Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fighting Over Creation

God created everything that is in existence...Everything that has come into being has come into being because of God’s creative work. God created human beings in his own image for his glory and purposes...We are not a product of Darwinian Evolution. This also means that because he is sovereign over all of creation that we as Christians should not fear scientific discovery but rather we should strive for a better understanding of both the scope and limits of what can and cannot be found through science. Much of what we see in terms of Darwinian Evolutionary science is largely based upon the theological foundation of Naturalism which starts with the fundamental belief that there is no God. We as Christians can be confident that scientific discovery will ultimately not be at odds with creation because nature bears God’s imprint.
This statement from my Credo paper is bound to cause some to nod in agreement, others to scratch their head and still others to blow their top. And I expect those reactions from within the Christian community as well as those outside of it. First and foremost I understand that this posting has the potential to be inflammatory; especially when I start to explain my terms and further nuance my beliefs.

First let me explain my terms.

I must admit that I believe in evolution. Take a moment and look at Merriam Webster’s definition of evolution. I have absolutely no disagreement with any of those definitions until you get to 4b. I even believe in biological evolution. We see change over time repeated throughout the biological world. Living creatures adapt. I use the term Darwinian Evolution to differentiate between general evolution (change over time) and that of speciation (change over time leading to new species).

Next I state that Naturalism is a theological foundation because it presupposes certain beliefs about God. Naturalism is the philosophical belief that everything can be explained by natural causes. Therefore, in Naturalism, there is no need for or the existence of anything supernatural.  It is philosophically and diametrically opposed to the existence of a god in the same sense that Christianity holds that there is a God.

Next let me nuance my beliefs – and this is where I will get in trouble with some of my Christian brothers and sisters.

I am an “Old Earther.” There is a fairly strong debate within the Christian community between those that believe in a young earth (tens of thousands of years old) and those that believe in an old earth (billions of years old). One thing that must be pointed out is that there is a difference between those that believe in an old earth with specific creation and those that believe in an old earth with theistic evolution. Without getting into all of the details (links with details below), I believe that God specifically created the universe over time which included the specific creation of the first man named Adam and woman named Eve.

So what does this all mean in terms of everyday life?

Being posted under the tags Credo and Foot Knowledge mean that I see this as a point where what I say I believe doesn’t always match how I live my life. The issue isn’t that I need to live my life different when it comes to old earth creation. To be honest I wasn’t always an “Old Earther” and while some of my arguments may have changed, how I do and should live my everyday life has not changed because I became an “Old Earther.”

Rather my disconnect comes when reading 1 Corinthians 11:17-22. The passage is dealing with the unity that should be found in the Lord’s Supper and the reality of the divisions found within the Corinth church. The same can be said over the arguing between Creationists. I realize that there are some fairly serious ramifications in the differences between the old and young earth views. But the rhetoric and divisions have created two distinct groups of people. The distinctions are drawn sharp enough that I thought twice about posting this…and for a doctrine that should be a peripheral doctrine, this should not be.

Some Old Earth References:
Greg Koukl’s article Star Light & the Age of the Universe
Hugh Ross’ chart of the Creation Timeline
Hugh Ross’ list of Fine-Tuning For Life in the Universe
Greg Moore’s article Old-Earth Creationism: A Heretical Belief?
Greg Moore’s article Does Old-Earth Creationism Contradict Genesis 1?
Kevin DeYoung’s interview with Jay Richards What’s Wrong with Theistic Evolution?
Stand To Reason’s Science & Evolution resource page
Reasons to Believe Friend’s Papers resource page
J.P. Moreland’s Articles resource page

Young Earth Resources:
Terry Mortenson’s article Why Shouldn’t Christians Accept Millions of Years? 
Ken Ham & Dr. Terry Mortenson’s article Chapter 12: What’s Wrong with Progressive Creation?
Answers in Genesis Articles resource page

And merely for informational purposes, here is an article by Answers in Genesis doing the very hermeneutical gymnastics that they accuse the “Old Earthers” of doing.

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