The election of Barack Obama has brought the issue of fundamental Christianity and its inabilty to interact with modern culture back into the limelight. Much has been made of Dr. Dobson’s vituperative objection to Obama, and his insistence that Obama is not a true believer because of how he interprets the Bible, especially the story of creation in Genesis. On the other side of the issue, Sarah Palin came in for her share of media ridicule for her understanding of a literal six day creation. Now that the election is over, perhaps a discussion of this issue can be held. I invite your response.

The Globe and Mail’s Robert Fulford, in an excellent series of essays entitled The Triumph of Narrative  devotes a chapter of this collection to “Master Narratives and the Patterns of History.” He states that “Each society develops a master narrative to which it frequently refers,” and goes on to point out that countries use such narratives as “the only sure source of righteousness and moral certainty available in times of national crisis.”

But it is not just countries that have such narratives. Ideas, whether political, philosophical or religious have master narratives as well. Part of the reason why Christ is able to penetrate all cultures so effectively is the power of His narrative. It is such a compelling story: that the Creator God would step into history to redeem fallen mankind and provide through his sacrifice and triumph over death a way to heaven, is electrifying in any language.

But make no mistake, Evolution has succeeded as a scientific theory not because it answers all the issues regarding the development of life, (Read Michael Behe’s excellent book Darwin’s Black Box  for an excellent summary of evolution’s clanging errors), but rather because it also is a compelling story. Evolution is a darn good ‘read’, and Christians, who know first-hand the power of narrative in their own lives, should be the first to recognize that.

However, I am by no means aligning myself with those who fail to see that the Bible oftens wraps spiritual truth in metaphor, analogy and parable, and this does not decrease its historical and empirical truth one bit. If I give Pam flowers, or bring her a cup of coffee in bed in the morning, that is just as much a way of expressing my appreciation and affection for her as saying “I love you.” Strict literalists of Bible interpretation who insist that it cannot be an expression of affection because the words ‘I love you’ weren’t imprinted on the flowers are too simple-minded to have any effective witness in the world.

Yes, of course God created the world. Even Stephen Hawking, an avowed atheist, writes in his A Brief History of Time  that the overwhelming weight of evidence points to a divine creator of the universe. But he, unlike Richard Dawkins and many other evolutionary idealogues, is transparent enough to admit that he personally finds this answer objectionable, and is searching for an alternative. However, if the overwhelming evidence is that God created the world, it is equally apparent that God can use any means within His unlimited power to do so. Nor is it deliberately deceptive of Him to tell us briefly the narrative of how this was done using metaphor and analogy. If ‘flower’ can stand as a metaphor for ‘love’, cannot ‘God made’ stand as a metaphor for ‘God used a combination of amino and deoxyribonucleaic acids in a saline/protein environment’?

Narratives have power. God recognizes that, and has wired our brains to be receptive to truths being conveyed in such a manner. After all, isn’t this how Christ conveyed truth in the story of the Prodigal Son, The Good Samaritan and The Wise Steward? To insist that the story of creation be written in technical scientific jargon or rejected as ‘untrue’ is to reject the possibility that there is in fact a God, whose master narrative includes the salvation of mankind through His own loving sacrifice.