The Glory Has Departed
Norma Boeckler, Artist-in-Residence
Bethany Lutheran Worship on
Tuesday, March 15, 2016
Creation Is Not a Choice Between Science and Faith
We have grown up during an era where science has pitted itself against the Christian Faith, and many believers have felt it wise to bow to this demand. As the complexity of the universe has grown, the temptation to ascribe these infinite dependencies to evolution has also grown. One option is to say that God created over billions of years, making the Biblical day last almost forever. But language betrays us. When explanations fail, even in the most evolutionary programs, a bird feather is called “a miracle.” During the dramatic episodes of Shark Week on TV, the narrator says, “Suddenly, there appeared a perfectly designed killing machine.” That sounds like intelligent design, a concept for foreign to evolution that it gives the science mavens fits. Most embarrassing, when scientists describe the marvels of nature, they have to say “creature,” the product of Creation, rather than “evolute,” the product of evolution.
Science is never against the Christian Faith, except when pitting its philosophy against the religion itself. This failure point is where science cannot fill the gap, not in facts, but in purpose. Science cannot offer a purpose for anything, so the scientist cannot offer a reason why the ichneumon wasp is a terror for pests on our plants - or even why the pests are good for feeding the beneficial creatures.
For that reason, the question of purpose, we can mine the sciences forever, without subordinating faith to reason. I grew up in a household devoted to science, because my mother taught the subject in elementary school and lived it in all her hobbies. We had pet rats in our home, left from the food experiments she conducted for her classes: three rats given three different diets. We always got the scrawny one who was fed candy and junk food. We had a pet skunk and two possums. Cats gave birth on the kitchen floor and rats had babies in the comfort of their cages. When I was dating the future Mrs. Greg Jackson, she got used to finding hatched moths on the curtains, pupae in the refrigerator at home. My mother knew wild flowers, built compost for her garden, and captured bugs to show us children. Her students and their parents said, “She knows everything!”
Farming is in my blood. My paternal grandfather supposedly invented a seedless tomato, which was lost by my uncle. My maternal grandfather was the first to earn a degree in agriculture at the University of Illinois. Both grandfathers ran successful farms until the Great Depression and government intervention wrecked the agricultural economy.
I began gardening in earnest in the 1980s, in Midland, Michigan. I had a parsonage yard that needed a lot of help but little cash to spend on it. Chemicals cost a lot, and I knew from the Dow scientists that fertilizer cost pennies to manufacture while selling for dollars. The local library was heavily funded and contained every gardening book for adults, every nature book for children that anyone would want to read. If a title came up in reading, it was on the shelves of the Grace Dow Library. That led me directly into organic gardening and the connection with Creation taught in the Scriptures.
There are many ideas about the beginning of the universe, but only one could be correct. The answer is so plain that modernists have taken great pains to modify, dilute, and explain it away. A compromise with the culture of the day, starting in the 19th century, has led Protestant and Catholic leaders into bartering Genesis away for a bowl of cold soup. God created the universe through His Word and will, and the Son of God was that Creating Word.
When God said, “Let there be light, and there was light,” the act of Creation began with God the Father willing and the Son speaking the universe into existence, the Holy Spirit hovering over Creation. This Creation is clearly taught in John 1:3
All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.
This verse also speaks of the power and efficacy of the Word, never lacking in divine energy to work God’s will, always accomplishing and prospering His purpose. Isaiah 55:8-10
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
The power and efficacy of the Word are foundational for the Old and New Testaments. Just as the universe began with Creation, so are we as Christian believers “new creations” in the words of St. Paul.
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. 2 Corinthians 5:17
When John Newton was reduced to slavery and serving on slave ships, his life seemed without purpose, sterile, and meaningless. When a violent storm at sea and the threat of drowning caused him to call out for God, the living seed of the Gospel began to grow in his heart, leading him eventually to serving as an Anglican pastor, the author of “Amazing Grace” and “ Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken.”