My late father, Richard D. Wilson, was known for such pithy one-liners. He first slung this one at me on a long, hot family road trip to Florida. It was one of those classic family car scenarios: ever-vibrating little kids in the back seat, parents sitting like sentinels in the front occasionally shouting commands to quell the crowd, and an adolescent or two burrowed into a the most secluded corner that could be found in a square metal box scarcely bigger than a twin bed. I, the teen daughter, had settled into a sixteen year-old funk when dad boomed out:
“We’re going out to eat at Long John Silver’s, then heading over to Putt-Putt Paradise for miniature golf.”
Delighted squeals were drowned by my counter-announcement:
“I’m not going!”
Every head in the car snapped around to stare at me (except dad, who was driving). It was the first sound that had issued from my mouth for hours, perhaps days.
“First crack out of the box,” dad muttered.
First cracks often reveal the core of a person. In my case, it perfectly conveyed my sentiments, the expanded form of which would be something like, “I don’t want to be with you people. I’m becoming an adult, and need more alone time, away from my family, to process the rapid-fire changes coming at me socially, emotionally, physically, daily.”
“I’m not going,” was the first crack out of the box of adolescent me. It summed me up in three words.
Here’s my spiritual lesson: The first crack out of God’s box, the Bible (humor me) was Genesis one and two, the creation story. It conveys His core perfectly. In Genesis one, we see the masterful, omniscient, omnipotent Elohim, able to speak whole worlds into existence. In Genesis two, the close-up lens brings into focus Yaweh; He is the same God, but here reveals His tender immanence as He gingerly sculpts Adam out of dust and Eve out of Adam’s rib. This balance of power and affection makes God, God. His transcendence and immanence blend like the finest symphony of strings.
How strange, then, that “higher” critics deem these chapters myth. What better way to neuter them of meaning than to claim this? And what better way to vandalize the public image of God? Adding insult to injury, evolution implies a God whose ideal world included death and all its ugly ancillaries. Theologian Richard Davidson says, “I would argue that the greatest reason to reject (theistic) evolution or progressive creation is that it maligns the character of God, making Him responsible for millions of years of death/suffering, natural selection, survival of the fittest, even before sin.” [i]
God’s opening salvo, His first impression, His “Enter: God” speaks to me today. I hear Him saying, “By my power and care, I made for you a perfect world.” I gladly rest in the arms of my strong, loving Father. I’ll gladly accept the branding “stupid fundamentalist” for the privilege of believing His Word over all else.
I’m writing early this month because I’m leaving the country tomorrow to Honduras with my daughter for a 10-day singing tour. Other than that, I’ll be teaching/preaching each weekend in Philadelphia, as well as getting elbow-deep in the machinations of Philadelphia Youth Challenge, a team of about 20 young people who will be ministering and selling spiritual literature door to door in the greater Philadelphia area this summer. Last summer they visited over 63,000 homes! See http://philadelphiayouthchallenge.org/.
Resting in His care,
1- The Biblical Account of Origins, p. 28. (Ask me for the pdf and I’ll email it to you.)