Author of Life | Notes & Review

I had the privilege of meeting Josh and Diane last year at the National Youth Worker’s Convention (2013). Their project The Author of Life has now completed 7 videos designed for educational and small group environments. Their contribution to the conversation is truly a gift, and because I have met them personally, I testify to their attitudes and demeanor as warranting the utmost respect. Their winsomeness will bring a refreshingly safe environment for those who are truly struggling with these issues and all the implications therein.

Below are their videos with my reflections below, and I commend them to you for your consideration.

Relax. Do not avoid topics out of fear. Trust God and don’t be afraid to ask tough question. Model the peace of God in and through these conversations.

Evolution is the central unifying theme in the subject of biology.

[VIA: My one critique, which both Josh and Diane know, is that they provide a soft-sell, which is to honor the diverse views on origins. The problem is that Young Earth Creationism is not a scientifically valid (nor theologically valid) view of origins, and to continue to perpetuate it is to do damage to the Church and the reputation of Christ in this world. I can fully uphold the value of “keeping your eyes on Jesus,” but that should not mean to thusly “dismiss the science.” This is substantiated within the first minute of EP1 below.]

If we do not talk about these things in church, can we conclude that maybe God does not care about such things.

What if we saw the world through both lenses, the spiritual and the natural?

[VIA: Diane has posited a position that I adhere to most closely, which is to see both glasses essentially as the same set of glasses, that there is no dichotomy between the spiritual and natural, that they are paradoxically the same.]

Let’s bring the two together, faith and science, flesh and spirit. Come.

Understanding the universe from a scientific perspective only underscores my faith in our Creator.

[VIA: This is actually quite well done, a portrait of weaving together science and scripture. It is important to reiterate, however, that the parallel is not to show that the accounts follow each other perfectly, a pseudo or neo accommodationism or concordism. The point is simply, as Diane says, to show who the Creator is.]

Evolution is not something that Christians should feel threatened by. It’s about how new species are created; it’s a process of creation.

I’m not here to change your mind, and I’m certainly not here to shake your faith. But I want you to consider is that just maybe, evolution is not heresy. Understanding evolution might bring us to a deeper, and more profound view of our Creator. Evolution doesn’t have to be seen as a godless, purposeless process with no plan or design. It’s God’s method of creating, continually, masterfully, and gradually. Just as an artist might use clay on a wheel, or paint and brushes to create a wonderful assortment of masterpieces, God can use selection, variation, and mutation to create living things perfectly suited to an ever changing environment.

[VIA: True, many scientists say that evolution is all one needs to know about how we came to be. However, there are other “fundamentalistic” and “literalistic” reasons why there is a difficulty within many religious circles (see Ham on Nye).]

[VIA: Evidence that Diane is a seasoned school teacher. A nice, helpful explanation. I appreciate, too, the necessary message that “you can love Jesus, and accept evolution.” Again, the winsome and caring way in which this false dichotomy is deconstructed is commendable.]

My belief in God is strengthened by how He has touched my life, and how His word speaks to me. But God also declares Himself to me when I admire the expansiveness of the heavens or the complexity of the structures in our cells. You see, studying God’s created world through science should bring us closer to God because we are studying His work. So anything we learn from it has to be consistent with who He is and how He created.

Just because humans evolved from other species doesn’t mean that God is not orchestrating the process.

The potter’s work is evolutionary, not instantaneous. It uses centrifugal force, friction, gravity, pressure, and chemical bonding to forge the shapes that form. Yet there is purpose, beauty, and design that emerge because of the intention of the potter. Genesis tells us that God made man out of dust. This also paints a mental picture of God metaphorically sculpting us from clay or earth.

Evolution is a process of creation. All living things were forged in this same process. And in this way, humans are no exception.

He’s still shaping us… He’s still working on his masterpiece, which is you and I.

[VIA: Perhaps their most “controversial” installment, that will raise many questions, but also one of the most well written. Yet, while the intermingling of science and theology in this presentation is beautifully woven, it will cause some questions, especially about the “advent” of spirituality (be it through language, or other means), and the original “Adam and Eve.”]

Humans are fundamentally unique, both to God, and in comparison to the rest of creation.

Both scientists and theologians agree that we humans, along with the rest of creation, share a common story.

Our purpose in life is to participate in bringing God’s peace, or shalom to the world.

[VIA: The most “sermony” of the sessions, but nonetheless, an important follow up from the previously more philosophical installments.]

God invites us to care and love for creation in the way that God would do so. This is both a command and a responsibility.

There’s lots of data that tells us that God’s creation is in trouble.

When it comes to creation care, the world needs Christians who embrace both science and the God that we believe created the world and called it “good.” Each of us should join in with the efforts to care for God’s creation. … We do these things out of love and obedience to God.

The word in John 3:16 is the word κοσμος, the entire world, all of creation.

 [VIA: The most “political” of the videos, moving us to take action, which many might subsume under “environmentalism,” or other terms. Nevertheless, the most logical and responsible conclusion of the previous installments is “creation care,” and this exhortation is presented with the same sensitivities, but now with a stronger clarion call. A few Hebrew notes. In addition to what was mentioned, the word “טוב” (tov) can mean “beautiful,” “well made,” “well fashioned,” etc. The word “mashal” (משל) is also the same word that is used in Genesis 1:18 to describe the lights “ruling” over the day and the night, which could have a whole additional midrashic level of meaning, “to provide life to the day, and light to the night.”]

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