Humanism vs. Christianity
The Polarization of America
by Patrick Vosse
Evolutionism vs. Creationism
Chapter 2 - Types of Creationism
Most Christians, but
not all, believe that God created everything that exists and
there is no such thing as evolution in the development
of organisms. Within the concept
of God the Creator, there are several different
philosophies. Martin Luther
preached the young earth creation
theology that holds to a literal 6-day creation process
as presented in Genesis. The Catholic
Church accepts evolution (albeit with some divine
oversight). In other words, not all Creationists
are created equal. This chapter is devoted to the
discussion of the various approaches to Creationism.
Table 1 summarizes the position taken by several Christian traditions
Table 1. Responses to the question:
"Do you agree that evolution
is the best explanation for the origins of human life
The Pew survey indicates that
Christians are not in agreement regarding the basic question: Creation
or evolution. Prior to Darwin, this was not a polarizing
issue within the Christian community. Today, the arguments about
creation and evolution can be just as heated within the Christian
community as between Christians and Humanists.
Prior to Darwinian evolution,
the literal interpretation of the
Genesis account was the general consensus. Eventually the
scientific community and the general public began to
accept the idea of evolution. As discussed later in the book, the
argument began to get serious when evolution by natural selection,
i.e. without divine intervention, was taught in the public schools.
Discoveries in biology, geology, and physics presented evidence that
contradicted the literal interpretation of the
creation story. With this growing
evidence, many theologians considered modifying their interpretation of
creation. Some of these interpretations agree with Scripture,
some do not. Some agree with scientific evidence, some do
not. However, one thing is certain, evolution not only caused
polarization between Creationists
and Evolutionists, it caused polarization among
Christians. In this chapter, we will discuss the major
positions on Creationism.
A few of the more liberal Creationists hold that God
created matter with its inherent laws of governance, then "let nature
take its course." They allow for a theistic cause for the
universe, but do not include any divine intervention after
the initial creative act. This position allows for non-theistic
evolution. This is on the fringe of Christian
belief and more appropriately associated with the Deist
position as well as some non-Christian religions and Gnosticism.
Virtually no one considering the theology or the science of
creation/evolution accepts this position. It does not agree with the
numerous scriptures that declare a personal God involved with
everything, particularly humanity. Evolutionist and Humanist reject it
because it proposes a divine initiator and Humanism rejects anything
spiritual as an explanation for anything. At the other extreme are the
Young Earth Creationists.
Young Earth Creationism
Young-earth Creationism adheres to a literal interpretation
of the Bible and that the earth was
created within the last ten thousand years. Approximately 40 percent of
Americans believe in the young earth creation
theology, but that number is declining. This time frame
is established from genealogical accounts given in the Bible.
Young-earth Creationists believe that the universe
is approximate the same age as the earth. The apparent age
of fossils and geological structures are
accounted for by God creating them to appear old. Most
young-earth Creationists believe that God created the earth in a literal
6-day period. Fundamental to the young-earth theology is that there is
no macroevolution, i.e.
one species evolves into a new and different species.
This interpretation is similar to what the nomadic Hebrews believed a
simple literal acceptance of the biblical statements. Whereas the early
Hebrews had no scientific facts to challenge the literal interpretation,
modern-day literalists do. However, they explain them away or, in some
cases, simply ignore them. However, this form of Creationism
has some problems that the Evolutionists
are pleased to point out.
Internal contradictions within the
In the first chapter of Genesis, God
caused the earth to bring forth vegetation on the
third day and he created man on the sixth day. However, in the second
chapter, when discussing the creation
of man, it states that there was no vegetation. In the previous
chapter, we discussed the inconsistency with establishing "days" prior
to the establishment of the sun, which is used to rule the day
and moon to rule the night on the fourth "day." In addition,
vegetation was created on the third day and the sun on the fourth
day–but vegetation needs light to live. Why would God ignore the basic
rules of biology that he established himself?
External contradictions with the
In the last 200 years, there has been an
exponential increase in scientific knowledge. The wonder of God’s creation is understood like
never before. Where before we only saw WHAT God made, we now begin to
understand HOW the universe works. And where the WHAT
manifested the glory of God to the eye, the HOW manifests the glory of
God to the mind. Unfortunately, as many scientists miss the glory of God
in the HOW, so do the young earth Creationists.
established the geological mechanisms of the earth: Plate tectonics, principles of erosion, volcanoes, and
earthquakes. Physicists have measured the universe and
explored the internal workings of the atom. Biologist have unlocked the
secrets of metabolism, expanded medicine (and thereby brought healing to
the world), and have shown us the wonders of the microscopic
unknown less than 150 years ago.
Each new discovery manifests the Glory of
God in a new way. However, some of these discoveries challenge
the literal interpretation of the biblical account
of creation. Geological evidence
shows that the earth's structures had to take millions of
years to form, not days. It is obvious that erosion could not form the
Grand Canyon in only a few years. Yes, God could have ignored his
laws of nature–but why would he? Astrophysicists have
measured the universe and have shown that, based on the
distance light can travel in a specific amount of time; it has taken 14
billion years for the light from the farthest galaxies to reach
earth. That means that the creation process had to take more than a
week; it had to take billions of years.
Some literalist would dismiss these
observations by saying that God simply made
the universe that big and allowed the light to exceed the
physical limit to its speed that we now observe. Yes, he could, but
These internal and external
inconsistencies caused some theologians to reconsider their position and
accept some of the scientific observations. The
reconsideration of the young-earth theology was also necessary when
efforts to challenge evolution in the schools or to include creation in
the science classes, if based on the young earth interpretation of
Genesis failed in the courts.
This was the beginning of limited
polarization within the Church. A polarization
between those who hold to a literal interpretation of Genesis
and those who still believe in theistic creation but
accept scientific discoveries that indicate a literal interpretation is
attempt to accommodate the geological evidence of an
"old earth." This theology holds that a
physical world existed as described in Gen 1:2, in a void and formless
state. This period was millions of years. The old geological structures
that date back millions of years are from this period. The six-day
period of the genesis account (verses following Gen 1:2) began after
this period. The gap Creationists believe, as do the
young earth Creationists, that there was no macroevolution.
This allows for the old geological structures in agreement
with scientific evidence.
Some Gap Creationists
account for fossils dating from this period by allowing
for a primordial creation of life
during this period that became extinct. Evidence that there
is a progressive development of life from simple to
complex in the fossil record is accounted for by a general
flood (Noah) that rearranged the geological structures and the fossils
Internal contradictions within the
There is nothing in Genesis, or
elsewhere in the Bible, that would support the gap theory
from a theological perspective.
The earth was
formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the
Spirit of God was hovering over the
To take that verse and extrapolate an
entire theory of geological and biological
creative processes that took place over millions of years is just
speculation, both theological
and scriptural. For life to exist, the creation
process described in the verses that follow this one would have to take
place (land, light, etc.), in other words, a second creation. However,
there is no scriptural support for this speculation.
External contradictions with the
One of the most difficult observations
to explain is the fossil record. Fossils of
both plants and animals are found embedded in rock. Fossilization
requires the organism to be buried
and then subjected to salts that replace the organic material. This
takes a long time–a very long time–as the gap creationists would
But how did the plants and animals
survive in the "primordial" period? According to Genesis, there was
darkness over the deep and the world was covered with water.
Plants need sunlight and the sun does not come into the
Genesis account until after this period. Remember, the main impetus for
these alternative creation theologies is to gain acceptance for teaching
creation in the public schools. Contradictions such as this will always
result in failure to gain acceptance. There are sufficient difficulties
with the gap position that some theologians took a more direct approach.
Progressive Creationism accepts the scientific observation
regarding the age of the earth and the progressive development of organisms.
However, a natural macro evolutionary process does not accomplish the
progressive development of organisms. According to the progressive
Creationist, the creation of each
species was guided directly by God. This allows
agreement with the scientific geological times and the
gradual development of organisms. With this concept, there is no common
ancestor and, presumably, no direct conflict with
scientific data. There is nothing in the Genesis
account that would contradict this position. Nevertheless, the
scientific community that seeks a completely physical
explanation rejected this position outright. As we will discuss later in
the book, the Humanist position regarding evolution is based on Atheism
and, in fact, atheistic evolution is fundamental to the Humanist
philosophy. Therefore, the logic of progressive creation is ignored by
the Humanist ideologues who are primarily interested in discrediting
anything spiritual. We discuss this further in Part 3.
A position similar to Progressive
Creationism is theistic evolution. Theistic evolution allows that
evolution occurs, governed by the laws of nature that are
an integral part of creation.
However, there are specific points in the evolutionary process that
cannot be explained scientifically. It is in these steps of the
evolution process that God intervenes. These gaps
in the evolution hypothesis are discussed in detail in
Chapter 6. Scientists admit there are several steps in
the evolution process that they cannot explain. It is here that the
theistic evolutionist inserts God into the process. However,
Evolutionists reject this as an alternative position
because it includes divine intervention. When considering
the Creationism-Evolutionism debate, one must continually keep in mind
the basic premise of Humanism is there is no God. Therefore, even though
a reasonable person could accept theistic evolution, or at least not
reject it outright, the Humanist must completely reject it simply
because it includes divine influence and anything divine is an
antithesis to Humanism. In an attempt to bridge the gap between the
scriptural account and scientific rigor in a way acceptable to the
courts for teaching in the schools, a new approach had to be taken, one
with a scientific basis that did not contradict the Genesis
As we mentioned before, the focus of
Creationism proponents is the classroom.
The opponents of overt Creationism claim that it is not science
but religion and, therefore, in order to
maintain the constitutional separation of church and state, Creationism
cannot be taught in the classroom. The opponents’ position was upheld in
court and today, in the majority of public school classrooms in the
United States, evolution that omits the influence (or
even the existence of) God is taught.
In the 1987 Edwards v. Aguillard
case, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that it was
illegal to teach creation science
along with evolution in public schools
because the state is prohibited from providing aide to
religion. The same ruling also stated that teaching a
variety of scientific theories about the origin of humankind with a
clear secular intent is permissible.
is an effort to provide for a form of Creationism
to be taught in the public schools on an
equal status with evolution and within the limits set
forth by the Supreme Court. Intelligent Design (ID "Intelligent design")
proposes that there are certain
features found in some organisms
that have a type of complexity that cannot be explained by random
mutations and natural selection. ID - "Intelligent design"
proposes a scientific approach that is consistent
with Christian and theistic positions.
The foundation for ID
is a concept called "irreducible complexity".
Irreducible complexity was first introduced by Michael Behe
in his 1996 book Darwin’s Black Box.
Behe defines irreducible complexity as, "a
single system which is composed of several well-matched interacting
parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any
one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning."
The example he gives is the mousetrap.
consists of several interacting pieces: the base, the catch, the
spring, and the hammer. Each piece must be in place for the mousetrap to
work. Remove of any one piece and you destroy the function
of the mousetrap. ID "Intelligent design" asserts that
natural selection cannot create irreducibly
complex systems, because the function
is present only when all parts are assembled. Behe argued
that irreducibly complex biological mechanisms include the bacterial
E. coli, the
blood clotting cascade,
cilia, and the adaptive
proponents also raise occasional arguments outside biology.
Consider the fine-tuning of the universal constants that make matter and
life possible. These, it is argued cannot be solely
attributable to chance. These include the values of fundamental physical
constants, the relative strength of nuclear forces, electromagnetism,
and gravity between fundamental particles, as well as the ratios of
masses of such particles. (We discuss this in detail in Chapter 6)
Intelligent Design proponents and Center for Science and Culture fellow,
Guillermo Gonzalez, argues that if any of these
values were even slightly different, the universe would
be dramatically different. It would be impossible for many chemical
elements and features of the universe, such as galaxies, to form. Thus,
proponents argue, an intelligent designer of life was needed to ensure
that the requisite features were present to achieve that particular
The almost unanimous response from
scientists is that there is no way to test this argument, therefore, it
not scientifically valid. (This is an interesting argument because the
same scientists have dismissed the lack of testing of the evolution
hypothesis is because it is untestable due
to the long periods required. We will expand on this latter in the
In an attempt to comply with the court
ruling, the textbook Pandas and People
was published using the term Intelligent Design.
However, the term was not used in the initial drafts of the book. The
original draft of the book used the terms "creation",
"creationism," and "creationists." This was clearly unacceptable after
the Supreme Court ruling. In the final version,
these terms were replaced with "Intelligent Design." Although
intelligence behind the design is not specifically
stated, ID "Intelligent design" postulates that one or more
agents of design must exist.
Those opposed to introducing religion
in any form to school curricula hold that ID
"Intelligent design" at least implies that the agent is the
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, the court found that
Intelligent Design is not science and "cannot uncouple
itself from its creationist, and thus religious antecedents." Therefore, it
cannot be taught as an alternative to
evolution in public school
science classrooms under the jurisdiction of that court. This sets a
based on previous Supreme Court decisions in Edwards v. Aguillard mentioned above.
Currently, the court rulings have essentially prohibited the teaching of all forms of Creationism
in public schools. We discuss this further in Part 3.
While those who developed the ID concept, have establish a very clever
argument against evolution, it cannot be tested and therefore,
cannot be subjected to the rigor of the scientific method. In this,
the opponents of Creationism are correct. However, if you are a Creationist,
not all is lost–see Chapters 5 and 6.
We have discussed the various forms of
Creationism thought from the
simple literal interpretation of Genesis
to the complex and scientific arguments of Intelligent Design.
The difficulty is in resolving what the Bible
says with observable facts and scientific discoveries. In
trying to resolve the two, compromises are made that cannot be accepted
by all parties–even within the Christian community. The fact is
that Creationism is not good science either.
 U.S. Religious Landscape Survey – Religious Affiliation: Diverse
and Dynamic, 2008, The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life.
 Macroevolution refers to the genetic changes in a organism that,
over long periods of time, naturally accumulate and result
eventually in a new and distinctly separate species from the
original. This is the fundamental premise of evolution.
Copyright © 2011 by Patrick Vosse
All Rights Reserved