Because You Don’t Have to be a Young Earth Creationist to Believe in Salvation History

There’s a wonderful settling-in process that occurs when you convert to the Catholic Church. For example, two years ago, at my first Easter Vigil I sat in the dark, literally and figuratively, wondering what all those long readings were for. Last year, I had a better idea that they were about Salvation History, and I was one of the readers. This year, my daughter will be received into the Catholic Church in North Carolina, and I will be a listener again.

While I will dearly miss singing my first Gloria in seven weeks alongside my friends in choir, I’m sure I will sing with gusto when the lights come on at the Newman Center in Chapel Hill, maybe with tears. And I will listen even closer to the readings.

All of this came into focus for me this morning as I read the Office and the prescribed scripture reading for today—the single most spectacular scene ever filmed, the parting of the Red Sea!

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I’m not sure whether Cecil and Charlton did God a favor with their great film. As EPG has said, and I paraphrase, there’s nothing that looks hokier than something that was contemporary 20 years ago. “The Ten Commandments’’ was made over 50 years ago, and shows it. But I thought I’d lighten up this post with that trailer.

Salvation History really is “the greatest adventure story ever hurled from any book.” And each year it becomes truer for me. You don’t have to believe that the Earth was made in literally seven days, or that the Earth is thousands of years old, not millions, as the Young Earthers do.

You have to believe two things only: God created the Earth. God sent Jesus Christ to save us. That’s Salvation History in a nutshell. Though you have to admit, that’s a great beard on Charlton Heston.

  • Art4thesoul

    Webster, wonderfully put!! Congratulations to your daughter and a heartfelt Welcome Home, as well! As you all will be celebrating in Chapel Hill I will be celebrating just a few minutes down the road in Raleigh. I will keep you all in my prayers. In Him, ann (art4thesoul)

  • Warren Jewell

    Creation – all God's work and none of ours. How He chooses to create is all His business, too. We may be awed by just how He does it, but that is just one more element of finding the truth, not creating truth.The Easter vigil is coming, and soon. And, the good Lord's Church knows how to make it a memorable event every year. God's Light for the world is coming; He has come; He will never leave us.

  • Anonymous

    I thinks it's interesting that several versions of Exodus state that the waters "congealed". I've also read that gelatin was used in that scene of the movie to portray the parted waters. I think of that coincidence every time I read that selection. Could Hollywood have been so inspired?

  • Allison Salerno

    I read an outstanding book a few years ago in my parish book club that delves into this precise issue. It's called "What's so great about Christianity." The (Catholic) writer, Dinesh D'Souza, spends quite a bit of time debunking the whole idea that one either has to believe in God or in Evolution.

  • Fan of Schall

    May your daughter (Marian- i believe from earlier posts) live a life filled with joy, love, and peace. The Catholic Church is the Church founded by Christ and two thousand years ago is a long time. If Christ had not risen,then everything we are doing is in vain. The circumstances of His resurrection were widely reported, and the apostles devoted their entire lives in ways that would not be thinkable, except on absolute certainty that this had happened.I enjoy correcting people when they put such labels on me as "religious" and I always correct them and state, " I am not sure that I am religious but I know that I am apostolic." Who am I? Quoting William F. Buckley, "I am the bumbling idiot that the Man-God, Jesus Christ, died for.

  • Fan of Schall

    Oops! On 8/23/09 you wrote a short post on William F Buckley and cited the correct quotation to "Who am I?" I cannot remember where I read the quote but potentially I read it from this blog. Anyway, I notice when you wrote about Buckley that you received zero comments. A potential revisit or too Vanity Fairish? Speaking of family dynamics and the matter that faith is truly a gift, Buckley was an ardent Catholic who married a Protestant (Socialite Pat Buckley) and they produced one child, Christopher Buckley, who is a nonbeliever. I always wonder if Buckley felt alone in his own home. Why is this at all relevant? Among other things, William F Buckley had once agreed to write a book in the 1980's for a planned publishing series named, "Why I am Catholic", which never got published.

  • Webster Bull

    Hey Fan of Schall, I honestly don't know enough about Buckley to write a full post on him. How would you like to take a crack at it?

  • Fan of Schall

    Webster,I understand your point. Interesting but not that inspirational. Fan of Schall would welcome to write a guest post on subjects that he is passionate about. May i let you know when something hits me? I am in the middle of reading some Newman and struggling a bit.

  • Webster Bull

    @Fan, Perfect!

  • Maria

    Webster:I thought of your and your daughter when I read this prayer penned by John Henry Cardinal Newman:The Mission of My Life"God has created me to do Him some definite service. He has committed some work to me which He has not committed to another. I have my mission. I may never know it in this life, but I shall be told it in the next. I am a link in a chain, a bond of connection between persons. He has not created me for naught. I shall do good; I shall do His work. I shall be an angel of peace, a preacher of truth in my own place, while not intending it if I do but keep His commandments. Therefore, I will trust Him, whatever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him, in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him. If I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. He does nothing in vain. He knows what He is about. He may take away my friends. He may throw me among strangers. He may make me feel desolate, make my spirits sink, hide my future from me. Still, He knows what He is about".It seems especially appropraite for the young in Faith, about to embark on the great adventure of their life, which is, of course to know and love God, but also for the newly devoted convert. Maybe she would enjoy a copy as a keepsake of her Confirmation.

  • Webster Bull

    @Maria,Thanks for this lovely poem. I will share it with Marian. And now I will share something with you, since you're likely to be one of the few people who comes back to this thread at this late date: I had been praying to St. Joseph for my other daughter, older, living in New York, three years out of college and still sorting out her life. Three months ago she told Katie and me that she had decided to apply to MFA programs in theatre. We all recognized this as a long shot. The acceptance rates are like 2:100. But for many reasons to numerous for this space, it made sense for her to take this risk. I said a special prayer to St. Joseph (yet another) yesterday morning. At 10 am out of the blue, she called me to say that not only had she been accepted by a program, but it is her first choice. Now, isn't that a miracle?!Nice to be in touch with you again.

  • Allison Salerno

    @Webster: Hey! i read old posts, too. Congratulations to your daughter.p.s. I am still sorting out my life, so she is in the company of elders..

  • Maria

    Webster:Oh, how simply wonderful. I wanted so much to go to Drama School and my parents were advised to send my by my coach in High School. My Father would not permit me to do so. It was a great loss. Hooray for your daughter !!! I think St. Joseph is really a wonderful intercessor. I hear more stories like this.