What Do Creationists Believe?

I have no problem with PZ Meyers, or any other evolutionist, labeling any creationist a “wackaloon“.  In fact, their personal attacks suit my argument more then it suits theirs’.  However, the least they could do would be to properly represent what the creationist position is.  I’m not saying that PZ Meyers has particularly misreprested our worldview, but I’ve noticed a general trend in this area.  So here it goes.

Christian Worldview

The basic Christian worldview is one in which a benevolent and just God created the Universe and everything in it.  This God created the Earth and “saw that it was good” (Genesis 1).  This allows Christians to account for the order in the Universe.  More particularly, how the universe exists and acts as a collected, integral whole.  This God also formed man in his “image”.  One implication of this is that our morality, reason and intelligence were created by God.  Since God created us, He then has ultimate authority over our lives, His wisdom is the ultimate wisdom; man’s wisdom, no matter how wise, pales in comparison.

The Bible

Creationists believe that the Bible is the Word of God.  We take Biblical parables as parable, poetry as poetry, metaphor as metaphor and historical accounts as history.  One of the more controversial (not to Christians however) accounts, the Creation account found in Genesis 1, we take it as the historical account it is.  At no point, after Genesis 1, does the Bible make a “ok, NOW we’re talking about facts” literary break.  Genesis 1 is meant to be a literal account of how God created the world, and we take it as such. 

Through Genesis 1 we know that God exists, He is the creator of all things, and the Universe is not eternal, since there had to be a beginning.  Notice that Genesis 1 doesn’t ARGUE for the existence of God, it assumes it and declares it.  This also establishes a two-level reality.  We have the uncreated, infinite, eternal, personal God and then everything else.  Genesis 1 also expresses an absolute ease of creation, a testament to the all-powerful nature of God. 

The Bible is also the main way in which God imparts His wisdom and will onto the world.  2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;” 

Science

If any atheist or theistic evolutionist wants to make a strawman out of the creation position, they can just label the debate as “science vs. religion”.  When has a creationist argued against the use of penicillin?  Or against the utility of open heart surgery?  The creationist fully embraces, and furthers, the utility of modern science.  The “science vs. religion” strawman also ignores the fact that the fathers of science (Newton, Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, Copernicus to name a few) were creationists by belief.  Many of whom wrote more about theology than they did about science.  Taking Genesis 1 literally obviously didn’t stop them from becoming the greatest scientists of all time.

Labeling the debate “evolution vs. religion” is also a strawman.  The creationist knows that God created life to evolve as we can observe quite easily.  It is the assumption that the small changes we can see around us will necessarily lead to the large changes we can’t see that the creationist challenges.  How large the gap is between observable science and unobservable science must be more fully and honestly explored. 

The argument isn’t about the utility of science, which is obvious to everyone.  Over the last 150 years, naturalism has attempted to explain the unobservable past, the origin of all things.  This worldview is directly attempting to take God out of the picture.  The presupposition that God is not needed must be shown to be the house built upon sinking sand that it is.  That’s what this argument is about.

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7 Comments on “What Do Creationists Believe?”

  1. Zacharias Says:

    The argument is about whether or not the creation story in Genesis should be taken literally or not, and more specifically it comes down to timelines. Are the six days to be taken as days in the sense that we know them now? And if the biblical timeline is to be taken as fact then the 6000 year old date of the earth needs to be reconciled with the obviously older dates to be found geologically.

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    Zacharias

    I agree with you, the question IS about Genesis. But it’s more about the presuppositions individuals having coming in to reading Genesis. If one reads Genesis with the idea of taking what the text says, then 6 days can’t be thought of any other way. But if one comes in already convinced that the Earth is 4.5 billions years old, then they MUST change the word “day” to mean something else, or they must reject Genesis altogether.

    “And if the biblical timeline is to be taken as fact then the 6000 year old date of the earth needs to be reconciled with the obviously older dates to be found geologically.”

    Here’s where we differ. I don’t find the old Earth dates geology gives us to be “obvious”. The old Earth conclusion is just that, a conclusion. It’s a conclusion built on evidence and assumptions.
    Evidence:
    The amount of argon left in a rock is X amount and the observed rate of decay of Potassium is Y
    Assumptions:
    1. The rate of decay of Potassium has always been the same. Nothing that happened in the past 4.5 billion years could have changed it at all.
    2. The starting amount of Potassium has always been the same for every newly formed rock
    3. There are is no Argon present when the rock hardens.

    When geologists assume those 3 to be true, then their conclusion is an old Earth. If we don’t assume those 3 to be true, then we realize much more research is needed.

  3. Zacharias Says:

    “Here’s where we differ. I don’t find the old Earth dates geology gives us to be “obvious”. The old Earth conclusion is just that, a conclusion.”

    Very true, perhaps ‘obvious’ wasn’t the best word to use! Like you said, science, like religion, cannot -prove- anything definitively. Science is after all always a work in progress based on theories which make the most likely sense.

    I believe that there shouldn’t be a real conflict between science and (non-fundamental) religion. One explains the how, the other they why. 😉

    Or course, it’s all dependant on one’s own beliefs.

  4. Eric Kemp Says:

    Zacharias

    “Science is after all always a work in progress based on theories which make the most likely sense.”

    It’s nice to see a rational person without a dogmatic belief in all things naturalistic. I would further assert that science itself it built upon Christian worldview presuppositions, and cannot function without them.

    I would also assert that the Christian worldview can account for many “hows” that naturalism cannot. For instance, “how can we trust in the uniformity of nature”? And “how can we know that reason and logic are universal?” (Well, perhaps those questions can also be asked with a “why” at the beginning).

    “Or course, it’s all dependant on one’s own beliefs.”

    What are your beliefs if you don’t mind me asking?

  5. Zacharias Says:

    I am ( a convert in) Eastern Orthodox. It’s a branch on Christianity largely unknown in the West, but during the Great Schism of 1054 Christianity split into Catholicism and Orthodoxy.

    If you’re interested, I’d definately look into it. It’s a wonderful counter-point to the juridical, law-based Catholicism. They never lost the mystical aspect of Christianity and are the first to admit that it is absolutely impossible for us to know anything about the essense of God (though we can know his energies, or interactions in the material world.)

    It’s very experiential, rather than strictly dogmatic.

  6. Eric Kemp Says:

    I’ve briefly studied the split and during that time much respected the Greek Orthodox stance, althought I am not well versed on the exact differences between Eastern Orthodoxy and Western Christianity.

    Do you believe in the Deity of Christ as is laid out in the Scriptures? What about the humanity of Christ?

  7. Zacharias Says:

    I sure do. It was the united Christian Chruch which developed and set into concrete those ideas during the seven ecumenical councils. In fact, the Orthodox Church is sometimes known as the Church of the Ecumenical Councils because we hold so fast to the decisions which came out of them, neither adding nor subtracting anything from the basic beliefs since then. This is because unlike the Catholic Church, which believes that the Pope is able is speak infallibly on matters of doctrine, the Orthodox Church believes that rather than one single man, it takes a decision of the entire church to be considered infallible. In fact, just today I posted a quick little blurb on the humanity of Christ.

    The differences between the two Churches really aren’t that huge. Briefly the are:

    1. The idea of Papal Infallibility (and jurisdiciton)
    2. The dogma of the Immaculate Conception (which stems from Western Christianity’s view of Original Sin)
    3. The Filioque (which Orthodox believe is dangerous as it could be taken to limit the monarchy of the Father in the Godhead)

    Those items (to the best of my knowledge) represent the only real doctrinal differences, but there are numerous liturgical differences which don’t pose a problem. There are actually Byzantine-Catholic Churches which are in full communion with the Pope of Rome that follow the Byzantine Liturgy and many of the theological ideas.


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