Congressman Paul Broun struck something into the hearts of empiricists everywhere with his remark that evolution, embryology, and the Big Bang theory are “lies straight from the pit of hell.” Some of us were put off, others angered, possibly amused, or else afraid for the fate of the nation. Greg Laden writes, “this man is saying that the Bible, which he takes absolutely literally, teaches us how to run our public policy and everything in society.” And while Broun may be on the fringe of modern Christianity, he typifies today’s Republican platform, and even sits on the House Committee for Science, Space and Technology. On Starts With a Bang, Ethan Siegel says that if Broun is right, “then the Universe itself is lying to us.” Tricky universe! Ethan concludes, “considering the entire Universe was once so hot it had no neutral atoms, no atomic nuclei, and was entirely a furnace of ionized plasma, it did all come from the pit of hell!” (And as space continues to expand, we have a lot more heavens to look forward to.)
Mr. Broun, if you believe God created the physical universe, then how can you deny physical laws? If you think the Devil is concocting cosmic background radiation and fossilized dinosaurs to lead us astray, then whose Creation is this? If you are a second-century Gnostic and believe the Demiurge created the physical universe and God’s reality is unseen, then what meaning can the book of Genesis, as a literal account of creation, possibly have? If there’s more to the universe than meets the eye, can’t the same be true of the Old Testament?