Reading a recent Slate article about the recent creationist seminar at MSU reinforced my belief that we Christians need to do a better job talking about the origin of the universe.
I don’t have any definite answers for how the world was formed. The research done at MSU with star formation and evolution of e.coli suggest that the world is old and evolution had a role in its formation. Nonetheless, evolution raises questions about how to interpret the Bible in terms of the first humans and how death and sin entered the world. Neither side, if that’s even helpful language, has all the answers.
Even if I don’t have any definite answers about the origin of the universe, I do believe that we should do everything possible to prevent making ourselves easy targets for the disdain towards Christians and Christianity that is present in the Slate article. The message given there disdains how the creationists planned the event, sought out negative publicity, and engaged with those who disagreed. In this way non-Christians can easily dismiss not only creationist, but all of Christianity, as being inhospitable and irrelevant.
As one striving to share the good news of the gospel with those at the university, believing that the good news is for all people and not just for those who already believe the right doctrines, this creationist event feels like an obstruction to that message. Why would anyone believe that God delights in the intellectual pursuit of truth by all people, Christian or not-Christian, when this event seems to suggest that our intellect is primarily to be used to filter knowledge through our perceptions of what the Bible says?
Fortunately, I believe God is able to proclaim his good news louder than even his most attention-seeking followers attempt to do. The good news in this event has been the conversations that have come up because of what has happened. The event is raising good questions among the religious associations on campus and their role in relating to the university and her students. Furthermore, it has given room for Christians among the scientific departments to be able to talk about faith. When the dominant narrative has too often been that science and faith are opposing sides, it is good news when evolutionists, both Christians and non-Christians, wonder about the role of faith in their work and plan together about how best to dialogue with religious folks who seem to be attacking their research.