Scientific Creationism

Many moons ago, I attended – what shall we call it – an independent Baptist institution of higher learning. It was staffed almost entirely by American missionaries, who seemed urgent to inculcate in us the tribalism of American Fundamentalism, and to import to South Africa controversies among American Fundamentalist Baptists. We had never heard of Lordship Salvation, MacArthur’s view on the blood, or the inerrancy of the King James Version. Thankfully, these men made sure that Christians at the tip of Africa were thoroughly embroiled in the same controversies.

I was there for all of one year, before it began crashing down, under the weight of the not-unusual IFB in-fighting. It was an early exposure to how seriously Fundamentalists take the life of the mind, and to what degree differences could be tolerated among them.

One of our courses was “Scientific Creationism”. To be fair, there were commendable and helpful sections in this course, summarising views such as the Day-Age Theory, Theistic Evolution, and the Gap Theory. On the other hand, much of the material was supposed ‘scientific evidence’ for creation. I was reared in a secular home, attended public schools and a secular university, and was unaware of a ‘scientific’ defence of Genesis. I was impressed.

As the years rolled on, and my reading broadened, my impression of “Scientific Creationism” changed. It now seemed like a weird hybrid. After all, the scientific method is essentially 1) the observation or measurement of empirical phenomena, 2) the formation of predictive, explanatory hypotheses, and 3) the repeatable testing of these hypotheses through experimentation. Understood in this way, neither creation nor evolution qualifies as science. They are both history. Certainly, one is a true history of origins, and the other is false, but neither is science.

Just as Darwinists are guilty of using junk science to supposedly verify their mythology, Christians do the same thing with Scientific Creationism. Instead of accepting the Word of the only Observer present at the beginning, we try to gain credibility for God’s own Testimony by referring to Moon dust, ocean sediment, the Earth’s magnetic field, and the Moon’s distance from the Earth. In other words, we say to the unbeliever, “We agree with you: science is objective truth! Look, we have science to prove the Bible!” This is not apologetics; it is politics. We want respect, so we insinuate supposed science into the conversation to ‘prove’ Genesis.

Don’t get me wrong. I am a creationist. I see value in Christians’ examining of the natural world and countering of the Darwinist interpretations. Christians ought to be interested in understanding if carbon-dating, dinosaur bones, or star distance is unassailable evidence for Darwinism. Origins is a deadly serious discussion. And to the degree that Christian botanists, palaeontologists, geologists, and astronomers can help us understand the physical phenomena interpreted through a Scriptural framework, this can help believers, and at least provide a serious discussion with committed evolutionists. I enjoy reading scientists who are creationists. I enjoy reading unbelievers (such as David Berlinski) who express doubts over Darwinism. I am not calling for scientists who are Christian to withdraw from the conversation. Besides, what we discover from the natural world ought to turn into worship.

What I now object to is masking faith with science. If we object to Darwinists pretending that their theory qualifies as science, let’s not be the kettle  who’s calling the teapot black. Let’s admit our theory is history, and state boldly that we trust history as written by the Creator over history written by 19th century Englishmen. Let’s not claim we are objective scientists, who have happened upon incontrovertible evidence for a Young Earth, and then present this stuff in biology classrooms or in church services. Rather, let’s affirm that Genesis 1 and 2 were spoken by One who cannot lie. Let’s put (or leave) science in its place – and it’s not in the pulpit.

2 Responses to “Scientific Creationism”

  1. Seth Meyers Says:

    Right. If God’s account of creation needs science to support it, then our ultimate authority is something other than God’s testimony.

    • David Says:

      That’s it. Many Christians are surrendering our very epistemology and views of knowledge in this debate, thinking that it will lead to confidence in the Bible in the end.

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