Those aren't topics that generally go together, but they came to mind as the coverage of the New Horizons' flyby of the "dwarf" planet shed some light on the most distant of the traditional nine planets.
Occasionally, you'll get passages like this one that would give young-earthers hissy-fits
Some planetary scientists have interpreted this lack of craters to mean that the surfaces are incredibly young, geologically speaking. Frosty plains that sprawl near Pluto’s mountain ranges could be just 100 million years old — a fraction of the dwarf planet’s multibillion-year lifetime, says Jeffrey Moore, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California, who heads New Horizons’ geology team.
Just 100 million. That busts the 24/6 creation story wide open, since we're only dealing with less than 10,000 years in most classic Old Testament-extrapolated time-lines. Throw in the "multi-billion year lifetime" and you're seeing some serious cognitive dissonance in folks like me who both take the Bible at face value and have a strong interest in science.
Our church here in Midland has been walking through the Apostles' Creed since our old pastor moved on to take a teaching position in Kansas at the end of June, with the children's pastor and the music minister tag-teaming the sermon we saw last Sunday.
They were covering one of the latter sections in that one, on Judgment Day and the small-c catholic church, but it's worth going back to the beginning of the creed-
- I believe in God the Father Almighty,
- Maker of heaven and earth:
- And in Jesus Christ his only Son our Lord
Note that it doesn't obsess about the time-line here. God made it all, 'nuf said. A 20th or 21st century version might try an elaborate further in response to the longer time-lines posited by modern science, but the folks in the late 4th century (390AD is the ballpark date on it) didn't see the need to include such embellishment.
Nor do they say a word about the Bible and how to read it, including whether you can take the days of Genesis as eras or not, which would give some wiggle-room to mesh the Bible with modern science.
The Apostles' Creed says nothing about tax policy, same-sex marriage or whether the nuclear deal with Iran is a good idea.
I recall an interview a few months back with Rachel Held Evans, a noted liberal-leaning evangelical who's become Episcopalian as of late-"Every Sunday morning, I stand in my Episcopal church and join in a chorus of voices publicly affirming the Apostle’s Creed." Not that I'm going to defend Evans' stands on things like same-sex marriage and other heterodox issues, but that one can have some disagreement with orthodox thought and still "say the Apostles Creed without crossing their fingers behind their backs."
There's more than enough food for thought here to keep me writing for a while. I'm drawn to a more basic "mere Christianity" since I don't have a particular systematic theology set to call my own. However, you need to find some place to call your church home. CS Lewis himself noted that that such Apostles Creed basics are a hallway, not a room in itself, and that you have to get out of the hallway eventually and pick one more detailed set of theology.
Some of those theologies are going to be wrong. Chances are, every one of them will be wrong to one extent or another. However, there are some core issues that we dare not get wrong, which is what the early Church was trying to codify.