Creation — Faith and Science

NOTE

This post represents the author’s personal view and should not be read as the view points or official position of Los Angeles Formosan Master Chorale.

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An ambitious project of our Chorale (LA Formosan Master Chorale) is to perform Joseph Haydn’s “The Creation” next Spring. We have recruited the singers, located the place for rehearsal and distributed the music notes. Chorale members are listening to CD and watching video clips. I studied “Haydn: The Creation” by Nicholas Temperley and other literature. I am overpowered by the beauty of the music and inspired by the libretto  — God is the creator and His creation is good.

Trained as a scientist, I am constantly struggling to understand the creation story in the Genesis. The cultural war within America in the past decades on “Evolution” and “Creation” puzzled me even further. Are science and faith in conflict?  


Recently, a feature-length documentary film entitled “A Leap of Truth” has been announced by Satellite Pictures. This film was produced by Ryan Pettey in cooperation with “BioLogos Forum“. A few short topic driven clips were published on their blog as conversation starters. Ryan wrote:

With A Leap of Truth, we wanted to put something proactive on the table that could help motivate an elevated conversation about the “war” between science and faith. It was our goal to help Christians see (and accept) the complexity of the issues raised by modern science, as well as help them to courageously engage with the theological conversations happening within the sphere of Christian culture today. We wanted the film to address the topic hermeneutically, historically, and socially in order to gain a better perspective on the issues, and, hopefully, address some of the fears (justified or otherwise) concerning what science is telling us about our physical origins.


At this time, these film clips cannot be embedded on other sites. Readers can view the clip on BioLogos as well as the transcripts of the clips on BioLogos Web site. There are currently five film clips:

  1. Evolutionary Creation
  2. The Book of Genesis
  3. The Fall
  4. Paul’s Adam
  5. Framing the Debate

In the church, we are taught that “Evolution Theory” is contradictory to Bible’s description of creation in Genesis. However, my training in science taught me otherwise. I don’t want to abandon my faith because I believe that evolution is really real. These film clips helped me to think deeper and read the Genesis more carefully.

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In the first clip titled “Evolutionary Creationism” , two important questions are posed to the Evangelical Christian community:

  1. John Polkinghorne says, “The doctrine of creation is not about how things began, it’s about why things exist.” What does this mean?
  2. Is it reasonable that God’s method of creation would be an unfolding process such as evolution? In other words, does an evolutionary process uphold God’s character as revealed in the scriptures?

Dr. Richard Colling: “… Evolution, from a geneticist standpoint, is really a game about probability and potential and hope and possibilities—the same thing that the New Testament says that Christians should be all about.”
Dr. Kerry Fulcher: “In Colossians, it tells us that in him all things hold together. I think God’s creation is continuing to unfold. As it continues to unfold and as we have new species that are being generated, that is not in absence of God’s creative power. Creation is not this one time deal in the past, but God is intricately involved now.”-
Dr. Jeff Schloss: “There is a fabulous and profound thematic continuity to the history of life: for example, the transition from primitive prokaryotic cells to eukaryotic cells, the transition from single cells to multi-cells, the transition from asexual, basically clonally individually reproducing organisms, to sexually reproducing organisms that have to do it together, the transition from individual to social organisms. Well, there is really no other way to put this, it is progressive. It is exactly what we would expect if a God, who we already believe on the basis of the sacred history of redemption described in scripture, is also involved in incrementally achieving his purposes over the entire course of history.”


They argued that God’s creation is evolutionary and continue to this day through nature processes. Creation takes time and requires a process. And this is not contradictory to God’s nature revealed in the scripture. More discussion on “evolutionary creation” can be found on “BioLogos Forum”.

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In the second clip titled “ The Book of Genesis”, Dr. Alister McGrath said:

The Christian church has always wrestled with the interpretation of Scripture, realizing both how important it is and also sometimes how difficult it is to get it right. Certainly, the opening chapters of Genesis have been a topic of much debate throughout Christian history.

With these “notes” in mind, I am able to look at the scientific findings with less bias from my readings of the Genesis. “The Questions” section of the website — “BioLogos Forum” further helped me to understand the complexity of the issues involved in the faith-science dialog. “BioLogos Forum” invited many scientists and theologians to discuss this complex topic openly with reasoning and established scientific findings.

“BioLogos Forum” responded to this question “Can scientific and scriptural truth be reconciled?” It encourages us to read the Bible in a proper context, e.g., the understanding of the natural world at the time it was written.

The Bible is not a scientific text and should not be read that way. Scientific literature is a relatively recent and highly specialized form of communication. Reading the Bible as a literal, scientific text leads to inconsistencies between the revealed word of God and the scientifically derived history of the world. However, when scripture is read in a proper context, these inconsistencies do not come up. One, therefore, can safely accept scripture as God’s revealed word, even though it does not address the specifics of many scientific questions and often refers to the natural world using the understandings of the time in which it was written.

N. T. Wright make the connection between creation and temple. “Telling a story about somebody who constructs something in six days, it is a temple story. It is about God making a place for himself to dwell…”

Genesis is one of those books like a Shakespeare play or like a Beethoven symphony or something where you can describe what it sort of literally says. Here is a Beethoven symphony; here are the notes, ‘Duh, duh, duh, duh.’ Then, you think, ‘well, that doesn’t actually catch what is going on in this’, and you want to use bigger language about the opening of Beethoven’s fifth symphony. This is an amazing statement about the power of empire and the fate of man, and goodness knows what! You still have got to play the notes.


This world was made to be God’s abode, God’s home, God’s dwelling place. He shared it with us, and now he wants to rescue it and redeem it. We have to read Genesis for all it is worth. To say, either history or myth is a way of saying, ‘I am not going to study this text for what it is worth. I am just going to flatten it out so that it conforms to the cultural questions that my culture today is telling me to ask…and I think that is a form of actually being unfaithful to the text itself.”

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