In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. 2 The earth was without form and void, and darkness was over the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 And God saw that the light was good. And God separated the light from the darkness. 5 God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day. – Genesis 1:1-5
Like many young people I struggled with the idea of creation when I was in college. I hadn’t really been exposed to a strong argument in favor of evolution, but I knew it was out there. Then in college the atmosphere was saturated with evolutionary belief and atheistic tenates. It was the air we all breathed. I read Urlichman’s Population Bomb and believed every part of it – including thoughtlessly – the idea that abortion was a legitimate form of birth control. Lord, have mercy! Thoughtless and foolish I was.
I have since recovered from those follies and having even taken a tour into some debaucherous behaviors, sought the forgiveness of God. I am so thankful for the forgiveness of sins, the grace of God, and the patience of God who is not slow concerning his promises, but is patient waiting for us to repent. I repent! Daily, and now once again over those youthful and foolish indiscretions.
I learned of the forgiveness of sins from my pastor at the Lutheran Chapel of Hope at Southeast Missouri State University in my hometown of Cape Girardeau, Missouri. My pastor, Robert Lange was a faithful and grace-filled servant of Jesus. He showed me Bible passages when I would inquire of certain Lutheran teachings. He made it clear that God’s forgiveness is precious and plenteous.
Pastor Lange also taught me something about creation. “It’s a matter of faith,” he said when I asked him about it. I wondered about the whole creation/evolution, six days/six epochs theories and ideas. I struggled with the idea that creation didn’t fit into the scientific framework in which we lived. Somehow those words gave me permission to let go, to live in a I-don’t-have-it-all-figured-out,-but-I-believe frame of mind and faith.
I believe God created the world and everything in it. Just as I would never assume that a watch “just happened,” so I reasoned that the world did not “just happen.” In seminary I learned other things about creation and scientific evidence for a young earth and the need on the part of the scientific theories for such long periods of time, and a very old universe in order that the happy accidents of evolution would have time to occur. Moon dust, the decay of magnetic poles to name a few were interesting.
But I don’t go there. I don’t try to prove the creation of the world in six natural days, six days of morning and evening, or six 24 hour days. I believe it. It is a matter of faith. And that faith is not only in the God of creation, but the God whose Spirit hovered over the face of the deep and now dwells in the hearts of believers. I believe in the God who spoke the world into existence, saying simply, “Let there be…” and there was. I believer that Word became flesh and lived for a while among us. I believe he is the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth (John 1:14-18).
I believe God made me. I believe he redeemed me and all people. I believe he has set me apart by faith in his Son: the gift and work of the Holy Spirit. It’s a matter of faith and through faith by grace I have been saved. It is a matter of faith.