Who is right, the creationists or the evolutionists? In this man’s humble opinion, they both are. Evolution and Creationism actually go hand in hand. The origins of this dilemma really trace back to the implications of Lyell’s geology and Darby’s theology. That in turn gave rise to the age old debate between the young earth/global flood advocates and the old earth/local flood believers.
Here is just a brief summary of evolution creationism: Evolutionary creation embraces the time-honored belief that divine revelation flows from two major sources––the Book of God’s Words and the Book of God’s Works. This position supports a complementary relationship between Scripture and science in understanding origins.
The Latin complere, from which derives the word “complementary,” means “to finish” and “to fulfill.” The verb “to complement” refers to the act of adding something that is lacking in order to make complete. Therefore, together the Two Divine Books fulfill each other; alone they are incomplete.
Science reveals how the Creator made this spectacular design-reflecting world, while the Bible declares precisely who created it—the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
The most compelling argument for evolutionary creation is that it accepts without any reservations both biblical faith and modern science. This position frees us from the chains of the “origins dichotomy” and the “science-religion warfare” myth, both of which have imprisoned many minds throughout most of the twentieth century.
Evolutionary creation meets the yearning of a scientific generation in search of spiritual meaning. More specifically, it offers an intellectually satisfying worldview for those who experience Christ in a personal relationship and know His creation through science. Though this position recognizes that science and religion operate within their respective domains, it does not suffer from the intellectual schizophrenia of placing them in individual compartments. Instead, evolutionary creation features an integrated worldview and connotes a respectful and fruitful dialogue between the best science today and the foundations of historic Christianity.
Evolutionary creationists also enjoy freedom from scientific concordism/supremacy. Instead of tearing the words of Scripture out of their lexical and historical contexts in order to harmonize them with modern science, Evolutionary Creationists are neither embarrassed nor apologetic for the obvious ancient science in the Bible. For example, there is no need to twist and manipulate the Hebrew word raqia‘ (traditionally and best translated as “firmament”), and then claim that it refers to the atmosphere or outer space. Scripture clearly states that God created a “hard dome” overhead, and evolutionary creationists recognize that this is an accommodation to ancient peoples by the Holy Spirit, in order to reveal the Message of Faith that He is the Creator of the heavens. While Moses is widely credited as the author of the Pentateuch, he should correctly be noted as the editor-in-chief, as some of the writings of the first five books were already in existence prior to his penmanship.
In light of the ancient science in God’s Word, it is evident that the Bible is not a book of modern scientific facts revealed before their discovery, but a book of inerrant, life-changing, spiritual truths. The day/age theory, the Gap theory, and the literal 24 hr/ 7-day creation of the heavens and the earth don’t fit into the context of this particular article, but suffice it to say that Genesis is the beginning of God revealing himself and his covenantal relationship to man six thousand years ago, not the beginning of the actual origins of the universe.
Christian evolutionists are free as well from the God-of-the-gaps. This idea of divine creative action sees the Creator as little more than a tinkering meddler who intervened sporadically into the world to add creatures and/or missing parts. From this perspective, God made the original creation incomplete. But instead of looking for “gaps” where He purportedly entered to create, evolutionary creationists assert that His divine power is apparent in the robust self-assembling character of the evolutionary continuum of life, from the first molecules to human beings. However, it is not an endorsement of Darwin’s macroevolutionary theory in which he hypothesized that man evolved from apes, assuming transitional fossils would have been discovered, which they never were. And instead of fearing the Creator’s retreat from the world because of the loss of supposed “gaps” in nature, evolutionary creationists welcome scientific discoveries that fill gaps in our knowledge and claim these as declarations of the Lord’s glory.
In particular, advances in the sciences dealing with evolution proclaim the faithfulness of God’s natural processes in an evolving creation.
Evolutionary creation is the only Christian view of origins that offers a unified vision of science. It does not postulate that those practicing certain scientific disciplines are intellectually incompetent or spiritually deceived, as so many like to falsely frame the debate. There is no discrimination between sciences dealing with the daily operation of the world and those investigating its past origins. And evolutionary creation does not segregate evolutionary biology from cosmology, geology, and paleontology; it emcompasses it.
For example, young earth creation has a disjointed understanding of science. On the one hand, it rejects the evolutionary sciences. Yet on the other hand, these anti-evolutionists support and even practice modern engineering and medical sciences, accepting research built on the assumption that natural processes feature robust regularity.
Similarly, progressive creation has a double standard in its science. It affirms the evolution of the inanimate universe as offered by cosmological and geological sciences, but dismisses the unifying principle of biological science that life evolved.
However, these are false dichotomies that originate ultimately from the assumption that Scripture features scientific concordism and a God-of-the-gaps understanding of divine creative action.
In contrast, evolutionary creationists uphold the unity and coherence of all the natural sciences, because scientific discovery is ultimately rooted in God the creator. They believe that the Creator has made a world that faithfully follows His ordained and sustained natural laws and processes, and they embrace the belief that He has gifted us with marvellous minds and the ability to investigate the physical world.
Through science, we can think God’s thoughts after Him and discover His method of creating the universe and life. In fact, Christian evolutionists believe that every scientific discipline is a gift from the Lord, including the evolutionary sciences.
Evolutionary creation offers a balanced complementary relationship between modern science and Christian faith. This position notes that the church’s struggle in the early seventeenth century with Galileo’s astronomy offers a valuable insight into understanding the evolutionary sciences and the biblical accounts of origins.
This historic episode led many believers to realize that the Bible is not a book of science, but a book of salvation. Christians who accept evolution as God’s method of creation are especially inspired by the famed aphorism that Galileo popularized: “The intention of the Holy Spirit is to teach us how one goes to heaven and not how heaven goes.”
For contrasting viewpoints, check out “Answers in Genesis” (Ken Ham – young earth/ global flood advocate) and “Reasons to Believe” (Dr. Hugh Ross – old earth/local flood advocate).
Until next time . . . Wake Up America!
Kevin A. Lehmann
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