Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Creationism: A Broad View

The professional science community studies and describes the functions of living systems from simple to advanced, from bacteria to humanity. It has also provided advanced knowledge of physical processes governing our world. The scope of their discovery is overwhelming. Science educators have communicated this knowledge to our young people at their appropriate levels of understanding, from primary school to middle school, and from secondary school to college and beyond.

A theistic worldview superimposes a strong creationist flavor to the knowledge of bioscience and physical science. First, we define what we mean by creationist in this context. Evangelical historian Mark Noll has penned a succinct definition of creationism. Noll says, “The word creationism by rights should define a divine mind at work in, with, or under the phenomena of the natural world.” Noll’s definition prudently broadens the definition.

Secular textbooks do not acknowledge a “divine mind” at work in the natural world, particularly in the world of living things. Secular biology textbooks, however, trumpet evolution as the guiding force channeling the trajectory of life’s history. Their message is unequivocally religious in tone.

Some may object to use of the term “religious” in this context. Perhaps authors of modern textbooks object, because religion and science have been described as consisting of widely separated realms. Such objections would depend primarily on their singular definition of religious, ignoring several alternate linguistic definitions. Religious commonly relates to belief in divinity according to one familiar definition. An alternate definition states, “Strictness of fidelity in conforming to any practice as if it were an enjoined rule of conduct.” Still another describes religious as, “belief in any cognitive content held as true.” Many other modern definitions of religious do not include the divine or the supernatural.

Knowledge of the beauty, structure, function, and behavior of Earth’s living things as well as the physical universe is an occasion to glorify the God of Creation. These traits and features provide us with opportunity for intuitive perception of a deeper reality. Thousands of science professionals have unlocked the secrets of our magnificent cosmos and the intricacy of its living inhabitants. Those who see God as Creator, Designer, and Sustainer of all cosmic systems are appropriately termed creationists.

Secularists disparagingly mock creationists, claiming the recognition of a “divine mind at work” (Mark Noll’s eloquent phrase) is a religious intrusion into the naturalistic realm of science. Creationists, they claim, impinge on the sphere of secular naturalism they wish to preserve for the domain of science as they conceive it. When the ancient prophet penned Isaiah 40:26 and many other majestic creation passages he was fully aware of the multidimensional concept of the theology of creation. Broad concepts of creationism and the theology of creation are often poorly appreciated even by leaders in our churches. We link a previous post:

The Bible is a creationist text. It contains dozens of creationist passages. Our Christian worldview enables us to proudly own the title “Creationist.”