Posted by: soniamain | March 20, 2012

Sanctuary lent post four- Iain


I have set myself a little project this Lent, to explore the territory between creation and evolution. Nothing too demanding you understand! This study has partly been inspired by a recent strand on ASBO Jesus, where one chap says, “I don’t believe for one moment that fossil fuels contribute to global warming” and the other fellow retorts “You’re a Creationist, you don’t, for one moment, believe in fossils!” Ha ha. There ensued an interesting and lively debate. The American young earth creationist put up a lively fight but in the end I think he had his “pants kicked” The notion that the earth is very young, and that the flood narrative can explain all of geology appears to my understanding to be untenable as science.

To this end I have been reading “God After Darwin. A Theology of Evolution” by John F Haught. Its very good, although a bit technical in places for my slightly flabby and under exercised brain. I’m about half way through. I am not, though, going to give a synopsis or book review here and now. Phew I hear you gasp.  Instead I just want to pull out a few reflections that might serve to edify our faith in this season of Lent. Here are a few quotes to whet your appetite.

“Indeed the fact of evolution now allows theology to apprehend more palpably than ever that creation is not just an original, but also and ongoing and constant new reality.”

“Evolutionary science has provided theology with a great opportunity to enlarge upon the ancient intuition – expressed so movingly by St. Paul – that the entirety of creation groans for ultimate fulfilment.”

“Evolution in all its wandering, struggling and temporally drawn out self creating, is perfectly consonant with this notion of divine grace, understood as God’s “letting be” of the world.”

“Evolution occurs because God is more interested in adventure, than in preserving the status quo.”

I am not sure I am yet ready to capitulate as much to Neo Darwinism as Haughty, but his reflections reveal a rich opportunity to see God in the dynamic, groaning, unfolding reality in which we move and have our being. I feel my understanding is evolving.

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  1. wow, exciting post, cheers Iain. + sparked a host of emotions & memories for me. will have to take a while to get these down, – so for now, just to say it’s good to feel that excitement of wonder and awe as yr. post prompts a musing on the great place earth is

  2. this blog awoke memories of hot debates. the mess of dull teaching I sat through as a sch kid, was punctured by the genuine excitement of occasional science lessons, where a teacher demonstrated the rotation of the planet, sun, moon, earth and major stars. and my Dad’s sense of awe before the skeleton of a dinasor. my Dad was fascinated by science and mentally hoarded detailed facts like age predicting via tree rings. these contacts failed to build an understanding of science in me, though they obviously left a deep impression of an exciting and beautifully constructed world

    this, by default, impacted on my childish faith, we were created in the image of God, this God, who designed the moon to sliver away and then reappear full blown again, who painted the sky, who treasured the spiky shaped seed’s I’d found growing on my marigold heads. I felt I could relate to this God

    then as a teenager, we attended a series of bible studies in the local church, I loved this treasuring of the bible amongst friends, the meeting though when a new earth creationist explained just how bright, shiny and new everything is, stands out in my memory. my Dad exploded with bruised pain, – ‘but look at the records of tree rings’, to no avail, these two weren’t going to see eye to eye on the age of the earth.

    there’s been dozens of confrontations since then, over the years I’ve hung around with Christians, scientists in these circles reading illicit books, and feeling acquired, new earth creationists standing in front explaining boring facts

    so I immediately respond to your comments Iain, about regaining a sense of adventure. I think God does want to engage with us through creation. and I think the bondage of decay, struggle and alienation are relentlessly present in our groaning world. it’s so shocking that we, creatures created in the image of God, have ourselves done so much damage to such a beautiful world

    I do also think we as Christians, are called to find our place in reality, to submit to the limits of the natural order, and to celebrate the wonder of such an incredible world. a world with the potential for healing and restoration woven into it

    as I reflect back over the tiny moment of my lifetime, I can see colossal shifts from the frozen little trauma junky to someone more able to recognise my own needs. we do do damage, at so many levels, and yet we are invited to try a different way, to walk in love and peace, discuss rather than dictate

    sadly though, I’ve not quite got to the point where I could read a book about a Christian understanding of creation, I just had too bigga earful, however much I want to live in trust, my trust is blown on that one – maybe in time

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