Beginning of a series on God, Science, and Creation.
In the beginning when God created the heavens and the earth, the earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep, while a wind from God swept over the face of the waters. Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. And God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day.When I sit outside, how can I not know that God exists, that the creator of the universe thought of everything.
God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude .And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.
These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created.
Genesis 1:1-4,31, 2:1-4a
Yet, what does this sense of knowing God exists and had made this amazing earth say about the meaning of the origins and evolution of the universe. How do we attach meaning to these stories of creation? Does the existence of multiple creation stories in the bible that contradict each other tell us about creation?
In my faith tradition (the United Church of Christ), we believe that scripture is important and contains the faith stories of the people of God and truth, but it is not inerrantly the word of God, The Truth. When I look at a text, a story within the scripture, I listen for the truth, the word of God speaking to me through the text. What this means in practice is that when I read about creation, I don’t think God literally made the world as described in the particular way described by the text. The message I hear is that God breathed and the heavens and earth come into existence. This creation was of God and all of creation needs to take time to rest in the presence of the creator of all.
So what does this mean when I then hear about the origins of the world based upon scientific explanations of what happened? I apply a similar practice. I believe within the story being told there is an element of truth, but not a complete truth. So if I hear the universe started with a big bang, or a rush of colliding particles creating form and substance, matter and weight, what it does not tell me is what was the impetus for this change from nothing to something. The answer I supply is the Creator of the universe, who provided the spark, who looked and said, let it be and saw that it was good. Science can’t prove or disprove whether God supplied the spark that whooshed in creation.
From each of the stories, I hear meaning and truth. This truth and meaning is changing and constant. I believe that truth from God can be found in the stories of creation. The question becomes: how complete a word? God saw that it was very good.