I've had many, many debates with my cousin. Some of them were pretty heated. I read up on various apologists, people using nature as proof for God. People who were also pretty ardent in their non-belief in Darwinian Evolution. I used to get so frustrated with my cousin; he was so unwilling to see the other side of the debate. He wouldn't concede that the books I'd read had any merit, and he certainly wasn't about to have his mind changed by me.
Then, like an unwelcome ray of sunshine heralding the need to get out of a warm, cosy bed and go to work, something began to dawn on me.
I hadn't once read a book he'd suggested (and there were a few!). I hadn't once watched a video or listened to a lecture he'd sent me. In fact, I realised that whenever I saw any kind of science-y TV show or read any science-y book, I shut it down in my mind the minute I heard the tiniest mention of the word 'Evolution'.
You see, to my mind, the very notion of Darwinian Evolution was an attack against God. God didn't need a slow process to create life, I decided. Genesis says he did it in seven days, so that was good enough for me! I had made the decision deep inside myself that any suggestion that this wasn't true was evil, and – truth be told – I was terrified of it.
I'm not the first Christian dude to come to this sort of conclusion, either. In 1616 the Church declared that 'Heliocentrism' was a false teaching and contrary to scripture. They decreed that the leading author in this field, a guy you may have heard of named Galileo, was 'vehemently suspect of heresy' and locked him up. To the church of the day, Heliocentrism was as violent an attack on God as I believed Evolution to be. Now we know that Galileo was totally, undeniably correct all along and – whaddya know – God's still here.
Heliocentrism is the concept that the earth orbits the sun
Yup. So back to my rude awakening. Eventually I came to the conclusion that I couldn't go on being upset with my cousin for not reading my sources if I wouldn't read his. So I started to, if only to better shut him up. What I found startled me. But I'm not going to tell you about that today. You'll have to stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion.
I will say this: The church has a history of getting itself into trouble through its vehement refusal of key scientific ideas. Galileo is only one example in a long list.
They'd refuse to consider anything that didn't fit with their current viewpoint.
And we're still doing it.
We continually argue against scientific research, often from a point of complete ignorance. We don't read or learn about evolution or particle physics or geology or the fossil record, we just argue that the scientists who are challenging our preconceptions can't possibly be correct because…well, just because.
So, as I begin my stint here on Christian Today, I'm going to ask you to keep an open mind. I'm going to be exploring the fact that Christians do not have to be afraid of science. This might be uncomfortable territory for some, but I promise that if you keep an open mind, we'll discover some pretty awesome things together about God's creation.
My cousin is an ardent Evolutionist.
He's also an extraordinary man of God.
Daniel is currently studying towards a Diploma of Biblical Studies as part of his training to be a Salvation Army Officer (minister). He likes science and video games. He's a geek, but he's slowly coming to terms with it.