Re: More than Three Views?

Massie (
Wed, 24 Feb 1999 07:37:39 -0800

Allan Harvey wrote:
> Reading _Three Views on Creation and Evolution_ has made me think about
> how many views there really are. As I've mentioned, the book did not
> have any representation of the "standard" young-Earth creationism
> movement. Nor did any of the three views closely resemble my own. This
> led me to come up with a classification scheme, which I present here for
> discussion.
> In the following, I use "gap" as shorthand for a (preferably detectable)
> direct action of God in natural history that is outside God's "normal"
> means of nature. Those who dislike that term can substitute
> "fingerprints," as in Phil Johnson's statement that a worthy God must
> have "left his fingerprints all over the evidence." "No gaps" refers to
> the position that God accomplished his creation without acting outside
> his governance of "natural" processes. I use "preference" to denote a
> position that is held (perhaps strongly, perhaps tentatively) but not
> considered essential. Preferences might be held on the basis of
> evaluation of scientific evidence, interpretation of Scripture, or other
> factors. This is in contrast to the position "theology requires X",
> which means that X is an essential part of the person's Christian faith.
> The latter can be the product of a multistep process, such as "theology
> requires a 'perfect' Bible" followed by "a 'perfect' Bible requires X."
> Given those definitions, I see six basic views:
> 1) Theology requires "gaps"
> Theology requires young Earth
> 2) Theology requires "gaps"
> Preference for young Earth
> 3) Theology requires "gaps"
> Preference for old Earth
> 4) "Gaps" or "no gaps" both theologically OK
> Preference for "gaps"
> 5) "Gaps" or "no gaps" both theologically OK
> Preference for "no gaps"
> 6) Theology requires "no gaps"
> While complex issues are never one-dimensional, I believe this is nearly
> a continuum, so that one can define positions between adjacent items.
> For example, I would place myself at about 4.7.
> As I mentioned, "standard" YEC (#1), is not represented in the _Three
> Views_ book. The "young-Earth" chapter is at about 2.5. I have not yet
> read the old-Earth chapter, so I'll refrain from rating it. Howard van
> Till's chapter comes across as about 5.5 (he can correct me if he feels
> that misrepresents him). Curiously, all 4 of the people who give brief
> replies to each chapter seem to cluster around 3.0. The final summations
> are by Richard Bube who appears to be about a 4.9 and Phil Johnson who is
> about a 2.8.
> I'd be interested whether this strikes people as a good classification scheme.
> Another issue might be the dearth of representation of views in the
> 4.0-5.0 range in this book and in these debates generally. Is it so
> strange to take the position that, while it is wrong to require that God
> *must* have acted in gaplike ways in natural history, it is theologically
> OK to consider that he *might* have?
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> | Dr. Allan H. Harvey | |
> | Physical and Chemical Properties Division | "Don't blame the |
> | National Institute of Standards & Technology | government for what I |
> | 325 Broadway, Boulder, CO 80303 | say, or vice versa." |
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------

Great. Lets have a nice classification scheme. BUT:

In spite of strongly and perhaps emotionally driven view, what can we do
to separate between various theories. The YEC camp believes that
without question there view is PROVEN by the scripture and geology.

However, the reality is that many of the schemes you mention above
cannot be solidly differentited by a systematic examination. So, along
with your classification list how we would test for the accuracy of each

For example consider the concept that God was the initiator but set the
boundary conditions and laws such that evolutionary change could
encouter certain stages where rapid invention would occure. Compare
this vs the concept that at certain times God intervened and inserted
invention. How can we tell from the physical evidences? We cannot so
we should recognize this as a limitation of knowability.

Bert Massie