You either have a quick response to this question, or find yourself a bit more pensive and contemplative about that questions these days. Students also seem to be stuck between what they’re hearing at church and what they’re finding at school or online.
The question used to be “Do you land on creationism, or do you land on evolution?”
Now the question seems to be a two-part tension:
“If you believe God created the world, do you believe He used evolution to do it? If you believe in evolution, do you believe there comes a point when the data runs out and faith in something supernatural begins?”
For a long time in youth ministry and children’s ministry, churches could “get away” with teaching a somewhat guilt-based ideology. It usually fell along the lines of, “You either have to believe that God made everything in a literal six-days, or else you don’t believe in Him at all.” Science wasn’t always thought to be “evil” (although in some circles it may have been presented that way), but you certainly didn’t need to bother with it.
“God said it. I believe it. That settles it,”
I’m not questioning whether or not we should take God at His word. I am, however, asking if you find it difficult in today’s culture to exclusively take that approach. And for that matter, should we ever have taken that approach?
The Information Age has made us more responsible at talking about how faith and science are not enemies. Science is able to reveals things about God that we otherwise wouldn’t have known, just as art, music and poetry do. The challenge with any human achievement is we do have limits, and all formats will in some way create their own heresy – nothing natural could ever completely explain the supernatural, but it can take us closer toward it.
I’m finding more and more than when students are presented with “an answer” (i.e. “The earth is young. Don’t question it.”) they often don’t know what to do with their questions when they face challenging data. Again, not that the answer doesn’t exist… but does youth ministry need to take on more of an approach to helping students learn how to think than telling them what to think?
- Have you discovered an approach, resources or a website that helps students wrestle with evolutionary data from a Christian perspective?
- If we don’t present evolution as a possible way God worked in Creation, are we setting up students to reject their whole faith? Should that matter?
- Is it possible to be a Christian and believe that evolution was a method God used? If not, why not? If so, explain the foundation for this.
I can almost feel you either leaning in to write a quick reply or pause and think about coming back to this later. How about something in between? What do you think?
Does youth ministry now involve honoring creation and evolution?