Recently, I posted a link to an article written by Karl W. Giberson, Ph.D on my Facebook profile. His article was titled: My Take: Jesus would believe in evolution and so should you. My goal in this post is to explain some of my current beliefs on the matter of origins, and how I came to believe them.
For those of you who don’t know me, I want to disclose up front that I have no formal credentials on either side of this discussion. I am certainly not a scientist, nor am I a theologian or a philosopher. I am just a curious young fellow who is genuinely interested in understanding where we came from, what we are doing here, and what it all means.
What I have observed:
I have observed that many people seem to be members of one of two large “camps” of thinking on this topic.
One camp is composed of Christians who believe that God created the universe a few thousand years ago. They believe that God created the entire universe in six literal 24 hour Earth days as described in the Bible book of Genesis. They don’t believe in the big bang, and they certainly don’t believe in evolution. Let’s call this the “Either” camp.
The other camp is composed of people who believe in science, and only science. If you cannot prove it with science they will not believe it. They believe that the universe is several billion years old. They believe in the big bang and evolution. Let’s call this the “Or” camp.
The Eithers and Ors don’t like each other much. They spend a lot of time making each other mad, and being mad at each other. If you don’t believe me just go read the comments on the CNN article linked above.
However, the Eithers and the Ors do seem to agree on one thing. They believe that everyone needs to take a test. It is a simple test, and it will help you determine which camp you belong to. It looks like this:
The Either / Or Official Test:
Please check only one box:
Either ___ I believe in the God of the Bible
(including the part where he created the universe in six 24 hour days)
Or ___ I believe in science
(including the part about evolution and the big bang)
For a long time I checked only the Either box. Not anymore. After some serious consideration, study (of both the Bible and science), soul searching and prayer I decided to join a very small camp. I joined the campers in camp “And”. The beliefs of the campers in camp And are disliked by both the Eithers and the Ors. The Ands choose to believe in God, AND science.
I think the Either / Or test is pure garbage. I believe it sets out a false choice. This false choice has harmed good Eithers and good Ors.
I think some Eithers have set aside many great things they could have learned from science. They think that to believe them, they would need to sell out their faith in the God of the Bible. Now, I don’t believe that is the case at all.
I think some Ors don’t feel like they can embrace a relationship with God without compromising science. They feel like if they did choose to believe in God, they would also need to believe in things like a few thousand year old universe that seem contrary to modern science. Again – I don’t think this is correct – it’s a false choice. It’s a lie.
What I believe now:
I believe in the God of the Bible. I believe in Jesus. I believe that Jesus was Gods son. I believe that he was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, died on a cross for my sins, and rose from the dead. I believe that I will spend eternity with him in heaven. I believe that the same God that who created the universe loves you and me. I believe that I can pray to him, and he hears me and cares about me. About now, the heads of those of you in camp Or are spinning around and smoke is coming out of your ears – right? Ha – hang with me!
I also believe that the universe is billions of years old. I believe in the big bang. I also believe in evolution. I believe that God caused what science describes as the big bang. I believe that evolution was the process God used to create the amazing diversity of life that we have on earth. Now the heads of those of you in camp Either are spinning around too. Good.
How I came to believe this:
Several years ago, a man I respect (as both a Christian, and as a career scientist) introduced me to the idea that I could believe in God, and science. He helped me understand that the Either Or test was a lie. I will be forever grateful to him.
I also read several great books by Hugh Ross, and Francis Collins. Both are Christians and respected scientists. While both shaped my thinking on this topic, the best book I read on this subject was The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Collins.
Why would anyone post such a thing on Facebook:
That is a great question! After all, of my 527 current friends the great majority are probably very happy members of either camp Either or camp Or. I don’t have much to gain by annoying most of them with the link I posted, or this blog post which will also auto-post to my profile.
I posted the link, and this blog post because I think this is an important discussion. I think people need to at least be exposed to the idea that you can believe in the teaching of the Bible, and what we have learned from science. I think it is important enough to risk annoying you with it.
If you are a member of camp Either, I understand where you are coming from. I grew up in a great Christian church, I went to a great Christian private school. I honestly never thought about this subject very much. I checked only the Either box for a long time. However, as I got older I got interested in science. When I did, I struggled with the supposed opposition of modern science and my Either beliefs. Perhaps if you are an Either like I was, you struggle with this as well. If so, I would encourage you to consider the idea that you can believe in both the God of the Bible, and awesome stuff humanity has been able to learn from good science. Good science is no enemy of the real God. In the past, at times the Christian church has opposed good science for no good reason at all. Perhaps, a few hundred years from now this topic will look similar to the heliocentrism fuss a few hundred years ago.
If you are a member of camp Or, I think my brain is wired a lot like yours. If I had not been raised by a Christian family and come to faith in Christ at an early age, I may very well have joined you in camp Or for part of my life as well. I would encourage you to consider faith. Don’t believe the Either Or lie. You don’t have to check just one box. Science can answer many of our questions. However, science alone falls short on some of the really big questions of life such as:
– Where did we come from? What caused what we call the big bang?
– Why are we here?
– What does it all mean?
Faith in the God of the Bible and his son Jesus Christ has provided me with very meaningful answers to those questions. Perhaps it will for you as well.
Regardless of your beliefs I wish you well!
W. David Winslow
Great insights David. I really enjoyed this post. Please keep blogging!
Dear W. David Winslow,
I found your site while checking the availability of an abbreviation, WDW.org, for my own website WasDarwinWrong.com (Honestly! That is the way it happened).
I read this blog post, and it is exceptionally clear writing and thinking. Congratulations!
You further wrote:
“the best book I read on this subject was The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Collins.”
Great! I read and reviewed the book on my website, maybe you are interested.
Have a Nice Day,
Dear Gert Korthof,
Thank you so much for your kind comment. I am glad you happened upon my site!
Your site is absolutely amazing! I read your review of “The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief by Collins.”. It is clear that your understanding of this subject area dwarfs mine by an extreme margin. Clearly an honest scientific study of this topic has been a substantial focus of your life work. I look forward to exploring your site further in the days and weeks ahead. I’m honored that you took the time to read my post, and honored even more still that you chose to add a link to it to your review of the Collins book.
W. David Winslow
Dear W. David Winslow,
Thank you very much for your very kind words.
I think, it is no accidental correlation that you think and write clearly and the fact that you made the step from “Either / Or” to “And”.
Have a Nice Day,