Abandon All Fear

What nobody else seems to be saying…

Declaration of Beliefs: Creation

Posted by Lex Fear on September 12, 2007

I’m quite inspired by Ken Browns new blog C.Orthodoxy where he has posted a declaration of sorts on his personal belief regarding Creation and Evolution. I thought I’d do something similar since I’ve explored this topic quite a bit on the blog but never set officially set out my own beliefs. I’ve taken Ken’s declaration as my template and modified it accordingly. You will notice my declaration is a bit more exaggerated than Ken’s, something I tried but couldn’t avoid.

I believe:

  • The existence of the universe is entirely contingent upon the will of God; it had a beginning and is not self-existent.
  • The universe is probably more than 10,000 years old.
  • That life on earth is irreducibly complex and no blind processes alone can explain its origin.
  • All human and animal life on earth was designed and created using a common ancestor (due to the presence of DNA and carbon) but not common descent, subject to natural selection, genetic drift and gene flow.
  • That while natural selection, adaption and genetic mutation explains many odd features of life, their powers are grossly exaggerated.
  • It is an open question whether and how God has actively guided and propelled the continuing evolution of life.
  • That humanity is in a fallen state (prone to sin i.e. error, selfishness, wrongdoing, evil etc.), that humanity has a free will to choose and act contrary to fallen nature and that it can ultimately be redeemed by believing upon and outworking faith in Christ.
  • However they came about, the essential features of humanity ? including morality, reason, society, invention, etc. ? ultimately reflect God’s image – a part of our design.

I therefore believe:

  • Morality is properly grounded in God?s own character, not created by humanity or inferred from evolution.
  • That while atheism itself implies a meaningless and amoral universe, acceptance of evolution does not require acceptance of atheism or its implications.
  • The Bible:
    • Is intended to reveal the character of God and the person of Jesus, and exists as a testament to this.
    • Is inspired by the Spirit of God upon men, hence it is the fallible word of God which must be interpreted in context.
    • Is a mash-up of historical data, census data, poetry, parables, songs, sayings, prophecies and eye-witness testimonies, written by 40 acknowledged authors (but possibly hundreds of contributors), which must be interpreted in context.
  • That, ideally, public school science classes should teach students to:
    • Be skeptical of popular opinion and consensus.
    • Question and analyze all evidence and all data
    • Avoid bias and representing their own beliefs or conclusions as fact, where the results are inconclusive.
  • Practically, parents and local schools districts should have the right to decide for themselves what their students need to learn.
  • That the relationship between Christianity and mainstream science is, and will remain, a complex one, but there is no unbridgeable chasm between them.

Interestingly, whilst doing a bit of wikisearch (Wikipedia research), I noted that whilst young earth creationists are usually derided, traditional Hindus who believe the earth is 77.76 trillion years old rarely get a mention. I wonder why that is?

 

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10 Responses to “Declaration of Beliefs: Creation”

  1. Ken said

    Thanks for the kind words! I agree with almost all of your expansions (especially regarding public school education), even if I might have phrased some of them differently (e.g. your discussion of the nature of the Bible). But I am a little confused by your distinction between a “common ancestor” and “common descent.” If we share a common ancestor with chimps (and bacteria), doesn’t that mean we share common descent? Perhaps I’m misunderstanding how you’re using the terms.

    I’ll heed my own advice resist the temptation to pick a fight on the age of the universe ;), but perhaps I’ll write a post on it sometime soon.

  2. Thanks Ken,

    I realise I’m probably coming across a bit disingenuous. What I mean by common ancestor, probably using the term incorrectly but I mean as being we are all made from the same stuff.

    I don’t believe we have changed much over the history of the planet (for example elephant species have varied by size, shape and tusks but they are all still elephants). So I believe God created lots of different species, the only changes we see are in the species but not across the species.

  3. mattghg said

    I think Darwinists might rather like the idea of a 77.76-trillion-year-old Earth. That might just give purposeless processes enough time to generate new information…

  4. lwtc247 said

    Nice post.
    I believe the Hindus had their monotheistic relevation like all people of the Earth. The Indian race I heard originated from the Causus region and spread into the Indus valley (source: David Icke). The culture and history of Eastern Philosophy is quite amazing. Not that I’ve looked into it in any great detail, but it is utterly shameful that this philosophy has gone largely ignored by the white West who only seem to reference Decarte, Kant, Pascal(untimely demise) and so forth.
    The ‘Indians/Hindus’ were one of the first people to use high level language after all. Although I believe Hinduism is grossly distorted, I am of the current position that there is much to learn about esoteric nature of life from their ancient knowledge.

    If they do say the world is that age, then I can well believe it. I wonder how long humans have inhabited it.

    Last point: Comparing the age of the Universe to the age of the earth: I think the apparent is suspiciously interesting.!!

  5. LWTC, That had not occurred to me. Perhaps the universe is older than the earth?

    Matt, I think the rule is, the older the better. Who cares about relevant impact on carbon dating and placing timelines?

  6. cecilieaux said

    I’ve been meaning to comment on this, but was distracted by the Felicity & Rachel circus.

    In general, I like the fact that Alex accepts scientific notions, including the reliable fact that the Earth is several million years older than 10,000 years.

    The necessity of a god or gods and contingency of the universe is a Thomist proposition that has to be believed, as it can’t be proven. I’m on the disbelieving side of it, but I recognize that it is not a totally irrational belief.

    As to sin, I think humanity is in a perpetual state of dying, with all ethics — which, yes, can emerge godlessly — essentially a design to keep us alive, so far ultimately a failure.

    Morality is, per my ethic of survival (see my ethics posts at http://cecilieaux.blogspot.com/), a universal search for rules that will help us all survive. The god construct has been thrown in to provide an element of enforcement.

    When I was a Christian, I was never persuaded to do good or avoid evil because of hell or heaven. I regarded that kind of thinking a sort of propitiation no better than that of the simplest and falsest animisms.

    I do appreciate Alex’s modern and evolved view of the Bible as an artifact well described as a “mash-up.” Clearly, the Bible is not an empirical work and need not be treated that way. In the absence of a god, I regard it as an anthology of religious myths, in the literary sense of the word, that reveal most of all what some people thought worth preserving of their ideas and sense of the difficult question of the time.

    Good post, Alex, even though I disagree.

    C.

  7. Ken said

    Hmm, I just realized I misread you Alex. I thought your second point read “The universe is probably *no* more than 10,000 years old.” I do (of course) agree that the universe is older (much older) than 10,000 years, though I’d probably drop the “probably.” I guess I didn’t need to pick a fight after all. 😉

  8. larryniven said

    I find it interesting that you specifically used the word “practical” to describe your ideal schooling solution. In what sense, exactly, would that be practical? It’s already hard enough for teachers to take into account students’ different learning styles and curves, how much harder would it be if each parent could change the curriculum at will for their child? Further, since much of education is designed to help a student eventually contribute to the economy, what are we to do with students whose parents hold them out of classes or lessons so that their ability to be a contributing member of society is impaired? On an interpersonal level, isn’t that sort of thing going to inspire more pettiness and misunderstanding, as opposed to more constructive dialogue and progress?

    My point is, I’m not clear on how this is a practical solution from anybody’s viewpoint except the person whose views are academically unpopular and will go crazy if their child grows up believing differently than they do. And, granted that many of those people are people whose beliefs tend to be more aggressive, violent, and intolerant, why should a society be obligated to protect those beliefs?

  9. Yes, it is an interesting word isn’t it? I would have thought in this sense it would mean that teachers conference with parents to decide the curriculum. There are, after all, plenty of provisions for those who want to home-school.

    I’m interested in what other practical solution can you think of? I take it then you disagree with atheist parents who wish to change the curriculum and stop ID or creationism being taught?

    I agree with you entirely that home-schooling limits the social mobility of a child (but not economically), but what other solutions do you see for atheist parents who have been unable to influence the school curriculum?

    I don’t think you can blame parents for going a little crazy under those circumstances. After all they opted to give up their free-choice and birth their child rather than abort, they (passively) taught the child to speak, they feed, change and care for the child. They give the child a roof over their head and for the first 5 years of their life controlled all the academic instruction. What parent isn’t going to be a little concerned if their understanding of the world is that it is round and shaped like a planet and their child came from school believing the world was flat? Wouldn’t that parent immediately demand answers?

    I also don’t think Western society does tolerate and protect aggressive, violent and intolerant people, I understand that they usually go to jail when they commit a crime. However the American legal system is different from the UK. For instance, your aggressive, violent and intolerant people go to Guantanamo don’t they?

    Of course an aggressive, violent and intolerant person could share the same beliefs as a non-aggressive, non-violent, tolerant person, which leaves us at a catch 22. Do we tolerate individual beliefs or tolerate aggression, violence and intolerance?

  10. Cecilieaux said

    Why must “creationism” be taught at all? It’s not scientific. It’s just a religious theory. Yes, sure, you might have a religion course in which students of an advanced age (15-17?) are exposed to all the religious shibboleths. But outside of religion “creation” makes absolutely no sense at all.

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