Denis Alexander on Understanding Creation Theology
In this video Conversation, Denis Alexander asserts that contemporary Christians are not taking the early chapters of Genesis seriously enough.
The related ideas of the “fixity of species” and “natural kinds” have been prominent in the science and faith conversation. Some Christians take Genesis to mean that God created (bara) fixed species (mîn). But does the text truly indicate such a concept? Biblical scholar Dr. Richard Hess looks at the Biblical context and meaning of the Hebrew mîn, and suggests that when Christians use it to frame our understanding of the entire created order, we may be asking too much of this single word.
Robert C. Bishop explains that many believe two things about creation: that the universe was created out of nothing by God and that he accomplished this in six days. This overly simplistic view does not do the robust Doctrine of Creation (DoC) justice, and it unnecessarily hinders much of the dialogue between evolution and Christianity. Bishop “recovers” the DoC by exploring the limitations of creation, God’s sovereignty in the process, God’s Trinitarian activity and ongoing purpose for his creatures, and the salvation of creation in space and time.
To understand and apply Genesis 1 correctly, we have to consider issues of genre and intention. Too often these chapters are read as if they present a purely straightforward historical and even scientific account of cosmic and human origins.
There are those who would say that Adam and Eve designate specific historical figures. That makes some sense, acknowledges theologian Alister McGrath, but it makes even more sense to say that Adam and Eve are figures that encapsulate the human race as a whole.
Many evangelicals believe that Young Earth Creationism is the only authentic, biblical way for Christians to understand origins, and that until the advent of Darwin's theory of evolution, it was the only view held by Christians. However, in this excerpt from Saving Darwin, Karl Giberson explains that Young Earth Creationism's origins are surprisingly recent.
Even before Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859, many Christians had already accepted an old Earth. One of the first supporters of evolutionary science in America—Harvard biologist Asa Gray—was a devout Christian. Conservative theologian B. B. Warfield also accepted the science of evolution, and both he and Asa Gray rejected the idea that evolution leads to atheism. Even the authors of The Fundamentals, published between 1910 and 1915, accepted an old earth. It wasn’t until a century after Darwin that a large number of evangelicals and fundamentalists began to accept the combination of flood geology and 6-day creation promoted by Seventh-day Adventists.
(Updated on July 10, 2012)
The new Gallup survey shows in broad strokes the challenge we face. But more nuanced surveys find that only 8% of Americans are convinced creationists whose beliefs are dear to them, and only 4% are convinced atheistic evolutionists whose beliefs are dear to them. The vast majority of Americans are not sure of their position and are open to a conversation.
... I would exhort these, my fellow conservative evangelical shepherds and thinkers, to set aside all reticence and fear, emerge from anonymity, and storm the forum of discourse, engaging this most pressing matter with vigor, equanimity, and humility. In doing so, know upfront that there will be few handrails to guide; you will not be building upon an extensive precedence of published conservative thought.
People hold clearly discordant points of view, and it would be dishonest to ignore the conflict. Yet some voices emphasize the dissonance without any note of harmony to put it in context. Too often, science and faith becomes a hostile battle of worldviews, sounding angry, dissonant chords even among fellow Christians. But civil, gracious dialogue is possible.
In this series, David Buller pays careful attention to the original language and cultural context of Genesis 2, revealing that our responsibility to care for creation is a sacred task given to us by God, not merely a modern secular activity. By taking Scripture seriously, we learn that we have a God-given mandate to be diligent stewards of His creation.
In this series, U.S. Navy Commander Mike Beidler shares his own personal journey from accepting young-earth creationism to embracing evolutionary creationism.
The tension generated by our understanding of God’s character, as revealed in the Bible, and by the reality of the natural world around us has been the focus of much debate within the Christian church since the first century. This series examines critically several of the proposed solutions to this problem, viewing them from the perspective of a geologist, paleontologist, and orthodox evangelical Christian.
Historian of science James Hannam writes that the notion of inherent conflict between Christianity and science is a pernicious myth. In fact, by the middle ages, science already had a central place in Christian centers of learning. Indeed, it was a Christian worldview that proved especially compatible with—even necessary for—the rise of modern science. In this two-part essay, Hannam describes the conditions in the West in the medieval period that set the stage for the spectacular advance of science in the centuries to follow.
In this talk, originally delivered at the BioLogos President's Circle meeting in October 2012, Dr. John Walton discusses the origin stories of Genesis 1-3, and why their focus on function and archetypes mean there is no Biblical narrative of material origins.
Resilient learners and a robust faith can handle challenges. But the faith of the students my professor described was different— strong, but brittle; it did not have the resilience that comes through testing.
Gregg Davidson and Ken Wolgemuth seek to remove the stumbling block of the Genesis flood in this four part series. Though many believe in an ancient world-wide flood, the evidence given does not hold up to geological scrutiny, but points rather to something regional instead. It is their hope that Christians will not walk away from faith in Christ simply because a global flood is not supported by science. Looking at natural phenomena like the Grand Canyon, salt beds, and fossil deposits, they reveal reasons for these deposits and structures while showing that their origin did not stem from a violent flood that covered the planet.
If they left their children in the public classroom, should they as concerned parents, as committed Christians, as agents of truth and light in this dark world, remain quiet or should they speak out?
This exchange brings together related essays on death in light of evolution and Scripture from Southern Baptist theologian Dr. John Laing. Laing argues that evolutionary theory requires death to play a central role in the creation of new life, but sees Scripture depicting death only "as an invader, disturber of peace, and a force of evil." A BioLogos response is given by Dr. Jeff Schloss.
The BioLogos Forum is pleased to present this infographic about the relationship of Christianity with science throughout history. It debunks the myth that they have always been in conflict, and it reveals numerous examples of Christians playing a leading role in the development of natural science.