When Dirt Comes to Life

dirt hand

Right from the beginning of our story in Scripture we are confronted with the reality of the goodness of God’s creation. We are struck six times with this phrase, or something similar, “God saw that it was good…” That is then followed up with the well-known, “God saw all that he had made, and it was very good.”

What a statement to pronounce over your work – good, very good.

What a statement when God is the one who pronounces it.

With the storyline of creation’s goodness being emphasized more and more within the evangelical tradition, we have moved somewhat away from a more dualistic, overly-ethereal view of God’s work. We have recognized God is the God of the spiritual and physical.

Even more, thanks to works like NT Wright’s Surprised by Hope and others, we are aware that God does not plan to abandon the earth but rather fully and finally restore it through Jesus.

This is a good place to start.

But I don’t believe this takes us far enough. Continue reading

Can Science & Theology Work Together?

Sunburst_over_EarthIn a theological forum on Facebook, I recently saw these, and similar, questions posed:

“How do you personally believe science and theology can work together? In other words, what limitations do you place on science? Only to the point of contradiction…or do you adjust your hermeneutic? Secondly, how would you evangelize or disciple a biology student who believes he has to choose between science and Christianity?”

They are good questions, one’s that Christians have been engaging with for centuries (if not always). I offered some thoughts on the forum and, so, thought I would also post them here for any conversation.

What do you think?

Here are my thoughts below (side note: I used all caps for some words because Facebook doesn’t allow for bold or italics).

Continue reading

The God of Process and the Processes of God

creationOver the weekend, I posted an article about a feature-length documentary entitled, From the Dust. The film is a project of Highway Media and The BioLogos Foundation, and it’s purpose is to tackle some of the most important questions in the science-faith dialogue. The film interviews a wide variety of theologians, educators, and scientists, which allows it to be very informative, as well as carrying a kind of ‘pastoral’ flavour to it (since some of the theologians consulted are also pastors). The trailer for From the Dust can also be found in my previous post. And, as I shared, the video can now be rented/purchased from iTunes.

Yesterday, I watched the 1-hour and 7-minute documentary. I very much appreciated what the film had to offer, especially knowing that it consulted a god group of theologians that I respect. I would concur with this statement of the filmmaker, Ryan Petty: As a result of this project, the book of Genesis has become more alive and more dynamic than I had ever allowed it to be.

That’s my testimony as well as I’ve come to engage some of the theological and scientific dialogue around issues concerning the early chapters of Genesis – mainly noting that there is something bigger and more creative going on than a simple laying out a detailed journalistic account. The idea of God using [what we call] evolutionary processes to bring about his good creation used to be the most awkward and difficult thing to consider. Quite offensive! But here is the thing, or at least one thing that helped me as I began to consider in the early days of engaging with such an idea: When I ponder the nature of God, I don’t find evolution (that is purpose-directed evolution) as incompatible with what we know about his character.

Here’s what I mean by that. Continue reading

Science and the Bible

originstoday_fullScience and the Bible. What a loaded topic, right?! For some, it’s an issue of territory-defining significance: what you believe could determine if you are viewed as fundamentalist or liberal, in or out, true follower or not.

It really can become that serious. Quite disheartening, I might add.

I’ll admit I’ve gone through some stages of change over the past few years in regards to this subject. I’ve become quite open to what might be normally termed as theistic evolution, or also identified as creationary evolution. The approach is still grounded in the belief that God is the one true Creator. Yet, he chose to use what we scientifically identify as evolution to bring about his good creation.

I don’t know all the in’s and out’s, and I never will. But I am at least quite open to the idea. However, I approach things first and foremost as a theologian, not as a scientist. Some are scientists (Denis Lamoureux, Darrel Falk) and some are theologians (John Walton, Bruce Waltke). Still, both groups dip in and out of the other in various ways. And they all invest their time a little differently as they look to faithfully come to grips with a robust Christian faith and a willingness to listen to the scientific evidence of today.

And so, for me, noting some of the points on the table from the various sciences, I try and grasp and assess things theologically, considering some of the points while working through the Scripture text.

Now let me say upfront that this does not mean I (or any other) am putting science above Scripture. What it means is that we recognise there are many good and wholesome tools that God has given us to help us understand his ways and the world he has created. I believe in the importance of setting Scripture as primary. But we have many other assets such as history, tradition, reason, experience, life, creation, science, etc.

I am quite convinced that God designed it that way. Continue reading