Monday, February 13, 2006
How Did the Universe Begin? Two Views
How do Christians understand the origin of the universe? Two opposing views were expressed over the weekend:

First View: Evolution (New York Times, "At Churches Nationwide, Good Words for Evolution"). This news story says:

On the 197th birthday of Charles Darwin, ministers at several hundred churches around the country preached yesterday against recent efforts to undermine the theory of evolution, asserting that the opposition many Christians say exists between science and faith is false.

. . . .

The event, called Evolution Sunday, is an outgrowth of the Clergy Letter Project, started by academics and ministers in Wisconsin in early 2005 as a response to efforts, most notably in Dover, Pa., to discredit the teaching of evolutionary theory in public schools.

"There was a growing need to demonstrate that the loud, shrill voices of fundamentalists claiming that Christians had to choose between modern science and religion were presenting a false dichotomy," said Michael Zimmerman, dean of the College of Letters and Sciences at the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the major organizer of the letter project.

Second View: Creationism (Los Angeles Times, "Their Own Version of a Big Bang" [free registration required]). This article reports:

Answers in Genesis is the biggest of these ministries. Ham co-founded the nonprofit in his native Australia in 1979. The U.S. branch, funded mostly by donations, has an annual budget of $15 million and 160 employees who produce books and DVDs, maintain a comprehensive website, and arrange more than 500 speeches a year for Ham and four other full-time evangelists.

With pulpit-thumping passion, Ham insists the Bible be taken literally: God created the universe and all its creatures in six 24-hour days, roughly 6,000 years ago.

Hundreds of pastors will preach a different message Sunday, in honor of Charles Darwin's 197th birthday. In a national campaign, they will tell congregations that it's possible to be a Christian and accept evolution.

Ham considers that treason. When pastors dismiss the creation account as a fable, he says, they give their flock license to disregard the Bible's moral teachings as well. He shows his audiences a graphic that places the theory of evolution at the root of all social ills: abortion, divorce, racism, gay marriage, store clerks who say "Happy Holidays" instead of "Merry Christmas."

What do I think? As an admitted fan of Answers in Genesis, I suppose my answer is not hard to figure out. Let's just say that I have a lot more hope in Ham's ministry than I do in "Evolution Sunday."
posted at 8:45 AM  
Comments (5)

At 10:03 AM, Blogger Paul said...

What about the third view: old earth creationism? An old earth doesn't automatically mean Darwinian evolution.

At 10:07 AM, Blogger John said...


True enough. The main point of my post was not to lay out all of the Christian perspectives of creation. I was seeking to contrast the different positions reported in two newspapers over the weekend.

Additionally, I am not one of those YEC guys who believe OEC is heresy. Nevertheless, I still believe there are both biblical and theological problems with the OEC view. Thank you for allowing me to clarify.

At 11:12 AM, Blogger Paul said...

Right, in-house debate. Now, if we can just get the critics to understand that "Christian" doesn't automatically mean YEC, and if we can just get the major YEC/OEC groups to stop beating each other up.

At 3:58 PM, Blogger John said...

Dr. Ted Cabal has tried to essentially do just this. In 2001, he presented a paper to the Evangelical Theological Society, "Evangelicalism and Young Earth Creationism: Necessary Bedfellows?" (you can have a copy of the paper sent to you by following this link). It is a good paper. Of course, others have responded to it since then, but I still think it is this kind of dialogue which will move us forward.

At 3:08 AM, Blogger Clive said...

I'm a biblical creationist, I suppose that puts me into the 'young earth' camp. I prefer to say 'recent and rapid'. I am always intrigued by Christians who adopt an 'other than recent and rapid' position ending up adopting a position which seems to be to be exclusively informed by a world view with the presumption that there either is not god, or if he is 'there' he is silent!
Some non-R&R views must imply a fissure in thinking between the Bible and its contact with reality: some form of idealism dominates this separation of 'arenas of reality', as opposed to what I read in the Bible of its 'philosophy' of concrete realism (as I call it).


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