I was shocked this week to read a letter in the Camden Advertiser written by one whom I once looked up to as pillar of the local Christian community. He was criticizing an article I’d written in which I suggested that the apparent similarities between us and the monkeys might indicate we have a common creator rather than a common ancestor.
My intent, was not to create enemies of science and religion, as suggested, but to demonstrate the harmony between true science and true religion that becomes apparent when we look at both in the light of a powerful, intelligent creator who is vitally concerned with every aspect of his creation.
His letter said that as ministers our job was to explain that “the mythology, poetry and metaphors in the Bible should not be taken to be literal, scientific or historical fact” and “Biblical truth is not dependant on the scientific and historical accuracy of the Bible”.
Yes, there is metaphor in the Bible, in fact you find it in all written works, even those that put out by scientists. Also its true to say that the Bible is not a science book. God does not explain in detail how he created the universe, but why he created it. The creation narrative is there so we might attribute the source of all things to the right person and have done with the notion that the universe is the product of evil or impersonal forces, or that it just came about by chance.
However to say that it does not have to be fundamentally true in what it says is to deny everything we need for our own salvation.
I expect sometime in the not to distant future to die. Someone might just possibly describe my passing in poetry or metaphor. Some might even feel led to put a scientific spin on it. But one thing is certain; the registrar of birth deaths and marriages will record the event as real history. My death certificate will indicate the place I died and the time it happened.
The Bible has told me that I needn’t be overly concerned about this death, it won’t be fatal. That’s not because it will only be a poetic, mythical or metaphorical death but because certain recorded events of the Bible, namely the life death and resurrection of Jesus are as real in history as my death will be.
If you try to explain away Biblical truth while at the same time claim to be Christian then you end up denying your own reality and forfeiting your eternity. If some of the things in the Bible are hard to believe and understand, that’s because we have been taught from an early age to see everything, from a secular world view.
Man hates God, so every thing he says and does is aimed at suppressing the knowledge of God’s interest and influence in our world. If you believe in a loving God who created the universe as an expression of that love then its silly to suggest that he would, having finished the task, go off and leave it to the mercy of time plus chance.
If we believe he is intricately concerned with our individual lives its also reasonable to believe that he had a lot to do with the creation of all the species on earth and that he did that as an expression of his character and personality. So expect to see beauty, ingenuity, elegance, efficiency, practicality and even humour in his work.
Anyone who has as much as hammered a nail into two bits of wood will tell you that those things don’t happen by accident and I am not just being metaphorical.
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