When I was in college, one of my science classes was taught by a nun. She was very good. When she taught about evolution, I stayed after class and asked her as a nun and a Christian how could she teach evolution since the Bible is clear that God created the earth and all that is in it? And if you do not read the Bible, you may not know that Jesus is the Word of God and by a word, God created everything that was created in its order, and that word is Jesus. So in the Gospel of John is the whole story of how Jesus is the word and was with God in the beginning.
I asked her how, as a nun, she could talk about evolution. She was surprised by my question, but she had an answer. She said, “God created the earth and all that is in it, but since that time all of life and the universe have been evolving into what we see today. That was an excellent scientific sidestep, and I was not capable of theological debate, so I let it slide.
So What Happened to God?
Did God set everything in motion and then walk away? Is that what she meant? I don’t know what happened to that nun and come to think of it. I think she was a substitute since I don’t remember her teaching again. I didn’t put much interest in her theory that God set things in motion and then backed off. I mean really, if you were God, would you do that? Set things in motion and then back away and….and…what? Just watch the show? Really?
Life Is Story
Each of us has a story to tell with our experience. People can learn from the things we have learned in life. Many authors have written whole books on what they have learned in life, and their books have sold many copies and even made the NY Times list of best books to read. The reason we can learn from memoirs or nonfiction is that each person’s experience in life is minimal. We can learn from other’s stories.
We have all sorts of things that we think must happen to make life work, and I certainly don’t have a better way to do life than anyone else. We work, we fall in love and have families, we may decide not to get married, we save and we vacation. All of those choices cause more choices, and soon, our story becomes the sum of our choices…., and then we die. Just kidding…well, kind of. It is true that we live and then we die, but there is a lot of living to do before we die and you know what I mean.
That would be our whole existence if God just set things in motion and then sat back and watched the show. He would be watching at a distance as we made our good and bad choices. And it would stand to reason that some would decide God doesn’t exist because no one has seen him since the days of creation and none of us were there. No living person would have any relationship with God today. If that nun was right, then, it seems to me this would be the natural sequence of doing away with God. He’s just watching and doing nothing to help us or guide us, so we don’t need him. And the other logical conclusion is that creation story is a fairy tale and those who believe it are naïve and stupid. Religion is nothing more than a bunch of laws or rules that are mindless and causing more problems and divisions in society than we would have without religion.
What if the creation story is just part of the whole story? What if God is very much involved with the world today? If we believe the creation story, we surely must give weight to the story of Adam and Eve and God was very much a part of their story. He was very much a part of Noah’s story and Moses’s story and King David’s story and many, many others. Unless—someone just made all those stories up like a fairytale. Read the Old Testament—-you can’t make that stuff up! The whole OT may seem a little daunting, so just read Exodus through Deuteronomy. There are enough miracles and relationship to make my point or yours.
The laws of God are under attack because so many of them make no sense to us today. We have moved past the laws, and so we assume we have moved past God himself. Hmmmm Just like we learn new ways of eating and exercise to be healthier and stronger or learn new things about the earth and how it is inter-related, we had at one point known none of it. The Laws were God’s way of helping people learn how to get along with each other and what to eat and how to eat it and what will make life work and what will make a mess of life. God is in the laws. They are his instructions to people who had not learned very much about themselves or the things they would encounter. The laws were for the good of the people who heard them. The laws were all the protection they had from diseases and other things that can happen out in the desert.
The laws have suffered a lot of ridicule because we look at them as people who have medical science, and governments and all the things, good or bad that have developed over thousands of years. Moses and the Israelites didn’t have our advantage, and if we had followed those laws ourselves there wouldn’t have been so many people dying in Europe because doctors were not washing their hands between seeing patients, back in the day. That simple instruction is in the law written by Moses as he heard it from God.
I’ll get back with you tomorrow!