Where Did We Come From?
Have you seen those commercials for Ancestry.com? For $99, you send these folks some of your saliva, they run your DNA and promise to send you back a breakdown of your ethnic mix! Analyzing more than 700,000 genetic markers, they can even find some distant cousins, if they too have joined their service. Their web site shows a guy who came back 52% Ireland, Wales, Scotland; 28% Scandinavia; 10% Italy, Greece and 10% Other. One lady on the TV commercial was somewhat overwhelmed to find out she was 24% Native American. She had no idea and apparently this completely changed her life. The ad shows her standing among Native American artifacts celebrating this new found knowledge.
Of course tracing back our ancestors has been going on the old fashioned way for decades. For some people this is extremely important to understanding themselves. Some find it endlessly fascinating to know something about their great, great, great grandparents.
Personally, I don’t get it. What am I missing? To me it’s something like NASA’s endless quest to find the origin of the universe. I find myself shouting out-loud, “Read the first verse of the Bible!”
Another of the ultimate questions philosophers and all religions have pondered for millennia is “where did we come from?” I suppose the two dominant answers in our culture come down to a natural vs. supernatural explanation. Evolution makes its case for the natural causation of all things, beginning with the Big Bang some 12-14 billion years ago. I’m not sure what their theory is on how the first matter of any kind came into being (I mean, what was there to blow up?), but regardless of that tiny little issue, they seem quite convinced that we evolved over millions of years to be the intelligent, rational, relational, creative, linguistic, math and music loving, worshipping creatures we are today.
Somewhere along the way, they posit, given enough time and chance, advanced creatures have emerged from the sludge to walk upright, put a man on the moon and cure many forms of cancer. Somewhere along the line the amoeba became a gymnast who can play a violin on the side and learn five foreign languages. Somehow the monkey has developed so well he can play chess while listening to Mozart while pondering the theory of relativity!
If naturalism and evolution is not a faith position, even a religion of sorts, then I don’t know what is. None of us were there when the first matter came into existence. So can we at least all admit, whatever we believe, we have to take it by faith?
A much more plausible faith position is to take Genesis one at face value and accept that the personal God of the universe, the intelligent Designer and Creator of all that is, spoke all things into existence out of nothing. Again, what is the basis of our authority? My highest authority is the Bible.
Matter is not eternal. That’s philosophically and logically impossible. Only God can be eternal. Even ancient philosophers came to this conclusion apart from the Bible. Plato even surmised that man’s ultimate happiness must be found in this God. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
My highest authority is the Bible.
It’s not that complicated. God created the heavens and earth, the waters, the plants, fish, birds, and animals. He then created the first human beings, Adam from the dirt and Eve from a bone in Adam’s side. They became the parents of the entire human race.
I’m not really interested in my ancestors or ethnic makeup because in my worldview there aren’t races among humans, there is only one race, the human race. Yes there are unique cultures and languages and ways to view life, and yes I love my parents and grandparents when they were still with us, but at our core, we all make up the one human race – made in God’s image and descended from Adam and Eve.
We have adapted to our surroundings over the centuries as skin colors and other features have developed as man has reproduced, but we still remain 100% homo sapiens, never more and never less. Ultimately what difference does it make who my great, great, great was or whether I’m 25% Scottish and 50% Irish and 25% German? My ethnic heritage doesn’t control my behavior or determine how I will react or respond in a certain situation. If I get sinfully angry or stubborn or prideful or passive, the ultimate reason is not because I’m acting like my dad John McKnight, but because I’m acting like my dad Adam. We all trace ourselves from his fallen loins.
We have both a natural and supernatural explanation to our existence. It’s supernatural in that God directly and uniquely created our first parents physically and mentally mature, with the ability and obligation to “be fruitful and multiply.” Yet we are also the outcome of natural procreation of our parents and those before them, a process that God reigns over in every way.
What’s your take away? You are not an animal without a tail. You are not a monkey with less hair. You are not evolving. You and I are the special creations of God, the distant children of Adam, and the very pinnacle of all creation. We ultimately came from God, fashioned in His image and sharing glimpses of His attributes. Such glory! Such dignity! Such value!
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Unless otherwise noted, all posts are written by Pastor Chris McKnight