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Christian Views on Creation and Evolution. Young-Earth Creationism. Conforms in most respects to a literal reading of scripture. • Is a literal reading of scripture always the appropriate reading? Does not agree with a straightforward interpretation of

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young earth creationism
Young-Earth Creationism

Conforms in most respects to a literal reading of scripture.

• Is a literal reading of scripture always the appropriate


Does not agree with a straightforward interpretation of

astronomical, geological, and biological observations.

• Could the scientists be wrong or biased in their inter-


old earth creationism
Old-Earth Creationism

Conforms in most respects to current scientific findings,

while admitting some poetical aspects of scripture (e.g.,

“days” in Genesis 1 represent “ages.”)

• How does one decide which parts of scripture to take

literally and which to take figuratively?

Need to revise whenever scientists find a natural

explanation for something attributed to miraculous

intervention by God (“God of the gaps”).

• Shouldn’t we point out cases where naturalistic

explanations seem to fail (e.g., “irreducible complexity”

as evidence for intelligent design).

theistic evolution or fully gifted creation
“Theistic Evolution” or “FullyGifted Creation”

Stresses that scientific explanation is limited in scope and

cannot reveal all aspects of truth. God’s creation is “good”

in that he does not have to intervene to close “gaps.”

• How does this understanding differ from Deism?

Seems not to take sufficiently seriously the inspiration of


• This objection would be true only for a particular view

of the inspiration of scripture, and one not sanctioned by

scripture itself.

two ironies
Two Ironies

• Scientists, working from a standpoint of “methodological

naturalism,” themselves require a faith very close to that

of Christians. When there is no scientific explanation for

some phenomenon, they do not give up. They know from

past experience that one is likely to be found, just as

Christians know from experience of God’s faithfulness

that he is present even when it seems that he is not.

• Both materialistic scientists and those espousing

“creation science” seem to agree (in practice, at least)

that scientific truth is the only truth that matters.

what is science
What is Science?

“Authentic science is a way of knowing based

upon testable descriptions of the world obtained

through the human interpretation of natural

categories of publicly observable and repro-

ducible sense data, obtained by interaction with

the natural world.”

—Richard Bube

nothing buttery donald mckay
“Nothing Buttery” —Donald McKay

This sentence consists of a pattern of black

marks on a white background.

This sentence is nothing but a pattern of

black marks on a white background.

An explanation can be a true and complete

description on one level, yet miss the most

important point on another level.

why is this issue important
Why is this issue important?

• Education: If we are wrong, we will give students

both bad science and bad theology.

• Evangelism: If we are wrong, we may needlessly

prevent people from coming to a saving knowledge

of Jesus.

“Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy

Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow to their

wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their

mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by

those who are not bound by the authority of our

sacred books.” —Augustine

the main issues
The main issues:

Interpretation of scripture

•Need for cultural as well as linguistic translation

•Need for appreciation of literary style

Humility and agnosticism

•We do not need to claim to have an answer for every quandary.

Science vs. scientism

•“The Cosmos is all there is, all there ever was, and all there

ever will be.” —Carl Sagan