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Perhaps God created the process of evolution as a way for life to survive the natural calamities that He knew would come, such as the meteorite impact at Chicxulub in Mexico's Yucatan Penninsula that is thought to have wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. A remnant of the animals (mammals, birds) apparently did survive and went on to re-populate the earth. This view is consistent with the story of Sodom and Gomorrah in Genesis 18-19, where a remnant is saved because of God's mercy. (If you want to know why God sent or allowed the Chixculub meteorite in the first place when there was no sin of mankind to destroy, you'll have to ask Him when you get to heaven. I plan to. The same question applies to present-day hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and other natural disasters.) This view asserts that evolution is not God's ideal process for creating life, but instead evolution is God's way of providing for life to survive and thrive in a difficult and dangerous universe. Life on earth has indeed survived for many millions of years despite the worst that satan could throw at it. The universe is good - good enough for us to marvel at along with the Psalmist. But God's ideal arrangement for life is . . . heaven!

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The charge of cruelty is another matter. Where does the Bible say that the working out of God's plan here on earth never involves cruelty? There is plenty of cruelty in the coming of Jesus Christ:

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It is not correct that the working out of God's plan here on earth must be smooth, linear, and predictable. The apparently chaotic path of evolution matches the history of Israel better than a smooth straight path! And that's a good thing, because the history of Israel is our story. It's your story, and it's my story. It's my story because my faith did not hold perfectly steady from infant baptism until now. Perhaps the story of evolution can be viewed as a cautionary tale, but a tale with hope for us all. God can work through the jumbled mess of human history. He can work through the jumbled mess of natural history, too.

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As a scientific account that describes the present state of our universe, Genesis is not a very good description. One could easily get the impression that planet Earth is at the center of the solar system. Morning and evening happen for three days without benefit of the sun. The firmament sounds like a big blue dome above the atmosphere, or at least a firm demarcation between man's zone and God's realm. In several places rain seems to come from windows in the sky that are opened to let pour out the water that is held up there. You would think that the words "sphere" or "round" would appear somewhere. We are already interpreting Scripture in the light of science.

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Geologists have recently found evidence that something very strange happened to the earth right at the Pre-Cambrian boundary. Discoveries like this make science exciting! It appears that a global freeze suddenly gave way to a very hot period. This abrupt change must have had something to do with the sudden explosion of life forms, but what? The researchers suppose that isolation and selection pressure during that event produced an "evolution engine" capable of great leaps in a short space of time. But the details, the mechanism, and the verification are still anybody's guess.

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The Flood is a miracle, either global or local. Why is there a need to invent pseudo-science to "explain" it? We don't need 70-mile high geysers, volcanoes, massive earthquakes, and entire continents appearing and disappearing in a few months. These catastrophes are not reported in the Biblical account of the flood, and we don't need to add them. There are a few allusions such as in 2 Peter 3:6 "so that the world of that time was destroyed by being flooded with water", but not enough to base a history or a theology. Don't we believe in miracles? It's much better to say "I don't know" than to make up an explanation for Biblical events that we don't understand.

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In February 1993 I went on safari in northern Tanzania after climbing Kilimanjaro. I visited Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park. Two observations surprised me: how green the African landscape was, and that a kill is a rare event. National Geographic and the Discovery Channel leave viewers with the impression of slaughter, of lions continually hunting and bringing down the grazing animals. Obviously a kill is exciting and filled with natural drama - it makes great TV. But when you are actually there, the reality is different. It's hard to observe a kill taking place, or even to discover one after the fact. Tour guides call each other on the radio when they find a kill, and all the safari minivans cluster around so the tourists can take pictures. The overall impression I got in the wilds of East Africa was one of serenity and peace. Yes, there is danger, but the entire natural spectacle is beautiful and magnificent! It doesn't look like an ongoing war of nature. The big picture is not one of struggle and cruelty, famine and death. Instead, it looks - not perfect, but "very good". Just like God said.