Here’s a question Bible-believe Christians have to wrestle with at some point in their lives: Should you take Genesis literally?
In other words, was life really created in a few days, a few thousand years ago, or was it created (as scientists will tell you) over billions of years?
Carolyn Arends has an article in Christianity Today where she talks about how she reconciles the two worlds. In the excerpts below, take note of just how hard she has to try to deny reality.
First, she talks about her son, a Young Earth Creationist:
After we both exhaled some relieved laughter, I whispered, “I believe God created the world and holds it together. Just how he did that is up for debate, but whatever conclusions you come to about the earth’s origins, God did it. Okay?“
Let’s paraphrase: The world might be much older than we think, but no matter what you end up believing — the scientific view supported by evidence or the Biblical view supported by the Bible — let’s pretend that God had something to do with it, okay?
There’s not even an option that allows for a natural world.
Then, Arends talks about how her own views have changed over time:
I’ve since been able to explain that it wasn’t science that changed my position on creation. I know there’s consensus in the scientific community regarding the age of the earth and the importance of genetic variation, but I also know there are many areas of contention. Besides, if I believed that the Bible truly asked me to reject the scientific consensus, it would be the end of the debate.
Let’s paraphrase: I know the experts in this field agree on the age of the earth, but they disagree on some of the minutiae… so I’m just going to discard all of their wisdom. Besides, if I really believed the Bible said the world was created in an instant, I would totally ignore everything the smart people said and accept whatever my holy book told me.
This is intellectual dishonesty in every sense of the term. What’s worse is that Arends knows perfectly well any interpretation of the Bible is a far cry from what we know is true. You have to contort the Bible into incredibly strange shapes to make it sound even remotely close to what the scientists say about the age of the earth.Finally, Arends leaves us with her conclusion:
The world — and our understanding of God’s ways within it — has always been full of mystery and challenge. Our task is to raise up believers willing to affirm the authority of the Bible in all its fascinating and culturally situated complexity. We need kids who are unafraid to ask the sorts of tough and exciting theological, philosophical, and scientific questions you can only ask when you know that, however this world came to be, God did it.
Let’s paraphrase: Christians need to raise children who will believe whatever a book tells them, even when it’s demonstrably wrong. (We’ll call it “complex” to make ourselves feel better, though.) We need kids who will ask tough questions… and then throw aside whatever the legitimate answers are and just say, “GodDidIt.”
This passes as liberal Christianity, by the way. Arends is someone who doesn’t buy into the Ken-Ham-Bizarro-World notion of a literal Genesis. She understands evolution makes sense… but she still can’t bring herself to admit her holy book is wrong. It’s pathetic. She’s forced to cling to her warped view of the world because she knows that if she accepted what all the evidence pointed to, it would mean discarding the Bible completely.
That’s what the good scientists do — go where the evidence leads.
That’s not what Arends does — because the Bible doesn’t allow you to think for yourself. It demands that you accept it even when reality tells you the opposite is true.
This Marco Rubio virus is spreading fast.