think it was... Still, there was so much I wanted to say and couldn't.
Using this blog as a file for weekly "footnotes" to my messages stands to help me get over some of my frustrations... and to revive my engagement of this blog.
And so, we resume and proceed with "footnote #1" (re: yesterday's "Creation/Genesis" message)... and continuation of the conversation between Science and Faith.
As I suggested yesterday, there need not be a conflict between the two. (Note the quotes in yesterday's handout from highly respected [and faithful] scientists!) It's a position furthered by the recognition that the "agenda" of Genesis may not sync with some modern agendas. I'm strongly inclined to agree with Andy Stanley and Adam Hamilton:
In writing, there are many different genres. Poetry is different from history, just as an editorial is different than prophecy. Interestingly, the Bible contains all of the above. So, when it comes to its account of miraculous events such as the creation, how should we interpret it? Did the author intend it as a literal account? Or, was it just a metaphorical representation of the event. After all, we weren't there..
As you might imagine, many views have been presented over the years. Some scholar note that the creation story is more concerned with the, "who" and "why" than the "what" and "how." Following this line of thought, they suggest that the account is a poetic summary of an elaborate series of scientific developments. Literalists, on the other hand, would disagree. They argue that events took place exactly as the text describes. In between, there are those who point out that God could use evolution as his method of creation. And finally, secular evolutionists leave God out of the picture altogether.
There are two challenges to this whole discussion. First, the human mind wasn’t made to fathom an event of such magnitude. So for starters, we're playing out of our league (see Romans 11:33-36). Second, there's just not enough scientific evidence to bring everyone's convictions into alignment. Until we come across additional information, the various sides will continue to argue their case.
At any rate, certain facts are unmistakable in Genesis. Humans are the pinnacle of God's handiwork, created to reflect his image. What's more, creation didn't happen by itself. Many prominent scientists have eventually come around to this conclusion. So, while we may not know precisely how our world came into being, Genesis tells us who brought it about (Genesis 1:1). And the marvels of our solar system point to a creative mind bigger than any human intelligence. The focus of our faith is the Maker of all creation, not the method of creation.
—from Andy Stanley, North Point Ministries, “Is the Creation Account Literal?”
in Starting Point, pp. 37-38.
[Acknowledging the various camps which vie for a position on the question of how Science and Genesis relate to one another (i.e., something we see in the quote from North Point Ministries), Methodist Pastor Adam Hamilton hones in on what he calls the “biblical-scientific synthesis” approach...]
This is the approach held by man scientists and biblical scholars and the one that nearly every mainline Protestant denomination, as well as the Roman Catholic Church and even many evangelical churches, take. This view begins by recognizing what Genesis 1-3 is meant to teach and what it is not meant to teach. These verses are clearly meant to lay claim to the fact that God is the creator of everything. Nothing exists apart from God's creative word, will, and power. The Genesis account teaches us God is the rightful ruler of all things, owner of all things, and that all things are a reflection of the Creator. These verses are meant to teach that everything God designed is good, that God created everything out of love for us and a desire to give God's own self to us. The Genesis creation poem was intended to make clear to the ancient Israelites, living in the midst of peoples who worshiped the sun, moon, stars, animals, and inanimate objects that none of these things are gods. Israel's God, in fact, created them all!
But listen carefully: These verses were not meant to teach us the how and the when of creation, only the Who and the why! This section of Genesis is set in poetic language, the language of faith, not science. This does not mean that the poetry of Genesis stands counter to scientific discoveries but that it serves a higher purpose, leading us to the truth about God our Creator and our relationship to God. The creation poem is meant to communicate the purposes of life. It is meant to describe in epic fashion the most marvelous theological truth of all: that Israel's God was not merely another regional god like the other nations served but is, in fact, the LORD God who, by God's very words, called forth light from darkness and life from nothing at all…
Those who hold this view are not threatened by science exploring the "how" of creation. At every stage we step back and evaluate the scientists' theories and discoveries, and they only serve to heighten the sense of awe at a God who designed all creation!
—Rev. Adam Hamilton,
“Creation and Evolution in the Public Schools”
in Confronting the Controversies, pp. 36ff.)