Busy day today, so a little late posting, but it I have been thinking about this post for a few days and found myself looking forward to getting in front of the keyboard. I love the joke I heard once about God and the scientist having a discussion over how the earth was created. The scientist reached down and grabbed a lump of soil from the ground to demonstrate his hypothesis, to which God says “Hey, get your own earth!”. Joking aside, the whole question of creation v evolution has to qualify as a ‘thought provoking’ topic for people on all sides of the divide. There is virtually no one who, if pressed, would not have fairly strong feelings about the origins of the universe, even though most of us have limited access or understanding of the ever emerging discoveries being made by science.
For some, there is simple reliance on scripture and a literal 6 day creation or, for most religions, the belief that God is the author of everything that we know to exist (I use God in the widest possible sense as higher intelligence behind the universe). At the other end of the spectrum, there are those, mostly associated with the scientific world, who believe such antiquated beliefs are simply nonsense and nothing short of fairy tales. I hear creationists insisting that Darwin’s evolution is nothing but a theory, giving no credence to the enormous weight of scientific evidence that evolution attracts. The fact that scientists continue to be surprised by the existence of particles that until now, never existed, such as the Higgs Bosun only emphasizes the journey we still run to discover just what, how or perhaps even who happened back before we humans inhabited the earth. The name calling and hostility that exists between the creationist evangelicals and the arrogant disciples of Dawkins hardly endears me to either of these extremes.
I wonder what it would look like if this mutual stand off were to be turned on its head and we were all humble enough to admit that no one has anything like a watertight explanation for where we all came from. I have suggested in a previous post that the bible should be seen as a library of books spanning many genres. An interesting statistic I read recently in a well respected Bible dictionary stated that a portion of the Old Testament larger than the whole New Testament was dedicated to poetry. By this it did not refer to a subjective interpretation but that the hebrew itself was written in poetic meter. The first part of Genesis is one such part.
With this in mind, I would posit the possibility that the writer was expressing a concept as simple as this: God was responsible for making the universe happen. God introduced the elements, particles and pre-requisites for this miracle of life to take place. For me, the poem does not literally portray a booming figure speaking once each day for six days and then sitting in a deck chair for the seventh day. The poem is an inspired yet primitive attempt to give credit to an intelligence, still little understood for the writer’s existence and the ingredients making up the universe he inhabited.
As for the scientist who continues diligently seeking answers to the yet unknown causes behind the universe, can she not admit the absence of proof positive to dispel my faith in intelligence behind the big bangs and particles of our beginning. For me, I am excited by the achievements of science as we hypothesize and experiment, and yet sometimes stumble upon our great discoveries. For me, it is as if the scientist is on an exciting easter egg hunt and I can almost hear the laughter as the latest piece of the jigsaw emerges and we humans applaud the growing understanding of how wonderful, complex and awe inspiring this universe really is.
I truly understand if you think it is all just one big accident and things conspired on their own to unfold the way they have and that is why we are here. Personally I just don’t buy this belief but I understand that for some, believing in the author of the universe is just one step too far. But I am also entirely uncomfortable with ignoring scientific discovery in favor of clinging to what seems to be a poetic picture of our beginnings. The fascination of quantum mechanics, the wondrous world of atomic theory and the simple discovery that everything we deem to be solid is actually a mass of moving particles just blows my limited mind. In no way does this shake my belief in a loving author of the universe, quite the contrary. Perhaps we can agree to disagree, but let us celebrate the wonder of it all in the meantime!