6/16/19 – 8 Things Progressive Christians Believe

Posted on : Jun 13th, 2019 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

Some on the conservative side of Christianity are going to great lengths to teach creationism in place of science.  They have this deep-seated fear that if somehow the story of creation is taught or told, other than the way it is in the book of Genesis in the bible, the bible will somehow be invalidated.

The name of the first book of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures is Genesis – which in Hebrew, literally means “beginnings” as in “the start of something” or “a genesis.”  So, this book about “beginnings” or the genesis of our story of faith, is obviously very important.  In fact, the first words of Genesis 1:1 are “In the beginning, God created the heavens and earth…”  That is a theological statement – a statement of faith – not a scientific affirmation.  Using Genesis 1 as a scientific statement about what God created is a misuse of the story.  The story was never intended to be used as a scientific explanation of how God creates.

Using Genesis as scientific proof gets even more complicated because there is not one creation story in Genesis, but two!  And the two are significantly different.  The two stories are in conflict with each other.  Cut to the chase:  creationism is not Christian, and it is not Biblical.

If creationism were the only problem with Biblical illiteracy, we might be able to work around this.  But today, Biblical illiteracy is used to justify the denial of climate change, the time at which a zygote, then fetus become viable or takes on personhood.  And it’s being used to take away the rights of Transgender persons.  After all, they say, God created them “male and female.”

This Sunday we begin our summer worship series.  In it, I’m going to focus on 8 Things that Progressive Christians Believe.  The first is “Creationism is not Christian:  God and Science Are Friends, Not Enemies.”

Historically, the Christian Church has had a hard time accepting science. In the fifteen century, Copernicus who was a Renaissance-era mathematician and astronomer, formulated a model of the universe that placed the Sun rather than the Earth at the center of the universe.  In February-March 1616, the [Catholic] Church issued a prohibition against the Copernican theory of the earth’s motion. This led later (1633) to the Inquisition trial and condemnation of Galileo (1564-1642) as a suspected heretic.  To keep from being burned at the stake, Galileo recanted his work which proved that the Copernicus was correct; that the earth was not the center of the universe.  He knew that the earth revolved around the sun and that the sun, not the earth, was “the center of the universe.”  It took over 350 years for the Church hierarchy to apologize and assert that both Copernicus and Galileo were correct.

Progressive Christians embrace both science and faith.  We do not find science to be the least bit threatening to our faith, in fact, we find it empowering.  Why are we progressives so comfortable with science when conservative Christians find it threatening to their faith?  We’ll delve into that on Sunday!

Blessings,

Dan

 

Genesis 1:1-2:1

Genesis 1 (shortened) – A Creation Story

 

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

The earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep; and the Spirit of God was moving over the face of the waters.

And God said, “Let there be light!” and there was light.

And God said, “Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.  And so it was.

And God said, “Let the waters under the heavens be gathered together into one place, and let the dry land appear.”  And it was so. God called the dry land “earth” and the waters, “seas.”

And God said, “Let the earth put forth vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit”.  And God saw that it was good.

And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly about the earth.  And so God created them.

And God said “Let the earth bring forth living creatures.”  And it was so.

Then God said, “Let us make humanity in our image, after our likeness.”  So God created humanity in God’s image.  And God blessed them.

And God saw everything that God had made, and behold it was VERY GOOD.

Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the hosts of them.  And on the seventh day God rested.  So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work which God had done in creation.

 

Genesis 2: 4-25

Another Account of the Creation

In the day that God made the earth and the heavens, when no plant of the field was yet in the earth and no herb of the field had yet sprung up—for God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was no one to till the ground; but a stream would rise from the earth, and water the whole face of the ground— then God formed man from the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and the man became a living being. And God planted a garden in Eden, in the east; and there God put the man whom God had formed. Out of the ground God made to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight and good for food, the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

A river flows out of Eden to water the garden, and from there it divides and becomes four branches. The name of the first is Pishon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Havilah, where there is gold; and the gold of that land is good; bdellium and onyx stone are there. The name of the second river is Gihon; it is the one that flows around the whole land of Cush. The name of the third river is Tigris, which flows east of Assyria. And the fourth river is the Euphrates.

God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And God commanded the man, ‘You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.’

Then God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper as his partner.’ So out of the ground God formed every animal of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to the man to see what he would call them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. The man gave names to all cattle, and to the birds of the air, and to every animal of the field; but for the man there was not found a helper as his partner. So God caused a deep sleep to fall upon the man, and he slept; then God took one of his ribs and closed up its place with flesh. And the rib that God had taken from the man God made into a woman and brought her to the man. Then the man said,

‘This at last is bone of my bones

   and flesh of my flesh;

this one shall be called Woman,

   for out of Man this one was taken.’

Therefore a man leaves his father and his mother and clings to his wife, and they become one flesh. And the man and his wife were both naked, and were not ashamed.

 

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