In the beginning God created . . . We know this famous passage from Genesis 1, the first words of our Bible. What we often fail to appreciate, unfortunately, is how profound these words are in their implications for all of human existence. How human beings understand the origin of their existence has everything to do with how they understand that existence, and how they attempt to live it. Everything. If, on the one hand, we believe that all we are is lucky dirt as a result of an astounding cosmic accident, that will have certain implications. It is easy to prove both logically and practically none of these are good. By contrast, if we are created by an almighty personal God in his image, the implications of the logic flow in an inescapably positive and constructive direction.
Why would this be significant for keeping our kids Christian? Simply put, we have to sell “real reality” to our children. I cannot adequately convey how crucial this is as an apologetic for our children. The world works a certain way because that is the way God made it to work. If our origins, where we came from, are in the mind and will and power of God, then the reality we inhabit will in every sense reflect this God, the God we learn about in the Bible.
I thought about all this reading an article with the strange title, “More Lessons from The Twilight Zone On the Importance of People.” The author tells of an episode where we learn that wealth isn’t a function of natural resources, but of people who turn those resources into something valuable.
[N]o resource – even the most ubiquitous – is truly natural. Water can be used to grow food. It can be distilled and purified. But only if human beings use it toward those ends, and develop efficient ways of doing so. Sunlight can be harnessed for energy – but only if human beings devise ways of doing that, and come up with the means to do so. All natural resources have potential value, even if no one has yet to develop them.
If God is our Creator, and we are created in his image, then we too are co-creators with him. And it doesn’t surprise us that he gave us a world filled with raw materials that could be turned into wealth through human ingenuity and creativity. The lucky dirt people, on the other hand, only everywhere see limitations and apocalypse. Whether that’s global freezing 40 years ago, or global warming today, we are constantly told we’re headed for ecological disaster. In the 60s and 70s as I was growing up environmentalists predicted overpopulation and mass starvation on a worldwide scale. This failed to happen because the scaremongers didn’t take into account one little factor in food production: human beings! Environmental predictions of coming doom have been one huge Epic Fail.
The idea of economic limits goes back to someone who should have known better, Thomas Malthus, an economist, demographer, and Reverend in the Church of England. His main idea, very simplified, is that population growth will always exceed the resources to support it. If he had understood his Bible better, he would have known that God made the world to support the people he told to “fill the earth and subdue it.” I read a book by George Gilder some years (decades) back that once for all cured me of this notion of a world that could not sustain its inhabitants called Wealth and Poverty. If you want to know how “real reality” works economically, there are few resources better to learn about this than Gilder’s book. The world works the way Gilder argues because man, male and female he created them, is made in God’s image. Full stop.
I have more to say on this and will bring in our old (well, he’s only 2,300 hundred give or take a decade or two) friend Aristotle, so I think a series of posts are in order because the implications of origins, God’s good creation or lucky dirt, are manifold.