I was given the opportunity on my favorite message board with my favorite Atheist and Agnostic friends to respond to a remark about what Christians believe about creation. I enjoyed writing this response and I wanted to share it here as well. I have modified it slightly to make it read more clearly in this format.
Part 1 – regarding an article where a Giant Platypus fossil was recently discovered, my clever friend “A” quipped:
Do God-believing people think this stuff is a joke? E.g. the five-to-fifteen million year age estimate is admittedly vague.
Which I took as a direct question – because I’m a jerk like that – but my friends tolerate and entertain me pretty nicely. Here’s what I responded:
This is a good opportunity for me to explain something important: Not every Christian is a “young earth creationist”.
Young Earth Creationism – God made the world 6,000 years ago, humans existed with dinosaurs OR dinosaurs are a big scam, everything in Genesis is translated 100% accurately to modern-day scientific terms and it should be taken 100% literally word for word.
I am not a Young Earth Creationist.
There are lots of theories about creation that are more compatible with Christianity – save base evolution which really isn’t. I’m not a fan of Darwinian evolution, but I have good scientific reasons for this opinion!
Here’s what I know for sure about creation: God created.
That’s the point of Genesis. “God created.” The rest, I’m just as open to working-out the details as you lot. I freaking love Science! 🙂
I’ve met as many Christians with opinions similar to mine as I have ardent young earth creationist. It’s such a hot topic for the YEC’s that I tend to avoid it like the plague when talking to another believer… mostly because I think it really doesn’t matter to your faith today. What matters today is just that God created.
Part 2 – my clever friend “B” wrote:
I know a bunch of folks are also getting into the combined Creationist Theory of Evolution. Basically that God created some base units that then evolved naturally into what we have today. Which Science isn’t able to disprove yet so it is as equally likely that God started it as it is that pure random chance started life.
I will say though that Young Earth Creationists scare me, how can you possibly put so much faith in one collection of vaguely similar books and yet ignore the massive collection of information that clearly shows pure, empirical evidence of the age of the earth being greater than 6000 years.
To which I responded again – as though it was directed specifically at me (it wasn’t):
Some YECs scare me too. Many of them accept what people tell them as gospel truth and never investigate any other ideas that what someone said might be wrong. God says you should investigate and question things until you fully understand them (which in theory, should be never). That seems a pretty good definition of scientific investigation. Plus, it says in the Bible that God stands outside of time. Why would he be constrained by that? Why would you take an idea as powerful as the Christian God and put him in chains by saying he is required to follow the rules of time as we humans understand it? Also – the way that they understood time 6,000 years ago and wrote about it is NOT the same as the way that we understand it today. You just can’t read it that way.
“God caused evolution and then let it happen” theory – We call that general Deism. That’s not really what I believe either. Christians believe that we serve an active and currently involved personal God. We believe in current day Miracles, that prayer is real, and that Jesus is alive (in a way that doesn’t fit the physical humanist definition of life).
So what do I believe about creation and evolution? I don’t want to appear dodgy here, so to be as specific as possible: I believe that Evolution is a quality explanation of the evidence we’ve found here on earth – as we view our universe from a Human perspective. Just because that’s the direction our scientists have gone based on the evidence they have, doesn’t make it an accurate explanation. I believe that it’s possible that Evolution IS accurate and wholly compatible with an invested, tangible, live, and direct God. If I am to believe that he created life, then why wouldn’t he have a hand in Evolution at every step? It’s not philosophically exclusionary of God’s involvement – it doesn’t have to be. I’ve just chosen to think – as a thinking man – that it doesn’t make as much sense as some have believed.
What I don’t believe is that any amount of Scientifically obtained evidence disproves Faith. I find that to be remarkably arrogant and dangerous thinking. I also find it to be a significantly un-scientific attitude. If we are to accept that we are humans, living-in and experiencing a single dimension of what we call space/time from a single perspective – testing ideas and philosophies based on that perspective and on the tools we’ve made for ourselves… then certainly it seems reasonable to also accept that there are forces and factors far outside of our ability to comprehend or observe that may quite dramatically influence those things that we can observe and test.
Given this philosophy, you could find alien life and it wouldn’t threaten my view of God.
I’ll wrap this post up with one final comment. I’m perfectly willing to believe that I have this wrong. Maybe the earth IS 6,000 years old. I think it’s far more likely, however, that we all have it quite wrong and the truth is far outside of anything we’ve imagined yet.
In this context, the essence of true Science is this: I cannot wait to learn or discover more.
If I add in Faith, it only changes to this: I cannot wait to learn or discover more about God’s creation.