We look to the stories and mythology of our culture for answers to the big questions about life: How did we get here? Why are we here? What do we learn from the stories of our past? How do we shape the stories of our future? For Jews and Christians, the Bible is the primary place we look for these answers, beginning with “Who is God?” What is our relationship to this God? How has that shaped our stories, our history, our very lives?
This past weekend, the Creation Museum in Petersburg, Kentucky opened to the public. Steve Bogner had a great post on it last week. Because it’s quite close to Cincinnati, our local paper is giving it a lot of play. But it even made the New York Times. The Times article called attention to one display that I have to say I found quite amusing:
We learn that chameleons, for example, change colors not because that serves as a survival mechanism, but “to ‘talk’ to other chameleons, to show off their mood, and to adjust to heat and light.”
Who would have thought?!! I find that I can’t even put myself into a mindset that would look to one book of the Bible for literal answers about God’s immense and wonderful creation. At times it seems as through the whole creationist debate takes place somewhere far removed from the Scriptures of my faith. And yet because extremists at the other end of the philosophical and religious spectrum will use this absurdity to reject all belief in the Bible, I find that I can’t just ignore it.
The story of the Bible is the story of our creation and redemption, an activity that is ongoing, a neverending story that continues after the written word ends. The incarnation of Jesus so completed the original story begun in Genesis that our tradition could close the canon of revelation, but we find new and fuller understandings of that story as we grow in knowledge and wisdom as a people of God. I’m reminded of a saying by theologian and storyteller Megan McKenna: “All stories are true. Some of them actually happened. ” The stories in the Bible tell me a special kind of truth and through them I can listen for the word of God. But then, come to think of it, I listen for the word of God in everything I read and hear and experience. Maybe that’s the difference.