Sunday, April 20th, 2014

Staying faithful to Genesis 1

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Thanks to Michael Kruse for pointing me to this article in Mouw’s Musings. Dr.Mouw is president of Fuller Theological Seminary, and I find his “musings” always worth pondering. In this post, he takes a friendly poke at those within the church who get a little hung up on six-day creationism.

I have been reading materials from some of the more conservative Reformed groups about creation and evolution. In one denomination, a group of scholars—several of them in the natural sciences—are attempting to have a calm web-based discussion about some of the issues that bear on faith and science, and their denominational constituency is trying to shut the discussion down. The academics are asking important questions: Must we believe in a “young earth” created in six literal days? Did animals die before the Fall? Was the flood in Noah’s time a worldwide phenomenon?

Here at the Orlop, my ongoing series of posts on religion-science issues are indexed with a “Bang” tag, in case anyone wants to read my particular cosmological heresies. My position is that first, science and religion are not as divided in their creation views as one might suppose, and second, the church is the greatest sinner in this dispute by mostly refusing to study what has been going on in the astrophysical world in the last few decades. In the Course Guide for a DVD course I am taking is this quote.

In general, there is no conflict between science and religion, despite popular belief. They have different goals and different operational rules. …Scientists don’t claim to determine the purpose of the Universe or of humans; those topics belong to theologians and philosophers. Further, scientists do not address questions of moral values or other non-scientific issues.

After noting a survey of preachers that suggests that many preachers “can’t really find much to preach about” in Genesis, Mouw concludes with,

I find the first chapter of the Bible to be exciting to read and proclaim. I agree with those interpreters who see the creation account as pointing ancient people—and us!— to the One True God who alone is worthy of worship. …When I read the first chapter of the Bible, I do not sit around puzzling about how to reconcile it with the latest carbon-dating results or the most recent fossil discovery. I want to start singing, “”Praise him all creatures here below.” And that preaches!

I would take mild issue with that last. To the contrary, I think there is much to be gained in the church by inquiring into “the latest carbon-dating results or the most recent fossil discovery.” Maybe then church and science won’t be mostly just talking past each other.

Dave, with one foot in science and the other in eternity.

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