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Does "Creation Science" Equal "Belief in the Bible as the Word of God"?
by Richard Peachey
A Vancouver area theologian wrote to my wife after she had commented (in her blog) on something he wrote.
He began his response with this statement: "I hope that you will not make the mistake of equating 'creation science' with 'belief in the Bible as the Word of God.' "
The theologian's opening statement inspired me to craft the following rejoinder: [slightly edited]
Of course it's true that creation science is not the precise equivalent of "belief in the Bible as the Word of God."
It is, however, a terrific first approximation!
Furthermore, it's a much better first approximation than it would be to claim that (for example) "theistic evolution" or "local floodism" can be equated to "believing in the Bible as the Word of God."
Like everyone else, creation scientists are finite, prone to confirmation bias, sometimes ulterior-motivated; they produce errors; they exaggerate and misunderstand. Their theorizing often goes beyond what the Bible specifically states. Their claims, like everyone else's, must be scrutinized for truth value.
But creation science as a theological/philosophical position (six-day, young-Earth creationism) is unique in setting the authority of God's Word at the pinnacle of its priorities. All competing views tend to cringe or waver before the authority of "science."
"You can trust God's word from the very first verse!" This is the prominent theme of Creation Ministries International, a leading creationist organization.
In stark contrast, the home page of the theistic evolution organization Biologos first highlights the importance of evolution before later claiming allegiance to the Bible. And although they pay lipservice to its "authority," they effectively undo this by insisting the Bible must be seen as "compatible with new scientific discoveries."
Creationists consult the Bible to see what they ought to believe on topics it addresses, including the origins of the Earth and living things.
Others attempt to manipulate the Bible, in Procrustean fashion, to determine how best to work their pre-formulated views into it — views that are alien to Scripture, views that are not clearly set forth in Scripture, views that contradict the plain reading of Scripture.
Pattle Pak-Toe Pun, an emeritus biology professor at Wheaton College, once wrote the following:
"It is apparent that the most straightforward understanding of the Genesis record, without regard to all the hermeneutical considerations suggested by [evolutionary] science, is that God created heaven and earth in six solar days, that man was created in the sixth day, that death and chaos entered the world after the Fall of Adam and Eve, that all of the fossils were the result of the catastrophic universal deluge which spared only Noah's family and the animals therewith." ("A Theology of Progressive Creationism." Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation 39(1):14, March 1987)
Professor Pun acknowledged all those things as the clear teaching of the Bible as plainly read, but he declined to personally accept that clear teaching — due to "hermeneutical considerations suggested by science"!
For several other examples of such dodgy behaviour, see Simon Turpin's 2013 article, "Evangelical Commentaries on the Days of Creation in Genesis One".
A variety of expedients has been employed by those who desperately want the Bible to make room for "science": the Gap Theory, the Day-Age view, P. J. Wiseman's "Revelatory Days," Theistic Evolution (or "Evolutionary Creation"), Progressive Creationism.
The popular "Framework Hypothesis," invented only in the twentieth century, is essentially a giving up — an admission that reconciliation between "science" and the Biblical origins account is not really possible.
In recent decades, novel approaches include John Sailhamer's (the creation "days" are actually days of preparation of the land of Israel) and John Walton's (the creation "days" are actually days when God assigned functions to already-created things).
Procrustes lives! Where, oh where, is a Theseus redivivus who will slay this vile truncator-and-stretcher of truth?
Procrustes, the evil innkeeper of Greek mythology, who "adjusted" guests, by chopping or stretching, to make them match his "one size fits all" bed. He was eventually slain by the hero Theseus.
Well, the reincarnation of Theseus is the modern creation science movement. These are the only informed people who have the spiritual viscera to look "scientists" straight in the eye and tell them to their face, "Let God be true, and every man a liar!"