Wednesday, August 26, 2009


First, I am a Christian. Second, I am a Biologist. I've been asked before, by someone certainly a bit uninformed, if that's possible, to be a Christian and a Biologist.

"Um, yes. Why wouldn't a Christian want to study God's creation?"

All around me, every day, I see the evidence of His work - the plants, animals, rocks, clouds, sun, moon and stars that He made. NOT to study it, not to learn about it, not to appreciate it and be intrigued by what it has to say about HIM - that, to me, is sin. Not to care for it, steward it, that is sin.

"But what about evolution?"

I remember several conversations I had in school that still stand out in my mind as defining in my ideas about creation. The oldest was with a neighbor, the father of one of my friends, and a Catholic. I don't recall why, but we got to discussing what would have caused the Big Bang. I remember him asking, "Why not God?"

That simple question, so long ago, opened a new line of thought. My home church was not one that dwelt on issues of "Creation vs. Evolution" (for which I am thankful!), so I had not ever thought much about it. I remember rearranging the continents to form Pangaea back in elementary school without questioning the age of the earth. But nevertheless, "Why not God?" helped me to think about it - about what I believed.

Later, in AP biology, I remember studying the earth's timeline and looking at what emerged when. Hmm, it sort of lines up with Genesis, more or less. And Genesis 1 is a bit poetic, anyway - like something written to make a point, not give details. Besides, "a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years like a day." Well, then, why not a million? God wrote it, right? God-breathed and such? Old-earther, to be sure. But still, every bit of biology I studied, I became more and more convinced of a God behind it.

A few years later, I sat in Biology 101 at my Christian college. The first week of class was spent looking at several different views of creation. We didn't spend a whole lot of time on the "6-day" variety, though obviously many students came in with that perspective. Gap theory (bit wacky, if you ask me), Day-Age theory (what? you mean there are other people who agree with my high school musings?), and Theistic Evolution (I learned later there are more shades of theistic evolutionists than there are colors of crayons).

Four more years of college, two years working at that college with those professors (not a 6-day-er among them, by the way), and two years teaching high school biology and looking more at the evidence that exists that led to the Theory of Evolution - every new thing I learned pointed more and more to evolution as the process that created our earth and everything on it.

But God? Here I'll steal from a speaker I heard once (sorry, can't remember his name!). Which is more impressive: a God who "waved a magic wand" and everything poofed into existence, or one who created a universe and all the laws in it such that at a word, a beautiful, elaborate system would begin, that over billions of years would by itself produce the world we live in now and all the living things in it? I have to lean toward the latter.

Remember, we are called to wisdom. We are told that creation itself speaks to God's truths. Should we then set aside wisdom and reason when looking at God's creation? I think not. Creation is God's, and he has given us the ability to reason - to waste that would be to say to God we do not appreciate his gifts to us. All signs in nature point to an old earth, and many more to the evolution of species on earth. I choose not to believe in a God that deceives, planting evidence in His creation to lead us astray. That is not my God. I choose instead to honor my God by valuing his creation and studying it to learn more about him.

Is scripture not important? Certainly that is not my meaning. But all written text (even this, which you probably read in your own native language), MUST be interpreted. Think about the word "no". Think about the near-infinite number of meanings this one word might have, depending on tone of voice, context, and more. Remember the parables of the New Testament. Did the prodigal son really exist? Does it matter - does it change the meaning of the story - if it did not?

The same is true for Genesis 1. Read it - then read, say, Genesis 25. The latter is certainly narrative, but the former? It is possible, at least, that it is instead a story. It tells us clearly that God created, and valued his creation, and I believe that was it's intent. The HOW of the creation is not the focus of the story - nor is it the least bit theologically important.

Biologically, the HOW is fascinating and useful. It helps us understand the world we live in, the relationships between different living things (different parts of creation!), the ecology of different areas, the potential impacts of changes to an ecosystem, and so much more.

This blog has been rolling around in my mind (never being started for lack of a name... this current name is on trial!) for quite some time. My goal is to share articles, ideas, and arguments relating to science, evolution, and the interplay between science and religion. Comments are welcome, but please, thoughtful, respectful posts only. Questioning, intellectual discussions are the goal!

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