i’m not sure if this is the correct place to post, sorry if not.
i have believed in God for as long as i can remember and these past 2/3 years my faith has increased massively. i read LOTS and recently i have been reading lots of science/religion books. i recently read ‘It Couldn’t Just Happen’ by Lawrence O’Richards which i found incredibly helpful (and helped me to hate science that little bit more for ‘taking’ religion from people).
without knowing it, i had become a Young Earth Creationist and a Gap Creationist as well as someone who dislikes technological advancements (we own a computer as it is useful in everyday life. we also have many ordinary ‘bog-standard’ electronics but none of these newfangled things like smartphones/HD TV etc which i hate). i realise that we need scientific advancements to have any sort of decent life so i really don’t know why i take this view.
now i am reading Francis Collins’ ‘The Language of God’ which makes sooo much sense and i am coming to realise how ridiculous my beliefs are (and how ridiculous i must have sounded when i tried to defend my beliefs) but i can’t seem to let go of them as that seems to me to almost be ‘giving in’-it seems, in my mind, that if i believe what Francis Collins believes-religion and evolution-then i am trying to have the best of both worlds, almost so i can’t possibly lose if anything is ever proven/disproven.
after all this time, all these years, of fully believing that the world is so young (this had an added benefit of somehow making me feel much closer to God and Christ) how can i possibly ‘go against’ it now? my faith isn’t shaken but the innermost workings of my faith feel as though they are crumbling and i don’t know how to deal with it. everything fitted so neatly together before and now it is all drifting apart and new things are emerging. its like some sort of earthquake in my heart.
i think the real problem i have with science is that people shouldn’t know these things. a Tower of Babel type thing. how dare mankind think they have the right to see (and sometimes tinker with) the amazing, intricate, magical inner workings of life, the universe and all that God created? this is my major stumbling block. i think mankind has way too high an opinion of himself and should basically ‘back the hell off’ and leave things alone. i don’t know if i will ever get past this way of thinking.
i hate that nothing is magical any more. when i was pregnant i went through an incredible experience-a truly God given blessing and, even now, i find it so hard to wrap my brain around the fact that a LIVING PERSON can be created by such a simple act and live and thrive within another human being. then science comes along to break all the magic up into unpronounceable words and basically turn an amazing, ‘way past my meagre imagination’, out of this world experience into a horribly unmagical, boring, medical fact fest. if God was ever proven, science would immediately begin breaking Him up into tiny pieces of information to explain exactly how He created Himself, how exactly He is so omnipotent and, possibly, how we could attempt to use Him to mankinds advantage. this is how i feel, and i really shouldn’t-if it weren’t for science and scientists we would be screwed,that is if we weren’t already extinct. but i don’t htink God gave us intelligence to try and figure these things out. man thinks he is God nowadays and i’m pretty sure God won’t like that (Adam and Eve, the previously mentioned Tower of Babel…we should learn to leave well enough alone in my opinion).
how do i change my way of thinking when i have thought this way for 26 years??! please advise.
i am clearly an idiot; my beliefs verify this, so there is no need to feel offended by anything i have said. i am not trying to insult any one; just trying to explain my thoughts etc…sorry for the long, long ramble/rant.
i’m not sure if this is the correct place to post, sorry if not.
Hey Steph. Although I am ten years younger than you, I can relate to a lot of the things you said. My story is written here if you would like to read it. I am the type of person that will passionately defend a belief that I have, even to the point of being illogical. What I’ve learned in the past year is that it’s okay to be wrong. It feels embarrassing to admit it when you’re wrong, and it seems like people won’t respect you. But, honestly I have found that there is great honor in being able to recognize when you’re wrong. We are human. We get things wrong. Then, when we realize that we were wrong, it is better to admit that than to stick with something you aren’t even convinced of anymore (I’m using the universal “you” here, so don’t feel like I’m trying to single you out).
how dare mankind think they have the right to see (and sometimes tinker with) the amazing, intricate, magical inner workings of life, the universe and all that God created? this is my major stumbling block. i think mankind has way too high an opinion of himself and should basically ‘back the hell off’ and leave things alone.
I understand exactly how you feel here. What I have come to realize is that “God has, in fact, written two books, not just one. Of course, we are all familiar with the first book he wrote, namely Scripture. But he has written a second book called Creation.” Sir Francis Bacon, the one who popularized the Scientific Method, said that. See, God has allowed us the ability to go outside and pick up an insect and study how it works. As Christians, when we study science we are revealing more of God’s wonderful gift to us in Nature. We are functioning in exactly the role that God intended when we study his Creation.
Now onto magic. I too shared (and still share to an extent) your discomfort with the “non-magicalness” of scientific processes. I do not, and will never, know what it is like to experience pregnancy, so I cannot claim to know what that feels like. However, I have begun to see that the way God forms things is truly beautiful. For example, when you saw ultrasounds, you got to see a living person inside of you. And it progressed as time went on. The fact that the process of development is ultimately predictable is not a hindrance to the magic of it. Rather, it is a realization of God’s hand in the world. The way that God “forms us in our mother’s womb” is truly remarkable, and the fact that God has given us the ability to study how he does it, is one of the greatest gifts I can imagine. Evolution and the big bang work the same way. Understanding how God did things is not meant to be a disappointment. There is a certain joy in science, the study of God’s Creation, that I believe is a product of the fact that He made us to worship Him.
My point is this: understanding the magic doesn’t make it any less magical.
Steph, To begin with, stop with the ‘I’m an idiot.’ Saying it only makes it true. (See-‘Self-fulfilling Prophecy’) A group of guys I meet with on a weekly basis is currently reading through Proverbs and 2 things strike me that you should grab a hold of. Being knowledgeable, not an idiot, is almost always tied in with wisdom. Fools, the opposite of wise, pursue neither. You obviously have a deep appreciation and desire to learn, to acquire knowledge. Furthermore, you obviously take self-reflection and personal growth very seriously. Both of which are attributes the ‘Master’ of Proverbs assigns to the wise. In short, never again claim to be an idiot. That word is shallow in meaning and you are certainly no fool. All that has happened is that you have learned something new and it has opened up a very wide panorama. Sure, it can be scary. But there is also something deeply comforting in acknowledging how little one knows and how big God’s grace actually is. There are a LOT of things about scripture that I don’t understand and have had to let go of. But I rest easy knowing that its OKAY for me to not understand Adam and Eve or pain and suffering before the fall, or what Revelations is talking about…anywhere. Its okay because Jesus reminds us that he will reconcile all differences and contradictions and so I don’t have to. Instead, I can safely and comfortably hold on to the immovable cornerstone of Christ’s resurrection and interact with a VERY wide range of viewpoints on this website. I could be wrong about this whole evolutionary creation thing, and I’m fine with that.
Furthermore, its not a sin to doubt and its not a sin to ask questions. Thomas doubted and demanded to see the hands, feet, and side of Jesus. Did He criticize or ridicule? Nope, He met Thomas where he was at. On a personal note, I empathize and relate to Thomas at a very high level. I understand his questions perfectly. I also want to remind you that even Abraham dared to question God’s plan. God didn’t smite him, or turn him over to Satan. No, God heard Abraham’s prayer and answer him each and every time. It kind of makes one wonder what would have happened if any of the other kings had questioned God’s orders to ‘kill them all.’
All of that to say, stop trying to ‘let it go.’ How about this, ‘letting go’ implies choosing one over the other. Don’t. Instead simply acknowledge to yourself and God that you don’t understand and can perhaps accept evolution as God’s tool but that you don’t choose one over the other. I firmly believe that you, Francis Collins, Ken Ham,…somebody with a different idea will all have a place in the kingdom of God. Revel in the awesomeness of that and maybe give yourself a little bit a slack. Remember, slaves feel the pain of their bondage. We have been freed from the slavery of sin and are thus free of the pain of guilt and remorse. And THAT is some pretty good news.
Hope this helps and hope you are enjoying some beautiful weather.
On a final note…what are ‘bog-standard’ electronics? I don’t know that one…
thank you for your kind helpful words and taking the time to read my massive post in the first place! i appreciate what you have said and will take it all into consideration while i try to figure out my new beliefs (which is still proving difficult).
i hope to one day be as comfortable with my beliefs as you are, and as i once was with the Young Earth/Gap Creation beliefs.
i didn’t think of ‘merging’ beliefs rather than choosing one over the other, nor did consider that God wouldn’t mind me thinking so hard about it-surely this is a sign of my faith rather than against it?!
i have some soul searching to do. thank you again.
firstly, thank you for making me feel so old!!
also, thank you for replying to my post. before i posted i actually came across your story but i will reread it now that i have some new perspectives to think over. i am very glad that i am not alone in some of my views and appreciate what you say regarding life still being magical-more so in some ways, now that we can really see and appreciate the full beauty of Gods work!
i have lots of soul searching to do and i hope that some day soon i will feel a little better in my faith. just a little shaken up right now i guess.
i am so glad to know that there are still some religious ‘young people’ (although i could technically still be part of that). i know that, at your age, i didn’t know a single other believer!
I think one of the distinctive things about Christianity, compared to other world religions, is that our God is one who intentionally reveals himself and wants to be personally known, not just obeyed. We are supposed to take delight in God’s revelation of himself -through creation and scientific inquiry, through studying the written revelation he gave us in Scripture, and through union with Christ, the ultimate revelation of God to humanity. Knowledge itself isn’t the problem, it is our human tendency to use knowledge in self-serving, prideful ways that deny the lordship God rightfully has over the world and over our lives.
Even if you come to accept everything scientists know about the world and how it works, that does not begin to deplete the world of mystery and miracles and the glory of God. Maybe you could take some time to shift your focus for a while from the cold, hard facts of science to the things science cannot speak to. How does grace cover all our sin? How does the Holy Spirit work transformation in the human heart and turn a broken, damaged person into a holy child of God? How does the Kingdom of God thwart injustice by turning the rules of power and worldly wisdom inside out and exalting the despised things? How does Christ in us give us the strength to love our enemies, pray for our persecutors, and forgive those who hurt us? These are the things I think about when I feel like too much of the inexplicable has been explained and I need to marvel at the work of God.
I moved a post to a new topic: Naturalism is a Untestable Metaphysical Assumption
Christy, I’m sure your post has been helpful to many readers like myself who read it and think, “Oh! I wish I had said that!”
Moved post to Steph because hit reply on your post, but was intended for Steph. I apologize for any confusion
Hi Steph! It’s a great post! I think it’s important to talk about this stuff.
Reading it I’m betting there are many people who are currently going through this, or have already worked through it.
For me, I wanted to fight the whole notion of evolution, and so began reading books written by Christian scientists hoping to gain more evidence for young earth, and more importantly evidence against evolution. Reading books written by Meyers and Hugh Ross actually wound up convincing me of old earth, but still I could feel happy when they argued against evolution. Then Collins convinced me that things were not really as I had thought them for all my life, and gotta say, it shook me up. Trying to bridge the old idea of God’s hand creating humans very quickly from the dust of the earth, to this new understanding left me feeling kind of off kilter with my belief in God. Did God really create us via evolution? Or is this enough evidence to finally say “God is dead”, and Christianity is merely a mythical crutch, as I believed all other religions to be?
I Learned of the old testament story of creation as a kid, and soaked it in as literal, as this was the way it was explained by every adult around me, and the way it reads in the Bible itself. Evolution is not at all like what Genesis explains. (At least for me through my 50 years of life)
But turns out I’m ok with all this now. It took some time to maybe just get used to the idea, and feel comfortable with it. I realized that we all need a story, something that makes sense, just like a good movie or book needs the intro beginning, body or meat of the story in the middle, and conclusion at the end. Maybe the dust was once star dust, and a day millions or billions of years! God opened my mind to the possibilities of this new story, and I like it, a lot,
… and I begin to see the magic again!
Many blessings to you in your journey!
You’ve pinpointed the very reason why the creation-evolution debate is so volatile in the Evangelical camp. The thought that what we’ve been taught and believed for so long (YEC or OEC) is wrong feels like an earthquake in our hearts! And nobody wants to go through that! I’ve been through it too, and given it quite a bit of thought. You are fortunate that your faith isn’t completely shaken, mine was. I think the earthquake is because we put our faith in a certain interpretation of Scripture (as we’ve been taught), which we believed to be the ONLY legitimate interpretation. The result is that if science discredits that interpretation, it feels like Scripture itself is wrong. And if Scripture is wrong, so we reason, then our whole Faith is wrong! When our core beliefs that give us purpose and meaning are challenged like that, it feels like an earthquake in our soul.
My solution, was found in the realization that my faith had been based to a great extent on a system of beliefs based in a certain system of interpretation, taught by a certain segment of Christianity, rather than on a personal relationship with Christ. Strengthen your faith/walk with the Father, through Jesus, and through being yielded (filled with) his Spirit, and it will joyfully free you from the thought box you were once in.
I appreciate what you’ve shared, @smadams11, because it truly helps to know what people of different backgrounds and personality types feel about these matters. I went through a huge shift, as I was once a Young Earth Creationist speaker/debater but followed the scriptural and later the scientific evidence to embrace and praise God for his evolutionary processes over billions of years. There was indeed a rough period for me–but as I studied and found my answers I reached a wonderful sense of harmony and thankfulness to God for his wisdom and power in creating such a universe where life happens and diversifies by such processes! Truly, it has revolutionized my worship!
Perhaps that sounds “triumphalistic” or even trite. I don’t mean it that way at all. I realize that everyone has different reactions to these processes of questioning and discovery. But I just want to convey that God always can be counted on for the truth and for peace, even as we deal with our fallible humanness. I am SO glad I put the energy into my search for the truth about origins. It truly has made me a much more thankful and worshipful Christ-follower. That said, I fully expect that we all experience that through different paths, paces, and procedures.
I just wanted to emphasize that the end result is worth the process. Now, every time I learn more about HOW God does what he chooses to do, it is amazing! Now I see evolutionary processes as some of the most amazing of all of God’s creations. Truly. Praise God for that! I am so glad that I’ve had that blessing change my life and thanking to where each new “discovery” affirms my faith in the Creator.
I pray that you will find that same great peace and joy as you learn more.
I was particularly struck by a couple of statements that you made. First, about your loss of a neat world where things seemed to fit so nicely together. Second, about the sense of disenchantment that you are experiencing. I would like to make a couple of what I hope are encouraging statements, then some recommended readings. (I am a former bookseller and I can’t help myself.)
First, remember that the Creator God is the one who brings order out of chaos. We like to get through the chaos quickly but it is just part of the learning and growing process. I suspect what you are experiencing is what some of my students experience when they begin to study the Bible in college. Some of things that you thought were foundational turn out not to be but in the process of clearing out the rubble it feels like the whole structure is going to fall. It is not. Keep working and you will find that real pillars are still there.
Second, your sense of the loss of magic and closeness to God may also just be a part of growing. Think about how the parent or sibling relationship changes over the years. There may be a time of separation but hopefully as children become adults a new adult relationship is formed. I do not know your personal history but I hope you can find an analogy. Remember, C.S. Lewis, J.R.R Tolkien are steeped in a magical sense of the world and this arises from their Christian convictions (neither Lewis or Tolkien were YECs).
So now recommendations: renewing your sense of magic in the world – read G.K. Chesterton’s Orthodoxy and begin reading Eugene Peterson Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places is a good place to start. Also, read children’s books – Narnia, The Hobbit, and Harry Potter – yes, that Harry Potter.
Understanding the Bible or foundation repair 101: Gordon Fee’s *How To Read the Bible for All It’s Worth" and its companion “How To Read the Bible Book by Book”
Since you have already read Francis Collins’s book, you might want to try John Walton’s Lost World of Genesis.
If you have any questions or need further help guidance, I think you can see that there are many on this site who are willing to help. Nevertheless, feel free to contact me.
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Psalm 8 slightly edited
O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth! You have set your glory above the heavens.
2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants, you have established strength because of your foes, to still the enemy and the avenger.
3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,
4 what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honor.
6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet,
7 all sheep and oxen, and also the beasts of the field,
8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea, whatever passes along the paths of the seas.
9 O LORD, our Lord, how majestic is your name in all the earth!
My friend Eddie,
God could create as you said by any means. I read Young Earth writings too; however, I disagree with them. I just cannot believe that human beings and dinosaurs lived together. Can you see it now? Pete the Dinosaur says to his friend Fred. Hey, Fred. See that human being over there? That looks like my next snack. I believe that the Priestly Account in Genesis 1 is the most advanced of the creation history. To me, it truly supports in some ways evolutionary creation. God speaks and things develop. The Jahwist account tends to be more primitive in its interpretation. I hope I have insulted no one. I just wanted to make a statement. Salvation does not depend on how God created; on the contrary, it depends on us accepting Jesus Christ.
Henry, as far as dinosaurs and humans living together, your feeling and perception about that is influenced by movies and story books, not by reality. To think that humans could live in a world with great white sharks, giant squid, killer whales, huge crocodiles, 30 foot long anacondas, elephants, hippos, aurochs, poisonous snakes, grizzlies, lions, tigers, … we think we can because we do. But many animals lived with the dinosaurs; it would be expected that humans also could do so, as long as humans did not cause extinction of the dinosaurs the way they hunted other animals much larger than themselves. Did they? well, it’s debatable, but they could have.
My Friend JohnZ,
I respect your view and must admit that I was once a Young Earther. When I think about it, I must agree with the Rev. Billy Graham that our Lord could have used any method to create. However, it is my opinion that humankind was and is a Special Creation of God. I just cannot believe in Young Earth Creation. This does not mean that I belittle fellow Christians who do accept that view; I just do not accept it. I still hold the view that Yahweh Elohim through the Son of God could have used any method to create except Atheistic Evolution since that denies the Intelligent Designer, i.e. God. What would I do if one day Young Earth Scientists prove their beliefs? I would accept them with opened arms. Until that time, I will continue to accept either Progressive Creationism or Evolutionary Creationism. Both require our Lord and Savior Jesus the Christ. I must admit that you make some very good arguments. I will keep my mind, which God gave me, open to them all. Dr. Ian at Baylor on this Blog recommends a book from John Walton, a professor at Wheaton College. That is where Dr. Graham received his BA degree. As a Christian, we should be willing to read views of other Christians, even though they may differ from ours. I do not mean heterodox literature, however. BioLogos is still orthodox Christianity. It has been nice talking to you , and I hope to hear from all of you. Your brother in Christ, Henry Wynns
That is a very good, Eddie. The God of the New Testament Israel is in fact the great Designer. You gave a very good answer.