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Recently, my 14-year-old son announced he was leaning toward attending a Christian university, which sounded good to me. But I was troubled by his reason: "I don't want to sit in some biology class in a secular school and be told I descended from apes."
I was surprised. Although I was a keen young-earth creationist as a teenager, my understanding has evolved (pun unavoidable) to the point where the notion of gradual creation over eons isn't a threat to my faith. "Have you considered the possibility that God may have used evolutionary processes in his creation of the world?" I asked.
"No! Mom! I believe the Bible!"
"Me too," I assured him. "But I think it's possible that Genesis 1 and 2 are more about the who of creation than the how."
Later that night, I read him something Billy Graham wrote in 1964:
I don't think that there's any conflict at all between science today and the Scriptures. I think … we've tried to make the Scriptures say things they weren't meant to say …. The Bible is not a book of science. The Bible is a book of Redemption, and of course I accept the Creation story …. I believe that God created man, and whether it came by an evolutionary process … makes no difference as to what man is and man's relationship to God.
"Maybe you're not a total heretic," said my son.
After we both exhaled some relieved laughter, I whispered, "I believe God created the world and holds it together. Just how he did that is up for debate, but whatever conclusions you come to about the earth's origins, God did it. Okay?"
I've since been able to explain that it wasn't science that changed my position on creation. I know there's consensus in the scientific community regarding the age of the earth and the importance of genetic variation, but I also know there are many areas of contention. Besides, if I believed ...