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What is the problem with Creationism?

Creationism fails to qualify as good science or as good theology. Creationists deny evolution over time - that is, they deny the development of one species from a previous species, a process known as “macroevolution.” Creationists insist that all species were created at the beginning of the world, and the lines between species have been inviolate ever since. To support this claim, creationists provide scientific arguments such as the alleged non-existence of transitional forms, specifically, winged reptiles to mark the transition from sea and land creatures to birds. However, fossils for such transitional forms have been found in abundance. The evidence supporting evolutionary theory is overwhelming on nearly every count. The creationist position fails when measured by scientific evidence.

Creationists sometimes provide a theological argument to support their position. Principally, they argue that the Bible’s depiction of creation in Genesis 1:1-2:4a describes God fixing reality at the point of origin. When God creates the different “kinds” of creatures and asks them to multiply according to their own kinds, he denies the possibility of modification through descent.  Creationist interpreters find ten “kinds” in Genesis: (1) grass; (2) herbs; (3) fruit trees; (4) sea monsters; (5) other marine animals; (6) birds; (7) beasts of the earth; (8) cattle; (9) crawling animals; and, finally, (10) the human race. Creationists identify the biblical word “kind” with the scientific word “species.” Then they argue that God intends for each kind to remain within its own particular structure. One species should not transform itself into another species. Many different varieties can emerge within the basic framework of each kind or species, but at the same time such variations can never extend beyond that framework. The creationist conclusion is that God permits no descent with modification, no overlap between species.

We do not believe this is a proper way to interpret the Bible. What the creationists read is certainly not literal. To identify “kind” with “species” is arbitrary. Certainly, more than ten species exist in nature. In addition, a more literal reading of the Bible’s creation account suggests what looks like an evolution from sea creatures to birds. NRS Genesis 1:20 And God said, "Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the dome of the sky."

More importantly, creationists fail to acknowledge the kind of God that is responsible for the creation. The God of the Bible is a promising God. God promises to do new things. NRS Isaiah 43:19 “I am about to do a new thing; now it springs forth.” Or  NRSJeremiah 31:22 “For the LORD has created a new thing on the earth.” Or, NRSGalatians 6:15 “a new creation is everything!” Essential here is that God did not fix everything at the beginning. Nor, did God stop creating. What is vital to the message of the gospel in the Bible is the promise of redemption, the renewal of creation. The Bible gives us a vision of a divine future that will take us beyond the world order we have inherited. By trying to squeeze all of created reality into some sort of already completed and unchanging origin, creationists prevent the ongoing creativity and redeeming promise of God to shine through. So, for this reason, we believe the creationist position fails theologically as well as scientifically.

Email link | Printer-friendly | Feedback | Contributed by: Martinez Hewlett and Ted Peters

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