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Biblical creation

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Biblical creationism is the view that the creation account in the book of Genesis is an accurate historical record. It is often known as Young Earth creationism. Forms of creationism which accept an old earth position but reject naturalistic evolution are collectively known as Old Earth Creationism.

Contents

Premises

Biblical creation includes the following premises derived from the Bible:

  • God created the world over a period of six ordinary days approximately 6000 years ago.
  • God ceased creating at the end of the sixth day, and thereafter the creation continues to operate according to the natural laws that God put in place, although God continues to sustain His creation.
    • Biblical creationists therefore usually look for natural explanations of phenomena that occur after creation. However, as God can override the natural laws, He may occasionally do so, or use those natural laws to bring about His will.[note 1]
  • God created each different "kind" of living thing, rather than them evolving.
  • God created man from basic materials, not from non-human precursors or ape-like creatures.

Basis of views

Biblical creationists believe that the Bible contains an accurate history of the world, and that therefore scientific data will always be consistent with this history. This belief is based on the belief that the Bible is the inerrant revelation from the omniscient Creator, and must therefore be accurate.

They reject claims about the origin of life, rock formations, etc. as being scientific on the grounds that they were not observed scientifically, are not reproducible, and are based on presuppositions. They instead argue that the best source of information about the past is from witnesses, whether that be witnesses to recent past events such as World War I, ancient historians such as Herodotus, or biblical authors, including God Himself, the only witness to most of creation. Of course in most cases the source of information is from written records that the witnesses have made.

This is not to totally disregard other sources, such as artifacts, but to point out that what can be learned from other sources is limited and often open to interpretation. Neither do they suggest that witnesses are always reliable, but that witnesses, especially when corroborated by other witnesses or evidence, are one of our main sources of information about the past.

Views on science

Biblical creationists believe that science cannot be used to prove the Bible, as this makes science the authority by which to judge the Bible.[1]

Nevertheless, they believe that science is a very useful tool for investigating the world around us, and it was creationists who started modern science as a tool to investigate God's creation. Despite this, anti-creationists often claim that creationists are anti-science, a claim that is contradicted by the fact that creationist groups such as Creation Ministries International, one of the world's leading biblical creationist groups, employ numerous scientists.[2]

Non-creationist micro-biologist Michael Denton contrasts the regard that creationists and others opposed to evolution have for science, compared to evolutionists:

The concept of the continuity of nature has existed in the mind of man, never in the facts of nature. In a very real sense, therefore, advocacy of the doctrine of continuity has always necessitated a retreat from pure empiricism, and contrary to what is widely assumed by evoutionary biologists today, it has always been the anti-evoutionists, not the evolutionists, in the scientific community who have stuck rigidly to the facts and adhered to a more strictly empirical approach.[3]

Views on the mainstream scientific community

Biblical creationists argue that mainstream origins science is based on a naturalistic philosophy, and is therefore no more scientific than a creationary view.

We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to materialism.
It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanations, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is an absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.— Richard Lewontin[4]

Creationists do not claim that atheistic or secular scientists are conspiring to hide the evidence for creation, as they are often accused of claiming. Rather, they claim that hypotheses such as evolution have become the "ruling paradigm" to which all else must submit, and specifically reject the accusation of claiming conspiracy.

...we don’t believe that there is a conspiracy, rather, that evolution has simply become entrenched as holy writ within the scientific community...[5]

Research

Sceptics often accuse biblical creationists of not doing research. This is a false claim, as research is being done, including being published in peer-reviewed journals, such as the Journal of Creation and Answers Research Journal.

However, secular governments, whilst giving many billions of dollars to research the naturalistic theory of evolution, do not support creationist research, so essentially all such research is done in the researcher's own time at his own expense, or funded through private donations. It is not surprising, therefore, that creationists are unable to undertake research at anything like the same scale as evolutionists.

Further, the creation model is still relatively new.

The neo-Darwinian model, with its random naturalistic presuppositions, has dominated the science arena for a century and a half. In contrast, the recently developed modern creation model is in its relative infancy (although belief in creation is ancient) and only certain aspects are now being rigorously researched.— Tom Hennigan[6]

Possibly the only dedicated creationist research facility in existence is the Van Andel Creation Research Center in northern Arizona, owned and operated by the Creation Research Society, and named for Jay and Betty Van Andel (Jay Van Andel was co-founder of Amway Corporation), who provided much of the funding for the centre. Van Andel said that he wanted "to give creationists a fighting chance.".[7]

A major piece of creationist research is known as Radioisotopes and the Age of The Earth, or the "RATE Project". This was initiated by the Institute for Creationist Research and ran from 1997 to 2005.[8] This project, funded by private donations, including to the three creationist groups involved,[note 2] ran various scientific experiments to test the accuracy of radioactive dating methods, finding evidence that there must have been a change in decay rates at some time in the past[Check this].

Creationists also do normal secular scientific research, working for secular organisations, and sometimes are able to use and build on this secular research to do creationist research. An example is Dr. John Baumgardner, who was a physicist employed by Los Alamos National Laboratory and who developed the world's leading computer model of plate tectonics, but who additionally researched plate tectonics from a creationist perspective.[9]

Evidence

Scriptural evidence

The most important evidence is that found in the Bible. Apart from revealing that God "made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them" in "six days"[10], the Bible also reveals various other details, including the following:

  • The Earth was created before the sun, moon, and stars.
  • Fish and birds were created before land animals.
  • The first human was created from "from the dust of the ground"[11], and was made "in the image of God".[12]
  • Humanity was allowed to "rule over" the other creatures.[13].
  • God declared creation to be "very good".[14]
  • The entire world was destroyed by a flood, with only Noah and his family and representatives of the air-breathing creatures surviving on an ark.
  • Multiple languages began by direct action of God at the Tower of Babel.[15]

In addition to these direct claims, biblical creationists make deductions from the revealed history, such as the following:

  • Given the existence of days[16] and light,[17] the Earth was rotating from the beginning.
  • Most fossils would have been formed by the actions of the flood.
  • All fossil-bearing sedimentary rocks would have been formed during the flood or since.
  • The pyramids of Egypt must have been built after the flood if for no other reason than they are sitting on flood-laid sediments.[18]

Scientific evidence

For more information, see Origins science.

Whilst critics claim that there is no evidence for biblical creation, creationists respond that they have the same evidence as evolutionists, but that the evidence can be interpreted in different ways, and they interpret it differently. For example, the Grand Canyon could be interpreted as being the result of slow erosion from the Colorado River over a very long time, or it could be interpreted as the result of rapid erosion from receding flood waters over a short period of time.

These interpretations are not necessarily all equally as valid or convincing, but creationists are convinced that if the evidence is considered with an open mind, it favours biblical creation. However, which interpretation one favours depends to a considerable extent on which worldview one is interpreting the evidence in.

Examples of such evidence include various processes indicating an age for the universe, galaxies, the Solar system, Earth, or etc. much less than claimed by mainstream scientists.

  • Comets lose material during every pass of the sun, so assuming that their orbits haven't changed, none of the comets we see could have been around for as long as the claimed age of the Solar system.[19]
  • Multiple layers of folded rock that has not been fractured during the folding indicate that the layers were still soft when folded, which indicates that all the layers were laid in a relatively short period of time.[20]
  • Unfossilised blood vessels and cells indicate that the dinosaurs they came from could not have died as long ago as generally claimed.[21]

For more information on these phenomena, see Comet, Fold (geology), and Dinosaur#Fossils. For additional lines of evidence, see Earth#Age of the Earth and Universe#Age.

Falsifiability

For more information, see Origins science.

Critics will often claim that creation is not falsifiable, and hence not scientific. However, critics will also claim that it has been falsified, which is impossible if it is not falsifiable. Sometimes critics make both contradictory criticisms.[note 3]

As creation, like evolution, is a series of unique events in the past, it cannot be scientifically observed, tested, nor reproduced. However, predictions can in some cases be made on the basis of the model, and individual claims are often able to be tested.

Postdictions

Even where the answer is already known, it is reasonable to make "predictions" on the basis of a hypothesis, although these are more technically known as "postdictions". Hence we can say that if the great flood really occurred, we should expect to find extensive layers of sedimentary rock. That we already know that much of the surface of continents is composed of sedimentary rocks does not make this "postdiction" invalid.

Some examples of postdictions made by biblical creation are as follows:

  • Extensive sedimentation with fossils As a result of the great flood, there should be extensive layers of sedimentary rocks containing the buried remains of once-living creatures.
Much of the surface of the continents is composed of sedimentary rock, and much of this contains buried remains of once-living creatures (fossils);
  • Reproductive isolation As Genesis describes creatures being created to reproduce "after their kind", we should find that different kinds of creatures cannot interbreed nor become a different kind of creature.
Although the exact boundaries of reproductive isolation are often not known, different types of creatures cannot interbreed, nor become different types of creatures. There are some very similar creatures that are classified as different species that can interbreed (lions and tigers, for example), but these are so similar that they could be of the same created kind and therefore don't invalidate this prediction. Additionally, genetics allows us to understand the mechanisms that enforce reproductive isolation.
Although there are known variations in living things, no creature has ever been observed giving birth to a different type of creature.
Of course, these particular "postdictions" are also in keeping with evolutionary theory also.
  • Similarity of living things God would provide a similarity among all living things in order to demonstrate that there was a single creator[note 4] and not multiple creators acting independently.[24][25]
All living things employ the same genetic code, DNA.
Again, this conforms to evolutionary theory also in that evolutionary theory posits descent from a common ancestor.

Predictions

In the mid 1980s, creationary physicist Dr. Russell Humphreys predicted that there should be evidence of rapid magnetic field reversals in solidified lava flows. A few years later, R. S. Coe and M. and Prévot found evidence of changes of magnetic direction occurring in a period of about two weeks.[26]

See also

Note

  1. For example, God miraculously allowed the Israelites to cross the Jordan River by means of an upstream landslide temporarily blocking the flow of the river.
  2. Apart from ICR, it was also supported by the Creation Research Society, and, initially, by Creation Ministries International (whilst Andrew Snelling, one of the scientists, worked for them).
  3. For example, Ian Plimer wrote:

    By contrast, creation “science” requires an untestable supernatural being, and hence is not science. Creationism first starts with an untestable conclusion and then trawls for evidence.
    The “science” of creationists has been tested numerous times. Creationists claim that there is evidence for a planet some 6000–10,000 years old, that evolution does not occur and that there was a global flood some 4000 years ago.[22]

  4. or multiple creators working together.[23]

References

  1. Batten, Don, End-times and Early-times, Creation 27(4):6 September 2005.
  2. Cosner, Lita, Do creationists hate science? 31 July 2010.
  3. Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis, First U.S. edition, Adler & Adler, 1986, p. 353-354. ISBN 0-917561-05-8.
  4. Lewontin, Richard, Billions and billions of demons (review of The Demon-Haunted World: Science as a Candle in the Dark by Carl Sagan, 1997), The New York Review, p. 31, 9 January 1997, quoted by Creation Ministries International. Lewontin went on to justify this on the fallacious grounds that allowing God allows one to accept anything.
  5. Cosner, Lita and Sarfati, Jonathan, Compromising chaplain castigates creation, 2 October 2010.
  6. Hennigan, Tom, Towards a biblical basis for ecology, with applications in mycorrhizal symbioses in orchids, Journal of Creation 23(1):78-85, April 2009.
  7. Meyer, John R., The Van Andel Creation Research Center: A Unique Creationist Resource, CRS Quarterly 36(2): 68-71, September 1999.
  8. DeYoung, Don, "Thousands...Not Billions", Master Books, August 2005, p. 17-18, ISBN 0-89051-441-0.
  9. John Baumgardner, Ph.D. biography on Creation Ministries International's webs-site.
  10. Exodus 20:11
  11. Genesis 2:7
  12. Genesis 1:27
  13. Genesis 1:26
  14. Genesis 1:31
  15. Genesis 11:6-7
  16. Genesis 1:5
  17. Genesis 1:3
  18. Web-cast Questions and Answers 20 November 2002
  19. Faulkner, Danny, Comets and the age of the solar system, Journal of Creation 11(3):264–273, December 1997.
  20. Allen, David, Warped Earth, Creation 25(1):40–43, December 2002.
  21. Wieland, Carl, Sensational dinosaur blood report!, Creation 19(4):42–43, September 1997.
  22. Plimer, Ian, Creation Science: Neither Science nor Religion, Australasian Science, 22(1):36–37, January/February 2001, quoted by Sarfati, Jonathan, More nonsense from Professor Plimer, 6 April 2001
  23. ReMine, Walter, Evidence for Message Theory, Journal of Creation 20(2):29-35, August 2006
  24. ReMine, Walter James, The Biotic Message
  25. Batten, Don, The Biotic Message: Evolution versus Message Theory, Journal of Creation 11(3):292–298, 1997
  26. Snelling, Andrew A., Fossil magnetism reveals rapid reversals of the earth’s magnetic field Creation 13(3):46–50, June 1991.

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