god’s big bang
My 10 year old asked me tonight about how the earth was formed. My next oldest enthusiastically bounded into the room with, “God made it with a big bang!” I thought that was a reasonable syntheses of beliefs for our household. Probably most of their young friends are taught some form of “6,000 years ago” anyway, so a theistic form of 4.5 billion years ago doesn’t sound so bad to me for now.
I googled up a kid’s intranets site on the formation of the earth. A few minutes later I was being asked about what the site meant about evolution. I said, “I think that’s pretty much what happened.” “But Dad, the bible didn’t say Adam and Eve were monkeys.” I explained the bible didn’t necessarily say anything about evolution, maybe Adam and Eve were the first humans, but they evolved that way (I want to take that one back, going to push for a symbolic interpretation to that story). “But Dad, you don’t know that is what happened.” “That’s true son, but…”
Anyway, my point. In conservative Christian circles it is hard for Christians to come out of the closet and say they believe in an old earth. Why? To a large extent, Answers in Genesis (AIG) and their like have been successful in painting their opponents as atheistic, God-hating scientists. Now as a conservative Christian, who are you going to side with, a bunch of god-hating atheists, even if they seem to be speaking good science, or a bunch of maybe pseudo-scientists, but who “love the Lord”? And look, a lot of Christians believed the atheist scientists and fell away from the (conservative) faith…
Picking the lesser of two evils, many at best hedge their bets and say, “Well, we can’t really know what happened. Those are just theories out there. Or they just feel compelled or coerced to believe those godly people who are studying the issues.
I know this is what happens, because I was thinking about this after talking with my kids, and then my wife asked me about what we had been talking about. I told her and, even though she mostly believes in an “old earth”, she proceeded to tell me, “We can’t know who is right, you shouldn’t say you know that.” Funny, that sounded familiar…
I talked a bit about scientists, and statistics in their fields, and peer-reviewed publications, and… and predictably I was politely cut off a few minutes later for making the conversation too intense. “But you brought it up!” Yeah, that didn’t get me anywhere. :^)
Good times! While we won’t have the big and comprehensive conversations I may want, each one is an opportunity to lay a little bit of information out there. Like fitting together puzzle pieces, the picture doesn’t look like much in the beginning, but over time it begins to take shape and starts to look like…something. And there should be a compelling picture over time. We’ll see.