February 11th is Evolution Sunday across America. I was invited to submit a commentary at my church and I post it here:
1In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters. 3And God said, Let there be light: and there was light. 4And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. 5And God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were the first day. 6And God said, Let there be a firmament in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. 7And God made the firmament, and divided the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above the firmament: and it was so. 8And God called the firmament Heaven. And the evening and the morning were the second day. 9And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so.
Today, in thousands of churches across the
Tension between religion and science is nothing new. In 1632, Galileo Galilei delivered a letter to the Catholic Church describing a radical new view of our place in the cosmos. In the spring of 1633 Galileo was delivered to the church for his heretical view of heliocentrism. The church was livid that Galileo would criticize the biblical view of the Earth as the center of the Universe. The Church wrote:
“From which we are content that you be absolved, provided that first, with a sincere heart, and unfeigned faith, you abjure, curse, and detest the aforesaid errors and heresies, and every other error and heresy contrary to the Catholic and Apostolic Roman Church in the form to be prescribed by us. And in order that this your grave and pernicious error and transgression may not remain altogether unpunished, and that you may be more cautious for the future, and an example to others, that they may abstain from similar delinquencies’we ordain that the book of the “Dialogues of Galileo Galilei” be prohibited by public edict.”
Slightly before this, Martin Luther wrote of the cosmos:
“Scripture simply says that the moon, the sun, and the stars were placed in the firmament of the heaven, below and above which heaven are the waters... It is likely that the stars are fastened to the firmament like globes of fire, to shed light at night... We
We would look at the views of geocentricity and the firmament today as downright silly, but in historical context, Galileo had committed a grave sin against God, the Church and the Bible. What has changed since the days of Galileo?
There can be little doubt that modern scientific knowledge has led to improvements in our lifestyle and our understanding of the universe about us. It is also true that now, even in the 21st century, people still feel uncomfortable with the discoveries of modern science and take theological offense to some of the findings of science. Perhaps no scientific discovery seems more insulting to
Why are the findings of science and religion seemingly at odds? If we share a common ancestry with other primates, does that somehow lessen our place in the world? Does it destroy the
“Yet it seems to be a pretty well kept secret these days that the scientific approach and the spiritual approach are compatible. I think we've allowed for too long extreme voices to dominate the stage in a way that has led many people to assume that's all there is. The thesis of my book is that there is no need for this battle. In fact, it's a destructive battle. And we as a society would be well served to recover that happy middle ground where people have been for most of human history.”
Evolution Sunday is about re-establishing harmony and mutual respect amongst science and religion. It is about the realization that knowledge of our evolutionary history is no more threatening to the
2. Miller, Ken. Finding
3. Brockman, John. Intelligent thought: Science versus the intelligent design movement.