Transparency, Humility and Integrity
My prayer and desire for the evangelical church is to see it unified on the issue of origins. Most evangelical Christians ally themselves with some subset of three major positions: Old-earth creationism, Young-age creationism, Theistic evolution.
Old-earth creationism suffers from its commitment to long ages and the suffering of animals before the Fall of Adam and Eve. Interestingly, most old-earthers reject any form of Darwinian evolution. They believe that Adam was an historical figure created from the dust of the ground, and that Eve was created from Adam. They also believe in the historicity of the Fall and the reality of original sin. Because old-earthers are committed to these essential biblical doctrines, I tend to find myself sympathetic to their position. I disagree with it, but I don’t think old-earth creationism is heretical in nature.
Theistic evolution, unlike old-earth creationists, typically, although not always, deny the historicity of Adam and a cosmic Fall of mankind into sin. For those committed to inerrancy and the full inspiration of the Scriptures, such claims simply cannot be meshed with a straight-forward reading of both the Old and New testaments. Without an historic Adam, an historic and cosmic Fall, and the reality of original sin, the Gospel becomes compromised.
Young-earth creationism fully accepts the historicity of Adam, a literal Fall of Adam and Eve into sin, and the cosmic ramifications associated with that Fall. Although theologically sound, mainstream young-age creationism, however, has a few of its own Achilles heels.
Perhaps one of the most troubling aspects within mainstream young-age creationism is scientific authoritarianism bordering on rabid dogmatism. For the past 40 years, the “creationist public” have been fed, and now fully embrace, the following creationist mainstays: All evolutionary ideas are wrong, secular science cannot be trusted, and creationists have all the answers. End of story.
This simplistic, “we’re right and you’re wrong” mantra, is also the bedrock for a festering arrogance within young-age creationism. If only I had a dollar for every young-age creationist Facebook post, supposedly written by a “Christian,” that obliterated the credibility of the Gospel in a single stroke of the key. Oh, that all modern Christians might take to heart the words of the great puritan writer, Richard Baxter, when he said:
“To jeer and scoff, to rail and vilify, is not a likely way to reform men, or convert them to God. Go to poor sinners with tears in your eyes, that they may see you believe them to be miserable, and that you unfeignedly pity their case.” (Richard Baxter. THE SAINTS’ EVERLASTING REST: Puritan Classics (p. 140). Evangelism Press. Kindle Edition.)
Opposing these paragons of mainstream creationism (All evolutionary ideas are wrong, secular science cannot be trusted, and creationists have all the answers) will often land you in hot water, with larger creationist organizations using their massive platforms to not only quelch your scientific opinion, but publicly question your Christian convictions. I know because I have experienced these accusations first hand.
As it turns out, not all evolutionary ideas are wrong, many scientists can be trusted, and creationists simply do not have all the answers. Importantly, all of those in this minority camp are just as eager as those in the mainstream groups to maintain a faithful interpretation of Genesis 1-11 as history (see my list of creationist distinctives below). What is at stake here is not theology; it is science, and as such, should not be used as “theological leverage” by mainstream creationist organizations who equate scientific hypotheses with theological propositions.
Although mainstream creationists can lovingly weigh in and critique the scientific “white-space-ideas” of other creationists, it is not their job to “patrol” it, setting themselves up as official “white-space police” who then use their self-appointed authority to invoke suspicion by either playing the “unbiblical” card, or using language that is clearly intended to point in that direction.
Creation Unfolding seeks the freedom to investigate these “white-space-ideas” without recrimination from “white-space” police. As stated above, what is vital is a faithful interpretation of Genesis 1-11 as history. Let’s agree on that, and let’s have some hearty disagreement, but let’s not turn this into a heresy-hunting exercise when what’s at stake are ever-changing scientific hypotheses, not theological truths.
My goal here at Creation Unfolding is to propose new, fresh, and exciting ideas that will hopefully answer some of the tougher questions in creationism, by providing a collegial, gracious, and non-combative interface for all who uphold the Scriptures as the authoritative word of God.
My Creationist Distinctives
First, I believe that God supernaturally created not only an entire planet, but an entire universe in literally, six 24-hour days, all of which occurred no more than about 6000- 8000 years ago.
Second, I believe that Adam was created from the dust of the ground and Eve from his side in a single 24-hour day.
Third, I believe that God supernaturally created major groups of organisms including birds, pterosaurs, bats, land and aquatic dwelling reptiles, amphibians, dinosaurs, various groups of land, aquatic, and flying mammals, insects, plants, and various other groups, all in six, 24-hour days.
Fourth, I believe that sin was brought into the world through the transgression of Adam and Eve when they ate the forbidden fruit, thus advancing a literal Fall of the human race into a fallen spiritual state, bringing with it God’s curse on the earth and the entrance of both physical and spiritual death into the world.
And fifth, I believe that God brought a catastrophic world-wide Flood of water over the earth that killed all land breathing animals including all humans, except the eight that were in Noah’s ark.
(I’m pretty sure, not withstanding some minor differences of opinion, that I’ve covered the fundamentals here).