The Story Behind the Big Story

| By on The President's Notebook Featuring: Leonard J. Vander Zee

Last June, Pastor Len Vander Zee was an invited speaker at our BioLogos national conference.  His presentation was an excellent discussion of preaching and ministry in the context of modern science (available here).  What had us all spellbound, though, was the last 15 minutes.  He began to preach an amazing visual sermon, spinning a tale of wonder and beauty about “the true story of the whole world” (as N.T. Wright calls the Bible). Len brought the key events from billions of years of natural history right alongside the biblical narrative, with scientific images and beautiful artwork.  My jaw dropped as he described the scientific wonders of the Big Bang as a reflection of the joy of the Trinity--God the Father, Son, and Spirit.  He told the story of the evolution of plants and animals as an expression of God’s creativity, something we celebrate at BioLogos.  He told of the development of the first humans and of how our sin tore us away from God’s intended path.  He brought us on a journey through God’s plan for salvation in Jesus Christ and finally to the end of all things in God’s restored creation.  

In the break following his presentation, the room was abuzz.  Although many of us had thought about the scientific timeline alongside the biblical timeline, we had not experienced it this way before.  Pastor brought the delivery of a true preacher who reaches the heart and soul as well as the mind, drawing on a lifetime of pondering the grand biblical narrative and his love for modern science. Many people asked us for the recording so they could watch it again or a link to forward to their friends.  We asked Pastor Len to re-record it, and we’re delighted to share it with you here. If you like it, please help us spread the word on social media, email the link to others, or even organize a showing at your church or campus.

RIght after Len’s conference presentation, I talked to an older man in the audience.  He said that at the end of the story he “felt like a little kid - you know, the kind who says at bedtime ‘tell me the story again daddy, tell it again.’”  This is a story worth hearing over and over.  It is our story, the story of how humanity fits into God’s grand work over billions of years.  It is a story worth living, out of gratitude for the gift of salvation and looking forward to the new creation.  It is the true story of the whole world.   

Click on the image above to view "The Big Story"




Haarsma, Deborah. "The Story Behind the Big Story" N.p., 15 Feb. 2016. Web. 17 February 2019.


Haarsma, D. (2016, February 15). The Story Behind the Big Story
Retrieved February 17, 2019, from /blogs/deborah-haarsma-the-presidents-notebook/the-story-behind-the-big-story

About the Author

Deborah Haarsma

Deborah Haarsma serves as the President of BioLogos, a position she has held since January 2013. Previously, she served as professor and chair in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Gifted in interpreting complex scientific topics for lay audiences, Dr. Haarsma often speaks to churches, colleges, and schools about the relationships between science and Christian faith. She is author (along with her husband Loren Haarsma) of Origins: Christian Perspectives on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design (2011, 2007), a book presenting the agreements and disagreements of Christians regarding the history of life and the universe. Haarsma is an experienced research scientist, with several publications in the Astrophysical Journal and the Astronomical Journal on extragalactic astronomy and cosmology.

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