". . .the word of God is not bound." II Tim. 2:9b

Sunday, May 1, 2016

A Stance on Creationism and Evolution in the Public Schools

Many Christian teachers are required to teach evolutionary theory as fact in their classrooms. In some states, laws outline how cosmology and biology may and may not be taught. A simple Google search will reveal some of the more recent battles state legislatures have fought over evolution in schools.

See, for example, NPR's summary here or the Pew Research Center's take here.

Many Christians are tired of the topic. Is it really that important? Can't I be a Christian without believing the Biblical account of Creation?

The trouble is, the Creation account is everywhere in the Bible, and it's considered part of the Gospel (Rev. 14:6-7):
"And I saw another angel flying in midheaven, having an eternal gospel to preach to those who live on the earth, and to every nation and tribe and tongue and people; and he said with a loud voice, 'Fear God, and give Him glory, because the hour of His judgment has come; and worship Him who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and springs of waters.'"

It's not something you can pry out of the Word of God. It's part of the final message to a dying earth: Believe in the Creator.

So how about teaching Creationism in the public schools?

The way I see it, we have to be realistic about the world in which we live. The public schools belong to the state and not the church. Just as I cannot expect my unsaved neighbor to obey God's laws in his home, I cannot expect a fallen government (and they are all fallen governments on this earth) to enact God-centered laws for their schools. There are several implications of this perspective.

First, if I'm a voter, I vote.

Second, if I'm a parent, I consider prayerfully whether to place my child in public school or to home school him or her or seek some other school. If choosing public school, I interview my child's teachers and dialog often with my child about my beliefs, knowing I can't force my child to believe the same way I do. I can only lead and pray. Every parent has to work through the school choice question for himself.

Third, if I'm a public school teacher, it means I look carefully at the expectations placed on me in my job. Will I be required to teach evolution? If so, how must I teach it according to state laws?

I would like to hear from other Christian teachers about this tough topic. The matter of Evolution vs. Creationism is no small matter to Christians. We may never convince others to agree with us, but that doesn't mean we should roll over and play dead. The God of the universe asks us to persevere. What does this mean to you? How has Creation affected your thinking about your profession?

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