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Creation or Evolution versus ??? and ???. A study in False Dichotomy What is “Evolution” anyway? NOT “where everything came from” Cores 5 & 6 will address this… (hopefully!) Cosmic, Chemical, Biological, Cultural – clarify ! “Deep Time” with unity and diversity of Cosmos, Earth, & life

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Creation or Evolution versus ??? and ???

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creation or evolution versus and

Creation orEvolutionversus???and???

A study in False Dichotomy

What is “Evolution” anyway?

NOT “where everything came from”

Cores 5 & 6 will address this… (hopefully!)

Cosmic, Chemical, Biological, Cultural – clarify!

“Deep Time” with unity and diversity of Cosmos, Earth, & life

But tonight we’ll focus a bit and look at…

creation and various flavors of creation ism

Creationand Various Flavors of Creationism

What is the distinction between:

Creation & Creationism?

Philosophy/Theology & Natural Science?

the philosophy of science

The Philosophy of Science

Raffiniert ist der Herrgott, aber boshaft ist er nicht (Einstein, 1921)

“God is complicated, but He’s not evil.”

Idea: Nature is creation and God’s not going to trick us into thinking reality is different than it appears.

Nature is the “second book of Creation” and we have the privilege of trying to read it!

christian epistemology an example from st paul

Christian Epistemology(an example from St. Paul)

“When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things. At present we see indistinctly, as in a mirror, but then face to face. At present I know partially; then I shall know fully, as I am fully known.” – I Corinthians 13:11,12 (NAB)

what is christianity what is science
What is Christianity, What is Science?
  • Christianity is about a relationship with God through Christ who atoned for our sins on the cross. Christianity is also an explanation for meaning and purpose of our existence
  • Christianity is not a scientific explanation of how the physical universe operates, nor how creation took place. However, in common with all other religions, before the advent of modern science it did give an explanation within the cultural context of the day
  • Science tries to understand the nature of the physical universe, and the mechanisms of creation, such as the Big Bang, through methodological naturalism, i.e. it is confined to only naturalistic explanations
  • Science does not address meaning or purpose, nor makes any assumptions about a supreme being, or supernatural processes, in particular Teleology is not a part of science.Teleology is the study of purpose (the “Why” of existence) – religion attempts to answer this!
creation accounts in the bible

Creation Accounts in the Bible

There are several (John 1:1-14 is my favorite!), but the two stories in Genesis (Ge 1:1-2:4a and Ge 2:4b-3:24) are given the most attention – by far!...

Note: The issue of whether there are two stories or one is controversial!

broad categories of genesis interpretation literal

Broad Categories of Genesis Interpretation: “Literal”

Six 24 hour days circa 4004 BC

This is the point of view of many conservative Protestants and a handful of Catholics

What does “literal” mean? (better terminology is “plain historical narrative”) – is this possible? Adherents of this view often assert that the Bible is “inerrant in the original manuscripts”

Look at Ge 1:6-8 and the Hebrew word ra’qia

“expanse”, “firmament”, “dome”

Also look at what “evening”, “morning” and “day” mean before the Sun is created on Day 4

broad categories of genesis interpretation concordist

Broad Categories of Genesis Interpretation: Concordist

Concord – “agreement”: Scriptural narrative agrees with physical reality at various points

This may include, e.g.,

Ge 1:1 (maybe 1:3) concords with the Big Bang

Ge 1:11-12, 1:24 concords with a mediated creation, perhaps via evolution

The upshot is that Genesis is historically and scientifically accurate when “properly interpreted”

broad categories of genesis interpretation allegorical

Broad Categories of Genesis Interpretation: Allegorical

Allegory = ”True myth” = Theological truth

This the view of most modern Catholic theologians

Can parts of the Bible be myth and still be “TRUE”???

if you were yhwh what would you do

If youwereYHWH, what would you do? 

A “literal” account that has no relationship to the observed universe (recall the Einstein quote)?




flavors within the historical concordist categories include
Flavors within the Historical-Concordist categories include:
  • Six 24 hour days circa 4004 BC (maybe up to 10Ka)
  • Gap/Chaos: Old Cosmos and Earth, young biosphere (still have six 24 hour days of creation)
  • Day-Age: “A day with the LORD is…” (Psalm 90:4)
  • Analogous Days: Creative periods, like work days
  • Framework: Days 1-3 “Fill the Void” … Days 4-6 “Form out of Chaos”
  • Days of Proclamation: Ge 1 is “preplanning”
the spectrum of beliefs note the true dichotomies are

The Spectrum of BeliefsNote: The true dichotomies are:

Naturalism --- Supernaturalism


Evolution --- Anti-evolution

the spectrum of beliefs
The Spectrum of Beliefs
  • Flat Earthers
  • Charles K. Johnson - International Flat Earth Society
  • Geocentrists
  • Robert Sungenis -
  • Tom Willis - Creation Science Association for Mid-America -
  • Young Earth Creationists (YEC) – outsiders
  • Kent Hovind - Creation Science Evangelism -
  • Carl Baugh - Creation Evidence Museum -
  • Turkish Muslim organization: Haruya Yayha -
    • Well, it’s at least “anti-evolution”, which is the essence of this issue
the spectrum of beliefs15
The Spectrum of Beliefs…

Young Earth Creationists – “mainstream”

John and Henry III Morris – Institute for Creation Research –

Ken Ham – Answers in Genesis –

Young Earth Creationists – (YEC)Omphalos

Philip Henry Gosse (1857)

Old Earth Creationists(OEC) – Gap

Jimmy Swaggart, C.I. Scofield (1909) – Read commentary

Old Earth Creationists – Day-Age

Jehovah Witnesses - Watchtower Bible and Tract Society of New York

the spectrum of beliefs16
The Spectrum of Beliefs…

Old Earth Creationists – Progressive

Hugh Ross – Reasons to Believe, Pasadena, CA –

Old Earth Creationists – The Intelligent Design Movement (“ID 2”)

Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Paul Nelson, Jonathan Wells, Stephen C. Meyer - Discovery Institute -

Evolutionary Creationists - a Jewish perspective

Schneider, Susan, 1984. Evolutionary creationism: Torah solves the problem of missing links –

the spectrum of beliefs17
The Spectrum of Beliefs…

Theistic Evolutionists(Divine Design or “ID 1”)

Teilhard de Chardin, Theodosius Dobzhansky, Francis Collins

Methodological Materialistic Evolutionists(MME)

Stephen J. Gould – “NOMA”

Is compatible with ID 1 and evolutionary creationism

Philosophical Materialistic Evolutionists

Richard Dawkins – Atheists are the “Brights”, wrote The God Delusion (2006)

11/20/06 New Scientist article - Beyond Belief: In Place of God

Is incompatible with ID 1 and is compatible only with MME

yec example answers in genesis

YEC example: Answers in Genesis

D6. “No apparent, perceived or claimed evidence in any field, including history and chronology, can be valid if it contradicts the Scriptural record. “

mainstream protestant example evangelical lutheran church in america elca

“Mainstream” Protestant example: Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA)

“The ELCA doesn't have an official position on creation vs. evolution, but we subscribe to the historical-critical method of biblical interpretation, so we believe God created the universe and all that is therein, only not necessarily in six 24-hour days, and that he may actually have used evolution in the process of creation.

Historical criticism is an understanding that the Bible must be understood in the cultural context of the times in which it was written.”

from the archbishop of canterbury 3 21 06

From the Archbishop of Canterbury3/21/06

"I think creationism is, in a sense, a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories. Whatever the biblical account of creation is, it's not a theory alongside theories. It's not as if the writer of Genesis or whatever sat down and said, 'Well, how am I going to explain all this?'. . . For most of the history of Christianity, there's been an awareness that a belief that everything depends on the creative act of God is quite compatible with a degree of uncertainty or latitude about how precisely that unfolds in creative time."

what about the ecfs early church fathers

What about the ECFs?(Early Church Fathers)

In the absence of modern science, one would assume they would all be YEC for Biblical reasons, right?

Some of them were (maybe), like Irenaeus and Lactantius

And some of them definitely weren’t, like Origen and Augustine…

st augustine tried five times to come up with a literal reading of genesis

His next to last work, De Genesi ad litteram duodecim libri (415 A.D.), has this:

“Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world,… Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. … For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion. “

St. Augustine tried five times to come up with a “literal” reading of Genesis
modern catholic view also see this link

Modern Catholic View?Also see this link

John Cardinal Newman

The Idea of a University(1852, 1858-73)

“The object of all science is truth ;”

Humani Generis – Pius XII (1950)

“The Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, insofar as it inquiries into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter.”

“Truth Cannot Contradict Truth” - JPII (1996)

Benedict XVI

Appears to support ID 1 rather than ID 2 ???

must catholics accept evolution from this website

Must Catholics accept evolution?From this website…

“Must faithful Catholics accept evolution as true? No, but they may accept it, with the proper theological qualifications in place, without contradicting their faith. Whether man's body actually evolved from a subhuman species isn't, as such, a theological issue even if, indirectly, it may have some theological implications; it is mainly a question of scientific evidence. Perhaps John Paul agrees with those who think the scientific evidence supports evolution. But Catholics, as Catholics, are not obliged to hold that scientific assessment.”

- From the website Evolution and the Pope

a simplified history of cosmology
A Simplified History of Cosmology

Biblical Universe (Enuma Elish)

Geocentric Universe

Copernican Universe

Galilean-Newtonian Universe

Galactocentric Universe

Big BangSteady State

Inflation, Multiverse and Quantum Cosmology?

Next Model?

Yet the Next Model (and so on)?

1000 BC

Before 1543 AD

After 1543

After 1687

After about 1850





Should any of these continually refined understandings of the Universe (Creation!) undermine our basic belief in a Creator?If so, why?

theological considerations

Theological Considerations?

Theology of the Cross


Theology of Glory

Links here and here

theology of glory
Theology of Glory
  • Modern Evangelicals, Fundamentalists, Pentecostals, and most Charismatics
  • Stresses salvation experience and outward blessings and spiritual experiences – perhaps even temporal financial reward
  • Adam’s sin “breaks” creation and brings suffering and death which the Second Adam undoes spiritually and eventually physically with the parausia. But…
  • Since evolution involves death and suffering, it’s not likely that God could have created with evolution. In fact, we should avoid that possibility at all costs!
    • Again, what does “evolution” mean?
theology of the cross
Theology of the Cross
  • Eucharistic Churches
    • Roman Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Anglican, Lutheran, …
  • God enters His creation and participates in its history
    • The Incarnation (“The eucatastrophe of history” – J.R.R. Tolkien)
  • God experiences the suffering of His creation
    • A proposed solution to the Problem of Evil (“Theodicy”)
  • God creating via evolution is not just compatible with Christianity, it’s the best explanation of the history of the Cosmos, Earth, biosphere, and humans
    • IMHO, the best book I’ve read on this subject is The Cosmos in the Light of the Crossby George Murphy
more theology philosophy
More Theology & Philosophy
  • What is the role of Free Will in all of this?
  • Is the Universe contingent or completely determined from the get-go?
  • Which of the Christian theologies is more compatible with what we observe?
the real deal imho
The Real Deal (IMHO)
  • There are several creation stories in the Bible
  • But the best one in my humble and dubious opinion is John 1:1-14
    • In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made.
    • Here the “Word” is the Logos, which is understood as the pre-existent and eternal Christ
all joking aside here s a good resource

All joking aside, here’s a good resource: