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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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-
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).
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
• 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.
“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.”
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.
• 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
“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
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