I’d been considering writing a blog specifically about Genesis 1 in light of the Ken Ham/Bill Nye debate, but I think Tim Gombis has already articulated some of my thoughts very well and I can let his words suffice.
When the Bible becomes a politically charged textbook, we miss so much of what God has intended us to see. We take to the Bible not to learn about Yahweh and His characters, but to attain new ammunition in the culture wars.
And so dichotomies–false dichotomies–are created as a by-product of the culture wars and our reading of Scripture and our understand of Yahweh gets warped. The Ham and Nye debate thrived on such a dichotomy; they made it sounds as though you either take Genesis 1 literally as Ken Ham does and sit firmly on the pedestal of Young-Earth Creationism, or you are an evolutionist.
It is ironic–Ken Ham made a point during his presentation that evolutionist and creationist look into the same barrel of evidence and come to different conclusions. But even Christians can look at the evidence differently! When I read Genesis 1, I don’t see a description of how and when the universe was created, but Who and why the universe was created. Likewise, Gombis (apart from whatever his specific views on Creation are) see the gift of the Sabbath bestowed, a heart for the earth and the environment endowed, and a freedom to live in the “more-than-enough” creation enabled.
Ah Lord, help us to lay down the grenades of scripture we lob at each other and take up love as our weapon of choice.
I used to teach evangelical undergrads who were not only well-versed in a scientific reading of Genesis 1 but were thoroughly saturated in the highly-charged rhetoric of the culture wars.
In one course I included a few sessions that focused on the text of Genesis 1-2.
I’d typically begin by noting that I was really tired of being at a school that didn’t take Genesis 1 seriously. That usually got their attention.
“Honestly,” I would say, “I look around at this campus, at many faculty, and most of you students, and it seems to me that no one has any regard for what God says here.”
They all eyed me with shock by the time I carried on like this for a few more minutes. This was a culture that, if anything, imagined that it stood alone for the integrity of Genesis 1.
I would then distribute copies of the…
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