Omnipotent? Omnipresent? Omnignorant?
I have always gotten a little chuckle that God’s very first words to man in the Bible were basically, “Have sex. Lots and lots of sex!” – Genesis 1:28. Though, even more interesting is that the first words He spoke to Adam alone in Genesis 2 turned out to be a completely lie, a trick of sorts. Despite the very clear definition of a “day” found in Genesis 1:5, and the clear translation of a physical death (rather than a spiritual one), Adam did not die on that day – period. In fact, neither did Eve. She simply became the superstitious scapegoat of a conveniently self-fulfilling prophecy of painful childbirth and the source for all Biblically justified misogynistic treatment of women for every generation to come. (All because of an apple that God lied about?)
Likewise, doesn’t it seem a little odd that God’s very first question to man in the entire Bible is the result of an all-knowing, all-powerful god’s inability to keep track of Adam, His prize creation, the only living man on earth? God’s mysterious ways, indeed! It’s easy for armchair theologians to suggest, “God knew where Adam was – he was just acting like any father, giving his son a chance to ‘come clean’ and accept responsibility.” But, is that what the Bible actually says? How did we come to this evolved theology thousands of years later where Christians believe that God is watching over us at all times, desiring a personal relationship, there for us – morning, noon, and night – watching while we sleep, knowing what we think on our way to work, judging us for coveting our neighbor’s lawn when we get home? If God lost Adam, what makes you think He’s watching you in the shower?
That said, this first image is a bait and switch, showing an ancient understanding of the earth – complete with the pillars, firmament of heaven, floodgates, and sheol – the dark underworld. It is a seemingly silly segue to a very serious discussion about young earth creationism and its influence on the culture (and currency) of modern times.
“I am a young-age creationist because that is my understanding of the Scripture. If all the evidence in the universe turns against creationism, I would be the first to admit it, but I would still be a creationist because that is what the Word of God seems to indicate.” – Dr. Kurt Wise from In Six Days: Why 50 Scientists Choose to Believe in Creation, a collection of essays edited by John F. Ashton.
Given Dr. Wise’s credentials – earning an M.A. and Ph.D in Geology from Harvard University, I sincerely appreciate his admission of bias as it seems intellectually and ethically honest – especially considering his role as the Director of the Creation Research Center. However, if we can’t trust a Ph.D. from Harvard to interpret scientific data without the influence of non-scientific biases, well – who CAN we trust? Let’s take a look at how this tradition of relying on the Bible as the only science book plays out in American culture today…
- 46% of Americans hold creationist views on human origins. – Gallup on Creationism, 2013
- 46th is where America ranks in science education worldwide. – World Economic Forum, 2013
- 42% of Americans don’t believe in evolution. – Gallup, 2014
- 26% of Americans believe that the sun revolves around the earth. – National Science Foundation, 2014
I share these as examples of hurdles we must overcome if we are to ensure a rational and scientifically literate world for our children and future generations. Indoctrination breeds willful ignorance. This is not just a religious problem, it has become an economic one.
THE DIFFERENCE: True scientists will spend their lives in a pursuit of truth and knowledge. They spend their time hammering their own research, attempting to disprove their own results in order to verify or debunk their own theories – all in an humbling quest to uncover the “truth.” They often read hundreds of books in their area of expertise and spend a lifetime in the lab – often to only just scratch the surface of a hypothesis at hand. Conversely, a “creation scientist” (like Dr. Wise or Ken Ham) might be read a single book in Sunday school as a child, eventually becoming completely convinced they already have it all figured out. To accept Dr. Wise’s premise is to invite a new generation of superstitious and scientifically illiterate society that lacks any curiosity of new discoveries – let alone the ability to think critically for themselves about any data – old or new. The problem with using the Bible as the science book isn’t just heliocentric, it’s egocentric.
BONUS: Protecting and promoting this sort of biased ignorance doesn’t end with creationism. The same bronze age source of knowledge has been accepted as the “ultimate authority” for everything from parenting to politics. But, we’ll get to those subjects later…
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Remember: Don’t blame us, it’s in the Bible!
This illustration and commentary can be found in
Awkward Moments (Not Found In Your Average) Children’s Bible – Vol #2.