Overview of Various Creationist Positions
Below we provide a brief description of the major viewpoints that are creationist in some sense. The Greater Houston Creation Association is dedicated to research and study from the Young Earth Creationist (YEC) perspective. We also recognize that many of us have not always understood things as we do now and we appreciate those who were patient and diligent in their efforts to educate us. We urge the Christian community to focus on education about the principles involved in the creation positions discussed below. Education will enable dialog with mutual understanding and respect for our differing lines of thought. That leads to personal growth for all.
Young Earth Creation Science (YEC)
The young earth creation science movement is a minority of scientists that set out to develop a historical science consistent both with the assumption that the early chapters of Genesis are accurate in what they say and with the science of the world presently observed around us. Over forty years ago, the first creation science associations were formed and journals established to publish research. Today there are several thousand scientists involved. A useful cross section of these scientists can be found in the fifty PhD scientists presented in Ashton’s book, In Six Days, Why 50 scientists choose to believe in creation. Some highly recommended reading might start with Refuting Compromise, by physical chemist Dr. Jonathan Sarfati who covers wide range of both scientific and Biblical issues. Geological engineer Dr. John Morris provides an excellent survey of the geologic evidence for a young creation in his book The Young Earth. Astronomer Dr. Danny Faulkner provides an excellent discussion of astronomy and cosmology issues in Universe By Design. Also very valuable is Dr. Henry Morris’, The Genesis Record.
Several years ago the first organized research program began. This project was staffed by a multidisciplinary research team of professional PhD scientists. This project was titled RATE meaning Radioisotopes and the Age of the Earth. The object of the RATE project was to find answers to all the questions associated with isotope dating. This was a giant step beyond the past habit of just pointing out the problems with conventional dating theory. The RATE project has produced some stunning results consistent with a young creation. These results are presented in an excellent way for educated laymen by physics professor Dr. Don DeYoung in his book titled, Thousands … Not Billions.
We would recommend all of these resources as well as the other articles on this web site to build a firm foundation for understanding the YEC line of thinking about science and the Bible. Then one will find many other resources among the links to our favorite organizations on our home page.
Progressive Creation (PC)
Progressive creationists try to propose an alternate reading of the Genesis accounts of creation that attempts to incorporate into the six days of creation nearly all of the conventional views of the historical sciences. These include big bang cosmology, historical geology, and biologic evolution. This is sometimes known as a day-age approach. PCs will also assert that that Noah’s Flood was merely a local flood narrated from Noah’s perspective. The PCs approach introduces many difficulties and inconsistencies in their efforts to harmonize the Bible with current historical science and these are reviewed in more detail in other articles. The leading PC advocate is the astronomer Dr. Hugh Ross.
Theistic Creation (TC)
These are likely to consider the Biblical creation and flood accounts to be primarily allegorical in nature. They are likely to accept the conventional view of historical geology, evolution, and big bang cosmology without much question. They are likely to conclude that God guided the processes of evolution and so used evolution as a creative tool. TCs are quite numerous and it is probably the default position for Christians who have not researched the issues carefully. This is sometimes known as the ‘go with the flow’ method.
Deistic Creation (DC)
These, like the theistic creationists, take the Bible to be largely allegorical in nature but they have concluded that the only role God has played is in fine-tuning the initial conditions of the big bang event. Once the big bang process was set into motion God stepped back and let it proceed as determined by the finely tuned initial conditions. The only way God now interacts with His creation is through the spiritual lives and activities of believers. An important scientist that leans strongly in this direction is Dr. Francis Collins who famously led the project that first sequenced the human genome in the late 1990s.
Intelligent Design Movement (ID)
This is a group of scientists who recognize the existence of much physical evidence for some degree of activity by some sort of intelligence in the history and development of life and the universe. Many of them are associated through the Discovery Institute, www.discovery.org.
This group focuses on the presently observable scientific evidence that points to design of some sort in living systems. In other words, they focus on operational science. They avoid efforts toward the historical sciences. They also presume that science cannot identify the source of the intelligence but only study the ways that it is manifested in the physical world around us. As a group, they make no presumptions about the Bible. The group will include individuals with a wide range of views about the Bible and creation. Thus, the ID movement is not creationist in the usual sense at all.
The Christian community should take careful note that this ID approach also avoids the self-contradiction involved in reliance on the materialist based historical sciences. This ID approach also has the ability to interest open-minded scientists specifically because it focuses on the evidence of operational science rather than historical science. However, closed-minded individuals still strongly object to anything like intelligent design because it might provide an opening for the supernatural in some sense. ID deserves much attention by the Christian community.
Some of the leading ID scientists include Michael Behe, William Dembski, and Jonathan Wells among others. Some of the most important books include Darwin’s Black Box, The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution by biochemistry professor Dr. Michael Behe, Icons of Evolution: Why much of what we teach about evolution is wrong. by biologist Dr Jonathan Wells, and Intelligent Design by mathematician and philosopher Dr. William Dembski. Two videos that every Christian high school student and parent should see include Unlocking the Mystery of Life, and the Privileged Planet. These videos give a very high quality overview of the intelligent design arguments but do so in a very time efficient and attention-holding manner. Every high school student should see these DVDs before they go off to college.
These two videos can also serve well as a starting point for any general study of creation and origin issues. Then with that foundation, many will be interested to go on to study something of the relationships between the Bible and science including the strengths and weaknesses of the YEC, PC, TC, and DC approaches. It important for the Christian community to become more knowledgeable about both creation and science so it can have an appropriate influence on the world around us rather than being intimidated by it.
Anti-creationists have a commitment to the supposition that nothing supernatural is real. This goes hand in hand with the materialist philosophy that only matter and energy are real. These people often take the position that creationism, or anything else that suggests a supernatural cause, should not be given any consideration in any way. Many claim that science can only be done if there is no supernatural activity in reality. Some say if one allows any supernatural action to be considered then all logic breaks down. Some say that if we allow supernatural action to be a possible explanation for anything, then scientists will get lazy and use it to explain all things and scientific investigation will cease. These lines of argument are little more than hype. Statistics show that 40% of practicing scientists believe in a God that answers prayer and guides evolution in some manner. Further, it is a well know fact that the Judeo-Christian culture was the mother that gave birth to science and nurtured it to full boom. This happened only in cultures that were dominated by belief in the supernatural creator God of the Bible. Further, most of the major branches of science were founded and established by men who were creationist in a Biblical sense. The basic reason for this is that the God of the Bible created an orderly system that obeys His preordained will for it as an environment for man. We are assured that we can count on His will, purpose, character and promises, and that we can understand these well enough to carry out the responsibilities He has assigned us. So scientists who are creationists think that they can understand the natural order that prevails according to God’s will and that the effort is not only worthwhile, but also our duty. They assume that if the natural ordained order of things can explain observed events, then nothing more should be presumed. However, in the unordinary cases, where even after diligent effort over time something cannot be explained by the natural order, then the possibility of God’s supernatural action might be considered as well. This is especially true if God’s Word tells us that He acted supernaturally in regard to a given matter. Even in such cases one is not to be presumptuous in attributing anything to God that is not truly so. To these creationists, scientific discovery is ‘thinking God’s thoughts after Him.’ Out of this understanding of reality, science was born and flourished. History proves those who claim that science cannot be done with the assumption of a Creator God are simply wrong. It is time for the Christian community to recognize and embrace that fact and enunciate it clearly. Our students should be well versed in these issues before they go off to college.
Also, see the following articles with related information: