Saturday, January 25, 2014

Creation Good - Creationism Bad?

I am preaching the third in a series tomorrow, on God as creator. It is a tougher subject than it used to be. And whose fault is that?

I want to set that up a bit this morning.

You see whenever those who are not members of the faith community, and in particular those who would not call themselves Jesus-followers, hear the word creation these days they hear 'creationist'. And when they hear 'creationist' they hear 'fruit-loops'.

So all of us who believe in a greater power, a higher force, an uncaused cause, a prime-mover, a logos (made flesh or otherwise) have to do a lot of explaining that 'what creationists think' and 'what many normal Christians think' are not the same thing. Even though I do believe in a creator he is bigger, by definition, than the creationists can possibly imagine. He is bigger than the knock-god-down opponents describe. For the god they usually knock down is too small.

I watched the last episode of Series 1 of Aaron Sorkin's 'The Newsroom' last night. In it news anchor Will McEvoy (Jeff Daniels), who is portrayed as a liberalish Republican (bless), unleashes an amazing anti-Tea Party rant. In short he says how dare anyone suggest that God might be on their political side. It is why the founding fathers left religion out of it. And from this he deduces that there is not a single 'Christian position' on a whole load of issues.

My understanding of God as creator does not belong in science classes. The Bible is not, and has never been intended to be, a science text book. It is the developing story of God's relationship with his people, and theirs with him, and how they understood God. In the Old Testament they thought he was a warrior God who gave battle victory in response to obedience. They were wrong. They thought he liked them setting animals on fire as a sacrifice. They were confused. They thought he wanted them to sacrifice their children. He didn't. How do we know? The don't-kill-your-children thing was revealed early (to Abraham on a mountain). Then Jesus, the likeness of the invisible God (Colossians 1), told us and showed us the rest.

If we take a literal approach to the Old Testament (and it occurs to me that those who do are still very selective) then we have to concoct all sorts of complex theories, unacceptable to the majority of the scientific community, to explain why the dates add up, why evolution is discredited and only a theory and why the search for the actual Garden of Eden, or Ark of Noah, is worth carrying out.

For me there is nothing historical about Genesis 1-11. Not all truth is historical truth.

The blood-lusting, confused picture of God is the one anti-creationists such as Richard Dawkins and Alice Roberts say is wrong. They are right.

So what picture of God as creator is right? Find out tomorrow. Trendlewood Church at 1015 or Holy Trinity, Nailsea at 1830.

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