Faith has not been easy for me, and calling myself a Christian has become harder over the years. As I find myself more and more “on the edge of the inside” of Christianity, I’ve collected some sparklets of truth that keep me from giving up.
These are my lamp posts- welcoming me further into the mysterious land of building my own theology. They are my north star when I feel lost and alone, the comforting reminders that pull me out of my turbulent thoughts and set me on still waters again.
I’m sharing these patchwork pieces of my faith in the hopes that in you can find encouragement and comfort in your own dance of faith and feminism.
You can find my first post in this series, “Finding God in All Things” here.
The Evolution of God’s Truth
During my first year of college, I had an 8am (!) Biological Anthropology with the intimidating, serious, not-messing-around, Dr. Madrigal. She would start each morning with a fierce “It’s 8 o’clock lets begin” and boy did she.
It was from this formidable woman I first really learned about evolution. I had gone to a Christian school growing up, so all of my experience with the subject had been focused on poking holes in evolution and trying to convince us science was the devil.
But Dr. Madrigal.
Dr. Madrigal made evolution, biology, and science light up for me. Suddenly this world seemed alive, in motion, constantly creating, breathing the breath of the Divine. I marveled at what I had missed before, I looked around this creation and saw that it was good. We learned about the peppered moth and the blue moon butterfly and it all made sense and I found myself in utter wonder at this magnificent, breathing, changing, world around me.
You see – evolution, as I see it, is like a symphony. A global, cosmic, transcendent, symphony of millions of instruments playing off one another and crying out to their creator for millennia.
Evolution does not disprove God.
Evolution is the master piece of our Grand Conductor.
I still get a little teary eyed when I think about how beautiful it is.
The only problem was, I was a Christian. And Christians, well, we don’t believe in evolution. We believe in Intelligent Design (as if those are mutually exclusive?!) And to question the inerrant, literal, interpretation of Genesis was to question God Himself (pronoun very much intended).
We have moments where we encounter Truth and we come alive. Something we missed before is seen in a new light and our very soul becomes energized with the truth of it. But often, this doesn’t fit into a framework we were given. And we’re stuck having to choose between a truth that speaks to our core, that makes old things new, and our inherited theology.
We go around trying to force God into a pre-packaged set of interpretations that could never be big enough in the first place.
“All Truth is God’s Truth”
Just like “Finding God in all Things” this idea has been around for centuries, the seeds of which are planted by Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:
For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not mere human beings? What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe—as the Lord has assigned to each his task. I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God has been making it grow… For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building… All things are yours, whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, and you are of Christ, and Christ is of God.
(Huge thank you to “What is the Bible” by Rob Bell for illuminating this passages and helping me see how it fits into this idea)
God uses many different teachers- Paul, Cephas (Peter), Apollos- and we are not designed to pick a favorite and ignore the others, boasting “I follow Paul”. Rather, Paul is telling us to claim truth when we hear it, it is all a gift from God.
“Wherever you find truth, not just through teacher like [Paul] and Peter and Apollos, but also whatever helps you grow, however your mind and heart are opened to what God is doing in the world, whatever ways people or events Gods uses to teach you truth- affirm it, claim it, own it. It’s all yours” – “What is the Bible”, page 173
St. Augustine believed that all truth is God’s truth because God is the author of all reality. Simply put- if we encounter truth, wherever we find it, it always points to God. Thomas Aquinas took this idea even further writing that there are certain truths found in the Bible and illuminated by grace, and then there were other truths discovered through the study of nature. For example, the the bonding of particles to create atoms is not found in the Bible, but we know this what happens. This is truth, but it is not in the Bible.
And thats okay because,
All truth is God’s truth, and all truth points to God.
But isn’t there an Absolute Truth?
Hear me out.
“All Truth is God’s Truth” gets thrown around a lot. And I get why people from many traditions are wary, and you should be. Taken to the extreme, if everyone’s truth is equal then what do we do with Neo-Nazi’s? or FGM?
So how do we distinguish between the wishy washy, all truths are equal, yahoo, mindset? I believe it’s fairly simple:
1. Does this new revelation bring glory to the Divine?
2. Does this truth cause you to act with more love, humility, patience, care, understanding, empathy, and kindness?
If the truth you are seeing does not move you to life giving and generative action then it is not God’s Truth.
If the revelation wakes you up. If you look around the world with new eyes, if you’re moved by truth to deeply care and take action for the environment, the orphan, the widow, the disempowered, then yea maybe that’s God’s Truth.
Does evolution teach me that there is a divine creator who took time, and care, and love, and thought, in piecing together the world around me? Does the idea make me want to care for this physical environment and all its creatures just as it has taken care of me? Have I come to a deeper and more meaningful understanding of God with this new truth?
Yes. Yes. Yes.
Since Dr. Madrigal, there is no debate for be between faith and science anymore. The God of the universe is bigger than any one teacher, any one denomination, or any one country.
Don’t be afraid of the truths that are budding up inside of you. All truth points to the ultimate truth.
All Truth is God’s Truth.
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