Seated on the pew right next to me in church one morning, was my big bag of doubts.
That Sunday I carried with me doubts about the creation story and the flood and pretty much most of the Old Testament. I also, had big questions about heaven and hell. My mind was full of recent arguments I had heard about the book of Revelation and the way “the end” all goes down. I was beginning to wonder if I even belonged at church anymore.
I drug my big bag of doubts to church that morning because I had no doubts about Jesus. There was no question in my mind about the personhood and divinity of Jesus. And there was no doubt in my heart that Jesus loved me and He gave his life for me. Surely, Jesus would help me sort this all out.
So, that Sunday morning, me and my heavy questions were perched on a pew in hopes of a word from the minister that would lighten my load. I hoped to get a word that would assure me that I belonged. I hoped to see Jesus there. I hoped that the folks on the stage had something to say that would calm my anxiety about my doubts and remind me that even when my faith is like shifting sand the grace of God was solid enough to hold me!
That morning I did not get that assurance.
The minister stood up and the massive power point projection displayed this title.
“Literal Adam = Literal Jesus”
He went on to make the case that if someone does not believe in a literal Adam and a literal creation as described in Genesis then they cannot believe in a literal Jesus.
My heart was crushed. There was no way that I could believe in the children’s Sunday school account of creation anymore. This was not to say that I doubted God as creator of the universe. That was not an issue for me. The stories in Genesis being taught as literal and historical fact was a stumbling block for me. And now this guy was telling me that if I didn’t agree with him about Adam then I couldn’t have Jesus either. I left church that morning with a load even heavier than the one I had entered with. I wondered if I would ever return, if I would ever belong.
Thankfully, God is not limited by the walls of that building. Faithfully, God placed resources in my path that helped me make sense of my questions. A friend recommended a book by Peter Enns called The Evolution of Adam and I began to dig into much of what this biblical scholar had to say about God, creation, and biblical interpretation. As one of my psychology professors made mention of his faith I had to ask him how he reconciled science with faith. He smiled as if it was not the first time he had been asked. Then he encouraged me to look up Dr. Francis Collins and Biologos. This search led me to so many more sources. I discovered that I was in the company of many great Christian teachers. I rediscovered the beauty of the writings in Genesis and began to understand more fully the writings of the Old Testament. There is so much more there than I ever first believed. It is truly transformational!
Very quickly I began to see with new eyes. I began to enjoy scripture again. This new sight gave me eyes to see God not as one who once upon a time created the world and then rejected it. NO! God is a proactive artist who still paints the skies today. God’s portfolio is ever expanding and everything belongs!
I share this with you this weekend because it is Easter. I am more assured than ever of the endless expansive love of God. I intend to celebrate the greatest expression of love for all of creation in the cross and resurrection of Jesus Christ this Sunday. I will not be the only science lover welcomed into a church this weekend.
So, I encourage you. If you have also been in a church where you felt like you had to check your science/brains at the door and you vowed to never return, try another church this weekend. Jesus’ arms are open wide and there is a church out there that will allow Him to embrace you and your doubts (or discoveries). I know, I found one!
“You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind.” -Matthew 22:37