One of the particular flash points in the unfortunate war of faith-based science versus secular, atheistic science is over the issue of cosmology or origins. For many years I have intentionally avoided pursing an opinion on the matter for the following reasons:
- It hardly seemed important. The key information in the Creation perspective is that God exists and created, not how God created.
- The militant nature of both sides was off-putting. The debate seemed more about proving each other wrong, not about pursuing any sort of truth.
- Where does one even begin? Scientific theories and thought can change in an instant. Much of creation science seems to begin with a certain assumption, and uses scientific data to support that assumption. One such assumption is that certain aspects of our understanding of God are immutable, that God does not change and our understanding of how God has done something is a fixed point. What happens when that fixed point is challenged? Suddenly we have theology against science. To argue creation science based entirely on the current understandings in scientific thought could undermine the entire endeavor if that scientific thought is proven to be in error. To wit: a significant paradigm shift could completely destroy the “science” behind creation. In the British science fiction series Torchwood: Children of Earth a hospital worker relates how the proven existence of aliens had led to an increase in suicides. One example given was of a Christian for whom alien life didn’t fit into her theology. If we build science into our theology, what happens when that science is proven incorrect or faulty. Scientific change comes more readily than theological change.
Unfortunately, the areas I have avoided thinking about have now become areas of concern and doubt. I don’t have to know how God created the universe, the earth, and man, but neither can I refuse to confront the issue, especially as my mind is increasingly led away from a literal interpretation of the creation account in Genesis. Or, perhaps more accurately, I do interpret Genesis literally . . . but I may differ in my opinion of what is literally present in the account.
Here is what I believe. Genesis 1 teaches a truth, and that truth is that God created all of existence, the universe and everything in it. I don’t claim to know the details, nor am I convinced that they are of vital importance . . . that they are a mere intellectual pursuit drivin by curiosity. Nevertheless, I am going to begin a personal investigation into the matter. I am going to develop an opinion of creation and I will post my findings and research here. Please bear with me, should I not post in a timely manner. My life, sadly, is not conducive to pure intellectual pursuits and regular patterns of writing (which I hope will one day change). I still have a job and certain social obligation. Regardless, I will journey forth. I plan on hitting the following points and authors on this journey and am open to further recommendations:
- Charles Darwin
- Richard Dawkins
- John C. Polkinghorn
- Arthur Peacock
- Ken Ham
- Kenneth Miller
- Francis Schaeffer
- Hugh Ross
- The documentary Expelled
- Michael Behe
If you recognize these names, you will notice that I have quite a bit of pro-creation sources, but am lacking in the anti-creation camp. I’m sure as I read these books, I’ll find threads to follow, but if anyone has more sources to investigate, then please submit them in the comment section.
I plan on beginning with an analysis of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species. In many ways, this text was the first major weapon in the arsenal of atheistic science. However, Darwin’s theories were by no means original. Darwin was merely the first to put pen to paper, armed with observational evidence and an ability to make everything accessible. But before I pursue Darwin further, allow me to express a bit of frustration. The previous section was written a full three weeks prior to this one, and I have since learned how very daunting this task could be. I have had to shift and readjust both the focus of this pursuit, but also my way of analyzing it.
At the beginning of my research, I naively assumed there were primarily two sides to this debate: atheistic science and theistic science. Depending on how broad you paint this, it is true, but when I got further in to the debate, I saw that, like politics, there are about as many opinions as there are people who have put pen to paper on this subject. We have old earth/universe vs. new earth/universe, Big Bang vs. no Big Bang, worldwide flood vs. localized flood vs. no flood, human evolution vs. no human evolution, and so on with creation science proponents on all sides, arguing with each other just as much as with the atheists.
So, a question: who is right? Or perhaps a better question would be “who can be right? I am constantly amused by the books that come to the book store where I work, books with subtitles like “The Final Evidence Against Evolution.” Doesn’t the fact that these book are continually published imply that this “final evidence” isn’t so conclusive? Neither side of the broad view of the debate seems to be able to win the debate, even though there are people on both sides who feel the debate ended long ago and the other side lost.
I am also continually saddened by the villainization of Charles Darwin, as if he was a man who schemed his whole life to destroy the Christian religion and God. In reality, he was a man with a gift for scientific observation who wrestled with and eventually rejected his faith, was destroyed by the death of his daughter, and conducted some of the definitive research on earthworms. Christians rarely seem to give Darwin credit on his understanding of earthworms.
In the interest of brevity, I shall bring this particular post to a close for now, but in my next post on this topic, I will briefly outline the three main categorizations of this debate and what they believe.