Quotes & Sayings

We, and creation itself, actualize the possibilities of the God who sustains the world, towards becoming in the world in a fuller, more deeper way. - R.E. Slater

There is urgency in coming to see the world as a web of interrelated processes of which we are integral parts, so that all of our choices and actions have [consequential effects upon] the world around us. - Process Metaphysician Alfred North Whitehead

Kurt Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem says (i) all closed systems are unprovable within themselves and, that (ii) all open systems are rightly understood as incomplete. - R.E. Slater

The most true thing about you is what God has said to you in Christ, "You are My Beloved." - Tripp Fuller

The God among us is the God who refuses to be God without us, so great is God's Love. - Tripp Fuller

According to some Christian outlooks we were made for another world. Perhaps, rather, we were made for this world to recreate, reclaim, redeem, and renew unto God's future aspiration by the power of His Spirit. - R.E. Slater

Our eschatological ethos is to love. To stand with those who are oppressed. To stand against those who are oppressing. It is that simple. Love is our only calling and Christian Hope. - R.E. Slater

Secularization theory has been massively falsified. We don't live in an age of secularity. We live in an age of explosive, pervasive religiosity... an age of religious pluralism. - Peter L. Berger

Exploring the edge of life and faith in a post-everything world. - Todd Littleton

I don't need another reason to believe, your love is all around for me to see. – Anon

Thou art our need; and in giving us more of thyself thou givest us all. - Khalil Gibran, Prayer XXIII

Be careful what you pretend to be. You become what you pretend to be. - Kurt Vonnegut

Religious beliefs, far from being primary, are often shaped and adjusted by our social goals. - Jim Forest

We become who we are by what we believe and can justify. - R.E. Slater

People, even more than things, need to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; never throw out anyone. – Anon

Certainly, God's love has made fools of us all. - R.E. Slater

An apocalyptic Christian faith doesn't wait for Jesus to come, but for Jesus to become in our midst. - R.E. Slater

Christian belief in God begins with the cross and resurrection of Jesus, not with rational apologetics. - Eberhard Jüngel, Jürgen Moltmann

Our knowledge of God is through the 'I-Thou' encounter, not in finding God at the end of a syllogism or argument. There is a grave danger in any Christian treatment of God as an object. The God of Jesus Christ and Scripture is irreducibly subject and never made as an object, a force, a power, or a principle that can be manipulated. - Emil Brunner

“Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh” means "I will be that who I have yet to become." - God (Ex 3.14) or, conversely, “I AM who I AM Becoming.”

Our job is to love others without stopping to inquire whether or not they are worthy. - Thomas Merton

The church is God's world-changing social experiment of bringing unlikes and differents to the Eucharist/Communion table to share life with one another as a new kind of family. When this happens, we show to the world what love, justice, peace, reconciliation, and life together is designed by God to be. The church is God's show-and-tell for the world to see how God wants us to live as a blended, global, polypluralistic family united with one will, by one Lord, and baptized by one Spirit. – Anon

The cross that is planted at the heart of the history of the world cannot be uprooted. - Jacques Ellul

The Unity in whose loving presence the universe unfolds is inside each person as a call to welcome the stranger, protect animals and the earth, respect the dignity of each person, think new thoughts, and help bring about ecological civilizations. - John Cobb & Farhan A. Shah

If you board the wrong train it is of no use running along the corridors of the train in the other direction. - Dietrich Bonhoeffer

God's justice is restorative rather than punitive; His discipline is merciful rather than punishing; His power is made perfect in weakness; and His grace is sufficient for all. – Anon

Our little [biblical] systems have their day; they have their day and cease to be. They are but broken lights of Thee, and Thou, O God art more than they. - Alfred Lord Tennyson

We can’t control God; God is uncontrollable. God can’t control us; God’s love is uncontrolling! - Thomas Jay Oord

Life in perspective but always in process... as we are relational beings in process to one another, so life events are in process in relation to each event... as God is to Self, is to world, is to us... like Father, like sons and daughters, like events... life in process yet always in perspective. - R.E. Slater

To promote societal transition to sustainable ways of living and a global society founded on a shared ethical framework which includes respect and care for the community of life, ecological integrity, universal human rights, respect for diversity, economic justice, democracy, and a culture of peace. - The Earth Charter Mission Statement

Christian humanism is the belief that human freedom, individual conscience, and unencumbered rational inquiry are compatible with the practice of Christianity or even intrinsic in its doctrine. It represents a philosophical union of Christian faith and classical humanist principles. - Scott Postma

It is never wise to have a self-appointed religious institution determine a nation's moral code. The opportunities for moral compromise and failure are high; the moral codes and creeds assuredly racist, discriminatory, or subjectively and religiously defined; and the pronouncement of inhumanitarian political objectives quite predictable. - R.E. Slater

God's love must both center and define the Christian faith and all religious or human faiths seeking human and ecological balance in worlds of subtraction, harm, tragedy, and evil. - R.E. Slater

In Whitehead’s process ontology, we can think of the experiential ground of reality as an eternal pulse whereby what is objectively public in one moment becomes subjectively prehended in the next, and whereby the subject that emerges from its feelings then perishes into public expression as an object (or “superject”) aiming for novelty. There is a rhythm of Being between object and subject, not an ontological division. This rhythm powers the creative growth of the universe from one occasion of experience to the next. This is the Whiteheadian mantra: “The many become one and are increased by one.” - Matthew Segall

Without Love there is no Truth. And True Truth is always Loving. There is no dichotomy between these terms but only seamless integration. This is the premier centering focus of a Processual Theology of Love. - R.E. Slater


Note: Generally I do not respond to commentary. I may read the comments but wish to reserve my time to write (or write from the comments I read). Instead, I'd like to see our community help one another and in the helping encourage and exhort each of us towards Christian love in Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. - re slater

Wednesday, May 26, 2021

Personal Reflections on Evolution & Process Christianity

Personal Reflections on Evolution &
Process Christianity

by R.E. Slater

Over the years I have continued to write about, and develop, a processual Christian understanding of evolution and its basics at my blogsite, Relevancy22. I have also been doing the same when covering the basics of the origins of the universe. Lately, during the past two weeks, I have put together a number of studies related to the quantum underpinnings of our early universe (cf. Index - Particle Physics, Quantum Science, and the Universe) to show natural theology's correlation with process theology and vice versa.

As I have written and developed my thought I have fully sided with the scientific community and its research. And importantly, have tried not to hedge or impose my thoughts on science as other Christian studies seem to do (sic, Young Earth Creationism). In essence, what the sciences have found is what I will read and wonder at. Throughout all this time I have never felt a need to defend God from His world. What the sciences can tell me is how our God is creating life historically and by process evolvement... that God is even now creating life during these very moments of history we are breathing in-and-out. History never ceases. Nor do process creational moments. These together are ever-evolving processes intimately connected with each other: moving from past to present to future. And so it is with my wonder at God.

As guide and aide, I have also brought along a Christian perspective to the study of science (specifically, Process Christianity) to better help myself see what the sciences are seeing without diluting their discoveries in implication or enterprise. By extrapolation, the theology I carry - and have been developing alongside other past process theologians - has been informing my own thoughts and enterprise regarding the many scientific endeavors seeking to explain the world we live in. My older theologies could not do this. They had erected too many artificial barriers which neither helped me nor my faith even as they obstructed a clear view of what the contemporary sciences were telling us.

Now normally, Christians do not get too involved in the particulars of Natural Theology (sic, studies outside or beyond the bible, per se). Yes, on occasion Christianity will look at the philosophies of the day as they either help or not the introspection of the Christian faith. But generally, Christianity holds the naive perspective that all is a study of the secular (such as the sciences) which may interfere with its surmise of what a divine philosophy or outlook must pertain too. Which brings us back to the circular argument whether Christianity really should be its own arbiter exclusive to all other external voices. In my view, it should not. That this typical Christian view limits itself in seeing God and His world as it should be seen through "non-biblical" eyes. It's dense arguments to be the final authority on all things God speaks to the lack of wisdom of its institutional assumptions and a priori disagreements with the "secular" world the little understand, let alone wish to understand. The church's cloistered isolationisms of divine truisms simply lead to further and further error if it does not widen its bible to allow in the many worlds of mankind both past, present, and future.

Thus and thus the argument of "divine over secular perspectives" is spurious. It presents itself as yet another artificial divide I cannot subscribe too... though once I had as a good Christian. It seems a simple statement to say, but it carries with it a lot of import, that the secular is as much divine as the divine is secular. For without the combination of both as a whole the divide between God and creation or, God and man, would be too high (or too low), unbalanced in its equations and unable to help lend adequate explanation sought by traditional Christian theism confined to its own arguments and perspectives.

Process Christianity subscribes to no such barriers but embraces from all directions every scrap of human knowledge it can possibly absorb so as to better under its God, God's world of creation and how it operates, and how human civilization might flourish with itself and with the earth. Process Christianity is helping to make sense out of the nonsense seen lying everywhere about in conservative Christianity these days. A Christianity which I know longer recognize as born by the Holy Spirit and sacramental waters of the Lord's baptism; His sacramental word in Eucharistic communal service, love, and welcoming embrace; or bearing the love of God everywhere it goes.

"Isn't it time for all religions to accept evolution?"

I also prefer to let the hard sciences speak that I might re-right my ideas of God and His creation. It does Christian theology no good to hedge God into our own make-believe fantasy worlds if those artificial fictions don't work with reality or correspond to actuality. The fiction of Christian "facts" as I've been taught them seem to be as little different from the Q'Anon conspiracy theories we have unfortunately become acquainted with when attempting to make them true. It cannot be done. An approach of denial and blame,of exchanging fact for fantasy, and fantasy for fact, is an approach best left to the side of the road as we drive on. Hence, I let the sciences do the talking while I walk along and wonder at what it means and how it can help my Christian faith. Science has served a very good reality check to my spiritual faith.

As I stand back and look it seems that the Christian faith has accepted many of the "safe sciences" like the humanitarian studies of psychology, sociology, medicine (IF Sigmund Freud et al were stripped out of it; but this was done by science itself over the years without need or help from religion). And I imagine that many private Christian Schools usually teach sanitized versions of the physical sciences. That is, science stripped of its evolutionary histories of cosmology, its earth history of geology and biology, of human origins, religious origins,  and so forth, replacing all with some other view of God, the bible, and religious tradition.

Even my own experience in public education dealt very little with evolution, though it was more commonly acknowledged there than at church. And when at public university I didn't have time or money to explore ancillary personal interests (though I did as much as I could under the requirement for graduation known as "electives"). My undergraduate concentration required a strict regiment for completion of the university's college program major. It certainly didn't leave me with a lot of time to personally explore off topic courses.

At which time the Lord blew my personal plans up when I was deep into my junior year. It found me transferring to a private Christian College the following semester and requiring two more years of undergraduate study. My prior concentration had eclipsed the new school's same major by my second year of sophomore study, so I had to start up a new major (and minor since I had the time and mandatory credits). At graduation I took a stop-gap to teach at a high school out-of-state and then returned for another four years of study at that same school's seminary.

commentary link 

During all this time the study of the universe or earth history rarely, if ever, came up. And if it did, because of my overly narrow beliefs at the time, I would dilute the study of evolution down with glib theological explanations to help make its subject more palatable to my views.

And so I knew this would be one of things I would need to recover from the dust bins of my educational background. And when I did begin writing intentionally of a contemporary, postmodern Christianity, I had to face my deficient knowledge of evolution.

When undertaking these tasks I also knew I would have to take a hard look at the church: how it was skewing its message away from God's love epitomized in Jesus' ministries to the unwanted and unseen. This, perhaps, was my overall motivator. To write of a Christianity that was right and true and unconflicted by more traditional dogmas which had developed around the idea of protecting the church by holding it back from making better sense. Ironically, even as it did the church failed to protect its fellowship from the false teachers creeping in and noising their complaints about for all to hear.

Surprisingly, I found the church which I was thrilled to be a part of, like myself, needed a corporate time-out for reflection and redirection. It's gospel had become regressive and isolated. It's theology hardened by the practice of being overly skeptical of contemporary discoveries. Its ministries could only touch the "culturally sanctified and assimilating" areas of white culture. Its politics had become unloving and unjust. And its motivation for all of its energy was in the name of preserving the neoliberal policies of American capitalism. Thus and thus I knew I had a lot of work to do, and would not attract much of an audience amongst my fellowship for all my intent and labor.

But I'm an evangelist and missionary at heart and have never felt comfortable being too embedded in church affairs. My community lay outside its artificial walls and its where I speak best all things Jesus. Jesus said as much the same when telling of homeboy prophets who are not being wanted in the places they grew up. To be effective they must leave. Their detractors and discouragers will always be too many to overcome.

Throughout my early youth and college experience I have always been led by curiosity in all subjects - both Christian and non-Christian. Too, I had the advantage of growing up in a nominally Christian home where the Christian message got lost in the practicalities of the day and its distance from the church. These circumstances were probably my safeguards.

So it wasn't until my mid-thirties when visiting Canada's Royal Terrell (Dinosaur) Museum in Alberta's Badlands with my young family that my passion began to burn into a contagion. (I might also remark that it has been the most complete collection of dinosaur fossils I have found; rivaling all other exhibits I've had the privilege to explore over the years.)

So when I began writing of a more comprehensively integrated Christianity then the one I knew, there would be some things kept and some things left behind. It would require:
(i) A period of letting go... commonly known as deconstructing one's beliefs;

(ii) A period of living in the chaos of nothingness for awhile... I experienced this time as a period of unknowing, uncertainty, and doubt. It was a personally dark time of spiritual abandonment which turned out to be a beautiful experience of wilderness living; and finally,

(iii) A period of God rebuilding, restoring, and reconstructing a faith far more expansive than the one I had held before.
The hard work of fundamentally exploring my Christian faith as a whole had thus begun with personal devastation. God was absent. A deep aloneness was felt. But His Spirit was strangely present. It would be a fairly long period I intended to honor and not short-circuit. It was necessary, and I knew it. It was also hard.

When the Spirit of God called me forth from the dead as Lazarus from the grave I knew immediately thereafter what lay ahead of me and what I should write about. It was very, very clear. I expressed some rage for the first several months and then experienced a cooling down period in exploration of more Christian-like perspectives where God's Love was the center and not the church's interpretation of God. It took time, letting go, and re- educating from my conservative evangelical background to a post-evangelical one which might somehow hang on to the best - and let go of the worst - elements of its faith.

By-and-by I began working towards developing a new contemporary Christian theology more appropriate to our postmodern era. And am glad that the Lord had firmly led me in this direction. It has helped a lot during these turbulent times of the church's apostasy as witnessed by the recent decades of Christian tropes and memes.

Years later I still find the wilderness lessons I had learned to have weathered well the yet unforeseen storms brought on by the present day church's pronounced secularity and abandonment of Jesus as ably demonstrated through the Trumpian years of its antithetical Christian expression. Though my evangelical-era of faith is all but gone, my newly seasoned post-evangelical Christian faith is shipping the lanes of the stormy seas quite well. (Thank you Lord) thanks to open and relational process theology.

In conclusion, the past two weeks I have worked to put together what amounts to a basic level of quantum understanding of occurrences before the Big Bang, in its primordial era, and then just after it when irregularity somehow seeped into it's quantum mix. I have then added all the recent articles to the Quantum Particle (QP) Index and even have had time to begin working on newer projects titled "Religion in Spiritual Crisis" which will soon begin appearing.

I should also add that there are quite a few process theology articles I wish to expand upon. But this will come as they can. At present, I'm looking at three course studies over the next six weeks: Charles Taylor's "Age of Secularity"; Wendell Berry's "Complete Poems"; and a course on the "Parallels between the Christian and Muslim Faiths" from hopefully a positive  perspective of religious similarities and core agreements.


R.E. Slater
May 26, 2021

*PS. Most of my indexes are not up to date. I do this task as I can but is an area I could use help with if I could find someone locally to help.  :/ To aide, cross-check the topic area, utilize the blog search bar, and even use Google search directed back at this website. There are a lot of helpful voices here which would be a shame if they weren't heard.

* * * * * * * *

8 Unfortunate Myths Christians
Believe About Evolution

If you live inside the North American evangeli-bubble, you might assume that every legit Jesus follower on the planet thinks the world is six to ten thousand years old, depending on how you track those old testament genealogies.

You would be wrong.

It turns out that many Christians have come to peace with the contentious piece of theology we refer to as the origins debate.

I am one of those people.

Since the day I was blindsided by a fellow musician in my worship band – a geologist with inside knowledge that didn’t sync with my creationist timeline -I’ve been down more than a few rabbit holes. I am now scraping out a new identity as a recovering creationist. I have a budding fondness for Darwin’s idea, and an expanding sense of wonder in a God who is content (even pleased) to let a universe unfold over billions of years.

What I have learned during my journey is that while many believers are asking questions with their inside voices, they are worried that speaking up is seen is a sign of doubt or rebellion against established orthodoxy. I have also discovered that many people outside the church are surprisingly intrigued by the implications of this conversation and are more than willing to engage.

So today, I am pleased to discuss several unfortunate myths about Christianity and evolution. Hopefully these conversation starters will keep your next Bible study lively. 

Myth #1: Science And Faith Are At War

Most of us have difficulty choosing sides when it comes to the simple things in life like our favourite ice cream or shampoo. It gets even more complicated when we get into deeper subjects like origins. In our zeal to separate the light from the darkness, we adopt this tribe-like trait of drawing lines in the sand so we can tell the difference between us and them. Us are awesome at this. Just ask Galileo, or Newton (Isaac, not Wayne).

Galileo really stepped in it when he suggested the earth was not the center of our solar system. His radical idea was rejected, not because competing scientists had conflicting evidence, but because common-sense (at the time) Biblical interpretation wouldn’t allow it. Scripture was quoted, threats were made and reserved church parking lot spaces were confiscated. Galileo spent his last eight years under house arrest. Though he pleaded with his accusers to gaze through his hand-crafted telescopes and do the math, his appeals to logic were ignored.

Isaac Newton, whose claim to fame includes the three laws of motion, faced similar barbs from church leadership when he suggested that gravity might have a part to play in keeping our feet on the ground. He was accused of promoting occult activity. Gravity, as we would eventually learn, is a pretty good idea and anything but demonic.

See where I’m going with this? We love slicing and sorting scary, new concepts into either/or camps. On one side we have faith, on the other side science. We orchestrate cage matches between ‘belief and reason’ or whatever turf we routinely plant our flags in. It’s just too easy to frame these debates in terms of either/or. And the creation/evolution controversy is only the latest prize fight – a clash of two competing world views where apparently, only one side can win out.

However, there is a simple, fatal flaw in the either/or paradigm. Faith and science are not opposites. The opposite of faith is… wait for it. Fear. I’ll say it again. The opposite of faith is fear. (No need to get sidetracked talking about why doubt isn’t the opposite of faith either. That’s a perfectly wonderful kerfuffle for another day.)

While the scientific community isn’t restricted by our lines In the theological sand, it is incorrect to conclude that they are out to destroy the sandbox. Science is about how. Faith is about why. And this is true regardless of how loud the zealots on either side keep yelling.

Myth #2: Science Has An Anti-Faith Agenda

Myth #2 is an extension of myth #1 but must be considered on it’s own for different reasons. For too many evangelicals science itself is the problem. We have convinced ourselves that the geeky elites are out to corrupt our children and destroy our faith. I hate to break it to you but science could care less about your faith.

The real reason scientists put on their lab coats every morning is this: They want to solve problems AND GET PAID! Geologists, for example, are too busy trying to predict the exact location of the next big natural gas deposit to lose sleep over the fact that their calculations don’t line up with somebody’s interpretation of Genesis.

“Well the reason they don’t care about Biblical interpretation” says the creationist, “is because there are so few Christians involved in the sciences.” This is true. But for decades now we evangelicals have been encouraging our kids to become doctors, nurses, school teachers, stock traders, lawyers (okay not lawyers) bingo callers and professional hotdog eaters, anything but scientists.

“You can study anything you want” we tell our wide-eyed offspring as they head off to college with an open mind and thirty years of looming debt, “as long as the letters on your diploma don’t come at the end of a word that begins with geo, paleo, anthro, archeo, cosmo or, heaven forbid, bio.”

Yes, we would have a higher percentage of Christ following biologists if we weren’t so afraid that science in general, and evolution specifically, might dismantle their faith in God and scripture.

As a result (and I have witnessed this firsthand) curious kids, raised in a faith community inexplicably terrified of the lab, have been given a tragic ultimatum: choose between serving God or serving science. And those kids, not content to list their bunsen burners on Craigslist and join YWAM, have opted for the latter. We did this to ourselves.

If less than 15% percent of university science professors are Jesus followers it is not because science leads people away from God. If we truly believe scientific exploration gets in the way of faith, then what do we do with Romans 1:12 where Paul says,

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse."

Remember, Paul penned these words long before the canon of scripture had been assembled. His claim is that sincere investigation into the natural order will inevitably lead right back to the creator. And yet, when scientific research is unveiled, our first reflex is to downplay it or denounce it as liberal ‘humanistic’ rhetoric.

(Statistics show that the same evangelicals that roll their eyes at evolution, also discount global warming and are the worst recyclers on the block. Too many Christians mistakenly believe that doing science leads to anti-God conclusions and anti-kingdom-of-God-behavior. Did we forgot that the first commandment in the Bible was to “take care of the garden”? (Of course, for fans of evacuation theology who believe our planet is on it’s last legs, it’s no surprise that stewardship of the environment gets ‘left behind’.)

Does science have an agenda? Yes? The short term goal is to learn about stuff. The end game involves bringing all that knowledge into a cohesive whole that can help us make more sense of our place in the cosmos. Snapchat and Spanx are simply fortuitous aha’s along the path to discovering ultimate purpose.

Myth #3: Evolution Denies God

I’ve been asked on several occasions if I am into theistic evolution. My response is a resounding NO! Not anymore than I am into theistic dermatology.

Colossians 1:17 sums it up: He is before all things and in him all things hold together.

Because it is God that makes the whole thing go, we can dig under any rock without fear of backsliding into a vortex of SCI logic that will unseat him as creator. We need not worry about about leaving God sitting on the sidelines, dejected and wishing for the good old days, before humans had figured out the secrets of DNA and yam fries.

Evolution is not qualified to confirm OR deny the existence of God. The rules of science don’t allow it. These rules are contained within a framework known as the scientific method. The scientific method helps us tell the difference between things that are true and things that are not. Asking questions and collecting data to prove or disprove a ‘hypothesis’ is a logical self-correcting way of navigating new ideas. When a hypothesis stands firm in cross examination it gets promoted to the lofty rank of ‘theory’ (see myth #4).

But here’s the best part – the scientific method can only account for objects that ‘exist’ in the physical sense. If you can taste it, touch it, see it, smell it, throw it, catch it, or hide it under your bed until it turns blue, you can do science on it. Science is fully qualified to examine everything from asteroids to asthma. God, on the other hand, is spirit. Therefore, science is NOT qualified, on it’s own terms to make any authoritative pronouncement on his existence or lack thereof.

Myth #4: Evolution Is “Only A Theory”

It is a sad fact that ‘untruths’ that bring comfort often run circles around actual ‘truths’ that cause discomfort. Evolution has been targeted by well meaning people, who don’t really know what they are talking about (see Myth #1). Yes, evolution and natural selection are theories. And so is gravity, and flight. Einstein’s famous equation is the poster child for the theory of general relativity. The big bang is also a theory. And every single one of these theories is also true.

In scientific circles, a theory is very different from an idea. While ideas spring up all the time, only good ideas last. Once an idea (or hypothesis) has been formulated, it must be tested and prodded to see if it can stand up under duress. Ideas that don’t survive this vetting process get tossed into the dustbin of history. Lawn darts come to mind. Scientific ideas that hold up under scrutiny become what are known as theories. A ‘theory’ is a conceptual framework, supported by multiple lines of evidence (see Myth #7) that has widespread explanatory capabilities. Evolutionary theory is a conceptual framework, supported by multiple lines of evidence, that has widespread explanatory capabilities.

Myth #5: Random Chance Can’t Accomplish Anything

Tell me if you’ve heard this in a creationist rant: “Random chance over millions of years can’t bring about the diversity of life we see on our planet”. While a repeat of Colossians 1:17 would be worthwhile, let’s look at this from a different angle.

If we were to follow the path of a snowflake in its descent from cloud cover to the ground we might suspect, at first glance, that the journey was random. But after measuring meteorological data like barometric pressure and wind direction, and completing all the necessary vector equations (remember those) showing which forces were acting and for how long, we could confidently say that the route of said snowflake was not, in reality, random. And we would agree that if those external forces acted again on the same snowflake, the result would be identical. It is, after all, our confidence in God’s laws – which guarantee the consistent outcomes of repeatable activity in the natural world – that makes doing science possible in the first place.

But the appearance of randomness that accompanies the falling snowflake would not fade.

(And while we’re at it, let’s acknowledge that those wondrous “storehouses laden with snow”, spoken of by the psalmist – don’t actually exist. If it really was God’s intention to impart precise scientific knowledge to the ancient Hebrews, as the literalists would have us believe, this absurd idea masquerading as meteorology would have never made it past the copy editors. “Oh, it’s metaphorical” cries the creationist, in a twisted fit of irony.)

Here’s the point: the appearance of randomness does not rule out divine guidance.

It is true that in origins banter, words like ‘random’ and ‘chance’ get passed around like poop bags at a dog park. Even Richard Dawkins, the world renowned evolutionary biologist and theology hobbyist admits that these terms muddy the waters, making it harder for critics to see the beauty in the machine. Experts maintain that if our planet began its evolutionary journey all over again tomorrow, and the conditions were identical to what they were hundreds of millions of years ago, that we would end up in exactly the same place give or take a nostril.

Myth #6: Evolution Is A Statement Of Faith

“since neither creation – ex nihilo – nor the primeval conditions necessary for the appearance of life on our planet can be re-enacted in the lab, they are both statements of faith.”

While it might appear that both a 7 day biblio-literal creation and evolution are beyond the scope of any lab, that doesn’t mean that one or the other is or isn’t science. What?

Using the principles of evolutionary theory and natural selection, scientists have made testable predictions. Experts in the field of bio-geography, for example, have been able to predict the likely location of fossils and paint a coherent picture of species migration across the globe. Fossils found on the east coast of South America have close ties (and are in some cases identical) to fossil finds located on the west coast of the African continent. This makes perfect sense when you introduce plate tectonics (another theory) to the conversation. This is exactly what you would expect to find if these two continents were joined together in the distant past. Similar patterns of speciation and fossilization have also led scientists to link Australian species with intermediary species in the Antarctic.

In stark contrast to the successful predictions of species migration solved within the framework of evolutionary theory, sits the claims of the creationists. For the creationist theory of a universal flood to be considered a valid framework for understanding natural history, evidence must be found to support the claims.

If the Bible science guys could uncover fossils for even a few animals (they were ALL on Noah’s Ark according to the literalists) and show patterns of species migration that begin near mount Ararat and radiate outwards across the continents in a way that supports the creationist flood accounts, we would have something to talk about. But we don’t find any of that. Now I didn’t say that Noah’s flood didn’t happen. I only suggested that the Bible science ‘universal flood’ model for predicting species migration bears zero resemblance to the patterns we find in the fossil record. That’s a big problem for anyone that maintains that a literal 6 day creation in Genesis, followed by a worldwide deluge is both faith AND science.

In this sense, Creationism ‘theory’ doesn’t have a fossilized femur to stand on. Creationism is not a scientifically valid framework for explaining what we see in the real world. And science that doesn’t do anything in the real world is good for nothing!

Myth #7: There’s No Evidence For Evolution

We evangelicals have consoled ourselves for decades by saying there is no evidence for evolution. If you’re pinning your faith on this argument, this is where it get’s really scary.

Let’s talk about whales. When those evolutionary zealots on Nat Geo Wild, tell us in their seductive baritone voices, that whales are mammals that returned to the ocean after spending a few million years on land – and we laugh – consider the following:

It is a genetic fact that every whale has the instructions for building a pelvis and skeletal structure hidden inside its DNA. In fact, one of every 500 whales is born with a hind leg protruding from its body cavity. I’m not making this up! This is hard evidence of something that never made it to the flannelgraph in your Sunday School classroom.

Let’s talk about vitamin C. Why do we have to buy it in bottles and almost every creature on the planet makes the stuff internally? Four of the five enzymes required to produce vitamin C internally are present in your body. And the fifth enzyme is in there as well, but it is defective.

We have two options to consider. Either humans stopped producing vitamin C sometime in the distant past due to a genetic mutation of sorts (evolutionary theory), or God created our physical bodies ex nihilo with the appearance of defective genetic material already embedded (deceptive God theory – too much fun, but not enough time).

Either we’ve been created by God from scratch with errors, and that’s why we suffer from colds, or these genetic imperfections are actually clues to another story that involves twists and turns beyond the scope of Genesis. Did I mention the only other species on the planet that don’t produce their own vitamin C are also primates – chimpanzees, orangutans and great apes. Oh, and guinea pigs. Which, when you think about it makes being a human guinea pig now even more hazardous to your health, especially if you’re testing cold medication!

There are literally thousands of other examples that have led scientists across the globe to acknowledge evolution as a fact. In scientific lingo it’s still a ‘theory’ but so is gravity and few believers in our century have felt the calling to launch a sustained attack on that carnal idea.

Myth #8: Belief in Evolution Destroys Belief In The Bible

While most of us can agree on how those first few chapters of Genesis are read, we are lousy at agreeing on what they mean. This is true of all of scripture. This might explain why, on the protestant side of the fence, we have 37,009 denominations and counting. The Bible was written for us, but it was not written to us.

The redaction of the old testament coincides with Israel’s return from exile in Babylon. An entire generation of Israelites had been raised in a culture where the creation stories of their mesopotamian neighbors involved cosmic battles between gods and demigods fighting for control of the elements. The oceans (the deep), the moon and sun were given major roles in this cosmic soap opera. Because the Hebrews were familiar with these tales, reframing the creation story with Yahweh at the centre was vital to the health and spiritual well-being of the nation.

In The Lost World of Genesis One by John Walton, the author argues that in the ancient world, creation stories focused on the ‘why’ not the how. ‘How’ was not on the radar. The sole purpose of the Genesis record was to clarify that Israel’s God, the one true God, created the cosmos of himself, and by himself as a place to dwell with men. And this Yahweh wasn’t about to share the spotlight with a band of half-baked pagan deities! So, to claim from our perch in the 21st century that Genesis was an attempt at science is a misguided effort.

“There is grandeur in this view of life” wrote Charles Darwin in Origin of Species. And while he struggled with a recalibration of scriptural interpretation in light of science, I have become more convinced than ever that an evolutionary story is not the enemy of our faith story. The ’how’ as detailed in evolutionary science, brings with it a heightened awareness of the unfathomable creativity and brilliance of a Creator who brings worlds into being with only a word.

“In the beginning God said…” is as true as it ever was.

Quantum Eras of the Very Early Universe



The Process Metaphysics of Alfred North Whitehead (*1861, †1947)
Alfred North Whitehead Project

A short introduction to the process philosophy & process theology of Alfred North Whitehead (*1861, †1947), containing several photos and 4 speakers, describing some core hypotheses of Whitehead's metaphysics. The speakers are: John B. Cobb, David Ray Griffin, Charles Hartshorne and Rupert Sheldrake.

TheoCon: Process Theology
Jun 24, 2020