Thursday, May 21, 2009
Fossils, Fishing, and Faith
We had a wonderful evening Tuesday night sitting on our screen porch with Bethany and Abigail, eight people from our church, and Rick and Susan Oliver (seen in the picture at left with Mary Ann and me). Rick and Susan have the ministry "Confound the Wise" (www.confoundthewise.org). Rick is a scientist with a PhD in Evolutionary Biology as well as a Masters in Geology and other degrees in addition to being a member of different science organizations. You can read a lot more about him at his web site. In a nutshell, Rick was, by his own words, not just an athiest, but an avid anti-Christian. Then his world got rocked at Mount St. Helens when it erupted and he was there and almost killed in it. In the hours and days following the eruption he saw land changes, fossilization, strata formation, and other things form that he had been taught had to take millions of years to happen and it shattered everything he had come to embrace in his worldview. It began a multi-year journey of seeking and questioning which led to his conversion to Christianity in 1987. From there he journeyed through theistic evolution (God started it all then helped it evolve) to Gap theory (there are huge gaps between the days of Creation in Genesis) to where he stands now---a literal young earth Creationist. Rick travels now, as a scientist, talking about why we can believe God's Word literally, and it is a fascinating and equipping teaching which he gives.
So, the other night we invited anyone in our church who wanted to come over to sit and fellowship with him and Susan, and we had a wonderful evening sitting out on a warm night, crickets singing, drinking two pots of coffee, and talking, asking questions, listening to his stories, and getting to better know the two of them . . . and each other. The conversation covered everything from fossils to fishing (Rick and Susan love to fish!) and it was so refreshing to be reminded of the total lack of empirical (proveable) evidence for evolution or any other origin theory apart from a Creator. As Rick says, if all the evidence could just be layed out on tables for all of us to just look at free of all the interpretation and theory of the supposed experts we would all come to the same conclusion---God created it!
As I have reflected on that evening and Rick and Susan's ministry I have found myself realizing that the object of all this is not to believe Creation, but to believe God. If we simply stop at believing and being able to defend Creation we run the trap of just being more intellectually equiped and, hence, more proud. But Creation points to the truth of God's Word, and the truth of God's Word points to the truthfulness of God---both His existence, and His trustworthiness. Even in all of the equipping to be able to explain the reason for the hope within us it is not to win someone over to Creation, but to the God who created it. It comes back to faith, and faith is an expression of relationship---of our ability to trust in God and His truthfulness and His character and His nature and His love. Trusting in that we walk in it---we walk in faith---anchoring our choices and values not in the seen, but the unseen. Ultimately that is what it all is about---our faith---because our faith is the expression of our trust and relationship, and restored relationship with our Creator is the whole reason Jesus came and died.
A humorous side note: As I thought of all the people who point to different books and studies as their evidence for evolution instead of the Genesis account of Creation I thought, "I know who wrote my book---who wrote yours?"