Ham, Nye, and Why Christians Don’t Have to Be Afraid of Science

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Last night’s debate between Bill Nye (The Science Guy!) and Ken Ham reminded me of why I appreciate my seminary training.

And I needed a reminder.

Don’t get me wrong, for the most part, I have loved school.  I have senioritis, so that’s saying a lot.  But there are times I can’t stop thinking about the same question: Has it been worth it?  The academic rigor, the physical toll, the sleepless nights, the vocabulary drilling, the money…it all takes its toll.

But tonight, I was reminded that I am called to speak intelligently to those who want (or demand!) logical, thought out answers.  Including myself.

The “three-year ago me” would have been troubled by a lot of what was presented tonight by Nye.  I’m not a science geek, and have never been.  All that he said about rock formations, stellar astronomy (yes, when Nye said he was a “stellar astronomist,” I thought he was giving himself a compliment…and that’s after 2 semesters of astronomy in undergrad), microbes…let’s just say the concepts alone would have sunk me.  They seemed more plausible than what Ham had to offer.  Ham had good intentions, but when it came to the “scientific explanations” for certain things, Nye seemed to be able to do more.

Yet after slowly and carefully working through Genesis 1 last semester and asking a million questions from from different perspectives, I feel confident that the “Bible as a scientific textbook” approach to the Scriptures is a modern phenomenon which asks modern questions.  The Bible IS interested in where we came from, don’t get me wrong.  But if you begin to see the Bible FIRST as a story, and Genesis as the introduction to that story (and the nation of Israel’s story), the pressure to make the Bible answer questions it isn’t primarily concerned with dissolves.  Do I believe that God is the ultimate Creator of everything?  Absolutely.  Do I also believe that we have an obligation to take Genesis 1 in its historical, cultural and canonical context (among others)?  Absolutely we do.  Yet, instead of doing the tough work…we get scared.  And when we get scared and defensive, we don’t think through our answers.

Thank God that in my heart, I wasn’t scared.  Nye didn’t threaten anything within me…instead, he stirred my compassion for all the “science guys” out there.  Sure, he mocked Ham a few times here and there, but God has made Nye in His image with a beautiful mind.  A mind that marvels at the creation (Nye actually used the word “joy” to describe his scientific discoveries), yet has absolutely missed the beauty of the Creator.

You see, God, in his merciful providence, knew that deep-thinking “talk myself in or out of anything” me would NEED a firm grasp on tools to access the truth intelligently.  He knew that I would need it, and that those around me would need it too.  So here I am, desiring to finish strong – for the sake of the truth, the glory of Jesus Christ – in my mind, and in my sphere of influence.  He has created me for such a time as this — may I live faithfully unto His Name.

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