A Theology of Creation

The other day on 30 Rock, Kenneth (the backwater Christian) who is my favorite character on the show, was asked what his favorite subject was in school. He said “Science…Because I love the Old Testament.”

Now the show is known for taking light hearted jabs like that to all different kinds of tribes, but behind every joke….

When I was growing up in Homeschool/Highschool one of my assignments was to do a lot of reading, and then give a speech on Creation Science. I read apologetics, and Genesis, and plenty of obscure references in the Bible that probably meant something else, but if pressed and taken out of context could prove exactly what I wanted. (Sons of God, and daughters of men anybody?)

At the end of my speech I had the feeling that I had definitively proven that God created the Earth (in the particular way that I laid out). Since then I’ve learned that Genesis is not really addressing a post-enlightenment worldview. It’s actually teaching something that is much bigger. But I was right about this, the main point of Genesis is that God Created.

It’s the first words of the Bible…God Created, and then the way that Genesis tells us about this majestic event is, well, Creative. It’s a poem. Than the next chapter is the same story, told from a different angle and with a different beat or rhythm.

This weekend before church a woman came up to me and told me that her mom was coming to church with her for the first time in 37 years. Which is quite a streak to break. The woman’s mom was the Cal Ripken Jr. of not coming to church. But what I found impressive was the reason this mom had decided to come to church.

She said that she was coming because she had seen such a drastic difference in her daughter since she started following Jesus. And so she wanted to see what had caused this.

The best way to show others what you really believe has always been to put skin on it.

I have a feeling that if the average person was to walk into the average church without any pre-conceived bias’ their first thoughts probably wouldn’t be, “This place is so creative.” I don’t know anything about the above video clip. I’m sure it’s probably done by well-meaning people with a great heart. All I know about it, is that it was sent to me by a pagan friend who thought it was lame.

And he was right.

One of the dangers of our Christian sub-cultures is that we tend to evaluate poor things poorly. We say something is good if it just doesn’t use cuss words or show the “good characters” drinking. But the problem with that is that it undercuts the very things that we say we believe.

Namely, that God created, and what he created was good.

See a Theology of Creation, like everything else we believe, has to be embodied.

I think that churches should be the most creative, most innovative places on earth.

And I’m not just talking about our powerpoint slides. I think that what the world needs is a group of people who are connected to the Creator God and are looking at everything from the war in Darfur to Nuclear Weapons to the AIDS crisis.

People who don’t just fall into the partisan lines that their political parties draw. But find a creative third way to communicate and enact change.

People who haven’t lost hope in the power of a God who is still creating.

And it is good.

About jonathanstorment

My family and I love reading, traveling, daddy/daughter dates, playing hide and seek, good music, and long meals with friends. We still miss LOST, and all four of us have Superman uniforms. We are passionate about bringing Heaven to Earth and want to follow Jesus while repainting discipleship for those around us. We are followers of Jesus and I preach at the Highland Church of Christ. We participate in something called A Restoration Movement, and we've come to realize that might be larger than we thought.

7 thoughts on “A Theology of Creation

  1. Glad we’re a kindred spirit Wes. Being in California it seems like that would almost force a church to become innovative to survive. Glad that y’all are developing that kind of community there.

  2. Hey,

    I’ve followed your blog for some time now. Good stuff.

    Just for the sake of conversation. How would you specifically critique the movie trailer? I thought it was laughable. But would you put a bit more flesh (skin) on how it helps illustrate (negatively) the point you’re making.

    Please understand that I agree with you. Just wanting to understand more clearly.

    Thanks again.

  3. To a degree I agree with you completely. In our society where people are sadly atomized, the last refuge of true community seems to be churches and maybe schools. I tell people all the time how much I miss that aspect of church.

    Yet, at the same time, it’s hard to believe that demographic of people who can barely stomach talk of evolution will manage to combat the AIDS crisis. Churches seem doomed to irrelevance until they can manage to deal with the multitude of irrational fears, whether culture or science, that reduce them to pathetic displays like the video above.

    I feel right now that universities fulfill all the capacities and responsibilities that churches have abdicated too long, only they do it in the name competition and personal gain (and on better occasions for humanitarian concerns). I see no reason that churches couldn’t do so other than fear and general unwillingness. I hope the future will see a change in this.

  4. Josh, good question thanks for helping me clarify. Last year I read an article by a secular (non-practicing) Jewish man, who decided to dive into the Christian sub-culture for a year to do research. He wrote about everything from Testamints to our Christian versions of Rock Band. And in the end the one point he said was that we weren’t creating good things. The goal was that they would be clean, not beautiful. That’s a theological problem. We are creating stuff like this movie, that doesn’t cuss or have gratuitous violence, but also isn’t reflective of the God who created a beautiful world. Anyway, that’s what I was trying to say. Thanks for weighing in Josh!

    Joe, that’s interesting I had never thought of universities as replacing churches. I think it was Shane Claiborne who said violence is for those who have lost all imagination. This is what I was trying to get at…Churches have a role of creatively re-imagining how to approach the world that is staring back at us looking for a way out of the deep trenches we have built for ourselves.

    I hope things can change, and have hope that they will. I know of several churches that are doing some pretty innovative social stuff. I wanted to tie the necessity of that back into the Creation story. Thanks Joe!

  5. That was pretty sad. Sad that the best we come up with at times is how to energize our worship service. Sad that we aren’t so compelled to worship a great and awesome God that a praise band would make any difference. Sad that our worship doesn’t compel us to serve those in need.

    I appreciate one of the comments Frances Chan makes in his book, “Crazy Love” about lukewarm Christians. “Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age 12, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican or live in America. …we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or because some people persist in calling us a Christian nation.”

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