Thursday, October 11, 2012
Watch at BBC iPlayer until 22nd October.
I'm intrigued on a number of levels - not least that holding to a young earth view of the world is in the category of crazy conspiracy theorists! Gulp...
I don't want to be harsh on the believers, who knows how much or how little they've been edited to tell a story... but the Creationists don't exactly come across well.
Some of them keep quiet and some are definitely stronger than others - I was most impressed with Sam, who I've subsequently discovered is a CU Leader. Phew! Perhaps they've submitted themselves to something of a fools errand and some seem not to be particularly well equipped for the challenge. Why no one suggests (in the clip we're shown) that whales wouldn't have been in the ark because they'd be in the water defies reason... Its strange that Maxwell things 6000+ years isn't enough to grow a large population... even a fairly low birth rate produces huge multiplication quite quickly... but it's easy to pick holes in anyone elses arguement when you're not in the room eh!
The big frustration is seeing unnecessary dichotomies set up. The suggestion that if you can't hold to Young Earth Creationism you might have to bin Christianity is annoying... it's really not the make or break issue.
Andrew Wilson is ably showing that the question is complex and needs careful consideration... offering 10 evangelical approaches.
Not all questions are equal... did God create is more important than the process and date of creation... a historical Adam is vital to the good news about Jesus more than determining his date of birth... It matters that there was a flood but there is room in the literature of Genesis for a number of possible readings about exactly what happened. The text of Genesis 1 is less concerned with dates than it is with showing the character and personality of a relational God of spreading goodness...
I'm glad that this TV show exists and it provokes me to make sure we - the church - equip people well to engage with issues and questions that matter. Questions that can be stumbling blocks but need not always be so. Serious evangelicals hold to a range of views on how to read Genesis and answer questions.
Personally there are some questions on which I have a strong answer, some where I don't know and some where I'm really ambivalent. I don't mean it doesn't matter - I mean there are questions on which a lot hangs and there are questions whose answers don't necessarily make much difference.
Ultimately the resurrection of Jesus is more important than exactly when the world came into being. The resurrection is the chief article of the faith, and I'd love to see Andrew Maxwell run a Conspiracy Road Trip on the suppression of the evidence about the Resurrection, though reading Acts would uncover most of that.
I'm really interested by Andrew Maxwell himself. He's funny and thoughtful, and shows his hand at the end of this programme "My idea of God is a giant eternal loving being who must be in all the texts or none of the texts." (Now there's a 21st Century conspiracy...) Everyone has commitments and beliefs about the world and about God... Maxwell included. And he wants to win people to his viewpoint, why is that? Where does Maxwell's idea come from - and what stops that just being a crazy conspiracy theory too? I'd love to hear Maxwell more. How has he got to where he is? Why does he care about this issue? Why does he passionately care about truth? (He should!) And why does anyone believe what they believe (whether in the 7/7 or Creationism episode)?
And I have to say I quite like the concept of a road trip in which big questions about life are asked. We need more of that!
Did you watch it? What did you think?