God’s role in creation-evolution: what is your position?
WHATS IN THIS BLOG:
• God’s role in creation…. four models.
• Which model reflects your position?
• Learn how to relate to others and their positions on creation-evolution.
A FULL-SIZE REPLICA OF NOAH’S ARK HAS BEEN BUILT IN KENTUCKY, and is now open for tourists. By full-size I mean the length of the ark is 170 yards (one and a half football fields), and its height is 7 stories. It’s an amazing thing to see. Included in the ark are models of dinosaurs, as well as Noah’s family. Wait…..dinosaurs were in the ark? Yes, plus explanations of the creation story. But which creation story?
It turns out there are three major creation models that Christians believe in. All three models support biblical inerrancy, but they vary in their interpretation of Genesis chapters 1-12. A fourth model is included for completeness but differs in that God is not assigned as the designer. A new book by Dr Hal Reed and Dr Duane Thurman called How to Think about Evolution** clarifies these models nicely. Here I have summarized from the book:
YOUNG EARTH CREATION (YEC).
• The creation occurred 6-10,000 years ago during a six 24 hour-day creation week by divine actions of God.
• God created the first two humans.
• Accepts the inerrancy of scripture over modern science, which means a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-12.
• The YEC model contends that the fossil layers and geological strata are a result of Noah’s flood in Genesis. The flood also caused the Grand Canyon just several thousand years ago.
• Major proponents include Ken Ham and the Answers in Genesis Institute (who organized the Ark in Kentucky), and the Creation Research Society.
OLD EARTH PROGRESSIVE CREATION.
• The earth is ancient based on geological evidence….5 billion years old.
• God directly and progressively created the major groups of organisms through time.
• Humans are a special creation by God.
• Organisms and their molecular components are too complex to have been created by ultra-slow, step-wise Darwin evolution.
• God formed adult organisms representing the major body plans during direct creative periods throughout earth’s history (e.g. the Cambrian “explosion” which started 541 million years ago and lasted only 10 million ears).
• Supporters include astrophysicist Hugh Ross, and his Reasons to Believe organization.
EVOLUTIONARY CREATION (THEISTIC EVOLUTION).
• God was involved in and created the world by evolutionary processes.
• God is the creator of all things, using biological processes that he developed.
• Also, God created these processes and allowed them to progress to form past and present biota, including humans. God is involved via processes he created, and perhaps even guided which is sometimes called directed evolution.
• A danger is that God seems far away and limits his direct workings in the universe and relies purely on naturalistic processes. Stated another way: the cosmos and life are merely products of natural causes, and therefore diminish God’s involvement.
• Most famous supporter: Francis Collins, Ph. D. geneticist and NIH director, who wrote the book The Language of God (2007) and founded the BioLogos Foundation.
INTELLIGENT DESIGN MODEL (ID).
• Burst on the scene in the 1980s and early 1990s as a re-emergence of the old watchmaker idea…. That the amazing design of living creatures and their molecular components imply an intelligent designer.
• Darwin mechanisms only explain minor changes in biota, not major body parts or intricate organs or molecular machinery.
• ID supporters do not identify God or any other deity as the designer.
• The ID community has tried to seek inclusion in the scientific discussion of origins, especially in public schools. But critics argue it’s a thinly-disguised attempt to include divine creation, and that ID is not testable science.
• ID proponents point to non-evolvable structures (too complex to have evolved) such as bacterial flagellum, information molecules of DNA and RNA, blood clotting biochemistry, the first cell, and the major body plans of the Cambrian explosion.
• Many ID proponents are associated with the Discovery Institute Center for Science and Culture. Philip Johnson, lawyer, and Michael Behe, Ph.D. biochemist, are famous proponents. Behe wrote the book Darwin’s Black Box.
It is a challenge to discern the truths in the Bible and in science concerning our origins. If this article stimulates you to look deeper, there are books by biblical scholars and scientists. Books such as Canedy et al (2013) and Reynolds et al (1999) are good examples.
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** For more information about the book How to Think about Evolution you may contact the first author at Oral Roberts University, where Dr Hal Reed is a professor of biology. Thanks to Dr Reed for providing a copy of this book ahead of publication.
The Gray Nomad
Helping someone to hope
The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for you! [Werner Heisenberg, super-great physicist who was involved in the discovery of quantum mechanics].