Category Archives: Teaching

Creation – Subject to Revision

I was given the opportunity on my favorite message board with my favorite Atheist and Agnostic friends to respond to a remark about what Christians believe about creation.  I enjoyed writing this response and I wanted to share it here as well.  I have modified it slightly to make it read more clearly in this format.

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Part 1 – regarding an article where a Giant Platypus fossil was recently discovered, my clever friend “A” quipped:

Do God-believing people think this stuff is a joke? E.g. the five-to-fifteen million year age estimate is admittedly vague.

Which I took as a direct question – because I’m a jerk like that – but my friends tolerate and entertain me pretty nicely.  Here’s what I responded:

This is a good opportunity for me to explain something important: Not every Christian is a “young earth creationist”.

Young Earth Creationism – God made the world 6,000 years ago, humans existed with dinosaurs OR dinosaurs are a big scam, everything in Genesis is translated 100% accurately to modern-day scientific terms and it should be taken 100% literally word for word.

I am not a Young Earth Creationist.

There are lots of theories about creation that are more compatible with Christianity – save base evolution which really isn’t. I’m not a fan of Darwinian evolution, but I have good scientific reasons for this opinion!

Here’s what I know for sure about creation: God created.

That’s it.

That’s the point of Genesis. “God created.” The rest, I’m just as open to working-out the details as you lot. I freaking love Science! 🙂

I’ve met as many Christians with opinions similar to mine as I have ardent young earth creationist. It’s such a hot topic for the YEC’s that I tend to avoid it like the plague when talking to another believer… mostly because I think it really doesn’t matter to your faith today. What matters today is just that God created.

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Part 2 – my clever friend “B” wrote:

I know a bunch of folks are also getting into the combined Creationist Theory of Evolution. Basically that God created some base units that then evolved naturally into what we have today. Which Science isn’t able to disprove yet so it is as equally likely that God started it as it is that pure random chance started life.

I will say though that Young Earth Creationists scare me, how can you possibly put so much faith in one collection of vaguely similar books and yet ignore the massive collection of information that clearly shows pure, empirical evidence of the age of the earth being greater than 6000 years.

To which I responded again – as though it was directed specifically at me (it wasn’t):

Some YECs scare me too. Many of them accept what people tell them as gospel truth and never investigate any other ideas that what someone said might be wrong. God says you should investigate and question things until you fully understand them (which in theory, should be never). That seems a pretty good definition of scientific investigation. Plus, it says in the Bible that God stands outside of time. Why would he be constrained by that? Why would you take an idea as powerful as the Christian God and put him in chains by saying he is required to follow the rules of time as we humans understand it? Also – the way that they understood time 6,000 years ago and wrote about it is NOT the same as the way that we understand it today. You just can’t read it that way.

“God caused evolution and then let it happen” theory – We call that general Deism. That’s not really what I believe either. Christians believe that we serve an active and currently involved personal God. We believe in current day Miracles, that prayer is real, and that Jesus is alive (in a way that doesn’t fit the physical humanist definition of life).

So what do I believe about creation and evolution? I don’t want to appear dodgy here, so to be as specific as possible: I believe that Evolution is a quality explanation of the evidence we’ve found here on earth – as we view our universe from a Human perspective. Just because that’s the direction our scientists have gone based on the evidence they have, doesn’t make it an accurate explanation. I believe that it’s possible that Evolution IS accurate and wholly compatible with an invested, tangible, live, and direct God. If I am to believe that he created life, then why wouldn’t he have a hand in Evolution at every step? It’s not philosophically exclusionary of God’s involvement – it doesn’t have to be. I’ve just chosen to think – as a thinking man – that it doesn’t make as much sense as some have believed.

What I don’t believe is that any amount of Scientifically obtained evidence disproves Faith. I find that to be remarkably arrogant and dangerous thinking. I also find it to be a significantly un-scientific attitude. If we are to accept that we are humans, living-in and experiencing a single dimension of what we call space/time from a single perspective – testing ideas and philosophies based on that perspective and on the tools we’ve made for ourselves… then certainly it seems reasonable to also accept that there are forces and factors far outside of our ability to comprehend or observe that may quite dramatically influence those things that we can observe and test.

Given this philosophy, you could find alien life and it wouldn’t threaten my view of God.

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I’ll wrap this post up with one final comment.  I’m perfectly willing to believe that I have this wrong.  Maybe the earth IS 6,000 years old. I think it’s far more likely, however, that we all have it quite wrong and the truth is far outside of anything we’ve imagined yet.

In this context, the essence of true Science is this:  I cannot wait to learn or discover more.

If I add in Faith, it only changes to this:  I cannot wait to learn or discover more about God’s creation.

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Truth is Organic

Truth is Organic

What’s “Organic”?  Organic is a word that’s been pretty heavily twisted by modern product manufacturers, wouldn’t you agree?  Take the diaper here… I have nothing against the Bum Genius company, I’m quite sure they make great products… but is this diaper really organic?  Did it sprout right out of the ground like that?  Did they use no machine processes, refinements, extractions, glues, etc… to produce this?  Where in the industrial manufacturing process does a product cease to become “organic” and simply become a product?


Now that’s a little nicer.  A beautiful little sprout coming up from what appears to be rich black soil.  The arrangement of the hands would have you believe that this guy took close personal care of this plant throughout it’s entire lifecycle…. he planted it with his finger, he watered it by cupping handfuls of water from the nearby stream and running them over to the garden, he fertilized it with his organic cow’s waste matter, he read it bedtime stories, he sang to it, he sheltered it from the scorching hot sun on the hottest days by cutting off his hippie long hair and fashioning it into a woven canopy made of hemp and bamboo.

Right?

The idea of “Truth” and honesty in our world is just like the idea of “Organic”.  How do you know which “truth” is true?  When you say something to anyone else… are you telling them the almost truth or the full truth?  Are you knowingly withholding information that would be important to them?  Is that the same as lying, or is it still true if they don’t ask you specifically about that one thing?

This is not a rant about “modern society”… I think the problem of absolute truth vs. relative truth is centuries old.  Actually, I know it is.

I’m guilty of telling the “almost truth”.  All of us are – I’m quite sure, at one time or another.  Spurgeon said about Discernment – “Discernment is not a matter of simply telling the difference between right and wrong; rather, it is telling the difference between right and almost right.”  The same could be said for Truth and Absolute Truth.  Is there such a thing as Absolute Truth?

Are humans capable of knowing and telling absolute truth?

What is Absolute Truth?

ab·so·lute

noun /ˈabsəˌloot/  /ˌabsəˈloot/
absolutes, plural

  • A value or principle that is regarded as universally valid or that may be viewed without relation to other things
    • – good and evil are presented as absolutes
  • That which exists without being dependent on anything else
  • Ultimate reality; God

So Absolute Truth is something that must be true, no matter what other CIRCUMSTANCES there are around it.  It’s a fact that is universally valid.  It’s something that exists even beyond our human capacity to understand and reason and remains true even when we can’t comprehend it from a single perspective.

Can we dwell on this a little more?  My starting inspiration for this post was a conversation I held with one of my students a few days ago.  He was attempting to dispell upon me a common thread in humanity and something I’ve practiced myself on MANY occasions.  I call it Rationalized Truth.

A few months ago I had asked this student “Are you honoring God in your relationship with your girlfriend?”

Now, I’ve known this student for years… and I know he knows what that means.  To honor God in your relationship means very simply:  Are the things you’re doing with this person, thinking about this person, talking about with this person, etc… are they God-honoring things – all of them.

At that time – a few months ago, he lied to me when he said “Yes, I’m honoring God in my relationship.”  He later revealed to me that he had, indeed, been having sex with his girlfriend… but only after getting caught.

You should know – this is really a GREAT kid.  He’s chasing after God, he’s trying to learn what it means to live a God-honoring life.  I really love him like my own son.  He’s just…. typically human.  My point was not to “punish” him for having sex.  My point was to hold him accountable to a higher standard.  You should know that he previously asked me to be the one that held him accountable.  It would be much easier for me to brush off his dishonesty in favor of maintaining my relationship with him – but that’s not what I was called to do… and what kind of relationship would that be then?

So in another conversation I had with him far more recently where I had to confront him about another lie, I brought up that his behavior over the last few months had been untrustworthy.  He disagreed and rationalized that he didn’t lie to me about his relationship with his girlfriend because I never “specifically asked about sex.”  Of course, I lovingly let him have it.  I’d be doing him a gigantic disservice in life to allow him to think that rationalized truth is acceptable truth.

How many of us do this though, and how often do we rationalize away the truth?  We say to ourselves… nobody will know that I did this… I don’t need to tell anyone… it doesn’t hurt anyone if I lie just this one time… I’m protecting him from the truth… a lie will be much more pleasant for him… if he doesn’t ask me specifically, I don’t have to tell him… right… if I withhold a little information, that’s not the same as lying… is it?

I do this, you do this, we all do this.

The objective of my post is to recognize that any truth other than Absolute Truth is comprised of sin.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Work on this:

The origin of sin is pride-conceit.  Do you disagree?  Another subject for another time… My contention is that all sin originates with pride.  You are showing PRIDE(conceit) when you practice rationalized truth or “white lies” because you are placing your own personal idea of “right” over the absoluteness of the actual facts, the pure truth.  You are – in effect saying – my opinion on this situation is more important than the true facts of the matter.  You’re placing your own perspective and/or emotional feelings about the matter ABOVE the importance of the actual truth.  All along you know what the facts are, the immutable truth… but you decide through false rationalization and pride that your ideas are better.

If you’re a Christian, you should know that God does not play games with the truth.  He does not nod, grin, and turn his head away from you sheepishly when you say “Oh, it’s ok God because he didn’t ask me specifically”.

Why?  Why is this important to my life today?

Try it.  I dare you to try it and find out.  Try living a life of 100% truth and honesty in everything you say and do and see for yourself what I’m talking about.  Try it for an hour.  Then a day.  Then a week.  It takes practice!  As people in modern society we’re VERY accustomed to living in the darkness.  Once you get used to it, it’s actually a breeze!

Here’s what you’ll find and what I’ve found in real everyday practice when you seek and tell the full truth all the time:

*  Life is easier.  You never have to worry about which lie you told to who, what secrets you’re supposed to keep or perpetuate, or how you can justify your guilt to this person.  Anxiety and Stress decrease.

*  Respect and Love from others becomes Epic.  Do you want to become a Leader?  People naturally follow (without being told)… they actually desire to follow other people that they perceive to have integrity.  God (not so) secretly constructed the human psyche to work this way… so that true leaders would emerge from a society organically, without being forced.  Do you disagree?  Study some history – which were the best leaders to their people – who took the best care of them?  Relationships improve dramatically and people take you seriously for the first time ever.

*  Shame and Guilt rarely have a grip on you.  Maybe you’ve told so many lies that you’ve become accustomed to constantly being disappointed with yourself.  You may have even grown somewhat numb to the idea…. but if you’re numb to this, then you’re also numb to empathy and Love.  You cannot give and receive Love and Affection (something we all desire)… you cannot be intimately connected with anyone in any relationship… if you’re so numb from shame that you can’t feel much of anything anymore.  Pain decreases, sensitivity increases.

*  You can KNOW God’s will for your life!  You can UNDERSTAND his actions in your life!  Who wouldn’t want that?  The Bible promises this… that if we live a quality relationship with Jesus Christ, that we can know God’s will… that he will share it with us.  Living a quality relationship with a perfectly Holy God means knowing what Absolute Truth means and not being shy about it.  It means (of course) much more than that as well, but this is an important aspect.  Don’t confuse having a quality relationship with Jesus with your Salvation.  You can be saved but live the rest of your life mostly in the dark.  This is next-level stuff for the already saved.  God wants you to live victoriously TODAY… he WANTS that relationship of lasting Joy, Love, and Fulfillment for you.  It starts with Honesty.  It is impossible without Truth.

*  The Holy Spirit?  You can’t hear it if you’re covering it up with lies and rationalization!  It’s power can’t infect you and perform miracles with your hands!  In order to be used by God, in order to accomplish more than you ever thought possible on your own through the power of the Holy Spirit, you have to submit to it.  You can’t be submitting to the Holy Spirit if you’re suppressing it with pride or sin.

and so much more.

Look – here’s the connection point – even if telling the truth gets you fired.  Even if it ends a friendship for you.  Even if it means going to jail…. God will not fail to defend you.  He will not fail to accompany you, protect you, Love you, fulfill you – when you’re living in the truth.  He promises this!  You can depend on it because… God doesn’t lie.  He doesn’t Rationalize.  He doesn’t tell half-truths.  If you’re living righteously, you don’t have to worry about the consequences of the truth.  You can trust that God will take care of the details.

I admit, I’m not always successful at this.  The more I have practiced it though, the easier it’s become.  The more I’ve accomplished it, the more sensitive I am to the times when I fail.  The more I feel peace and strength around knowing the full truth, the more adamant I feel about dismissing lies and deceit from my life and my home.  I’m convicted, absolute truth is the only way to live a good life.  Anything except this will keep you from all the joy and purpose that God has planned for you.  Don’t wait, start today.  There’s only one source for Absolute Truth.  No human can be trusted, no human is quite right enough.  Many are “almost right”, but none are perfect.  Just Him alone!

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A short aside of clarification:  Telling the FULL Absolute Truth is not the same as “telling it like it is”.  If you have a critical heart for those around you, constantly pointing out someone’s faults and errors is not the same as telling the absolute truth.  It’s just being mean.  If you need help discerning this difference, please pray for help with an open repentant heart and know in faith that you’ll get it.  Stay in The Word and use Jesus as your example of what is Truth and what is just mean.  Do this faithfully and reliably and consistently and it won’t be long before you start acting like Him!

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The real truth IS Organic.  It comes naturally without our ‘help’.  It is not twisted, modified, refined, chemically altered, or even touched by human hands in any way.  It is simply consumed by us and/or delivered by us, but it cannot be generated by us.  It can only come directly from God.  You’ll know you’re hearing or telling the Absolute Truth when you think “There’s no question in my mind at all that this is universally true.”  It blesses your body, your mind and your soul when you receive it and it blesses others when you deliver it.  It brings and multiplies peace, healing, comfort, strength, growth and Love.  It brings all those aspects that the marketing agency behind Bum Genius Organic Diapers wants you to believe you get when you buy their product… only it comes without your money… and without your effort because it can only come from Him, the one true source of Absolute Truth and Love.

Friends, there are so many scripture references about Honesty and Truth in the Bible that I pulled from to write this that I couldn’t possibly fit all of them in here.  Here’s but one resource.  The word of God is powerful, far more so than my words.  If you read nothing above, please read this instead!

Not every post will be like this… I promise.  I’m not just here to get on a soap box and write sermonettes… only when I feel REALLY convicted to do so!  😉

Thanks for your time… please comment, ask, disagree or correct me!