How Evolution Helps Me Trust God
I remember, growing up, how excited I would get that God made the world in six literal days.
I liked going to Creation Group meetings on Saturday mornings because, even though I hated having to talk to strangers, I liked what the speakers said and I got donuts.
I’d dedicate myself to the folded paper newsletters they’d pass out there. Back in the 90s, they featured scratchy scanned photos of people holding up fossils they found in the foothills not too far from my home or carefully reported notes on the latest book explaining that evolution was a trap.
Every winter, when even non-Christians in the northwest were making Noah’s Flood jokes about the constant rain, I’d pour over the regional creation conference schedule. I’d carefully read the brochures, picking out the topics I thought would be most interesting.
I liked the ones about dinosaurs.
My favorite speakers spoke passionately about a world divided into clear categories of science and faith. The speakers were always men, of course, because God apparently didn’t create women with the logical mind needed needed for Creation Science. They told us about recent possible-dinosaur sightings in South America. They described people who were blinded by the devil to participate in the in a vast conspiracy of carbon dating methods and falsified fossils.
They reminded us that if we didn’t believe that Genesis was absolutely true, our whole faith would fall.
Later on, in high school, I trained with Christian apologists who taught me the trick questions to undermining evolution in any college Biology class or conversation with an atheist because, after all, it was just a theory.
Of course God made the world in six days, and napped under a tree on the seventh.
That was where I got my security, my assurance that God was in charge and that I believed enough right things in the right way to please him.
Until I stopped believing in all of that.
Over the past four years, my understanding of the world and my experience of God have changed drastically. My knowledge of science and scripture are stretched out, but I didn’t lose my faith.
I’m actually excited about the God of evolutionary process. Separating the creation myths from Genesis and the evolutionary development of the earth makes me more excited about God.
If the earth is really billions of years old, then I can trust that God is patient.
I used to believe in a god who was perpetually angry at humans because we sinned and broke the perfect world he had created. And because I was the worst of sinners, and still messing up as a Christian, it mean that he was angry at me. And he was coming back soon to bring judgment on everyone and everything evil, which also meant me.
It’s not surprising that I’ve had nightmares about the rapture and apocalypse as long as I can remember.
But now I know God’s not going to fly off the handle at me if I mess up or if we, as humans, mess up again and again for thousands of years.
Some may be drawn to a God of swift justice, but right now I find peace and worship in a God who is not a in a rush. I am intrigued by a God who breathes into a process and lets it run wild. I am captivated by the idea of a God who is mysterious and so steady, so enamored by small processes, that it would be worth billions of years of wait for this revelation.
I am a woman of small processes. I used to believe in miraculous leaps ahead in life, but I don’t see it working like that. I’m intuitive and can fully change direction in an instant, once I’ve done my research. But most of the miracles in my life have been relatively small illuminations and steady work.
Right now, it amazes me that God doesn’t need me to suddenly shape up once and for all, to be fixed and never encounter changes again. It is much more fluid than that.
I have a deep faith in a God who evolves and who invites me to evolve. I am growing trust in a God who is with me in process, not just at the beginning.
I worship a God who not only evolves, but incarnates to become human like us, and in that unspeakably revolutionary act of divine flesh, invites us to be made new.
Originally published at A Deeper Story.