When my daughters were young they went to a number of Vacation Bible Schools. They were attending Bible School while I attended seminary. The summer I was studying Hebrew one of them attended a local VBS and was quizzed about the creation narrative in Genesis. She explained Hebrew poetry and her belief that Genesis 1 isn’t a scientific treatise on the formation of the world and its inhabitants. The teacher then produced a sheet that each child was to mark their own belief in creation v. evolution. When my child’s mark was on the evolution end of the scale, she was asked to leave. You read that correctly. A youth attending VBS was asked to leave because she didn’t believe in 7 days, 24 hours each, during which God created the earth and all of the animals and people.
That’s a preposterous church story. But it’s true. Though we’d all likely find that check sheet, eviction approach to be extreme we need to think more deeply. Did God create the world? People? Animals? Plants? If the Bible says that’s so and we don’t believe it as fact, then what happens to God? To the Bible? Do you really have to believe in creationism to go to heaven? To be a Christian? Jesus spent a lot of time talking about love and generosity but none at all on creation.
Other valid thoughts…there are two creation stories in the Bible. If you read the second creation story, you find a different sequence and narrative for creation. Go ahead. Read Genesis 1-3 and see for yourself. It doesn’t all agree. So now what?
Hebrew is a beautiful, poetic language with much more to convey than science or math. There is a deeper level of communication and knowing than can be found in a calculator or laboratory. Your souls isn’t about technical specifications and your soul is more important than atoms and DNA. We aren’t Hebrew. We don’t live thousands of years ago with that understanding of the planet. If God had wanted to write a science book the Bible would be a science book. It’s not.
Genesis 1-3 tells us of a powerful, loving, creative God that made us and said, “It is good.” Genesis 1-3 tells us of God’s powerful, creative breath. Ruach. A breath that changes and improves and wraps everything in love and power and grace.
Genesis 1-3 tells us that God hand crafted our environment, tended the details then and is still tending the most marvelous zoo/garden/habitat ever!
Science tells us that nothing improves without an input of energy. Randomly, without care, things just get more chaotic. There has to be a power behind positive change, behind increasing complexity. No matter where you go on our earth, you see an artist’s hand. There are mountains and valleys, rivers, eroded rocks, gorges, snow and waterfalls, giant redwoods and tiny bits of moss…all amazingly complex. No matter what you believe about evolution…the creation we are part of is a gift from God. All here by God’s unimaginable power and love and design.
Breathe in…breathe out…God’s design.