For virtually all my life, I’ve never had a problem reconciling science and faith. But as I learned more over time, I began to see an apparent conflict between science and the creation account in Genesis. While I never really considered the issue in detail, I believed there were several possible explanations, and chose to not really pursue a resolution. However, one day it seemed necessary to have an opinion on the matter. After looking a little at the different perspectives, I became convinced I couldn’t figure it out on my own. Any viewpoint I came up with would be suspect, and so prevent me from having confidence. Instead, I decided that the only hope lay in seeking God’s heart rather than relying on my own understanding.
So I went to the Lord, and believing He had set this desire for truth on my heart, asked Him to lead me to the correct understanding. In addition, I asked Him specifically to lead me into truth from His Word, not from science or human theology. I didn’t want to depend on human teaching, but rather wanted to know His heart. My earnest prayer was that I didn’t care who I ended up agreeing with, or whether I had ever said anything that would end up being wrong. I wanted more than anything to understand His truth. Several times previously in my walk with the Lord, He had answered similar prayers, and it was that relationship that I decided to depend upon.
Shortly after praying in this way, a passage and understanding came to mind that indicated that the creation account was figurative. That wasn’t expected, so I pushed it out of my mind and went to the Lord again. The same thing happened, but with a different passage. Again I pushed it aside, “repented” of the thoughts, and sought the Lord. The same thing happened again, only this time highlighting the mistake of making creation a part of the Gospel witness. After this third time, I prayed to the Lord in frustration that every time I sought Him, passages concerning the “wrong” teaching would come to mind. It hit me suddenly and clearly that He was answering my prayers.
This wasn’t the expected perspective, so deciding a different approach was needed, I put together a selection of books that upheld a literal view, and set about prayerfully reading them. At the beginning, I fasted for a period of time to humble my heart to be receptive to the Lord’s guidance. Through Scriptural analysis, commentary, science, and personal testimonies, I listened while reading, praying always for the Lord to show me truth. However, the original perspective only continued to grow steadily stronger as I read through the materials.
Not only that, but there appeared a disquieting aspect to much of what I encountered: vitriolic writing, blatantly incompetent or even dishonest articles about science, personal attacks, use of non-Biblical sources to build theology, and a clear disregard for the plight of the lost. As I sought the Lord about these things, what came clearly to mind was His instruction about knowing false prophets by their fruit. Not quite the same thing as false teachers, but close enough to be disquieting. While we can encounter such things almost anywhere, a distinct cluster had come up in the materials now at hand.
At this point I sought council again, so I approached someone I knew personally. (I had tried to earlier by sharing with a pastor online, only to be threatened with the wrath of God without being offered any instruction or correction.) I knew one brother in particular to be mature in his beliefs, knowledge, and actions. We had not discussed creation in some time, but from an earlier discussion, he seemed to have a literal perspective. So without revealing my heart, I asked him for his viewpoint. He replied that it just so happened the Lord had recently shown him something in the Word to indicate the account was not to be taken literally. The Lord had shown him something completely different than He had shown me, yet led us both to the same conclusion.
After these events, my focus changed for a time. Our church was participating with others in the area to put on a huge evangelistic event. Among other things, I helped as a counselor. But overall, I put myself in the Lord’s hands to use however He saw fit during that time. I deliberately set aside my priorities to focus on His plan, specifically asked Him to show where He was at work, and prepared to let Him lead. Engaging with the team that weekend, I listened to the evangelistic presentations given at several of the events targeted at youth. Surprisingly, elements of creationism kept coming up in the presentations. Then when we sat down for lunch, people sat right next to us and started criticizing those who don’t believe in creationism. I prayed about this, and it was as if, although I had set this topic aside, the Lord brought it back up, to have me take seriously what He had been saying.
All through this time, during much prayer, the Spirit persistently gave me a growing conviction of the truth of what was being revealed. After hearing from God, I set about seeking a better understanding by continuing to read and meditate on His Word. What has become increasingly clear is the importance of approaching these queries through the eyes of faith and spiritual discernment, not exclusively through worldly wisdom, and not merely using intellectual analysis of either Scripture or the natural world. From the initial prodding of the Spirit to seek and hear truth, to the confirming counsel and events, I concluded that God had directed me to understand this for the purpose of sharing these truths. My testimony is not only one of intellectual conviction, but of listening, in a relationship that has guided me in many ways. The same Voice that has led me through family decisions, job changes, and into deeper and deeper knowledge of Him, led me into this understanding. This blog is a description of the ongoing journey.