Editor’s note: This column first ran Aug. 4, 2017.
I started preaching through the book of Genesis a few weeks ago. If I was a little smarter, I probably should have chosen a simpler, less controversial book.
But I love the book of Genesis with its bold telling of the story of creation in a manner that is a matter of fact, step-by-step account of how God did it, whether I fully understand it or not.
I love science. I am amazed with the science it took to put a man on the moon, the advances in medicine, the technological advances of what is even common in an automobile these days. Scientists, engineers, doctors are all explorers in a sense, because they are driven to find answers, to search the unknown; it’s human nature, really.
I also love the television show called “How It’s Made,” where things like golf balls and pencils and guitars are shown how they are made, from concept to the materials used, and then from the start to the finished product.
Our inquisitive nature that drives us to want to know how things are made is a great tool for the study of God’s Word as well.
When I read the account of God’s creation I want to know how he did it.
What was the universe like before there was a universe?
How dark was the darkness before light became a reality – the light of God’s presence as well as the light from the sun and the stars?
Did God really make the earth and the universe and all that it contains, including mankind, in six literal days?
It’s not a trivial question.
Play the “what if” game with me for a few moments.
What if the Word of God can be taken literally, even in the passages we don’t understand so well? What if the earth and the universe is really only a little over 6,000 years old?
How would that affect your view of God?
Would we be even more in awe of his creative power and genius?
Would it blow our minds that God’s dealings with mankind and the universe have only been for some thousands of years rather than billions?
I can imagine what you are thinking, “but what about the evidence of the carbon dating of rocks that seem to show that they are millions of years old, or the light that we can see from a star that is millions of light years away?”
I certainly have some of those same questions, but what if the processes by which we measure things today are not dependent on the process God used to make everything?
What if, when God spoke the universe into existence, he made things appear in a way that we could relate to it: rocks and materials that are usable, light that he made to already appear at creation rather than us having to wait for it to appear millions of years later?
For me, the bottom line is this: I don’t have to know how God created the universe in six literal days. I just need to be amazed.
I don’t have to know how God caused a global flood to cover the entire earth. I just need to be amazed.
I don’t have to know how Jesus turned water into wine, healed the sick, raised a man from the dead or walked on water. I just need to be amazed.
I don’t need to know how God placed all the sins of the world on his beloved Son, Jesus, who then endured suffering and death on the cross and three days later rose again from the dead. I just need to be amazed.
And this amazement in God should drive me to a relationship with him that leads me to repentance.
God’s Word is a wonderful place for exploration. It’s certainly a place to ask a lot of questions, but I believe that it is the only place to truly get the right answers.
The Rev. Mark Hebert is the former pastor of Cross Roads Church in Poncha Springs.