Last night was our Amplify Open Mic and week 3 of Confirmation! We’ll start with Confirmation this week and then move on to what we talked about at the Open Mic.
Confirmation Week 3: “Creator of Heaven and Earth”
Bottom Line Reading the two creation stories in a non-literal way helps us to see the hand of God in our study of science.
Scripture Genesis 1:1-2, 4a; Genesis 2:4b-24
Pastor Lib shared with us the impact of learning that there are actually two creation accounts in Genesis, especially when she realized that they disagree about the order of creation! Maybe the discrepancies between the two accounts point to something bigger at work: perhaps Genesis isn’t so much about how the earth was created but who created the earth and our relationship to that Creator. Christians have an important relationship with the creation because it points to God and it is an incredible gift of God that we have an obligation to take good care of.
Amplify Open Mic
Our goal was to be a little free-form with the open mic so our conversations in middle and high school ended up looking quite different. Here’s the general outline of what we talked about in both:
- What we’re trying not to do
- Matt’s story of doubt
- “Shadow of a Doubt” by Joseph Solomon
- Grace’s story of doubt
- “How much of the Bible is legit truth and how much is symbolic?”
As strange as it is to say, there are two kinds of “true” when we’re talking about the Bible: historical fact and truth. The 2nd Helvetic Confession tells us that both Testaments are “the true Word of God, and . . . have sufficient authority of themselves, not of men.” That said, humans wrote the scriptures from their own human perspectives so sometimes exaggeration (common when Israel talks about its military conquests) or conflicting details (were there 1 or 2 angels in the tomb on Easter morning?) creep in and make the historical fact thing tricky. That said, those details are quite often not the point that the author is trying to make and those points are the real truth of the Bible.
- “Why do bad things happen to good people? Why do good things happen to bad people?”
This video provides a great start to answer this question, but this is the toughest objection to Christianity there is. And unfortunately the answers are not very satisfactory because our suffering is very real and very personal. But the uniqueness of Christ is seen in that God became a human and suffered alongside us and knows our suffering so that we don’t suffer alone.
- “What is heaven like?”
The biggest thing that a lot of representations of heaven miss is that heaven is about relationship with God. But that’s kinda hard to illustrate so we end up with lots of clouds and harps and castles and stuff. And honestly, we don’t have a ton of detail on the afterlife. Jesus tells the Sadducees that we set our sights way too low for what life with God will look like. Simply put: we are going to be pleasantly surprised!
- Grace’s story
- “How old was Jesus when he died?”
Luke mentions that Jesus was about 30 years old when he started his public ministry and 3 Passovers are mentioned during that ministry period with the 3rd one being the day before Christ’s crucifixion. So, 33-ish.
- “Did Jesus say curse words?”
Literally speaking, Jesus curses a fig tree (somewhat bizarrely!). As far as actual swearing, it’s kind of hard to say as Jesus spoke in Aramaic but his words were written down in Greek. Thus, translating exact words gets a little tricky. We do know that Jesus spoke in a way that was confrontational at times, especially with the Pharisees whom he called “a brood of vipers” and “whitewashed tombs.” As with most things, I think Jesus cares more about what is at the heart of our words and actions: curse words do not carry magical powers, the real problem is the lack of love for others that calls them out. And as we know, Jesus is God and God is love! So did Jesus “curse”? Probably not, but he also didn’t hold back on hard truth either.
- “How is creation real if there is scientific evidence against it?”
The story of creation as recorded in Genesis and the scientific theories that underpin the creation of the universe and life on earth may not say the same exact same things, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they contradict. Remember: the Bible isn’t a scientific textbook and your science book is not a work of theology. The Bible is about who created and science is about how. One of the major points of seeming contradiction between science and Genesis is in the word “day”: did God create the universe in 6 literal days? The Hebrew word translated as day in Genesis (yom) can also be translated as “age,” so the 7 days of creation and rest could be 7 “ages.” Also consider that God doesn’t invent day and night until the 4th “day,” so it’s very plausible that “age” is a better translation for yom. For a great look at how science and Genesis might be saying the same thing, check out this video.