Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finding Common Ground on Creation

My last post briefly described how I came to accept the position of theistic evolution (also known as evolutionary creation, among other names).  I realize that this view may place me outside of mainstream evangelical thought (at least in the United States), but I am convinced one can hold this view and still hold an inerrant view of God's Word.  Evolution does not demand atheism, nor does it demand a rejection of Genesis 1 and 2.  A believer who accepts the scientific propositions of evolution should not automatically be accused of capitulating to science at the expense of Biblical integrity.

The American Scientific Affiliation: A Fellowship of Christians in Science, produced a "General Statement on Creation" that encapsulates common ground between the differing viewpoints of creation.  Citing Biblical references under each main point, the statement affirms:
  1. God is the creator of all things.
  2. God is as active in "natural" events as in "miraculous" ones.
  3. God actively cares for His creation.
  4. All Creation is the object of God's redemptive plan.
  5. We humans are given stewardship responsibility over creation.
  6. Scientific study of the natural world can be a spiritual calling in service to God.
  7. Scientific description and divine action need not be in conflict.
I encourage you to read the whole statement and see how Christians from different schools of scientific thought worked past the arguments and debates to recognize areas upon which they could agree.

The general statement is followed by specific statements from the four main schools of thought-- Young Earth, Old Earth, Theistic Evolution, and Intelligent Design.  They are helpful summaries of each of these viewpoints.

Ultimately, I do not think it matters a great deal which point of a view a Christian holds.  There is no "proper" view of creation that is "essential" to salvation (although I've heard many Christians argue as if this was the most important tenet to orthodox belief).  Yes, one can argue that how a person views the first two chapters of the Bible will greatly influence how he/she views the rest of the Bible.  But genuine believers fall into different camps on this issue, and they all can stand before God with a clear conscience.

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