There’s something I’d like to clear up for both scientific and theological reasons…
I’d like to take back the idea that Creationism means “the earth is young” and propose that it simply means the earth was created by God. More narrow definitions discount the beliefs of a huge population of Christians.
From my perspective, which is contrary to popular belief, there are actually many different types of Creationism: all credit God, but each have a different understanding of what processes God did or did not use to create the world and how long it took Him to do it. Creationism should be viewed as a broad category with many different areas of thought, despite a wide assumption that “Creationism” means only a 6k year old origins model. That’s what makes images like the one below so misleading, as in reality people can be Creationists AND Evolutionists.
Here’s a basic breakdown of the varying views, almost all of which confirm the authority of the Bible and attempt to reconcile it with science.
As you can see, Young Earth Creationism is just ONE biblical interpretation, and does not deserve to hold the monopoly on the word “Creationism.” For example, I consider myself a Creationist and I believe the earth is millions of years old, while I’m not yet sure what I believe about macro-evolution, I’m still studying it.
Regardless of my personal views on macro-evolution, I’d like to make an argument for why Christians should not be shamed for believing in it, as this is something that happens all too often. A slippery slope argument is frequently used to create a phobia towards Theistic Evolutionists to claim that it can’t POSSIBLY be a part of Creationist ideas. It’s often said that Theistic Evolution can lead to Social Darwinism—you know, the idea that whatever action causes our species to advance is a morally good action. An extreme example of this philosophy might play out like this:
There are 10 students in a class, 5 are “A” students and 5 are failing. The failing students should be kicked out because they are a useless drain on education tax dollars and they use up the valuable time of the teacher which could be spent on teaching the “A” students who will actually cause the species to progress.
However, Theistic Evolution does NOT result in this type of thinking because the “Theistic” part of the philosophy steps in to say that that the individual has inherent, ultimate value and that all people have the God-given right to learning about Him and education is a great way of accomplishing that. Thus, a Theistic Evolutionist might actually decide to give the 5 failing students MORE attention. Accepting the idea that Survival of the Fittest is how nature works does not mean one has to be immoral. The Theistic Evolutionist admits that when a lion chases a pack of gazelles, the slowest gazelle normally gets eaten, but does NOT jump to assume this means that we should kill the slowest people in the neighborhood marathon and use The Hunger Games as societal model.
1. Can we all agree that there are several types of Creationism, not just Young Earth?
2. Yes, Christians CAN believe in an Old Earth and/or macro-evolution.
Look for my post on a similar topic next week!