June 15, 2014: The Big Bang or the Bible. Which is Right?

Posted on : Jun 12th, 2014 | By | Category: This Sunday's Service

In 1925 – almost 100 years ago! – American culture and American religion were embroiled in a bitter controversy between faith and science. At that time the two sides were called “the Fundamentalists” and “the Modernists.” The Modernists said evolution was not inconsistent with religion and the Fundamentalists said the word of God as revealed in the Bible took priority over all human knowledge. The controversy took on national attention in what became known as “the Scopes Monkey Trial.”   From none other than Wikipedia:

The Scopes Trial, formally known as The State of Tennessee v. John Thomas Scopes and commonly referred to as the Scopes Monkey Trial, was a famous American legal case in 1925 in which a substitute high school teacher, John Scopes, was accused of violating Tennessee’s Butler Act, which made it unlawful to teach human evolution in any state-funded school. The trial was deliberately staged in order to attract publicity to the small town of Dayton, Tennessee, where it was held. Scopes was unsure whether he had ever actually taught evolution, but he purposely incriminated himself so that the case could have a defendant.

Scopes was found guilty and fined $100, but the verdict was overturned on a technicality. The trial served its purpose of drawing intense national publicity, as national reporters flocked to Dayton to cover the big-name lawyers who had agreed to represent each side. William Jennings Bryan, three-time presidential candidate, argued for the prosecution, while Clarence Darrow, the famed defense attorney, spoke for Scopes. The trial publicized the Fundamentalist–Modernist Controversy, which set Modernists, who said evolution was not inconsistent with religion, against Fundamentalists, who said the word of God as revealed in the Bible took priority over all human knowledge. The case was thus seen as both a theological contest and a trial on whether modern science regarding the creation-evolution controversy should be taught in schools.


It’s hard to believe that almost 100 years later this same debate has re-emerged. One of the most famous “creationists” – the term now used to refer to those who believe that the creation story in Genesis 1 reveals the actual scientific origin of the earth – was Republican Vice-Presidential Candidate Sarah Palin, who ran with Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain in 2008. Among liberals, this debate is not taken seriously at all, but it sure is among conservative Christians. On the other hand, we liberal Christians have pretty much decided that faith and science don’t fit together, and the two should be separate. This tension between faith and science has gotten more and more intense, especially as new scientific theories of the origin of the universe have emerged.

So which is Right: Creationism, Evolution, the Big Bang theory, Black Holes, God Particles, or the Bible?

The answer to that question is actually quite complex, biblically and scientifically. Biblically, the Creationists quote Genesis 1: “In the beginning God created…” and then the seven days of creation to justify their position. But what they seem to ignore is that there is not just one creation story in Genesis, but two! Genesis 2:3 begins the second creation story and it is extremely different from the one in Genesis 1. (You can read them both below.)

In terms of current thinking, Genesis 1 works quite well with our current understanding of Creationism and evolution. Genesis 2 on the other hand, fits quite nicely with Black Holes and God Particle theories. But the harder question for Christians is, what do we do with two very different creation stories? Which is true? Which do we believe?

This Sunday as we continue our spiritual journey through the Book of Genesis, we’re going to start with one of the most relevant questions of our time. Can Christian faith and science coexist? Can Christians believe in God and science or are the two opposites? That question gets even more intriguing when we realize that human cloning is only a few years away. Theoretically human cloning will allow humans to create other humans, or at least duplicate existing forms of life. Once we are able to create life, do humans assume the role of God?

Those are just some of the fun questions we’ll explore this Sunday as we journey through Genesis.

God Bless!



 ~ This Sunday’s Scriptures ~

Genesis 1 (adapted)

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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