For those who know me, my fascination with origins narratives, and my sense of their importance to vibrant faith and enduring love, is obvious. I gained a taste for this as a young boy, and pursued the ideas in my first degree studies in Philosophy and Religion back in the day. My encounters with God through the years have only reinforced an essential worldview, but scattered some of my more “cultural” thoughts about God and faith.
This summer, I’ve taken to reading (skimming in some cases) a number of books Christian, spiritual, anthropological, historical (religion and civilization), and even the more aggressive atheist challenges to religious faith – which they view as toxic to both human mutual care and the endurance of the human species.
In later posts, I’ll reflect a bit more on these ideas, but all tend to reinforce the notion for me that a Story has been finding its way through humankind, as it did into the Genesis narrative in a more refined way than the other origins narratives of the ancient near east. I believe that story is more than a conjuring of a species personifying nature to compensate for its ignorances. I believe that God is revealed in the wrestlings of man.
However, I also welcome the scientific work of ages into that Story. However, again, I abhor scientific pride and absolutisms as much as I do the more extreme versions of Christian faith that leave little room for more beautiful questions to be asked. Answers, in my estimation, should primarily be fertile progenitors of OverQuestions that should lead us all to a loving, living faith in a Person at the centre of the cosmos.
I came across this old Carl Sagan episode of Cosmos on YouTube, giving a brief on the origins narrative according to basic evolutionary theory. It’s reasoned approach would be contested (my understanding is), by even the best evolutionary scholarship of the past decade (an interesting task taken on, in part, by The Language Of God – written by the theist who led the team that cracked the human genome). However, it’s simplicity and drawings give the basic origins narrative. (Note: Scientists have sought to replicate primordial earth conditions, and to run “lightning” through elemental soup to get to the substiantial building blocks of life, but without success to date).
Without brushing off the sequential/rational thinking of science, and the strange and seeming constant human need to explore our purpose and source (which is my essential argument for theism, the themes of genesis 1-11, and the new Adam linkage to Jesus) watch these vids and see how you respond. Does your faith have answers that are other than “well, I just know that I know.” While this has merit, there is more behind the curtain of the evolutionist’s questions that may reveal to us more about God’s wiring of the human heart.
Secondarily, this next rough (and old) clip suggests the importance of human care for one another based on the evolutionary theory. Interesting how a loving conclusion is derived from the theory, and it is seen as “beneficial” that the species continue to save itself, and perpetuate itself – where does this will to survive come from? What is hidden inside the heart? What twists it into self-preservation and self-aggrandizement, or enables it to self-sacrifice and give itself away for others?
“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; it is the glory of kings to seek it out.”