Note — A busy travel schedule interrupted my writing for the Summer. As we move toward Fall, I plan to resume the writing routine of last Spring, posting a brief introduction and questions one week in anticipation of an article the following week. But rather than picking up where we left off, I want to start a new topic — “The Story”.
Where did we come from?
Every answer I know of can be grouped under one of three headings:
- God created us.
- We evolved through an impersonal process.
- God used the evolutionary process to bring us into existence.
For many years, almost every Christian I knew was a Creationist. But when we moved to the West Houston area almost 20 years ago, that changed. A large majority of the people in our church were involved in the oil and gas industry. Oil and gas exploration is fundamentally dependent on an understanding of geology which is based on evolutionary assumptions. So for all these people in our church, the creation/evolution debate was more practical than philosophical. They had to reconcile the assumptions that are foundational to their industry with their faith.
By the Spring of 1998, I was keenly aware of this reality. In preparation for a series on the book of Genesis, I bought several books on biblical creationism so I could adequately address the issues as they came up in our study.
In over a year–and–a–half of preaching through Genesis, I never opened the books. Not once.
What I discovered was that all of the creation/evolution issues in Genesis are the result of us bringing our questions and pre-conceived notions to the text. When I let the author (probably Moses) direct the course of the discussion, it took a completely different course. It explained how The Story begins.
As we move into this exploration of The Story, it might be good to begin by thinking about the assumptions we each bring.
What are the most important things you have learned from Genesis 1?
When you read Genesis 1, what are your biggest questions?
How would you describe the way you have historicallty viewed the Bible? (e.g., reference book, a collection of stories and instructions, etc.)
Can you think of a metaphor that illustrates the way you have viewed the flow of history, as seen from God’s perspective?
©Copyright Garth Oliver