One of my favorite genres of reading is SciFi/Fantasy. Being transported to a mythical world where everything is possible. My imagination gets racing, and I used to idealize these when I was a teen and young adult. Now, I find it hard to believe personally, but I have entered that point that is often called “middle-aged.” Even so, my love of SciFi/Fantasy has not gone away. Stories are great for teaching lessons and making a point more subtly.
Early in my faith journey, this love of stories really made the sharing of the faith easier. It is nice to be able to look at the Word and find connections to life. Sometimes, it does hit a little closer to home for some because with any good story it will be relatable to most people. This may cause a little poke to someone that is not ready to admit the issues that they are struggling with, people like to wear masks, and until they are ready to take them off, it can be dangerous to remove them. Like a wolf in sheep’s clothing, when exposed they most probably will bite.
Unfortunately, the risk of storytelling in our post-modern age is even it what is being told is true and historical it may not be believed as anything more than a story. That is what has happened to many when it comes to the Holy Scriptures. The history of the Bible has been, for many, reduced to an ancient myth like the Epic tales of other ancient cultures. We find warnings of this throughout Scripture.
“I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths.”
(2 Timothy 4:1–4, ESV)
As I have shared previously about my journey from Evolutionism to Creationism, this journey has been a process. Now, I didn’t buy the whole idea that we evolved from ape-like creatures or that all life evolved from a single-celled organism. The millions of years was not an issue and the idea that the biblical account of Creation was just one myth about creation was what I had believed. It was what I was told. Even in Seminary, I was taught that it was just one of the many Creation Myths that can be found in ancient writings. At the time it made sense, and that is what the professors taught so it must be true. However, it didn’t sit right. One pivotal moment in Seminary was when the professor began a class by stating that, as he believed, all the Gospels were not historical accounts of the life of Jesus but political documents written for the early Christian followers.
How does one who is educated and is entrusted to teach to faith come to such a point? It begins in whose authority you trust. If the Bible is just a book of spiritual stories that are a way to being a better person in touch with the creative being that brought all things into life, it can become easier to move away and explain away much of the Bible as a book of myths. In High School, I was introduced to Joseph Campbell and one of his most influential writings, The Power of Myth. This was probably one of the best and worst influences in my spiritual life. I say that because in what he wrote I was given insight into the mind of many academics that confront the faith today. Worst because it enticed me to not follow Christ early in my life and helped to lead me into a different path for a time in my life. That is the danger of the type of thinking that we have today that causes us to not necessarily trust in Scripture. With groups like the Jesus Seminar and the like that only spiritualizes the Bible and does not see it as historical in any sense we see beginning with Creation to the Flood to Abraham to the Exodus and all the events that occur between as being nothing more than mythic tales it is easy to begin to look at the New Testament in the same light. Each portion written not as it was written but as one great Epic to help teach us how to understand ourselves and God, which may go by other names to other cultures and is within their stories also. Some may find this to be a jump in logic, but it does not take long to find where this is occurring.
It is the common words we hear in Genesis 3, “Did God really say…?” When the seed of doubt is planted and the validity of the Bible account is questioned, where does our faith begin to lie? In the ideas of men? Or in God? So, it begins. Now I know the arguments of the scientific method, is it is testable, repeatable and observable. With that in mind, it is true that the account of the Bible does not meet that standard established in the 17th Century. The other reality is that neither does the Big Bang Theory or Evolution. The idea of Evolution has never been observed, is not testable, and is not repeatable. The same is true with the Big Bang. So, it seems to be a matter of faith, at least from my perspective.
So, here my journey leads. As a follower in Jesus Christ, I have chosen to stand on the Word of God as opposed to the ideas of man. As I stand on that Word, I find confidence. I trust in what was inspired by God for man to write down. I choose to trust in the historical narrative recorded in Genesis. It’s not a setting aside of rational thought or a lack of trust in science. I love to learn about science and how things are created. I love technology. The last I looked none of the the things of science have come from nothing, I have not had my laptop evolve into a faster better computer, nor have I seen an explosion generate something other than rubble. This view is one that places my faith not in ideas that try to explain away God, but in the wondrous gift that God has given us in His Creation. God has given us brilliant minds that have been gifted for the benefit of all creation. That has never changed. Some of the greatest minds were faithful believers and trusted in the Word of God. Now, that doesn’t mean that there aren’t those in history that haven’t misused ideas drawn from biblical understanding not unlike the rise of eugenics that came from the ideas presented by Charles Darwin. Truth be told, we are sinful. That does not mean the Word of God is wrong. No matter which way we look we will have to submit to a set of assumptions. One could assume that the Bible is the true, inspired Word of God and that the historic narrative of Genesis is as it presents itself, the account of Creation and God’s work within His creation or one could base his/her understanding of Creation based upon the ideas of human beings.