I am working on a paper for some studies I am doing at Regent College and so I am doing a lot of reading in the area of cosmology, origins of the universe, and origins of man. I am reading a number of journal articles in contemporary theology, science, genetics, and philosophy. It is challenging and exhilarating work. It can sometimes get far removed from the day-to-day issues of life. Yet, every once in a while I find a piece that helps make sense of life in the here and now.
We often speak of the days of creation and wrestle with how to understand all that there is in our universe (or multiverse) and how it all came to be. We might speak of the 7 days of creation or the 6 days of creation and a day of rest. We might ask questions about these 7 periods of time. We might argue about whether these are 7 twenty-four hour periods of time or 7 indefinite eras. But what about the 8th day? What is our understanding of the process of creation? Was it a once and for all historical act? Or is there a sense in which the universe is still being created? What about new islands (like the Galapagos Islands or even younger islands) that form as volcanoes erupt in the sea? Are they part of this mysterious process of creation? Or, what about a new baby that is born into this world? Are they a part of the creation process? Is there a goal toward which all of creation is heading? Is the whole thing just blind chance, variation and natural selection, cause and effect? Is there a purpose?
Some of my recent reading has focussed my attention on the continuous process of creation. The universe in general, and the earth in specific, are still in the midst of being made. They are very much a work-in-progress. I like this perspective. I like the idea that things (including me) are not yet finished. We get to watch it unfold. We have a front row seat for the biggest show of all time and it is the “show of all time.” It puts me in the midst of something. It makes me a character in the story. It makes me one of the “adams” of the creation story and not just one of the “atoms” in the cosmic theatre. It also leaves room for God. John H. Walton says,
If God’s work of creation is considered only a historical act that took place in the past, it is easy to imagine how people might not think in terms of God being active today. We have lost the view that nature does not operate independently from God. He is still creating with each baby that is born, with each plant that grows, with each cell that divides, with each nebula that forms. We might find it easy to look at some majestic view like a glorious sunset or the grandeur of the mountains and ponder the magnificence of God’s handiwork. But this sense needs to extend beyond the “wow” moments to encompass all of our experience of his world. We have the same problem when we only recognize God in some incredible occurrence in our lives and forget that he provides for us, cares for us and protects us moment by moment, day after day. God did not just create at some time in the past; he is the Creator-past, present and future.*
God is involved in the day to day actions. This does not mean that we discard our understanding of embryology. It means we understand that God is involved and is behind and sustains the embryology that leads to the development of a child that will be born on the earth today. It means we can look for the mechanisms of how things come to be without discarding the “why and who questions.”
Perhaps some readers would like to take up this challenge today: watch . . . . See if you can catch something in the process of being made. It is happening all around us whether we notice or not.
*Walton, John H. The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009, p. 142, 143.