The Bookshelf God

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It’s interesting how small God is to some people.

Recently, a biology professor from my former high school named Eric Kretschmer wrote an article outlining his journey of reconciling what he had studied in the scientific field and what he knew as a follower of Jesus Christ. You can find the article here. It’s worth reading. Specifically, Kretschmer does a thorough job of balancing an Old-Earth perspective with a Christian God. If you have any questions, leave a statement in the comment section, and I’m sure he will do his utmost to respond to you in a timely and courteous manner.

In response to this article, a certain gentleman named Ken Ham wrote another article. You can find that here. It is also worth a quick read, if for no other reason than understanding what prompted me to write this. Ken Ham is a very ardent Young-Earth Creationist, and this becomes immediately evident in his critique. However, unlike Kretschmer’s article, there is no comment section, no room for dialogue, and no way for the Eric Kretschmer to defend himself.

Behind this curtain, Ham lambasts Kretschmer for daring to introduce evolutionary theory into a Biblical interpretation of the Bible. He concludes this exceptional rant with an exceptional closing paragraph:

Teachers like Kretschmer will be held accountable for the many students they lead astray with their compromise regarding biblical authority and undermining teaching.  How very sad.  And the board/administrators of such Christian schools will also be held accountable.  What they are doing in essence is helping the secularists capture the hearts and minds of generations of children!

Just marvelous.

Teachers like Kretschmer.

Teachers that devoted a good portion of their lives to pursuing a MD in Theology so they could better equip young minds to defend their faith. Teachers like Kretschmer that venture into the public forum in order to help strengthen the Christian body through dialogue and conversation.  Teachers like Kretschmer who are more focused on rooting and growing the Christian body than being a divisive voice in an already divided Church.

I shudder to think of the horrors that befall the Christian body when men like this are teaching our children science—I’m shocked we haven’t been consumed in fire and brimstone already.

Ken Ham is a textbook case of a man who has crafted God in his own image—a bookshelf God—and refuses to let it go. I don’t know Ken Ham from Adam. For all I know, he is a decent man with decent values who follows the same Christ that all Christians worship. But what can be seen from his brief, yet scathingly bitter article, is that this man has a very small God. If a man cannot admit an infinite God, how can he admit infinite grace? If a man cannot admit the possibility of a system outside his own frail understanding, how can he throw himself blindly onto a Divine system that no man can comprehend? As GK Chesterton writes in Orthodoxy, “A personal God might just as well do things slowly as quickly, especially if, like the Christian God, he were outside of time.”

Ken Ham says that “we have abandoned the authority of God’s Word.” Yet where has Kretschmer abandoned the authority of God’s Word? He is a man that believes in Jesus Christ resurrected, in the Holy Trinity, in a Divine God who is returning to judge the living and the dead—and who happened to manifest himself through evolution. Nowhere in the Apostle’s Creed is evolutionary theory mentioned, yet Ken Ham seeks to discredit and defame a Christian brother over a couple million years. What is a million years to the power of God? What is a hundred million years to the love of Christ?

Titus 3:9-11 declares, with no light tone, “Avoid foolish controversies, genealogies, dissensions, and quarrels about the law, for they are unprofitable and worthless. As for a person who stirs up division, after warning him once and then twice, have nothing more to do with him, knowing that such a person is warped and sinful; he is self-condemned.”

My issue is not so much with intelligent design vs. evolutionary theory—nor are the two entirely incompatible. My issue is with a self-proclaimed Christian who deems it a profitable use of his time to attack another member of the Church. The Church is persecuted on every side; do we really need to tear at each other from within?

Christ didn’t come to preach a message of Young-Earth creation; he came to preach love. I’m angry with Ham, not because of his views (which are entirely legitimate), but because of a glaring lack of grace and his confinement of God to fallen man’s rationale. He is a man given some measure of authority and recognition and, instead of furthering the call of Christ, he is furthering his own idol of Young-Earth creationism—a clanging gong and a resounding symbol.

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. Love your neighbor as yourself. Against such things there is no law.

When we stand before Heaven’s gates, Christ will not ask us how old the earth is—the concept seems laughable. He will not have a gate marked “Calvinist” and another marked “Armenianist.” He will not differentiate between the Catholic, the Orthodox, and the Protestant.

No, we will stand before the Judgment Seat, and Christ will look down, and he will ask, “Did you know I loved you?” And if we answer “yes”, there will be no more questions. For if we truly trust that the risen Christ loves us, we will have loved others. Instead of defaming our Christian family, we will love them. We will pick and choose our battles, allowing foolish controversy little attention and saving our breath for the message of Christ. Love the Lord your God. Love your neighbor as yourself.

In the words of John the Apostle: little children, love one another.