One of the great things about still being in school (I never thought I'd say that!) is that every week my world gets rocked- in a good way- by the things I'm learning. If I could blog after every lecture, I would. Here's one thing that recently blew me up.
Christians believe God created the world, right? Well I grew up in a certain climate where "God created" meant "God spoke everything into existence in six 24 hour days." It was sort of presented as your only option if you wanted to be considered a "Bible believing Christian." Then going to college in a certain different (very different!) climate, "God created" meant "well, maybe...but of course we know that evolution has been proven true by science. So 6 day creation is out of the question." It was sort of presented as your only option if you wanted to be considered a respectable, intelligent person.
So I, and many of my Christian friends, were led to believe in some sense that Christians must choose between the Bible and science- if they're so obviously in contradiction to each other, then it must be one or the other! For a number of years I resigned to saying, "I believe God created the world, and He could have done it however He wanted to." For the record, that's still my view- but a few different classes have helped shed light on both of these ultimatums in a way that makes them much more compatible with each other than I thought possible.
I'll start with science, and I'll start by saying I'm not a scientist. (Phew, glad I cleared that up for everyone!) So I don't know all the arguments for evolution, but I do know that some forms of it are basically uncontested among scientists at this point. And lately I've been reading a lot about the fall- the effects of sin on our whole world and how it literally made everything broken- and honestly, evolution makes sense in light of that. One example: reading Genesis, it seems that humans and animals were all vegetarians before the fall. (Yes, I'm saying even lions craved carrots and hummus before things went bad because of sin!) The point though, is that there was no death and no shedding of blood before sin marred the way we relate. But now, it's very clear to see that certain animals (including humans, some would argue!) need meat to survive. Their bodies are made for it. Interesting. Another gruesome example (I'll spare the details- but yes, I really did read about this in seminary) is how praying mantises literally eat their mates after they...you-know-what. That's just sick. What kind of world is a world where women eat their baby's daddies? The answer is a broken world. So...could all of these changes happened slowly over time after the fall? Yes. Could scientists rightly be observing evolutionary activity in creation? Yes. Does that necessarily negate that there is a Creator? No!
Secondly (and this is the more exciting point, in my opinion)- there is a whole lot more meaning in "and God said let there be light" than I thought at first. I'll explain. Genesis 1 and 2 are written as poetic narrative, not as scientific expostulation. That means Moses is telling the story of creation basically in the form of a poem. How many science books describe the innards of a frog in poetry form? Not many. Now that doesn't mean we read it and say "ok, it's an untrue fairy tale." But it does mean that the words chosen could have more meaning (not less!) than we might first think. (If you've ever taken a poetry class, you know what I'm talking about.) So what's the poem pointing to?
What Genesis 1 says about creation: "God said, 'let there be light.'"
What John 1 says about Jesus: "In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
What Colossians 1 says about Jesus: "By Him all things were created, in heaven and on earth...all things were created through Him and for Him."
What does that mean? It means that "God said, 'let there be..." is not primarily scientific, but theological. It means that the main thing that should make us marvel about creation is not the how, but the Who. And it means that even from the opening chapter the Bible, Jesus is holding all things together. He is the One through whom all things are made, and His name is being whispered even at the beginning of time.