Category Archives: Genesis

Science, Theology, and Humility

I found these three principles from my friend Bruce Ashford’s blog helpful as we wrestle through the inevitable tension between science and theology.  I hope you are challenged to study and to share Christ in our world with humility.

But if theologians and scientists enter into a mutually beneficial dialogue and partnership, how do we adjudicate in the case of conflict? Under the model proposed in this chapter, theology and science are overlapping areas of study which are not inherently conflictive. A proper interpretation of the Scriptures will not be found in conflict with a proper interpretation of the created order. In light of this truth, we offer three principles for reconciliation in the occasion of disagreement between theologians and scientists.[4]

First, either group (theologians or scientists) is subject to error and therefore either group is subject to correction. Both theologians and scientists are finite and fallible human knowers and both are subject to making interpretive mistakes. For example, the Catholic and Protestant church leaders were wrong to condemn Galileo based upon their misinterpretation of Bible passages. Likewise, scientists have been wrong to criticize theologians for their refusal to believe that the earth is not eternal and that it evidences design.[5]

Second, science is in a constant state of flux. Scientific hypotheses and conclusions are always changing. For this reason, theologians should be very careful not to hastily revise their interpretation of Scripture based upon a purportedly “proven” scientific fact.[6]

Third, Scripture is not intended to be a science textbook. Scripture does not err in what it asserts scientifically, but Scripture does not usually communicate with scientific precision. Based upon these three principles, both scientists and theologians are well-served to hold their exegetical conclusions with appropriate humility.

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Praise God, the Creator of Heaven and Earth

In preparation for my sermon today, I wanted to see how other biblical authors saw the meaning and the impact of Genesis 1-2. So I sought to look at most every Old Testament text where God is talked about as the one who created/made the heavens and the earth.  What I found was so encouraging for my heart as I grew to love his greatness more, his power more, his safety more, his grace more and his love more.  The study helped me love Him and so I decided to share some of the findings with you. I pray you are encouraged.  The general idea of God as Creator of the heavens and the earth is…

Shows off His supremacy and keeps us humble

Used to say his glory is and always will be greater than our glory.  Isaiah 40:12

Used to describe the beauty and vastness of his wisdom. Jeremiah 10:11-12

Used to praise him as most glorious, to describe the degree of his worth and the far reaching extent of those who praise him.  Nehemiah 9:6, Psalm 69:34, Isaiah 40:12

Used to keep us from questioning God in arrogance. (asking God questions in faith is helpful and right, but arrogant calling God into question is indicted here.) The text says, He made the heavens and the earth and therefore our self-exalting words should be few. Ecclesiastes 5:2

Warns us against Materialism

Used to show us He is the Possessor of everything.  Genesis 14:22, Psalm 89:11

Encourages Faith for the doubting heart

Used to differentiate him from all other gods. Ezra 5:21, Jeremiah 10:11

Used to show his faithfulness as he was faithful in the creating and making the world and carried it to completion, so he will be faithful to carry everything else to completion. There is none like you, Oh God.  1Kings 8:23

Used to describe his power that caused the nations to fear when God was against them and caused Israel to take confidence when he was fighting on their side  Joshua 2:11-12, Job 37:3

Used to express faith that he has the power to answer prayer. It is the ground of Hezekiahs faith.  2Kings 19:15

Used to describe his value especially the value of his presence. He is with us at all times. He will not let us go.  Psalm 73:25

Used to describe that he is trustworthy and loving in his truth. He formed the earth to be lived in. Isaiah 45:18.

Reveals the source and the path of Justice

Used to describe his power to judge. Psalm 102:25

Used to describe his ability to see- Israel sinned in his sight… The Lord of heaven and earth. We cannot hide from the one who filled the heavens and the earth. Deut 4:25-31, Gen 24:3,  Job 28:24, Jeremiah 23:24

Used to call out in faith when enemies are threatening. It is a declaration that He is able to overcome and what he does is good. Isaiah 36:7.

Used to describe the extent of his control and rule. Psalm 135:6

Highlights Grace

Used to say the Lord is a safe place, a refuge and stronghold. Joel 3:16

Used to describe the extent of his ability to bless Psalm 115:15

Used to describe the extent of his salvation specifically his restoring work of justice. Isaiah 42:1-8

Used to excite our hearts for the last day when he will create a new heaven and a new earth. Isaiah 65:17

So as we read Genesis 1-2 we are to take our cues from the biblical authors’ interpretation and look for God, his work, his actions, his focus, and his comments on why he did what he did. The creation account is meant to evoke awe of God, a holy sense of helplessness that we can’t do what he has done and holy sense of action that loves others while giving him the glory for all creative and justice advancing works on our planet.

We are not looking to prove or defend science.  We are looking for God.  And when we look for him not only in Genesis 1-2 but throughout the Scriptures, we will see his radiance in Jesus who holds all things together and by whose death sinners are justified and given hope in the recreation of all things.