Friday, August 31, 2007

What Is a Creationist?

On Feb. 7, 2007, USA Today's religion columnist Tom Krattenmaker in "The Forum" discussed "The Bible" Many other similar columns could be cited where science is pitted against the young earth creationist position, as if no other position deserves to be called "creationist." Such articles present only one creationist position because the writers think that position is easier to attack. Creationists, they say, believe the earth was created approximately 6000 years ago in six calendar days. According to such authors, "science" presents the rational alternative -- Darwinist evolution. By painting all creationists with the young earth brush, the evolutionary position is made to appear more reasonable and rational.

Mark Noll, religion historian, has stated "The word creationism by rights should define all who discern a divine mind at work in, with, or under the phenomena of the natural world." Included under this definitional umbrella would be the day-age view of earth/life history in which creation days are six sequential, long time periods. This position offers an entirely plausible interpretation of both scientific findings and the Genesis account. Sadly, the media seldom mention the validity of these alternative interpretations. Neither do they wish to characterize them as "creationist," because their agenda would be seriously weakened.

These issues are heavily charged with tension and suspicion among the community of Christians. The search for truth is not well served.

The Science/Faith Connection

Science issues connect to our Christian faith more significantly than ever before. Some discoveries of modern science are welcomed by Christians with great enthusiasm. Startling improvements in technology…medical advances…new discoveries in genetics…improved knowledge of the cosmos and the bio-system…marked improvement in product quality, to name a few. It's an exciting age to be alive!

When the life of a loved one is saved or extended by advances in medical knowledge, most Christians see the advance as a gift enabled and given by God. On the other hand, scientific discovery extending our knowledge of the age of the universe or the history of life on this planet is greeted in some camps with suspicion and doubt because such discovery does not conform to cherished theological tradition.

Our goal for these posts will be to examine some of the issues, both scientific and theological, which engender misunderstanding, even disharmony, among God’s people. The goal is to come as close to truth as possible. Our model in this truth quest is none other than Christ Himself, who stated in John 18:37 “In fact, for this reason was I born, and for this reason I came into the world, to testify to the truth.”

A Welcome Message

Science can be an effective apologetic as we attempt to communicate our Christian faith. In the natural world which surrounds us there are multiple opportunities for faith-affirming observations. Long before the scientific revolution of the last five centuries, the psalmist was able to exult "The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands." (Psalm 19:1 NIV)

Our opportunities in the current day have improved dramatically! For example, our knowledge of the incredible fine tuning of the universe has increased a thousandfold. Abundant life, including the life of God's highest creative achievement, man, is not possible in a universe characterized by chaos and chance. We need to be well instructed in both theology and science.

I invite you to comment on any faith-related science topic, particularly those raised by the participants on The John Ankerberg Show or in these posts. I'll attempt to read each one carefully and attempt to respond on the site or in person as time permits.

Welcome to

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Meaning of "Truth"

In this age, “truth” has different meanings to different people. Some say truth is relative, that is, it depends upon the individual. Most people, however, may agree “truth” is that which is “really real.”

When we meet new friends, one of the first things we discover about them is their age. Our curiosity about the age of the earth and universe and about our forebears Adam and Eve is easy to understand. With respect to the truth of the age of the earth and facts about the earliest created humans, we need to go beyond their mere existence and the physical reality of the world in which they were placed. Our truth quest leads us to ask questions such as How old is the earth? How long ago did Adam and Eve live? Have creatures lived and died on the earth for millions of years? There is a reality of “truth” connected with these issues.

Scientists have accumulated an overwhelming body of evidence signaling an earth and universe of enormous age. The professional science community, sometimes not in agreement about interpretation of scientific data, nevertheless is in rock solid agreement on this issue: Earth’s age as a planet is measured in billions of years. Likewise, life in some form, they say, has existed quite early in earth history.

Recent broadcasts of “The John Ankerberg Show” featured debates which paired sincere adherents of both recent and ancient creationist views. These positions are known as young earth (YEC) and old earth (OEC) creationism. Future posts will examine some of the sore spots resulting from these divergent views.