Tuesday, November 9, 2010

We’re Descended from Monkeys

Do you believe that?  If you do, do you remember when you figured out whether you believed in creation or evolution?  I have to say I was pretty much grown.  Somehow, for my whole childhood, I held parallel truths.  I had been taught evolution at school and creation at church.  I’d seen Walt Disney’s Fantasia and hadn’t noticed anything wrong with it.  Then, one day, it hit me.  They can’t both be true.  As soon as I realized that, though, the rest was easy.  I knew that I believed in Creation.  And sometimes, even though my belief has never wavered, it has landed me in some uncomfortable spots.  When I taught, one of the units in the 4th grade curriculum was “Dinosaurs”.  Thankfully it was a unit in reading, not in science, but it still produced some challenges.  How does one stand in front of 25 4th graders and “teach” something, in which you don’t believe.  I was not allowed to present an opposing theory.  And I absolutely refused to use any sentence containing “millions of years” in it without making sure no one thought I believed that. 

I made it through.  I must say I made it a very short unit.  I managed to always preface what I considered the “lies” with disclaimers like, “some people believe,” or “according to this story” and so forth.  Things were going pretty well, I thought, until one day one of my students raised her hand and asked, “But Mrs. Lopez, what do you believe?”  I tried, “This isn’t about what I believe; let’s read on” along with several other deflections, but she would not be sidetracked.  I finally shrugged, took a deep breath and told the class what I believed.  Then I waited to be called into the principal’s office because I had discussed **gasp** creationism in a public school classroom.  I was amazed though; nothing more ever popped up.

I don’t believe my own kids have ever not known what I believe.  They were both dinosaur freaks, much to my frustration.  Their obsession, though, gave us lots and lots (!) of opportunities to discuss both evolution and creationism even before they were old enough for school.  I wasn’t sure if they were getting it, until one day one of them came home with a story entitled, “Archaeopteryx and other evolutionary malarkey”.  In which, he proceeded to debunk evolutionary theory.  I was really proud of him for having the guts to write a dissenting opinion in the 3rd grade.  God had made sure the message was getting through.  What a relief!

Do you think people who believe in creation view life, the world and everything, differently than people who believe in evolution?

Hey, if creation is intelligent design, would that make evolution, Stupid Design?  I’m just askin’. 

Do you think these different beliefs make people act in different ways? 

I heard someone (sorry, can’t remember who) theorize once that we could trace the loosening morals of America to the Scopes trial and evolution being taught in public school.  I’m pretty sure loosening morals go on back to Adam and Eve eating the forbidden fruit, but this person’s theory did have some good points.  The main one being that, if a person thinks of themselves as just a highly functioning animal, then his/her actions will reflect that.  Reasoning becomes less important than instincts and feelings.  Truth becomes relative.  What’s right becomes anything that feels good…to me.  And wrong becomes anything that I don’t like.  Emotions rule our everyday lives, and restraint almost never comes into play.  Everyday is all about what we want; how we feel; what we deserve.  When we think this way, our world becomes smaller and smaller.  Water circling a drain. 

This belief system then affects everything about me – I’m not responsible for my thoughts or actions because I’m just doing what comes naturally. 

You probably know people who are searching for meaning in a life without God.  That’s not something I’ve ever experienced, so I don’t know what it’s like, but it seems like it would be a hopeless way to live.  Maybe I’m wrong; I don’t know.

But I do know this:  I believe in a loving and creative God, and I’m not just a tailless monkey.  Psalm 8:5 tells me, “For You have made him a little lower than the angels, And You have crowned him with glory and honor.”  That verse is telling me exactly where I belong in the classification system of heaven! 

What a relief!  We’re not just a little higher than the monkeys; we’re a little lower than the angels.  We’re NOT genetic accidents; we are the sons and daughters of God.  And that makes all the difference!  We are the children of a God who loves us so much that He’s been counting the days until we can be together forever since Eve took her first bite of forbidden fruit.

Which would you rather believe?  I’d rather believe that I carry “the fingerprints of God.”

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