Let the glory of the LORD be eternal. - Psalm 104:31
What are the major views about creation?
Christians and non-Christians alike have held a variety of views both about the source of life and about how the variety of life on earth today arose.
Young earth creationists1 generally believe that:
Amongst many others, major representatives of this view include Dr. Henry Morris and Dr. Gary Parker of the Institute for Creation Research (ICR, http://www.icr.org). Parker and Morris are the authors of What is Creation Science? (link to my review)
Old earth creationists generally believe that:
Some key representatives of this view include Dr. Gleason Archer, and Dr. Hugh Ross (Reasons to Believe, http://www.reasons.org).2
Theistic evolutionists3 generally believe that:
Representatives of this view include M. A. Corey, Back to Darwin: The Scientific Case for Deistic Evolution and Howard J. Van Till, author of The Fourth Day.
Non-theistic evolutionists generally teach the same processes as theistic evolutionists, but would not refer to God as the source of any order or of life.4
A good presentation of this view can be found in The Blind Watchmaker by Richard Dawkins, especially chapters 1-3 and 6.
There are many variations in these views, and some people might accept some points from one and some from another. In particular, there are many different varieties of old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists. Christians have held any of the first three views.
What are some broad essentials of the Biblical doctrine of creation?
There is some disagreement about what is essential, but the following broad outlines are quite clear in a Biblical view of origins.
What is flood geology?
Many young earth creationists believe also that most of the geological record was created by the flood and the time shortly thereafter. This fits with their belief that the earth is very young. A young earth would not provide time for the formation of major geological features we see today without some major event.
Many old earth creationists and theistic evolutionists hold that the flood was not global, but rather more localized and destroyed the civilization of the time.
What about genealogies? Can we find out exactly how old the earth is from those?
Those who take the days of Genesis 1 literally generally take all the times in the genealogies as complete and accurate. Many interpreters, however, maintain that there can be large gaps in the genealogies. We should be aware that sincere and informed Christians have viewed these passages in different ways.
Do evolutionists teach that life came from non-living matter by accident?
Theistic evolutionists do not believe that the processes involved in origins, whether of the universe itself or of life on earth, are random, but rather that God has fashioned a set of laws which result naturally in the appearance of life as we know it.5 They marvel at the order that comes from apparent chaos and see the tremendous power of God in action in every example of order and in each living thing.
Non-theistic evolutionists also do not consider evolution to be a random process. The question is what the source of order could be.
1Many who believe in a young earth object to being called young earth creationists and prefer to be called just "creationists" but since this pamphlet deals with more than one view, the distinction is maintained.
2A variation of this view is the ruin and restoration theory, which holds that the earth was created, became formless and void, and that Genesis 1 describes a recreation.
3Some object to the terms "creationist" and "evolutionist" since neither is a complete philosophical or religious system. The terms are convenient, however.
4Many theistic evolutionists would not mix their teaching of science with their religious views about the source of all order.
5Strictly speaking, the origin of life from non-living matter is called "abiogenesis" which is not a part of the biological theory of evolution. Biological evolution deals with how life on earth became so varied.
How marvelous are your works, 0 Lord! You made them all wisely. The earth is full of your created things. - Psalm 104:24
All scripture quotations taken from the Contemporary English Version, Copyright © 1995 American Bible Society.
Copyright © 2004, Henry E. Neufeld
Taken from the Participatory Study Series