“Everything that follows is a result of what you see here.” – Dr. Alfred Lanning’s Hologram, I Robot
Generally, the best place to begin a story is at it’s beginning. The beginning introduces you to the characters, starts elements of the plot, there is rising action and it describes events in detail as they progress to the climax and then wraps everything up with falling action followed by it’s resolution. Almost every story follows this pattern.
Creation is the beginning of the Bible. What follows is pretty much everything – the rising action as the Old Testament God sets the stage for his New Testament plan. Jesus’ philosophy proves to be popular with average people who are drawn to him but he proves to be a thorn in the side of the religious leaders. The climax is his death and Resurrection. The falling action describes how his church came to be and established his teachings in the hearts and minds of the next generation. The resolution is the book of Revelation, reminding us that no matter how much evil has the upper hand, it’s defeat is inevitable. Ultimately, the story ends where God lives among his people in a restored world.
But Creationism is the belief in the Christian interpretation of creation story events that has implications for the structure of families, gender roles, marriage, church leadership, and that’s a problem. It would be like being stuck in a story that never reaches it’s resolution. It’s something like being in a story that’s ‘always winter but never Christmas’ or in one that never leaves the Shire, but rather starts itself over again and again. But to get these teachings to fit, Christians have to take some elements from the falling action and use them as a lens to read, interpret, and understand the very beginning.
Apparently, creation transcends culture. Therefore, marriage is supposed to be one man who is the head of the woman for all time and for all over the world. When any Old Testament guy married multiple wives or had concubines, they were just being cultural. Creation transcends culture, therefore families are supposed to be between one man and one woman. When any Old or New Testament guy’s household had multiple wives and concubines and his sons had their wives and dozens of kids and hundreds of servants to help the camp run smoothly and care for the animals, well they were being cultural too. Creation transcends culture, therefore all women are like Eve and easily deceived. So when God put Deborah in charge that was because all of the men in her culture were weak, unfaithful, and being punished. Creation transcends culture, so all women were created to do women’s work. Any exception in Scripture is an extraordinary example of a person being cultural.
The icing on that cake is that anyone who rejects Creationism is rejecting the word of God and doesn’t get to go to heaven. I guess I missed the verse where Jesus sat everyone down and explained: “In the beginning, God made marriage like so, and family like so, and that’s why we do our level best to obey the order of authority he created so that our obedience proves our love and earns us a ticket to Heaven.” The funny thing is, I don’t remember him telling the woman at the well to go marry her live-in boyfriend at any point in their conversation. Never mind how impossible these things are to fulfill for anyone or family that doesn’t fit or look like the description that these teachings result in.
I guess my comfort in all of this is that if we don’t exactly succeed in living Biblically, then we can at least follow the example of generations before us and blame it all on being cultural. Then again, maybe that’s what we should have been all along. Jesus’ teachings were given to a culture that is very different from our own, and yet it’s good news for all cultures. That is, so long as we don’t elevate the teachings and implications of Creationism as an idol that takes the place of someone far more important. I like the story of creation just fine, but I don’t like Creationism constantly going back to the beginning, but never reaching the ending.
There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens