Worship leader and Christian songwriter Joel Houston triggered a huge social media debate. The Hillsong UNITED songwriter said the Big Bang was God’s design. Then he defended evolution sparking an interesting debate.
Many people of faith observed that scientific findings in geology, biology, astronomy, and other disciplines seemed to assault the traditional ideas of Christianity. Baffled Christians could not comprehend the fact that this eminent gospel artist whose songs are sung in churches every Sunday. Could espouse such a position, how does the Big Bang Theory relate to Christian beliefs?
Houston, who is lead pastor of Hillsong NYC, was answering a Twitter question from a fan about the song “So Will I,” which references evolution in the line, “A hundred billion creatures catch Your breath; evolving in pursuit of what You said.”
“Evolution is undeniable—created by God as a reflective means of displaying nature’s pattern of renewal in pursuance of God’s Word—an ode to the nature of the creative God it reflects—and only ever in part—not the SOURCE!” he wrote on Twitter Monday. “Science and faith aren’t at odds. God created the Big-Bang.”
After pushback, he added additional thoughts.
“Context—things evolve, they change and adapt, I DON’T believe in evolution as a theory of SOURCE, I believe it’s merely a pattern of nature—created by God, reflecting Nature’s desire for renewal, survival, new life—from, through and ultimately to—God,” Houston wrote. “Let me also add—God is WAY bigger than we think. We can try box Him any way we like, with science, theology, a tweet or a song—HE IS UNDIMINISHED by our limitations.”
Later he added, “If God’s creative process was an easy working week, or finely crafted over six-ages of millennia, does it make Him any more or less God? Or, us any more or less created in His image? Either way, It was an unfathomably wonderful six-day process. however, you think to see it.”
Some Christians criticized his position.
“Words like undeniable steal your credibility,” wrote Eric McMahon, a Philadelphia church planter. “There is very compelling evidence on the side of creation. Even if you believe in evolution it’s foolish to call it undeniable — you just haven’t researched enough quality work from those who have an opposing stance.”
Did man evolve from an ape?
One person, Brian A. Peterson, asked Houston if he believed that “man evolved from an ape.”
“Thanks for your question… I believe God created humanity out of the dust.. and breathed his breath/Spirit into us,” Houston answered.
When you talk of evolution and science the name Bill Nye perhaps comes to the minds of some who have followed debates on and about evolution and creationism. Most memorable being “the science guy” Bill Nye’s debate against Young Earth Creationist (YEC) Ken Ham.
In that debate Nye countered several anti-evolutionist arguments. For instance, he demonstrated contrary to YECs arguments, that there is no contradiction between the Second Law of Thermodynamics and the ever-increasing complexity of living systems. Nye pointed out that the Second Law is applicable only to closed systems but not the Earth since it entails an open one.
The irony with this is that the Second Law of Thermodynamics provides a scientific argument for the finitude of the past alongside the expansion of the universe as demonstrated by the standard big bang model. If anything, the Second Law of Thermodynamics when used in such a way, unlike YEC reasoning, coheres with modern scientific knowledge and is also consonant with theistic belief.
Logistics concerning Noah’s Ark
Nye also posed very pertinent questions with regards logistics concerning Noah’s Ark in the cataclysmic flood believed by YECs. He asks how eight unskilled people could cater to 14.000 animals. Nye amusingly inquires how it is possible to get from 7 thousand species to the roughly 16 million we have inhabiting the earth today, this would amount to eleven new species arising daily.
Of course, it is fundamentally “young Earth creationists” who are at issue here. Most of the people of faith in the Christian world accommodated to Darwin’s ideas more than a century ago.
That accommodation was accomplished by using quite interesting, ingenious, and complex arguments to support a convergence of scientific evolution and religious creation. They tended to accept the ancient origins of the Earth as geologists laid out the timeline—as well as the record of cataclysm and change over the eons—by questioning time as stated in the Bible. How long was a day in God’s sense, an entity that stood outside time and space?
They developed a “day-age” theory that allowed for eons to pass for a day in God’s time scale. They offered a series of possibilities in reconciling the Genesis account with scientific knowledge. Some also argued for a “gap” of “ruin and restoration” theory that included multiple cataclysms in the history of the Earth with matter and life created repeatedly. This allowed for fossils and extinctions. This might also have been followed by an Edenic restoration.
At sum, the religious response to Darwinian thought could be predicated on the higher criticism of the Bible then emerging from universities and theological schools of the latter nineteenth century.
In such a climate, biblical literalism could be overturned and replaced with a perspective that viewed the book more as a work of revealed truth but not necessarily one containing absolute truth. They argued over the search for truth, whatever that meant and if it could ever be known. They found reinforcement everywhere and took comfort in the exchange recorded in the Bible between Pontius Pilate and Jesus Christ two millennia ago. Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” Those versions of “truth” not accepted are often called “myths,” as Pilate obviously thought about the truth espoused by Jesus, but they might have relevance nonetheless. They have given and continue to offer meaning and value to individual human lives and to create a focal point for explaining the sufferings and triumphs of humanity.
“Young Earth creationists” have never sought to accommodate their religious ideas to scientific knowledge and with this the stage is set for debate. The conversation is far from over. Nevertheless, I agree with Pastor Joel Houston. Evolution is undeniable—created by God as a reflective means of displaying nature’s pattern of renewal in pursuance of God’s Word—an ode to the nature of the creative God it reflects—and only ever in part—not the SOURCE!”
Science and faith aren’t at odds. God created the Big Bang.
Article Written by Brilliant Pongo
Brilliant Pongo is a Christian author and motivational speaker. He has written a number of books on several Christian topics click here for more
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