What Does It All Mean?
The Theologies of Genesis and Science
The atheists among the scientific community dismiss the early chapters of Genesis as mythology. In doing so, they fail to understand the realities that lie behind the details of the story. In judging this sacred oral tradition by the standards of today's peer-reviewed science, they miss what it teaches about God and man. They miss what it reveals to us about our own identity. My thesis is that these first chapters of Genesis present us with the foundational truths of monotheism, which I have attempted to summarize in five propositions. I want to show the reader that these ancient accounts, rightly understood, do not present a barrier to an intelligent person coming to faith.
I will also review the science we have examined, and argue that this body of knowledge points us to similar conclusions about man and his place in the universe. To atheists and fundamentalists alike, my message is that science and faith are not enemies. Rather, they converge to a common path leading to engagement with the creator of the universe. That pathway is the journey I have sought take you on through the chapters and pages of this book. It is a pathway for the truth seeker. It is a pathway from science to faith.
In Chapters 2 to 4 of this book we traveled through time. We started with the origin of the universe, and saw that it defies a natural explanation. We saw that the parameters of the universe are so finely calibrated that they appear to be purposefully designed for life. We saw that the origin of life is similarly beyond scientific explanation, and that the progressive development of life over billions of years could not have happened simply through chance. We are led step by step towards the notion that life flourishes on Earth only because an intelligent creator placed it here and nurtured its development.
Is this not the same perspective we get from reading the simple but profound message of Genesis 1, which we considered in the previous chapter? I believe it is, and I suggest the truth that both provide can be expressed in my first proposition:
One eternal and all-powerful God, beyond the universe that we see, is the ultimate cause of all things.
The universe and life appear to have a purpose, and we are the only species on Earth who can meditate on it. We are the only ones to ask why we are here, and to passionately seek an answer to that question. We are the only ones able to radically shape our environment, and the environment of all other creatures, for better or for worse. We are the only creatures with minds and language sufficiently complex to handle abstract concepts, and the only creatures that (speaking for most of humanity) perceive a spiritual reality. If we have a common ancestor with the apes, it is just a biological connection, and does not define who we are. We share DNA with monkeys, but monkeys don't pray!
In Chapter 5 of this book, we have also traveled through space, from our closest neighbor, Mars, to the exoplanets at the extreme range of our instruments. To date, that search has produced no evidence that there is life beyond the Earth, let alone intelligent life. Man's ability to ask the big questions is not just unique to this world - it appears to be unique in the universe. That makes us very, very special! This is a philosophical position, but it arises from the available scientific evidence and logical reasoning. I believe it is consistent with the perspective of the first two chapters of Genesis, that man is a unique, spiritual being. I suggest that, together, these sources point us towards the next truth expressed in my second proposition:
Man is the centerpiece of God's creation, made by God to know (and worship) him.
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