Creationism vs. evolution: faith and fact?

By Jim Youngquist

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[April 30, 2008]  It's confusing and difficult to make an honest assessment on the subject of how everything came into being. There are two proposed ways of looking at it -- either everything was created by a pre-existing being and was shaped by intelligence, or the stuff everything is made of has always existed and just takes on different forms by chance.

In our public schools these two sides have been presented as creationism and evolution. Creationism is said to represent the Christian faith position, while evolution represents the science position. Both sides in this debate feel strongly and present many strong arguments about how life, the universe and everything came to be.

Because of how most of us are raised and taught in our public school systems, we lean toward making a science of everything.

We are taught in grade school that science finds answers, while faith, that part of you that believes in things you cannot see or prove, might be good someday at providing comfort.

School has taught us that science gives us facts, while church tells us that God gives us faith. In this dilemma, many people choose to accept what they are told are facts over faith.

There is no debate that the Christian life is all about faith: faith that God exists, that he has created everything, including human beings, and is working to redeem and reclaim his creation. Christians take this on faith as the foundation of their lives. To us, it is all about God, and we are his creation. Our faith is our life.

To many people inside and outside the faith, evolution seems to be very attractive because of those pesky facts that science is said to have that make evolution TRUTH rather than something to be merely taken on faith.

How would you feel, though, if you found out that your grade school teacher hedged the bet a little in favor of popular science and evolution to make it more acceptable to you?

How would you feel if you found out that creationism isn't the explanation of how everything came to be created by the God of the universe according to the Bible, but was instead really a new form of science?

People who favor science cling to it as their system of belief in the same way Christians cling to their faith. Science provides structure, finds meaning and gives value in the same way the Bible provides these things. In fact, science and Christian faith have more in common than in difference.

Explained properly, scientists (those who study things to find answers) make observations, state theories and then experiment to determine if their theory continues to be correct. As they perform experiments and accumulate data, they may modify the theory to reflect their new observations. In science there is no such thing as a proven theory, just one that has yet to be discovered, disproved or discarded.

In today's world, if a theory stands without being disproved long enough, it stands the test of time and is counted as fact. In today's scientific age the theory-to-fact cycle is rather brisk, about five years. This is how science accumulates facts. Not by the scientific method, but by a lack of any new evidence to challenge the current theory.

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Explained properly, science is a faith system that trusts that the current theory won't be disproved. However, few scientific theories remain unchallenged throughout the ages because scientists are always making new discoveries that modify the prevailing theories.

The big scientific theories -- evolution, the big bang and the idea that matter has always existed -- remain only theories. Darwin proposed an explanation based on observations when he theorized that all the animal species on the earth evolved from common sources. Steven Hawkins postulates that dark matter constitutes most of the matter that occurs in the universe and is just waiting to be discovered, and that black holes exist because theoretically they are mathematically possible. Astrophysicists, animal biologists, paleontologists, archeologists and all the rest of the -ologists make observations and state theories to try to make an explanation for a past that cannot be known in fact but instead is embraced in faith until someone else offers a better theory based on new observations and evidences.

The Christian faith presents the Bible as proof that creation is true, and people accept this on faith. The Bible only tells a very basic story of how God existed before anything else, and has always existed. The Bible says that God designed and created everything from his will and his power. Beyond this, there are few, thin explanations in the Bible regarding the specifics. We have been taught that those answers are not necessary for our faith.

We live in an age in which people are trying to turn just about everything into a science.

Creation becomes creationism when it overstates or understates what the Bible says in order to make an explanation where one is not available in the text of the Bible. Examples of these overstatements and understatements persist in creationism for the purpose of countering what science says. Statements of how old the earth is, reconciling the creation account to the existence of the fossil record, the gap theory, progressive evolution and many other theories are offered as Biblical Truth, but should instead be thought of as the pseudoscience people currently call creationism.

Creationism should not be equated with biblical faith. It is a competing science that goes far beyond what is stated in the Bible. It is a reaction to popular science with its own theories and evidences.

So, neither popular science nor this new science, creationism, is able to present facts. They can only present theories.


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