A few months ago I went with my girlfriend Annie to Petsmart to buy some crickets for my leopard gecko. I can tell Annie likes me because whenever we go to Petsmart she lets me talk about cricket alleles, describe the ancestral history of the various animals, and talk about the evolutionary advantage of Chinese Water Dragons having long tails. Upon driving home, I passed a billboard on the highway for the Creation Museum in Kentucky. “Cool!” I thought. In Cleveland we have the Great Lakes Science Center, but I’ve never been to one specifically on the origins of life. “Hey, we should check that out some time!” I said. “You don’t want to go there.” She replied. But why not? I like science! More specifically, science dealing with evolution and the origins of the universe absolutely fascinate me. And then she elaborated that the reason I wouldn’t want to go is because it is a museum that exists solely for the purpose of trying to refute modern science to say that the earth is 6000 years old and humans lived with (and possibly rode) dinosaurs.
Things like this upset me. Now, I’ve had a lot of things upset me in my life. In first grade my best friend said he liked another kid’s painted birdhouse more than mine. I was upset. “Star Wars isn’t that good” a "friend" I once knew told me. I was upset. And so on. You get the picture. But this was different. I was offended not because it was a different opinion, but because it totally ignored and made a mockery of hard-won, well-researched, sensible modern science, and turned it into an enemy of God, as opposed to one of his most amazing creations. (And I take this moment to inform all who may not know: a Scientific Theory is not a guess – it is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that has been substantiated through repeated experiments. You know, like the Theory of Gravity.)
The reason this sucks so much is that GOD DID SOME REALLY COOL THINGS and a lot of people either ignore them, or worse, consider them “evil works of Satan” with the sole purpose of pulling people away from God.
HISTORY gets the biggest slap in the face out of anything. Let’s take a moment to remember that the Bible, a book that was officially compiled centuries after the death of Christ, by the Church, who intended it to be an addendum to oral tradition and the magesterium, which is a book intended to be understood by people of every nation, in every time period, in every social class, probably isn’t going to use 21st century scientific language to describe things.
The point I’m making is this: Language is changed to meet the needs of the audience.
For example: On a hot day this summer my 9 year old cousin asked me why we sweat. Now I could have said this: “Well, you see, water has a high heat capacity, so when you sweat, that heat excites some of the water molecules on your skin to the point that the hydrogen bonds are broken and they evaporate away, taking heat energy with them.” Was this correct? Yes. Was it stupid to say because my 9 year old cousin wouldn’t have been able to understand any of the terminology I used? Yes. So instead, I said something like this: “Drops of sweat grab little bits of heat and remove them from your body!” Also accurate. Much more simple, and I’m willing to bet my cousin would get more out the second response than she would from the first.
It’s the same reason Jesus used parables! They are still relevant to us today! Stories don’t lose significance, provided you understand the context. Vocabulary and Terminology change. Even Science changes. The Bible is less a book on how it happened, and more a book on what happened, and what now.
Often, people say something to the effect of this: “The big bang didn’t create the universe, God did.” Would it make sense to say: “The paint brush didn’t create Starry Night, Van Gogh did.” Ok, yeah, that’s accurate I guess. But aren’t we missing that Van Gogh USED the paint brush to create Starry Night? So make the jump with the Big Bang as well. God USED the Big Bang to create the universe.
Any Christian will agree that God is a God of more. He’s a storyteller, He’s a scientist, He’s a poet, He’s a romantic. We can always count on God for more. God didn’t need salvation history to unravel in such a complex way, in a story that started with “in the beginning”, went to Abraham, then Moses, then David, then Mary and Joseph, and then to Jesus. But that’s just sort of how he tends to roll. Can I propose that God works this way in all things? Instead of just poofing you into existence, what if you’re a work of art nearly 15 billion years in the making.
Allow me to combine “two stories”. I’m going to propose to you that they go together, and always have.
In the beginning, when God created the heavens and the earth, the entire universe was in one infinitesimally small, hot, and dense mass that underwent cosmic inflation. Within 1 x 10-35 seconds, matter and energy separated and within .01 seconds the universe had expanded to billions of miles and hasn’t stopped expanding since… Forged in the belly of Stars and supernovas, God created man out of stardust.
You see, Here’s how it could have gone:
Please take a few minutes to check out my favorite website page, called “The Scale of the Universe”:
The cursor starts out set on a human being. From there, you can zoom either in or out, and get a sense of the unfathomable size of the universe.
You can find God’s personality in the details of his work, like you can find Monet’s personality reflected in his paintings. As I said before: God is a God of more - and science, with each discovery that broadens the ever-increasing world of creation, more and more is revealed of God’s masterpiece: The Universe.