Category Archives: creation

Train up a child

Our children and grandchildren were homeschooled in loving, caring, academically challenging environments; so, I’m certainly not opposed to homeschooling. On the other hand, there is a strong homeschooling movement among conservative fundamentalist white evangelical Christians in America that is unbiblical and abusive. 

Parents are taught to inflict physical pain with their hands, with switches, wooden spoons, and belts on children beginning when they can crawl – placing objects they should not touch in front of them and hitting them when they try. This is done to “break the child’s will” because children are seen as born evil and rebellious. Children are corporally punished for the slightest perceived transgression throughout their childhoods. They are taught that public schools are evil bastions of anti-Christian indoctrination, that the government, educational system, and public libraries are controlled by elite people determined to destroy righteousness, and that America was founded by dedicated Christians who feared God. They are taught that guns are a God-given right, that science is not to be trusted (especially when it comes to vaccines, evolution, and environmentalism), and that women must submit to men.

Absolutely none of that is biblical. Those positions are based on cherry-picking verses out of the Old Testament and justified by ignoring the teachings of Jesus. Christians do not live by the laws of the Old Testament. We don’t stone or beat our children. 

Children are not born evil. They are created in the image and likeness of God, innocent. “Total depravity” is an invention of the Middle Ages. Yes, as we mature, we all sin; we all miss the mark. That’s why Jesus came. Because of the cross, sin is off the table – forgiven, gone forever. 

Christians do not believe or spread conspiracy theories. Science is not a threat to faith. All truth is God’s truth, whether that truth is found in a laboratory or in the Bible. Speaking of the Bible, Christians interpret all scripture in light of the teachings of Jesus. The New Testament trumps the Old; the red letters trump everything.

So, what did Jesus say about child-raising? How did Paul interpret what Jesus taught? 

  • “Invite the children to come to me; don’t prevent them.” 
  • “Come like a child… of such is the Kingdom of God.” 
  • “It would be better to have a millstone tied around your neck and be thrown into the sea than to offend one God’s little ones.” 
  • “Fathers, do not provoke your children, but raise them in they way they should go.” (The way theyshould go – not the way you think they ought to go.) 
  • “Love is patient. Love is kind. Love is gentle.”

Children are indeed a gift. Treasure them. Love them. You cannot love a child too much. help them discover the glories of creation. Teach them to think critically. Let go of conspiracies. Embrace the wonders science has discovered. Be tender and kind. Support public schools. Trust educators. Stop banning books and trying to rewrite history. Truth sets people free. Saturate your home with unconditional love, mercy and grace. Get out of your silo. Love God. Love others (all of them). Love the natural creation. Love yourself. Gently lead the young.

The Highest Peak of the Hebrew Scriptures. An audio teaching on Isaiah 52:13 to 53:12

God asks 3 simple things. An audio teaching on Isaiah 52:1-12

God Feels Your Pain. an audio teaching on Isaiah 51

Deconstructing without throwing the baby out with the bathwater

When I was a child, I spoke as a child, thought as a child, acted as a child. But when I matured, I put away childish things. The Christian life is about being transformed – becoming more and more like Jesus. More loving. More forgiving. Kinder. More gracious and tolerant. Less judgmental. Humbler.  The process is called spiritual formation. If we cling to old ideas and old habits, we will never grow.  

For example, early in my Christian walk, I was taught that every word of the Bible was literally true. I was taught that God was mad at humanity and that only those who cognitively said a sinner’s prayer could escape eternal conscious torture. I was taught that the earth is about 6,000 years old and that God created everything in it in six 24-hour periods of time. I was taught that there are no errors in the Bible. I was taught that women could not be pastors or preachers. I was taught that America was specially chosen by God, that capitalism was godly, and that killing was justified in times of war, self-defense, or as a punishment for murder. I was taught that the world was going to get worse and worse until Jesus snatches his people out of it and returns in brutal, violent vengeance. I pictured God as stern and unapproachable. I no longer believe any of that.

Stuff happened to challenge my beliefs. I studied biology and genetics. I listened to Christian voices from other cultures. I studied the Bible in the context of the cultures it was written for originally. I saw white, evangelical Christians like me supporting immoral, dishonest, authoritarian politicians. I heard preachers rant condemningly against all sorts or people – immigrants, minorities, LGBTQ+, Muslims, liberals, Democrats, public health officials. I heard them fume against gun control, abortion under any circumstances, and vaccines. I saw them supporting wild conspiracies. I saw mega-churches built on marketing techniques putting on massive shows. I watched as multitudes of millennials and Gen-Zers dumped Christianity. I asked myself if the Jesus I was taught about was really the true Jesus of the Bible. I looked at the fruit and found little cruciform love.

So, I started deconstructing my faith, taking down my assumptions, questioning my preconceived ideas. At times, it felt like death. At times, I was confused, disconcerted, unmoored. But I was never tempted to throw the proverbial baby out with the bathwater. My theology was like I had built a house around my conversion to Christ. The house worked for me when I was younger. Now, it was tattered and falling down. It needed to be torn down and a new house built. My theology needed to change.

What did not change was the core at the center of the house – the foundation – Jesus. 

It would be inaccurate to describe me today as a conservative fundamentalist. I’m growing. I’m seeing more clearly who Jesus really is. I am, day by day, loving him more deeply and knowing him more intimately. I find myself loving others, forgiving more easily, caring about those Jesus called “the least” of his siblings. I’m freer, more connected, more understanding, more loving, more teachable. Now, I have a long, long way to go. I’m not what I should be, but thank God, I’m not what I used to be. 

They’re not under your bed, but they’re monsters. A video teaching on Isaiah 46-48

Bible, Creationism, Evolution, & Intelligent Design

There’s nothing wrong with the Bible. It is God-breathed. All of it. Its purpose is to lead us to Christ. There issomething wrong with the way biblical literalists have been interpreting the Bible. It’s primarily an American issue. Most of the Christian world sees no conflict between evolution and Bible. 

The purpose of the creation stories in Genesis is to teach us the nature of humanity and God’s purpose for us in God’s world. The first shows us a cosmic God – majestic creator above all, over all. The second shows us an intimate God walking in loving fellowship with the humans God created with his own hands out of soil. They’re both true. 

The creation narratives were never meant to scientifically explain how the natural world came to be. Reading them as such entirely misses the point. God meant for us to have sacred myth as well as sacred history. (I mean “myth” in the sense of a big story that communicates universal truth, not “myth” as is “not true.”) Read properly, the Bible doesn’t contradict thoroughly established science. 

I heard Henry Morris, John Whitcomb, and Ken Ham tell audiences that if the earth is not less than 10,000 years old and was not created fully formed in six 24-hour days, then the Bible is false, unreliable, and you cannot believe anything in it.[1]

Sadly, I’ve seen many young people take them at their word. Having been raised in fundamentalist homes and churches where they were taught young earth creationism (YEC), they take a college course in biology where they discover the whole YEC thing to be false, so they throw the proverbial baby out with the bath water.

It turns out that YEC is easily debunked from a wide variety of scientific disciplines. All the stuff at the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter turns out to be nonsense on the order of believing the earth is flat.[2]

In addition to YEC, there’s Intelligent Design. Now, there’s Intelligent Design and there’s intelligent design. 

One can understand why there’s confusion. All the Christians I know believe in intelligent design, if by (lower case) “intelligent design” we mean God is the creator of the natural world. God is intelligent, so the mind behind all of creation is intelligent. God has a purpose in creation. Creation is headed somewhere.

As an amateur naturalist, I look at the wonders of nature and take note of the intricacies, beauty, and astonishing adaptations and variety. I consider the fine-tuned constants of the universe and the beauty of the mathematics that describes them, and I cannot help but come to the conclusion that God exists, God is wonderfully creative, a lover of variety and beauty, and has been the guiding hand of unfolding creation. The idea that it all happened just by chance seems so unlikely as to be absurd. That’s intelligent design (lower case). 

Intelligent Design (capitalized; abbreviated ID) is a formal effort to prove God exists by looking at nature. ID is a pseudoscientific[3] hypothesis associated with the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think-tank. 

ID asserts that there must be a God who created nature because some things are irreducibly complex; they cannot be explained any other way. Various examples are given of complexities in nature. William Dembski adds what he calls “specified complexity” –  the fact that complex patterns can be found in living things indicates some kind of intelligent guidance in their formation.

While I would agree that amazing complexity is evidence for a creator, it is not the proof ID maintains it is. I cannot prove the existence of God. I can give you very strong evidence, but there is always the remote possibility of alternative explanations. And, even if ID could prove the existence of a creator, that would tell us nothing about the nature of that creator. 

Every time ID comes up with something that seems so complex that it cannot be explained evolutionarily, scientists offer very plausible evolutionary explanations. ID is really just another “God of the gaps” theory. Whatever we do not understand we attribute to God. Then, as knowledge advances, one by one, all the gaps get filled in.

Evolution is not a “theory,” as in something that may or may not be true. It is a scientific theory like gravity – a mechanism of life supported independently by a vast number of different scientific fields all coming to the same conclusion. Biology, botany, molecular biology, paleontology, genetics, zoology, anthropology, geology, and many other disciplines, independently conclude that life on earth evolved over time due to natural selection. The burgeoning field of genetics is the nail in the coffin of ID and YEC. 

The universe came into being about 14 billion years ago. The earth is around 4½ billion years old. Ancestors of humans populated the earth somewhere between 5 and 7 million years ago. Modern humans first appeared in Africa about 200,000 years ago. We are all related to them. 

Rather than shake my faith, that enhances it. Creation and Creator are so much more glorious and wondrous than I could have imagined. Each day with each new insight is a delight. A better understanding of the mechanisms of nature only increases our sense of awe. We’ve nothing to fear.

[1] I’m struck by the fact none of those men are (or were) scientists. I’m also struck by the fact that atheists like Richard Dawkins make exactly the same argument. Morris, Whitcomb and Ham make the argument to reject science. Dawkins uses the same argument to reject belief in God. All of them are reading the Bible incorrectly. All of them are reading the Bible on the level of primary Sunday school class.

[2] For an intelligent discussion on how faith in Christ integrates with science (and vice-versa) check out BioLogos @

[3] It is pseudoscientific because it begins with the conclusion. It starts with the assumption God exists, then tries to work backwards to prove it. Science does the opposite – it begins with evidence, then draws tentative conclusions. 

Jesus is Alive! an audio teaching on John 20:1-18

A New Exodus. Audio. Isaiah 43

Strength to Love. Audio. Isaiah 41&42

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