There has been a fair amount of discussion in the media in recent days of Creationism vs. Evolution, perhaps sparked by Bill Nye (“The Science Guy”) and his recent online debate with Creationist Ken Ham.
My concerns with Creationism are threefold: one scientific and two theological in nature.
The scientific one is simply that Creationism flies in the face of established science, science with a very deep and well supported history of research behind it. To choose Creationism over Evolution requires rejecting a multitude of well established and well defended facts that are highly supportive of each other, and have shown a massive amount of predictive value in terms of where to look for new revelations of the nature of Creation. Creationism cannot do this, and also (in effect) requires rejecting the majority of scientific theory and research made over the last 500 years or so, along with the advances that have been made as a result of those theories and research.
For me, Faith is of paramount importance (which is probably obvious, given that I am a minister). However, Faith must pass the “sniff test” – meaning that it is relevant and meaningful in this world that we live in and know. Creationism fails that test. This leads to my two theological concerns, where Creationism fails even more egregiously than it does when portrayed as a scientific theory.
First, one of the primary tenets of Christianity is that God created this world and then gave mankind the freedom to choose to love God – or not. One of the primary points of the stories of Creation in Genesis, and a message found throughout the Bible as a whole, is that God made room for us, and all of Creation for that matter. God deliberately made room for us to make choices, and to be subject to the effects of the choices we make. If this were not true, then our choices do not matter, and we would be, effectively, God’s playthings, not creatures worthy of respect and love. Choice would be an illusion; and God would not be a deity that we could love, nor would we ourselves be creatures that God could love, other than perhaps in the way that a child loves an inanimate doll.
Creationism fails this test because the ability to choose lies at the heart of what Evolution is about. We are capable of changing. We are capable of making choices that will impact us, impact those around us, and impact the future. If this is true, then evolution is inevitable. If it is not true, then – and only then – does Creationism make sense.
The second theological concern is that in order for Creationism to work, one must be willing to assume that God is fooling us, creating a wealth of evidence about evolution that is meaningless; or else that God has made us with minds that are so warped and flawed that we are unable to perceive reality. Creationism says that the gifts of logic and reasoning we use to navigate through this world and to perceive all that is – including the existence and nature of God – are all for naught. Again, it means that we are toys, not creatures to be loved and respected by God.
I do not believe that God would do such things. God has made room for us, God loves us, and desires that we return that love. If this is so, then Creationism is an inherently flawed theory with nothing positive to say about our relationship with God, of the nature of God, or of any part of God’s Creation.
Ultimately, Creationism is a delusion based on the belief that faith must have a factual basis grounded in what I’ll call a non-metaphorical understanding of the Bible. It claims that Fact must be Faith. This is a fallacy. Faith must help us understand reality, but it is a complement to science, it enables us to see truths and perspectives that science cannot fully elucidate for us. Faith does not conflict with science, and should not be portrayed as doing so. And, neither Faith nor Science should be twisted to try and merge them, or to make them exist side by side seamlessly, even if one could do that – which Creationism certainly does not.
Copyright (c) 2014, Allen Vander Meulen III, all rights reserved. I’m happy to share my writings with you, as long as you are not seeking (or gaining) financial benefit for doing so, and as long as proper credit for my authorship is given (e.g., via a credit that gives my full name and/or provides a link back to this site).