ANDALUSA, Ala, February 17, 2014 – Last week, celebrity scientist Bill Nye and semi-celebrity Young Earth creationist Ken Ham engaged in a debate about how the world came to be. According to most atheists, Bill Nye wiped the floor with Ham; conversely, according to most fellow Young Earth theory Christians, Ham annihilated Nye’s arguments.
That alone should tell you that nobody won that debate.
Here’s the thing about the evolution vs. creationism debate: neither side buys into the other’s premise, so there’s no possible way either side can convince the other of its conclusions. If you don’t believe that God is real, then there is absolutely no way you’re going to believe that he created the world, much less the manner and timeframe in which he did it.
Likewise, if you don’t believe in the big bang, you can’t believe that it set in motion all the events that brought the universe to where it is now. Bottom line – it is a useless argument to have. The ONLY winners from that debate were the advertisers trying to sell us toilet paper and beer during the commercials.
There is something to be said for recognizing futility, and giving it a proper treatment. Christians are commanded to go and spread the word about Christ, to try and bring people to know God. Beyond that, we are, above everything else, directed to love God and love one another. That’s a pretty tall order, and a much better use of one’s time than arguing about an issue that will never be resolved, and isn’t really that important in the grand scheme of things anyway.
Given that we have such limited time here, it seems prudent to let go of the futile arguments that don’t help achieve either of those goals.
The Bible tells us that our days are “swifter than a weaver’s shuttle, And come to an end without hope,” and that “surely every man at his best is a mere breath.” Over and over, we are treated to verses reminding us of how miniscule our lives are in the big picture. Our time is not only limited, but it is also insignificant to the universe at large.
We matter to God, surely, and we matter to each other, but the idea that we matter enough to argue these things which have no resolution in sight is misguided, not to mention arrogant and self-serving. Let’s let the fruitless stuff go.
Paul tells us in the book of Titus, to “avoid foolish controversies and genealogies and strife and disputes about the Law, for they are unprofitable and worthless.” The lesson we can draw from that is that all these things that are either unsolvable or just nonessential to our lives and purpose here on Earth should be left alone.
They are indeed worthless in that they don’t help us with the big three – love God, love each other, go and spread the Good News.
We need to let go of the idea that we have to win the debate on creationism vs. evolution. The fact is, we haven’t even got it figured out amongst ourselves as people of faith. Though the recent televised discussion featured a Young Earth creationist, most mainstream Christians don’t believe that theory.
Instead, most Christians subscribe to Old Earth creationism, or Gap creationism, or any of the other theories, assuming they subscribe to any one theory at all. For many of us, it’s just not an issue that matters that much. There’s no gnawing demand to have all the answers, and there’s no egocentric reaction when someone attacks our faith as “blind.”
This isn’t a call for people of faith to stop asking the big questions. This isn’t a cry in the dark for Christians to strap on the blinders and refuse to read science books. Read, listen, google your heart out! But know that this is not a matter of salvation, nor is it an issue we are commanded to go out and use to win the hearts and minds of the world.
If exploring the various theories of how we got here and how the world came to be are interesting to you, then you should explore them, by all means. But remember to temper that exploration with the knowledge that you won’t convince anyone of your evidence who doesn’t accept the foundational elements of your premise.