This past week I spent
three days with 300 other people discussing Science and Faith, Evolutionary
Creation, Theology, and how we understand our Creator God in the light of recent
scientific discoveries. I was in Houston at the BioLogos 2017 Conference. This
conference draws speakers and attenders from a variety of fields. We had
keynote speakers from the fields of astronomy, molecular genetics, New
Testament theology, Old Testament theology, sociology, particle physics, pastoral
care, and engineering. There were participants from each of those disciplines
plus, virology, microbiology, Christian education, chemistry, psychology, journalism,
aero-space science, and many others. I met a young woman about the age of my
daughters who was there because she wanted to have honest discussions about
science and faith with her own two daughters. She found a great deal of support
from the group and went home with information to help in her faith journey and
that of her daughters. One of the foremost astronomers in America admitted that
she had never found community because other scientists were suspicious of her
faith and Christians were suspicious of her science. A pastor stood up and
apologized on behalf of Christians and the crowd gave a warm round of applause.
There were many
lighter moments as well. Francis Collins, Director of the National Institute of
Health in the USA, and NT Wright, one of the world’s foremost theologians, sang
two song parodies that reminded the audience of the transformation underway in
science and Christianity. You can find their guitar playing, singing
performance on You-tube (not great quality but it captures an historic moment).
There were many
plenary and workshop presentations worthy of discussion at this year’s event,
but allow me today, to focus on just one: NT Wright’s lecture entitled, “Christ
in the Cosmos.” He affirmed the New Testament understanding that the creation
was made through the Word. He referred to Colossians 1:11-15, part of which
says that, “all things were created through him (Jesus) and for him (Jesus).”
Wright reminded his audience that if we stay focused on Jesus, we will be
better equipped to understand the nature of creation.
NT Wright pointed out
that, in the Gospels, Jesus has much to say about the Kingdom of God, which is
the new creation. So, if we better understand the new creation, we will better
understand the nature of the first creation. Both creations, new and first,
overcome chaos and bring order. The new creation is compared to a mustard seed
that starts out small but progresses and grows and becomes a large plant. Now,
as I go beyond what NT Wright said, but perhaps capture the sentiment toward
which he alluded, no one expects the mustard seed to go from small to large in
one leap, we know that it progresses from seed, to sprout, to two-leaf stage,
to multi-leaf stage, to small bush, to become the plant into which it is
designed to grow.
Wright also spoke of
the New Kingdom of God being like a field of wheat which contains weeds or
tares which grow along with the wheat. Any farmer knows that the weeds that
grow along with the wheat are useless and are merely taking up resources in the
field. Yet, as Jesus tells his audience, the farmer in the parable allows the
weeds to grow with the wheat and removes them later. This is a picture of the
new creation; but is it not also a picture of the first creation? As we
consider evolutionary creation, the useless weeds that grow along with the good
wheat may be compared to the dead-ends of evolution. Evolution of species from
one to another dictates several paths. Some paths lead to a viable species,
well-suited to its environment; and some paths lead to extinction and a loss of
that genetic line. Could these extinctions, and lost genetic lines, correspond
to the tares or weeds? Such speculation and thinking is helpful to our understanding
of how God may have initiated the first creation. I say initiated, because the
creation, as we know it, is still happening. At the BioLogos 2017 Conference, Deborah
Haarsma showed an image of stars presently being born in the universe and
reminded us that God is still in the business of creating. There is a continual
process that has gone on since Jesus, the Word, started the Big Bang.
Contemporary science
gives us evidence that the universe is still being created. The New Kingdom of
God is a kingdom that is growing in our midst. Surely, it is not a large step
to consider an evolutionary development of our world. We would do well to meditate
upon these things and see if they bring about a better understanding of this
amazing creation in which we live.

Dive in!

Join The Great Journey with subscribers, and see new posts as they happen.

We promise we’ll never spam.