Managing Editor Andrew Blechman speaks with author Erik Reece about his attempts to reconcile evolution with creationism so that the religious among us can more fully appreciate the natural world, rather than arguing about science and faith. If all life on earth originated from a single substance, why not call that substance God?
I’m not sure you can resolve the distance between revelation from God and hypothesis from a careful study of the evidence. I guess in an oral tradition the religious narratives and teaching could be more easily modified over time to adapt to cultural changes.
Perhaps what a religious person might find most disturbing about a scientific person would be the latter’s apparent amoral bias. The moral right or wrong of things don’t seem to be factored into evolutions tooth and claw, survival of the fittest approach to our origins.
As long as our needs take us one way and facts another, religion and science will always be at odds.
As a scientist and a Christian who has no problem with reconciling evolution with Christian belief, I think Erik Reece misses a few points in his article The New Creationism. While I certainly donâ€™t agree with creationism being taught in school as science, I think we do have to recognize that we Westerners have a tendency to already treat all science as religion. Science is based on the belief that we can understand everything in the universe through pursuit of scientific methodology, which is based on interpretation of the physical world through our senses. It certainly seems to work, but it canâ€™t speak to the possibility of other realities or planes of existence.
Reece also misses the mark on stating that creationists have no conservation imperative. The bible is full of mandates against and warnings about mistreating creation â€“ a creation that God loves. You might check out http://www.creationism.org/csshs for a smattering of these biblical quotes. This also leads to the point of creationists not imagining a God greater than â€˜usâ€™. All Christians believe in a God much greater than â€˜usâ€™, and a God that expects us to exercise â€˜dominionâ€™ as faithful stewards of the earth. The Christian view is that human dominion is under Godâ€™s dominion, and God â€˜ownsâ€™ it all and considers it all good.
Christians historically, have also seen the creation as a reflection of the creator â€“ the â€˜bookâ€™ of general revelation. â€œThere is a great book: the very appearance of created things. God never wrote that book in ink. Instead He set before your eyes the things that He had made.â€ (Augustine). â€œGod writes the gospel, not in the Bible alone, but also on trees, and in the flowers and clouds and stars.â€ (Martin Luther). â€œGod has ordained the world to be like a theater upon which to behold his goodness.â€ (John Calvin).
The issue of dualism in Christianity is a red herring (unless youâ€™re a left-over Gnostic). Of all the world religions, Christianity is probably the least dualistic. After all, the belief is that God was so concerned about humans screwing up themselves and creation that he came physically into being to straighten things out. At its root, Christianity is a very â€˜earthyâ€™ religion.
Finally, letâ€™s get off the â€˜dominion thingâ€™, which has been the scapegoat for secular environmentalists since Lynn Whiteâ€™s 1967 book. Take a look at how other cultures around the world with little or no Christian heritage take care of the environment. I donâ€™t believe youâ€™ll find much difference. The gods most of us serve most religiously are the gods of selfishness, greed, materialism, consumerism and unbridled capitalism. Jesus pointed that out quite clearly.
I’d like to second Jerry’s comments and (while my personal beliefs generally fall into the atheistic or pagan category) note that there is a small (but, I believe, growing) branch of Christian evangelicals who believe in “creation care”, which I understand to mean something to the effect of “God created all these wonderful organisms we share the earth with – who are we to make them extinct?” See, e.g., the website of the Evangelical Environmental Network, http://creationcare.org/ I think Reece’s failure to acknowledge (if not endorse) this and related faith-based initiatives was a major flaw of his article. I am sort of surprised that the editors at Orion did not challenge him on this shortcoming before the article was published.
Here is a relevant excerpt from my EcoEpic & Other Poems:
Donâ€™t burden the children with dreary dogma
Nor abuse them with unfounded threats
Of eternal suffering, fire and brimstone
Such hogwash too often psychosis begets
Let them discover religion on their own
In a green cathedral near their home
Beneath a vault of massive trees
Feet in touch with moss and leaves
Pondering Gaiaâ€™s mysteries
They will return with heavy questions
Some of whose answers are unknown
Then is the time for their induction
After the spiritual seeds have been sewn
Begin a program of religious instruction
Leverage nature’s magnetism
Let natural history become the scripture
Ecology the catechism.
As a Lutheran pastor and an instructor for the Nat’l Outdoor Leadership School and as a Dad, I am so grateful for this article. My goal as pastor and as instructor is to help people love the world. The switch, the turn around, which Reece describes is the metanoia I believe in…biology as scripture, world as scripture…I think people cling to “creationism” because they are afraid and theologically and biblically illiterate….a dangerous combination. The goal of life is not to get somewhere else, but to love this place.
False equivalency in modern discourse puts weak or even bogus ideas on the same footing as evidence-based theories and scientific findings. The most popular false equivalence is one that presents, as an explanation of life on earth, creationism as a competing explanation with Darwin’s Theory of Evolution.
With Darwinism we have a theory backed by years of observation around the world. Whereas creationism is backed by no testable evidence at all. We are asked to believe that a supernatural event occurred when each of millions of species appeared on the planet, a creation by God at a moment in time, perhaps even within the last 10,000 years. Anyone can go to the geologic record and view evidence of Darwin’s theory. No where is there evidence of instantaneous creation.
It is science versus superstition. This is worse than comparing apples and oranges, at least those are both fruits with verifiable physical characteristics. There is no way to verify of falsify the superstitious claims of creationism. Looking at the fossil record only confirms the gradual change of plant and animal life as described by Darwin. Yet many high school biology teachers teach creationism as an alternate scientific theory and some even do so to the disadvantage of scientific theories. Magical and supernatural explanations for how plants and animals came about are taught in some schools as the preferred explanation.
â€œThere is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth. Courts have repeatedly ruled that creationism and intelligent design are religious doctrines, not scientific theories.â€
but it cannot speak to the likelihood of other facts or aircraft of lifestyle. cast iron lamp post
As long as our needs take us one way and facts another, religion and science will always be at odds. get more youtube views
Yeah, what Jerry Lang said.
I’m late in finding this. I *am* awestruck by the creation. I have lots to say about my love for creation, and the Bible has plenty to say about God’s love for creation. The word “dominion” is poorly translated in the King James Version as well as many others. Here’s a link discussing this: http://www.unitingearthweb.org.au/explore/a-radical-new-look-at-dominion-in-genesis
We are also stewards of creation. The people strip-mining Kentucky and generally wreaking havoc on the earth using the excuse of “dominion” are using it as a cover for their greed. And if they are that greedy, then I doubt the validity of their relationship with Jesus.
I care very much about what we’re doing to the environment, one of my callings is a “creation carer”, somebody who takes care of that part of creation in her purview.
Creation-as-god isn’t a new idea. It’s been around probably as long as humans. The Creation is not God, but separate from him. We were created in his image in that we are supposed to have his character and attributes. (See above link.)
Things (and humans) have been screwed up since then, so we’re behaving badly and using all kinds of excuses to cover that.
You need to talk to more Christians, Eric. Like me.
micro niche sites.. We can get a lot of information on orionmagazine.org. This site is good and awesome
Perhaps what a religious person might find most disturbing about a scientific person would be the latterâ€™s apparent amoral bias. The moral right or wrong of things donâ€™t seem to be factored into evolutions tooth and claw, survival of the fittest approach to our origins