(This is the second part to a two-part entry. I suggest you read the first part here)
As I urged you when I went into Macedonia, stay there in Ephesus so that you may command certain people not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. (1:3-4a)
Whenever a teacher mentioned evolution and how clearly real it was, I knew I was in trouble. The eyes in the room would flip around to me for my rebuttal. “So Jesse,” they would say (but not in this admittedly exaggerated tone), “What do you have to say about evolution?” I would look at the evidence and ponder the possibilities, long and hard. I had a couple of arguments – two mainly – that I would wield in moments of persecution such as these.
Here we go:
- So you know how God said that He created the Earth in 7 days? Well, what if those were “metaphoric” days, and they actually lasted thousands of years – maybe even millennia? Like, there is that verse that says to God, a day is a thousand years and a thousand years is just a day, so. Maybe all of that dinosaur stuff and the fossils were just… during that time and Adam and Eve lived thousands of years – maybe even millennia – in the Garden of Eden before their downfall.
- Maybe God planted all of those fossils just to test our faith?
The first explanation usually received nods of quiet acknowledgement. The second always got laughs.
Whether or not evolution should be taught in schools (or whether it should be taught alongside creationism) used to be a very big deal, and now, no one seems to argue about it much anymore. It sort of fell away in the 90s, along with the insistence that we start every public school day with a round of prayer. It seems like we have moved on to newer topics, things that seem surmountable. Like court clerks refusing marriage certificates. God, everyone has an opinion about THAT.
No one seems keen on removing “Under God” from the Pledge of Allegiance anymore. That was a hot topic anymore. No one really cares anymore though.
All of this came to mind while I read 1 Timothy. Paul warns his readers to beware of myths that seem to explain humanity – I can see a modern Christian taking on the cause of Evolution as a “myth” that we ought to ignore. I am surprised, though, that in these early years of Christianity, the believers are already pitted against people who question the origins of humanity. It seems like such a modern argument – one that requires hard scientific fact.
And this also relates to the passages about women and gays nearby. It seems, once again, that the modern Christian is in a position of defense, and the thought becomes – how can I reinterpret what I read to fit in with what I believe. How can I believe in God and Jesus and still think that it is okay for women to speak aloud at church, or that loving gay relationships are valid?
I had a nightmare some years ago. The details are fuzzy of course – no one really remembers each and every detail of a dream. But I remember…
Earth was in its final days, and everything had fallen dark. A man had produced irrefutable evidence that there was no God – and I mean irrefutable. I believed it as well. The details are fuzzy, remember, so I don’t remember what exactly he had said. He may not have said anything – maybe my dream began en media res or something – I don’t know. It seemed that without God, society was collapsing. No one felt the need to live an aimless life without a God to adhere to.
I trudged down the street looking for friends. No one was there. It seems that they all had died or perhaps they were waiting for the impending end elsewhere. And then, the darkness lifted into a blinding white light, one that began small and then enveloped everything. I woke up with stars in my eyes.
An existence without God is too terrifying for me to muster. Even if it goes against every logical bone in my body.