An accidental blog

"If God is sovereign, then his lordship must extend over all of life, and it cannot be restricted to the walls of the church or within the Christian orbit." Abraham Kuyper Common Grace 1.1.

Saturday, 16 July 2005

Genesis and science

There are a number of ways that Christians have attempted to reconcile science and the early chapters of Genesis. Two questions are crucial to the position Christians take on science and Genesis:

1. Is the earth old?

2. Do we have a common ancestor?


(i) Extreme creationists reject the scientific evidence and hold onto a literal six-day creation, they claim that the earth is young and we don’t have a common ancestor e.g Henry Morris (ed.) Scientific Creationism (1974).

(ii) Progressive creationists adopt some sort of age-day or revelatory-day view of Genesis 1 and thus accept an old earth but reject a common ancestor, e.g. Pattle P. T. Pun Evolution (1982).

(iii) Theistic evolutionists would accept that while God created matter and natural laws, life evolved, the earth is old and we do have a common ancestor e.g R. J. Berry (1988).


The nineteenth and early twentieth century saw a number of ways of relating the early chapters of Genesis with science.

Position

Advocates

Work

Date


Flood geology/ creation science

E.G. White

Spiritual Gifts

1864

George McReady Price

The New Geology

1923

Byron Nelson

The Deluge Story in Stone

1931

A.M. Rehwinkel

The Flood in the Light of the Bible

1951

H.W. Clark

The New Diluvialism

1946

Henry M. Morris & John C. Whitcomb

The Genesis Flood

1961

Local creation

John Pye Smith

On the Relation Between the Holy Scriptures and Certain parts of Geological Science

1839

Ideal time view

Philip Henry Grosse

Omphalos

1857

Gap theory

Buckland

Bridgewater Treatises VI

1837

Adam Sedgwick

Discourses on the Studies of the University of Cambridge

Robert Chalmers

The evidence and authority of the Christian Revelation

1817

John H. Pratt

Scripture and Science not at variance

1857

J.H. Kurtz

Bible and astronomy

1842

G.H. Pember

Earth’s Earliest Ages

1876

C.I. Scofield

Scofield Bible

1909

Harry Rimmer

Modern Science and the Genesis Record

1937


Age-day

G. S. Faber

Genius and object

1823

Buffon

Epoques de la Nature

1778

James Dana

Manual of Geology

1863

J.W. Dawson

Origin of the World According to Revelation and Science

1877

Edwin K. Gedeney

in Modern Science and Christian Faith

1948





Pictorial day

J.H. Kurtz

Bible and Astronomy

1857

Hugh Miller

Testimony of the Rocks

1849

A.H. Strong

Systematic Theology

1907

Canon Dorlodot

Darwinism & Catholic Thought

1923

L.F. Gruber

The Six Creative Days

J. Pohle

God: The Author of Nature and the Supernatural

1942

P.J. Wiseman

Creation Revealed in Six Days

1948


Flood geology or creationism, subsumes science with a literal six-day creation reading of scripture.

Local creation. The special act of creation by God was limited to a small area of the ancient near East.

Ideal time view. How old was Adam when God created him? He was apparently created with the appearance of age. The earth could likewise be created with the appearance of age, so this view purports.

Gap theory. In order to reconcile the geologists’ old earth view with the prima facie young earth view of Genesis a gap was inserted in Gen 1:2. God created in Genesis 1:1, this was followed by a catastrophe in Gen 1:2, and was followed by a re-creation in 1:3; 1:2 could provide the geologists with as much time as they required!

Age day. This view holds that the days of creation were periods of time representing the development of the earth.

Pictorial day. The days of creation in Genesis 1 are the days of revelation by God to 'Moses' of the successive acts of creation.

Adapted from Steve Bishop ‘A typology for science and religion’ Evangelical Quarterly 72 (1) (2000) 35-56. When I get time I'll put on some links.

2 comments:

Paul said...

What about our friend Roy Clouser?

And what about Steve Bishop?

(I have no idea what I am!)

Steve Bishop said...

I'm none of the above! I like the approach of Paul Seely: God accommodates himself in Genesis to the worldview of the ancient near east.

Roy likes the hypothesis framework for Genesis.