Andy Nixon

a united methodist follower of Jesus

Evolution Explained

During a recent series called Ask Me Anything, I called for an extra question. Explain Evolution – was the question – and I whiffed. The premise of the series is that I answer questions not knowing what the questions are in advance. I had a couple of extra minutes on a Sunday morning and called for an extra question. Let’s just say there was no way any adequate response was going to happen.

Enter the blog.

In church I think folks ought to know what a pastor really thinks. My impression of church today is that it is a bit of a china cabinet – a place for the polished. Our Jesus of the gospels is anything but that. He met real, hurting, incomplete people – and was willing to put a word out there even if it might be unfinished. I hope the church returns, one day, to this way.

So let’s take it on – Explain Evolution. First, I believe science and faith are compatible. Scientific inquiry has enlightened and blessed all of us. Being married to a teacher who has taught many a science course, I am a fan of science and all the questions it asks. Second, I do not take Genesis 1 and 2 literally.  In my reading, these creation accounts  – the seven-day story and the Garden of Eden – are meant to describe the relationship of God-Humanity-Creation, not the chronology. The Scriptures describe the relationship of God to us, not the mechanics of how we came into being.

The fact that I do not interpret these chapters literally in no way diminishes their value. I believe God loves all creation. I believe God’s fingerprints are all over this universe. I believe Jesus was sent to rescue all of creation from sin and death.

To me, evolution is a scientific expression of a theological truth. God loves to create. It is the very first thing the Bible teaches us about God! Our God is a creator. In our world, however, creation is broken. Sin and evil cracked the perfection we once knew. Evolution is nothing more than God’s original desire to create broken by sin. Our sinful world adapts – at times beautifully and at others times destructively so – and this is nothing more than a truth of God warped by sin.

To journey into the Bible a little more, I believe there are four creation stories in total. In addition to Genesis 1 and 2, I believe the Noah story and the opening of the gospel of John add to the creation narrative. God made a second run at cleansing the world of sin through Noah, and in John 1 we see Jesus was, is, and will always be central to all of creation.

All told, the Bible gives us a few creation truths. God loves to create and will do anything to save creation. God also loves life. This is why, to me, evolution and the resurrection are compatible. God loves life. In evolution we see this truth distorted by sin, while in the resurrection of Jesus we see God’s love of life displayed again – perfect and glorious – as only God can.

Please share your thoughts.

2 Comments

  1. Great minds think alike. My version is that science is mankind figuring out the how of creation. Until the Enlightenment, Religion and Science were interchangeable. Then the church bureaucrats got involved and created all these rules. There will always be room for God in science because every theory, say like the Big Bang, has a, well, what came before that? Plus, there are always the emotional and philosophical problems of why bad things happen to “Saints” like us, and why “Those rotten So and So’s” seem to get away with everything and have all the really neat toys?

  2. Thanks Andy. I share your view of Genesis 1 and 2. I do not take them literally. That in no way diminishes my faith in and regard for the scriptures. I am currently reading “The Lost World of Genesis One” by John Walton. He explains the difference between functional and material creation while giving insight into the ancient culture for which the story was intended. The book may interest you. People tend to dismiss the participation of God in anything that can be explained by natural law or scientific discovery. I think this is a faulty way to view God and His creation. Just because I know what caused rain drops to fall from the sky today, doesn’t mean God had nothing to do with setting up the systems to make that possible. I appreciate your honesty and openness with this issue and everything else.

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