Today, we’ll start with a joke.
Tell me if you’ve heard this one.
There was once a high-powered attorney working in New York City.
This man had it all. Anything he didn’t have, he could easily get.
One weekend, the man was invited out to east Texas for duck hunting. The man had never been and quickly agreed.
He packed his bags and bought a first-class ticket to Texas.
The sport came easily and he found the duck bodies piling up.
He soon wondered away from his companions and began shooting on his own.
BAM. Duck down.
He saw one flying a few hundred yards in the distance. The man aimed and fired.
BAM. Perfect shot.
The duck went down on the other side of a small wire fence. A “No Trespassing” sign was hanging nearby.
Having never been to east Texas – or anywhere below the Mason-Dixon Line – the man hopped the fence and went searching for his lost duck.
After a few minutes, he found his conquest. It was laying at the feet of an old farmer.
“Thanks for shootin’ this duck for me,” the farmer said to the man.
“I shot it for myself,” the man replied.
“Well, it’s on my property. That makes this my duck.”
“Well I shot that duck – it’s mine.” The man was not used to being told ‘no’. “I’m a lawyer and if you don’t give me that duck, I’ll sue you and take you for all you’re worth.”
The farmer stared at the man for a long time. He’d never seen someone duck hunting in brown leather loafers.
“I’ll tell you what. Why don’t we just apply the ‘Three Hits’ rule? I hit you three times, then you hit me three times, back and forth until someone gives up. Winner takes the duck.”
The man, confident in his size and strength (and unimpressed with the farmer’s beer belly), agreed.
“Alright. And since it was your idea, I’ll let you hit first.”
The farmer walked over to the lawyer.
BAM. A direct hit to the eye.
BAM. Square in the gut. The man hit the ground.
BAM. The farmer finished with a swift kick to the kidney.
The farmer stood over the crumpled lawyer.
“I give up. You win the duck.” The farmer turned and walked away.
The lawyer won the duck…but was it worth it?
As Christians (at least in America), I find we’re often the lawyer in the joke.
We’re used to getting what we want. For a good chunk of American history, we’ve been the power-house.
The Pledge of Allegiance calls us “One nation, under God.”
Our currency claims “In God we trust.”
Our presidents pray on television and issue a “God bless America” at the end of each national address.
All things considered, we’ve got it pretty good.
So when it comes to something like the “creation debate”, it’s easy to assume we’ll come out on top.
We’re as fearless as the high-powered attorney wearing $300 loafers and sporting the perfect hairdo.
I, for one, am sick of it.
I’m sick of watching individuals claim to represent my faith and beliefs while condemning others for seeking understanding.
I’m sick of hearing Christians express fear that accepting evolution is a one-way ticket to hell.
And I’m sick of Christianity being known as the religion that fears progress and hates science.
Honestly, I don’t know how old the earth is. But I do agree with Carl Sagan who said,
“The notion that science and spirituality are somehow mutually exclusive does a disservice to both.”
So here are the 5 biggest reasons Christians need to give up the creation debate:
1. It’s no longer worth the fight.
Think about your purpose – your biggest goal in life.
Is it to prove your intelligence by getting it ‘right’?
Is it to love God and share His love with others?
Only one of the above is served by the creation debate.
Continuing to argue over elements of one book of the bible, a book that biblical scholars can’t even agree on, does nothing to further His kingdom.
That’s why He told us not to argue with each other – quarrels and arguments leads to disunity and push people away from Him (2 Timothy 2:23-24; Philippians 2:14-15).
We might be “winning” the creation debate but, in the end, there’s no way it’s worth it.
All we’re walking away with is a dead duck, a black eye and a bruised ego.
2. The Lord blesses those who are as little children.
Many verses in scripture instruct us to approach our relationship with Him and with each other as little children (Matthew 18:3-4).
Kids, with a fascination for seeking truth and a high radar for bull-shit, are Jesus’ example of correct living.
What if He’s on the side of the scientists? The ones with a child-like fascination for learning all they can about this earth they love so much.
If we truly love God and want others to know and love Him, we should be encouraging scientific discovery.
We should try to be a little closer to Him.
As Bill Nye said at the end of his debate with Ken Ham,
“When you’re in love, you want to tell the world…It fills me with joy to make discoveries every day of things I had never seen before. It fills me with joy to know that we can pursue these answers.”
That’s a beautiful perspective.
It’s encouraging to know someone is seeking knowledge for the sake of answering hard questions and gaining a deeper understanding of this universe.
Rather than causing His little ones to stumble and discouraging them from seeking knowledge, we should be celebrating them (Mark 9:38-42).
3. The age of the earth is less relevant than how we love one another.
Does the age of the earth change the beauty of a sunset or the complexity of an ant hill?
Is proving the universe to be 6,000 years old a satisfying victory when it alienates millions of potential followers?
Would conceding the earth is 1 billion+ years old negate God’s grandeur and majesty?
When Jesus was asked the most important commandment, He didn’t answer “Proving the historical accuracy of every word in Genesis.”
Instead, He told us
“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind”
“Love your neighbor as yourself.”
If arguing the earth’s age, or arguing anything, gets in the way of our ability to love one another, we’re doing something wrong.
4. God is bigger than this debate.
If God’s existence depends on a lack of evidence contradicting our own firmly-held beliefs, we must have a pretty small God.
With all our effort put into winning the debate, few have taken time to consider why we’re debating in the first place.
If we’re trying to convert the unbelievers, this isn’t the way to do it.
When Herod asked Jesus about His miracles, Jesus gave him no answer (Luke 23:9).
Those asking with genuine curiosity aren’t looking for an argument. Those asking to further their own agenda won’t change their minds.
God doesn’t need our help proving His existence.
There’s no use in batting people over the head with information they’re not willing to hear. Those who seek God will find Him.
He doesn’t need our help.
5. It’s time to humble ourselves.
Is it worth it?
Is it worth getting the ever-loving shit kicked out of you – over and over and over again – because you refuse to humble yourself and admit you might be wrong?
I don’t know about you, but I’m sick of fighting.
I’m sick of Christians putting down nonbelievers – putting down each other – for daring to ask hard questions.
For daring to question their own ideas about God, the universe and the complexities of the earth.
For daring to be wrong.
At one point in the debate, Ham and Nye were asked, “What, if anything, would ever change your mind?”
I really loved Ham’s answer.
“I’m a Christian. And, as a Christian, I can’t prove it to you. But, God has definitely shown me very clearly, through His word, and shown Himself in the person of Jesus Christ, that the bible is the word of God…We build models based upon the bible, and those models are always subject to change. The fact of Noah’s flood is not subject to change. The model of how the flood occurred is subject to change…As a Christian, I have a foundation.”
If this is where the debate began, it’s where it could also end.
We cannot prove God’s existence, but that’s ok. It’s not our job. Our job is to be faithful in sharing the gospel.
The trouble comes when we take this belief that the bible is the Word of God, that Jesus is the Son of God, and apply it to our own individual interpretations of scripture. When we cling to the idea that our interpretation is correct and nobody will ever convince us otherwise.
To say, “The fact is, God created the universe. Whether He did it in 6 days or over 6 billion years, I can’t know for sure.”
That would be an argument I’d listen to.
Surrender to God’s ability to create the universe is humility. The fight to prove you know exactly how God created the universe and how long it took Him is a deep and dangerous pride.
It’s time to give up the duck.
It just isn’t worth it.
Photo Credit: Hans Splinter
So what do you think? Have you been keeping up with the “Creation Debate”? Leave a comment with your thoughts on Christians’ place in the conversation.
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