Faith at the Field Museum

June 9, 2011

This past Monday my wife convinced me that it was important to take our kids to the Field Museum in Chicago. Monday is typically my day off and this week the museum was free. So we packed the kids in the van and drove downtown. We live in the suburbs and like it that way, but we thoroughly enjoy visiting the city. Chicago is rich with first-class museums, beautiful parks, and much to do.

I hadn’t been to the Field Museum in about 20 years. I had remembered it as a big place with a lot of dry artifacts and dinosaur bones. Never one for geology, I envisioned this trip being a boring tour of various rock exhibits. I was wrong. The Field Museum is a wonderful place for learning and exploration, with exhibits and hands-on stuff for kids of all ages to enjoy. We only toured a fraction of it, bowing to the reality of three kids under six who don’t do well in big museums without taking naps.

But we saw enough to wow us about the incredible, complex world in which we live. We saw the different species of plants and animals, we toured the Egyptian exhibit and were amazed at the ingenuity of people who lived thousands of years ago. And the replicas of big animals always stirs in us excitement and wonder at the creativity of our Creator.

Except there was no mention of the Creator at the Field Museum. And this is where our trip ended (for me) with profound sadness. Now I didn’t expect the secular Field Museum to be a cathedral. Of course not. But it’s quite odd to marvel at the incredible design of a creation and see no mention of the Creator.

The Bible tells us that the Heavens declare the glory of God. They are a testament to the world that there is something bigger out there than us. And the unique design of, for instance, the human cell screams of a transcendant Being whose wisdom and ingenuity created it in the first place. And yet we’re subjected to theories of how things just happened, collided, exploded, and evolved.

This is absurd. Imagine touring the Museum of Air and Space at the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C and seeing no mention of the Wright Brothers. Imagine behold the incredible development of the airplane, but reading nothing about the designers who crafted these flying machines? It would not only be absurd, it would be scandalous and an offense to the people who diligently spent their life on these inventions. It would say something about us, that we were almost ashamed of them and tried hard to edit them out of the story.

This is what is happening with evolution. Christians can debate the facts all they want. They can point to the lack of clear scientific data proving the theory of evolution. They can get their brightest minds to push back against the culture.

But the Creation and Evolution is not a debate of facts. It’s the wrestling of the culture against the inborn knowledge of a transcendant God. We come up with novel theories of our existence only because we want to ignore the signs of nature that point to a glorious God. We do this because as sinners, we are ashamed. Like Adam and Eve in the Garden, we hide. We want to convince ourselves that there is no God so that we don’t have to face up to who we really are.

As Christians, it is our job, not just to apologetically present the truth of Creation, but more importantly to fill the vacuum with the Gospel. To lovingly share that, yes there is a God, but no you don’t have to hide. Because the sin that has made you ashamed has been covered for you by Another, Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection reconcile you to the One who created you.

So next time you visit the Field Museum or some other place that edits out God, don’t react with anger and facts, but let it stir in your heart a longing to share with people the good news of the gospel. So people will no longer hide from the God who loves them.