Monday, May 24, 2010

Why Creationism?

One may wonder why these posts have dwelt at length on the topic of creationism, a term the secular media often associate with recent origins of the earth and universe. The community of evolutionary science has derived benefit from the perception that creationism is now defined that way. The evolutionary community promotes the perception that creationism is to be understood in a “literal” fashion. That would include belief in only six 24-hour creation days just several thousand years ago. Therefore, when I announce myself as a creationist, many listeners assume I believe the creation events were recent and accomplished in only 144 hours.

The arguments for evolution are actually strengthened by this concept of creationism. Rodney Whitefield expresses this view effectively in Genesis One and the Age of the Earth: “At the present time there is among evangelical Christians a degree of confusion about Genesis One. The confusion has arisen from the advocacy of a ‘Young Earth’ reading of Genesis One. This advocacy has come to prominence mainly within the past 40 years. It is the opinion of this author that this rise to prominence has been aided by the Darwinists themselves. The opposition to Darwinism by the ‘young Earth’ advocates serves the Darwinists because it avoids the need to mount a scientific defense of Darwinism. Instead, the Darwinist can attack the claims and assertions of the ‘Young Earth’ advocates, assertions which are not in accord with the Hebrew of Genesis One. The Bible cannot be effectively defended nor can the Gospel be effectively proclaimed by asserting things which the Bible does not say.”

Whitefield and many other Bible scholars see Genesis 1:1 and 1:2 as “already completed background information.” The universe had been created long before the sudden appearance of complex bacterial life on Planet Earth 3.8 bya. This complex bacterial life is the precursor of today’s ore deposits on which our complex society runs, as well as breakdown of rocks into soil and the production of atmospheric oxygen. Two past posts supply a relevant review:

Genesis 1:3 begins the description of God’s creative acts spanning six “days” and a seventh day when God rested. Ancient literature frequently used a seven-day literary structure. Davis A. Young writes in The Bible, Rocks and Time that “Clearly, the number seven was used in the ancient near east symbolically for the concept of completion or perfection.” Young further states that the great theologian of the early church, Augustine, “concluded in his most mature study, The Literal Meaning of Genesis, that...humility and lack of dogmatism in interpretation of the creation account is called for!”

Young explains that the symbolism of numbers in Genesis 1 “leads us to believe that it is not the intent of Genesis 1 to provide the kind of detailed factual information that one would find in a straightforward narrative report, nor the kind of detailed factual information that would be useful in developing a scientific reconstruction of the historical unfolding of the universe.”

Secular scientists who mock Christian creation beliefs do not report the nuances of scripture interpretation described above. If they did, the concept of “God created” might be accepted by the public with greater favor.