An Answer I Least Expected
What inspired the name of this newsletter
In the summer of 2020 I started visiting a new church that had opened its doors despite the Covid craziness. I joined a small group and at one of our meetings I mentioned my upcoming plans to visit the Grand Canyon with my daughter, and how it’s so amazing how millions of years of water erosion could form such an awesome chasm with its layers of rainbow sediment.
A woman in my small group commented, “Or, it formed in a short period of time.”
I smiled, thinking she was kidding. “Really? What makes you think this?”
Her answer was what I least expected.
“My background in geology and paleontology, and what I know about physics,” she replied.
Earlier, this woman had introduced herself to the group, and I knew that science was indeed her background. But how could a background like this make her think the Grand Canyon could be created in a short period of time? I thought science went against this thought, and it was religion that made people think otherwise. But she insisted that science made it entirely possible for the Grand Canyon to form rapidly.
I’m not a big science-y person. I’ve never given a whole lot of thought about Creation vs. Evolution. My belief is that however it happened, God was behind it, and I don’t worry about the details. Did this conversation suddenly make me staunchly believe in Creationism? No. But it did shake my assumption that people who think the earth is young, who don’t ascribe to the theory of evolution, are religious fanatics with no science background. This woman certainly was not.
Months after visiting the Grand Canyon, my ever-inquisitive daughter convinced me to go on another trip, this time to the Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in Kentucky. The Ark Encounter is a replica of Noah’s Ark, built according to the specifications in the Bible and filled with recreations of animals that might have sailed on that vessel.
Like the conversation with the woman at church, these museums made me think. The story of Noah and the Ark is presented as a bit more plausible as opposed to a totally impossible fairytale. And this, it turns out, is Ken Ham’s goal.
I had never heard of Ken Ham before. He is the founder of these museums, CEO of the organization Answers in Genesis, and just so happened to be speaking at the Ark Encounter the day we were there. His talk kept coming back to Genesis 1 - 11. Pastors need to preach it and stop teaching it like it’s a fairytale. If everyone took these chapters literally, perhaps the degradation of our culture today would not be happening.
I came home from that trip and decided to take a look at Genesis 1 - 11. There is a lot there — too much to write about in this post. But bottom line, his talk did make me reflect on what I believe. If you treat Genesis like a fairy tale, how does that affect your overall faith? Does it make it easier to question other parts of the Bible? Would more young people not leave the church if Genesis was taught in a more scientific way, and as the authentic word of God, as opposed to a fairytale to be glossed over?
There’s a saying somewhere that God makes order out of chaos, and as I mulled over what to name this newsletter, I kept coming back to Ken Ham’s talk. Much of this saying refers to chaos being the cosmos, and order being God’s act of creation, but I started thinking about it in terms of humanity’s relationship with God. When humanity follows God there’s order, when humans fall away from God there’s chaos.
If there’s one thing reading the Old Testament will do, it’s make you realize how incredibly depraved humanity can be. We definitely need instructions on how to live, which the Bible offers. And even though some things in the Bible seem weird by today’s standards, the Bible still offers truth. And it’s not hard to see that as our society becomes more secular and drifts away from truth, we see less order and more chaos.
Maybe we should take another look at those truths in Genesis 1 - 11. Perhaps those impossible stories are not as impossible as what I once thought.
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