More on Creation Science

Earlier this month, a 100 million dollar Noah’s ark replica opened in Kentucky sponsored by the Creation Science group “Answers in Genesis”. That’s a lot of money in anyone’s language. And it reflects a lot of interest in Young Earth Creation Science.

For many years I attempted to hold a relaxed attitude around Creation Science. Though I had long believed a six thousand year old earth is both poor theology and poor science, I had decided it was impolite to pick a fight about it.

However, 2011 research coming out from the Barna Institute about why young people leave the church caused me to rethink my “live and let live” approach . This reported that: “Three out of ten young adults with a Christian background feel that ‘churches are out of step with the scientific world we live in’ (29%). Another one-quarter embrace the perception that ‘Christianity is anti-science’ (25%). And nearly the same proportion (23%) said they have ‘been turned off by the creation-versus-evolution debate.’ Furthermore, the research shows that many science-minded young Christians are struggling to find ways of staying faithful to their beliefs”#

Those kinds of figures should concern those of us who care about the future of the Christian faith. In order to help young people hold on to faith, (and to engage in constructive dialogue with those outside the Christian faith), I think it is time to attempt constructive dialogue around so-called “Creation Science”.

Why Creation Science is Not Science:

Please read and reflect on these 37 scientific reasons to reject a “young earth”… and get back to me if you'd like to discuss these further.

Here are a few more reasons why young earth Creation Science claims are nonsense, care of yours truly:

* If there was a true global flood with enough water to cover the top of Mt Everest, where did all that water go when the flood went down?

* If virtually all sedimentary rocks were formed in Noah's flood, why don't these layers contain a whole jumble of fossils: contemporary animal bones mixed up with ancient ones? They don't. Anywhere.

* If all land animals ended up on Mt Ararat in Turkey at the end of the flood, how did all marsupials make it to Australia? And pretty much, to nowhere else?

* There wasn't nearly enough room on Noah's ark for all land animals, and the solution "Answers in Genesis" offers (extremely rapid evolution at the end of the flood) seems nonsensical.

* Answers in Genesis claim all animals were vegetarian before the fall, and that the ONLY reason animals eat other animals is because Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. But if we look at the adaptations of innumerable animals this seems preposterous. Baleen whales like humpbacks do not have teeth, but plates that sieve through water. This allows them to capture huge quantities of shrimp-like animals called krill (a bit like a colander catching pasta and letting water flow through). Anteaters are likewise toothless, with elongated snouts and sticky tongues perfectly adapted for licking ants out of their nests. Most sharks have many sharp teeth adapted to trap fish. Indeed, as we consider the adaptations of almost any predatory animal, we see they would be unable to survive eating plants alone.

Why Creation Science is theologically naïve

When we are interpreting any book or part of the bible, Christians ask questions about who was writing this, to whom, why, what the words meant in the culture in which it was written, and what is the genre of a passage. This is why we read bible commentaries, and expect church pastors to study theology. Some people do this happily for the gospels or Paul’s letters, but when it comes to the first chapters of Genesis they talk as if the bible fell “plop” out of the sky.

We need to do better than this if we are to serve young people well: indeed, to serve anyone with serious questions about science and the Christian faith.

Back in the murky depths of the last millenium (pre-internet!) when I first studied at (a conservative evangelical) bible college, I went on a library hunt for Old Testament scholars who support a 6000 year old earth. I couldn't find any.

Why does the creation order in Genesis 1 (plants, animals, humans male and female) contradict the creation order in Genesis 2 (a man v 7, then plants v 5, then animals v 19, then a woman v 22) if they were BOTH meant to be taken literally? There is a long heritage of Christian theologians rejecting a literal approach to the Genesis accounts.

For a really accessible look at how biblical scholars reflect on Genesis see here:

If anyone wants to really dig deep, there are a zillion books and articles here on Jesus Creed:

This article may upset some people; imagining I am trying to undermine their faith. From my perspective, I am trying to do exactly the opposite: to help them develop a faith that is informed by good hermeneutics, is robust, and can withstand scrutiny in the marketplace of ideas.

Do you think this issue is important for the future of the church? Should Creation Science be taught in Christian schools? Why, or why not?

PS Note that this article, like all articles on this blog, do not reflect the official position of Churches of Christ in Australia, which allows theological decisions to be made at the local church level. This is my opinion alone. I have also reflected on Creation Science in the past here and here

# This may be a less significant issue in Australia where Creation Science has a lower profile: this has not been researched to my knowledge.


Anonymous said…
Thanks Janet. Well reasoned and faithful. Having our heads in the sand is not my idea of letting the truth set us free. Thanks for your boldness. Prayer follows.

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