Joel Belz: Maker and shaker

NICK EICHER, HOST: Today is Wednesday, April 10th. Good morning! This is The World and Everything in It from listener-supported WORLD Radio. I’m Nick Eicher.

MARY REICHARD, HOST: And I’m Mary Reichard. Genesis says that in the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. WORLD founder Joel Belz now on foundational truth.

JOEL BELZ, FOUNDER: Recent media reporting has focused on the devastating flooding from Mozambique to the Missouri River valley. And each brought new reminders: The doctrine of Creation matters.

The problem is that so few Christians really believe that any more. Evangelicals have increasingly swallowed the line that what we believe about origins is really just about the same as what everyone else believes—except we think God controlled the process.

Leading evangelical colleges quietly but efficiently steer thousands of students toward theistic evolution. It’s a more sophisticated and less embarrassing explanation of origins than what we learned as beginners in Sunday school.

I still remember an exchange I had while standing in line at my bank some 25 years ago. The woman in front of me and I were both glued to another exchange just outside the window. There a cat was crouched beneath a bush watching a bird above him as only a feline can.

“I have two cats,” the woman told me. “But I don’t let them play with birds. Mice, voles, shrews—OK. They can gobble them up to their hearts’ content. But no birds. Can you believe some people actually get a thrill out of watching a cat catch and eat a bird?”

Well, no, I can’t. But I was puzzled about the double standard. I asked: “Do you suppose that God might have built that into his creation—that he planned that we would put a higher value on canaries than we do on mice? Or is that something that we came up with on our own?”

The woman’s blank stare suggested I was speaking Swahili.

From CNN to Fox News, analysts speak with one voice today when it comes to “nature.” It produces comments like one I heard the other day on NPR. A commentator said—quoting now—“Mother Nature may just be getting angry at all the abuse and pollution human beings have piled on her in recent years.”

But nary a word about God’s role in all this.

Yes, it bothers people to think—and especially to talk—about God’s involvement in the cyclone in Mozambique or the floods in the Midwest. But we’ve been blackmailed. By conceding the story of creation the way most of us learned it as little children, we’ve forfeited the stage where we might talk about the very God who set it all in motion.

If we’re too squeamish to talk about God the Creator, we’ll naturally shrink from a discussion about a God who orders the details of that creation. Maybe if we were a bit bolder, we’d challenge a newscaster here and there to take God seriously. Or maybe even a woman in your line at the bank.

For WORLD Radio, I’m Joel Belz.

(Brian Peterson/Star Tribune via AP) The Sand Creek in Jordan, Minn., floods its banks in March due to a large ice dam. 

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.

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