I went to a university that specializes in evolutionary biology.

The faculty included Nobel laureates, one of whom passed electrical current through inorganic compounds to produce nucleic acids, the building blocks of life. His experiment demonstrated how evolution got us from not-life to almost-life—from primordial ooze to living cells.

It was a big deal. Students came from near and far to study evolutionary biology.

And in that setting, the campus Christian club had a great idea. They hosted a big conference.

“Come Hear Our Amateur-Science Guy Say…
The Bible is Right.  Evolution is Wrong.”

I was a devout Christian teenager, a loyal member of the team.
But honestly! Even I could tell that was just bad marketing. Dude! Know your audience!

It provoked a teenage bout of religious doubt (one of many through the years). Is this really necessary? Are God and science really at odds? If so, how small does that make us? How small does that make our religion? Our God?

Well, it turns out…

We were fighting science because way back in the 1800s, Darwin had scared us silly!
What? God didn’t make the world in six days?
What? Monkeys?

And when people get scared, they don’t do their best thinking.
And we didn’t.

Instead, we circled the wagons.

We threw out a long heritage of seeking wisdom broadly. It had been our way to seek wisdom in 1) ancient scriptures, and 2) established tradition, and 3) reason, and 4) personal experience. But when we got frightened, we shrunk our world, and threw out everything except the Bible. We especially threw out reason. Darwin made reason especially suspect!

So. Nope.
Only the Bible.

And if the Bible says six days…
Then let’s do the mental gymnastics to make it work.

If somebody else says there was a Big Bang…
Or that gay people are born that way…
Or that burning oil is warming the planet…

Only the Bible.
Don’t listen. Fight it.

What I Learned

We don’t have to feel threatened by science — or any truth, really.

It’s a simple truism, but truth is true. Which makes all truth divine—because it’s true. Religion doesn’t have to fight against truth. We do have to fight our limited understanding of things. We do have to revisit and adjust our limited worldviews.

Way back in my teens, I started to say it this way:

All Truth is God’s Truth.

These years later, when I speak to our congregation, I’m just as likely to talk about neuroscience, as I am a Bible verse.

All Truth is God’s Truth.

We find Divine wisdom in anthropology. And quantum physics. And biology. And sociology. And psychology. If it’s true—it’s true.


READ: Rethinking Our Story

LISTEN: What The Bible is Not (in the rethinking sexuality series)

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