I’m continuing to share, through these Messenger articles, the varied responses of ABCers who sent in their “tiny stories” of specific moments that had a lasting effect on their lives. As you may have noticed, these stories are all over the place, showing that God can give us surprise revelations at any time and in any situation.
Jill Boekenoogen’s tiny story struck a special chord in me:
“One tiny life story moment for me came at a TLC group meeting. This was when the Losies still lived in Pasadena, and Lynn was the TLC leader. (Michele was but a toddler, and Sarah would always come out to say goodnight to us because it was her bedtime.) We were shadowing the Sunday morning sermons, and the series was on Genesis. Lynn asked us if it ever bothered us that science and the Genesis creation story seemed to be in conflict. My reply was “No” because of the first four words of the Bible, “In the beginning God.” I realized from then on that the laws of science were designed by God, even if we put a man’s name (e.g. Newton’s Laws of Motion) to them, and they are just an incomplete human explanation of what is actually God’s perspective.”
I grew up in a church where I was introduced to the “Science Problem” at a young age. Our church library had lots of books that talked about “Godless science.” The Bible said creation happened 6,000 years ago, but science talks about billions of years. The special target of teachers and preachers I listened to was Darwin’s Theory of Evolution, which seemed clearly to contradict the Six Day Creation story in Genesis.
But I loved science. My hobbies were all about plants and animals. Every chance I could get, I was romping in Darwin’s playground. This childhood fascination turned serious in high school biology and chemistry courses. When I applied to college, I was confronted with a line on the form that asked what my major would be, and I wrote boldly “BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES!”
What was that all about? Was I choosing Science over God in the great debate? Was I rebelling against my religious tradition? No, I wasn’t feeling that at all. I think that somehow, as a child, I had come to realize what Jill discovered, that the first four words in the Bible,”In the beginning God,” had set the stage for the way I would experience the world. As I would learn some new thing through science, I was coming to understand God better.
Sometime during my college years I encountered the famous quote from 17th century astronomer Johannes Kepler: “Science is thinking God’s thoughts after him.” Kepler was mostly experiencing this as he used mathematics to anticipate the orbits of the planets around the sun. I began to see it in the Periodic Table of chemical elements, the structure of an atom, the layers of rock in the Grand Canyon. Yes, Jill, when you internalize those words,”In the beginning God,” everything in the universe looks different.
The other day I saw a rainbow. The Book of Genesis says that it was put there by God as a promise that he would never again destroy the world by a great flood. Other ancient beliefs are that it is a bridge between this world and the realm of the gods (Norse), a mark left when a slit in the sky was repaired using five colored stones (Chinese), the belt of the sun god (Armenian), the bow of Indra, used to shoot lightning arrows, accompanied by thunder and rain (Hindu) and a marker to help Leprechauns find their hidden pot of gold (Irish).
I know better. Science tells me that it’s “an optical and meteorological phenomenon that is caused by both reflection and refraction of light in water droplets in the earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky, taking the form of a multicolored arc.” (Wikipedia)
Huh? Why do I think that’s just another myth? That it really doesn’t explain what this rainbow is saying to my soul?
I find myself back at Jill’s primal discovery: “In the beginning God.”
— George Van Alstine