Scientific creationism concentrates on providing scientific evidence to “prove" the veracity of the Bible. In reaction to evolutionary theory, it seeks a scientific theory of origins, one that is, hopefully, consistent with the Bible. In fact, this approach really makes science a judge over the Bible, and so implicitly accepts the secular world view that scientific method is the only valid epistemology. Yet, Biblically, it is this reliance on science - human wisdom (1 Cor 1:19-20) - that is the fundamental attitude that must be changed if people are to know the Truth.
The Bible does not encourage us to look at God's creation scientifically and generate theories about its origins, but rather to examine the creation directly to recognise God's power and Deity, and to consider God's on-going actions in judgement and redemption throughout Biblical history.
Creationist Christians generally seek to base their work on the Bible, using their understanding of it as a basis to underpin a particular scientific theory of, say, geology. Scripture is inspired, but not our interpretation of it, nor theories derived from it. Although Scripture never mentions fossils, for nearly 2000 years Christians have assumed the fossils were formed in the Flood, and most creationists remain reluctant to accept that the physical evidence proves that many fossils must be post-Flood. Creationists rightly decry the evolutionists' "just-so" stories, but fail to see where they also adjust facts to suit their theories. In both cases, theory is in the driving seat, rather than the facts.
Both Darwinian Evolution and the "practically all fossils are from the Flood" theory of scientific creationism arose as fully fledged theories long before most of the relevant facts were available. Enough geological facts are now available to prove that both theories are false, and cannot be made true by minor adjustments. However, much remains unknown. A comprehensive theory to reconcile Biblical Earth history with the whole range of geological facts has not yet been formulated - and it probably never will be, since God requires us to live by faith in Him and not in scientific proof. Scientifically, we can now be sure of some things - e.g. that much of the geological record represents short-lived, post-Flood, geophysical and biological successions. But other issues can never be conclusively resolved - e.g. whether the earliest geological formations are completely lost, having been recycled under the Earth.
Rather than develop theory-laden explanations, we should seek to establish the physical facts of geology and archaeology empirically (i.e. by careful observation, consciously laying aside, as far as we can, our desires and prejudices), working independently of any theoretical or ideological framework. This way, new knowledge adds progressively to our understanding, avoiding the upheavals and heart-searchings which attend the overthrow of theories that have become untenable.
Once his treasured theories are laid aside, the Christian ceases to fear their overthrow. He becomes happy to let the true facts about the history of the Earth speak for themselves, wherever this may lead. God is never afraid of the truth being discovered. Indeed, He positively encourages us to see His eternal power and Diety through what He made (Romans 1), and to examine the evidence that He wrought desolations in the Earth (Isaiah 24).
Apologetically this approach is most advantageous. Honestly collected facts are far less likely to be revised than comprehensive theories. The very incompleteness of the scientific answer leaves room for people to develop an enduring and stable faith, one that does not waver or collapse when scientific theories are swept away like a house built upon sand. The facts, presented without the filter of men's theories (cf. 1 Cor 1:18-29), generate awe, and that fear of God which prepares the way for the preaching of the gospel of Christ.
For relevant background materials visit our website at http://members.aol.com/earthhist/
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© Richard Johnston, 1998.
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This page updated 1 March 2000
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