In my wanderings around the ‘Net I stumbled upon this little page from the National Center for Science Education. Their stated purpose is “defending the teaching of evolution in the public schools”.
News to me. I was under the impression that teaching evolution in public schools was nigh unto a Holy Commandment from the Supreme Court per Edwards v. Aguillard, 482 U.S. 578 (1987).
Okay, okay… before someone decides to crucify someone over this… I will have to agree with the intent of this decision (but not necessarily the effects this little piece of judicial activism has had). In my opinion, the teachings of any system of cosmology or origin of life (both contained within the idea of “creationism”, and the latter expressly considered by Darwinists/evolutionists) should either be not taught at the compulsory level (i.e. primary through secondary schools funded by tax dollars) OR taught in such a manner as not to be dogmatic.
The back side of Edwards v. Aguillard is that in attempting to prevent religious doctrine from being taught in publicly funded, and therefore, secular schools - it opens the door to squelching honest academic consideration of differing viewpoints. Granted, creationism in many (if not most) of its forms is not considered to be “good science”, and has been relegated to the dark corners of superstition along with the Flat Earth and pre-Copernican geo-centric cosmography of the Middle Ages.
However (as I discussed in my post “Monkey Business”) the theory of evolution is almost as much dogma to secular humanists as creationism is to Christians. A more honest and informative discussion of the entire continuum would engage debate, and also open discussion concerning the possiblity of a Creator who had a hand in making us.
The views range from:
- Flat Earth and Geocentrism (definitely disprovable through observable phenomena such as horizon and mathematically proven curvature of the Earth’s surface, as well as orbital and gravitational observations)
- Young Earth (wishful thinking, but it is difficult to get around the preponderance of evidence for an ancient Earth) … this is probably the most popular Creationist school at present, and certainly is amongst Evangelical Christians.
- Old Earth/Ruin/Gap theories (more in line with observable data, but not necessarily proveable to exclusion of other theories) This had been the prevailing school of thought for Creationists prior to the appearance of Scofield’s Dispensations and other writings which espoused the Young Earth view, and is regaining some mind share in the minds of Christians in both mainline and evangelical/fundamentalist denominations.
- Materialistic Evolution (same as the last, except that it seeks to disprove God’s hand in any aspect or cause in biogenesis).
I am still developing my own view of the mechanism by which Life arose on the earth (biogeny) and currently lean in the direction of the idea that God created “templates with room to diversify” by way of theistic evolution (that is, evolution defined by and controlled by God with most of the inputs coded into the prime template’s DNA). In short, I can accept a form of “micro-evolution” that permits lines of adaptation and speciation - with an important caveat being that as time progresses, the lineal descendants will tend to have less of the progenitor’s original DNA information, as mutations enter the DNA, and as DNA information is lost to regional pockets (inbreeding or loss of certain varieties within a given genome).
As touching Mankind, I think Mankind is God’s special creation, made in His image as it is written in the Bible. No room left for interpretation or guesswork there.
While I am not a strict literalist (there is much in the Bible that is allegorical - Jesus Himself spoke in many parables which are themselves allegorical) I do accept and believe that all Scripture is inspired by God (2 Timothy 2:16, 2 Peter 1:20-21). The Bible is very clear on the matter of God forming man (Adam) from the dust of the earth, and breathing life into him. Science also bears this out, in that we realy are composed of the same mixture of elements as can be found in dirt, and indeed, the dusty material in space left over from the Creation of the universe.
Intertwined with this is also cosmology (study of the origins of the universe) which most scientific authority agrees is centered with the Big Bang event.
To develop my view, I start by outlining a few absolute truths which are defined by God’s word, and other assumptions which are supported by scientifically proven evidence:
1) God is, and was, and ever shall be: He exists as the Triune God (Father, Word, and Holy Spirit) and is not contained by the Time-Space continuum, but rather, is the initiator/Author of Time-Space. As such, He is able to see and control all aspects of His creation (incl. and especially the Time-Space continuum) at all times and from any angle He wishes.
2) Time-Space has a definite beginning, (Genesis 1:1) and definite ends, or dimensions - even if it is beyond our capacity to truly comprehend those limits. In particular, it has spatial limits “that were stretched out” (Jeremiah 10:12) which makes sense to our frame of reference. Scientific validation of this is apparent with stellar distances, red shift observations, and measurable distances (as measured by the time light crosses a certain distance). Limitations on Time exist where the Universe has a definite beginning point, and a definite end point where Peter wrote nearly 2000 years ago:
10 But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.
11 Seeing then that all these things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness,
12 Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of God, wherein the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat?
(2 Peter 3:10-12, KJV)
3) The earth and its solar system are several billion years old, with evidence of life as old as 500 million years ago (mya) - and again, God is not constrained by time. I have long embraced seven literal days of creation, but it is possible that those days are not necessarily constrained to a seven literal periods of 24 hours occuring in succession for a total of 144 creation hours (given that God rests on the seventh day).
Alternatively, the literal 144-hour creation week may well have taken place… several hundred MYA or longer, per the Gap (Genesis 1:1-2) Theory.
I do not think that the 144-consecutive hour creation week is an article of faith, since we must remember that the language used by Moses to describe the creative work of God is initially revealed to the people of Israel of approximately 3400 years ago, a civilization that had not developed a deep knowledge of natural science; it is sufficient to know that God is abundantly powerful to create the universe and all that is in it by His holy Word.
Lastly, God has probably left the exact science of how He created the Universe and all that lives in it out of the Divine Writ, in that people would be drawn to see His hand in creation, and while investigating it, give Him the glory due Him as Creator.
4) God created life in stages, according to its “kinds”: I understand this to be the relatively sudden creation of certain living beings that serve as templates for downwardly evolving, specified and differentiated beings, all according to the same general pattern as its ancestral template.
Therefore, it is likely that these felinoids are all descended from a common cat-like template, as have all other specific creatures evolved (or rather, de-evolved - having lost or “junked” mutated DNA data beyond a point of recovery back to a more complete creature, closer to the original template.)
b) Upward evolution may be observable, if it is possible that the original template contained non-expressed genetic information that expressed itself as certain previously under-expressed traits became selected, either by natural processes or Divine intervention; but as of now, I am disinclined to believe that either God or natural processes contributed many inputs, either constructively by God, or accidentally by random mutation… as such random mutations are generally bad or life-shortening ((such as cancer)) at worst, or non-beneficial at best (polydactly or extra fingers/toes).
5) God specifically and specially created Adam, and placed him into the Garden of Eden; Eve was created from his tissue. This is non-negotiable, as it sets the stage for man’s eventual redemption through Christ, the Second Adam.
6) Man (through Adam and Eve) sinned and fell from innocence by disobeying God’s single commandment for them (Genesis 3:1-14)
7) God gave man a plan of redemption from the beginning (Genesis 3:15) carried it out to the cross as God the Word (God’s only begotten Son, Jesus) and shall return soon to all who believe in Him.
8) There was a global flood that destroyed all life, save for the species God selected to board the ark with Noah and his family. It is possible that many of the forms of life descended from the original DNA templates (the creatures God created in Genesis 1) were either corrupted into chimaeras or genetically altered through the science of fallen angels or thier Nephilim offspring, as well as possibly by wicked humans acting under demonic infulence. Hence it is possible that God found it necessary to destroy these corruptions in order to preserve (some smaller fraction) of the purer but limited genetic diversity which had existed between Adam and Noah’s time. This might explain the loss of certain megafauna (dinosaurs, mammalian megafauna, etc.)
It could be that some of that megafauna were the chimaera-ized hybrids of different templates and humans - extinct forms of hominids, Neanderthals, and other creatures believed to be ancestral to man; or perhaps some of the more fantastic mythological beasts that linger in collective human conscience (dragons, centaurs, basilisks and the like).
9) Extinct “hominids” and modern Great Apes are not evolutionary relations of man, nor are they templates of beasts of the same genetic stock as humans. (See point 5). Given the much-publicized “98% similarity of DNA” between humans and chimpanzees, there is still a vast gulf of a difference between the two species, enough to preclude successful, “natural” interbreeding of human/chimp hybrids. Further, it iconsistent with God’s wisdom that a creature that is so morphologically similar to the human frame would share a great deal of the same code that God used to make both of them.
Yet, chimps are designed primarily for arboreal locomotion, grasping objects with thier lower extremeties (feet/toes), and have a considerably more robust strength to weight ratio (about 7:1 against humans), give different attaching points of muscle and fascia to bones, vastly different ratios of bodily leverage, and a higher overall concentration of lean muscle mass per kilogram of muscle than humans.
Man on the other hand, is designed by His Creator to occupy a place above the beasts of the field and the birds of the heavens, and even though a little lower than angels, Redeeemed Man (by Jesus Christ) will one day judge those same angels; he is created to glorify God, and to have eternal fellowship with Him.
Other Sources of Interest:
GodandScience.org - Progressive Creation: An Overview
Christian Geology -