Re: statement on creationism?

Allan Harvey (aharvey@boulder.nist.gov)
Thu, 18 Nov 1999 12:59:45 -0700

At 05:50 PM 11/17/99 -0500, Dick Fischer wrote:
>
>We may not all agree on what is dead right, but certainly we can speak with
>authority on what is dead wrong. I think it is long past time that the ASA
>put out a press release and state our opposition to YEC. Then guys like
>Dobson can come to us and ask us what we think. Of course, we all think
>differently.
>
>But opposition to YEC needs to come from the Christian camp. Coming from
>Stephen Jay Gould, Richard Dawkins, Eugenie Scott, et. al., it carries no
>weight among Christians. Let's go on record. If not us, then who? If not
>now, then when?

If such a statement were made, I think saying that we think the evidence
is against the YEC view of origins is *less* important than denouncing
the YEC mindset that such a view is essential to Christianity. The issue
of dividing the church and harming its witness over a nonessential that
has been added to the gospel would be central.

Of course this thread didn't start with YEC, it started with Phil
Johnson. And a statement would need to cover not only YECs but anybody
who unnecessarily ties God's hands with regard to how he is allowed to create.

Without necessarily advocating that such a statement be made by the ASA
as a body, I have quickly typed out what I think such a statement might
look like:

------------------(Statement follows)---------------------

The evidence in God's creation clearly testifies that the Earth is
billions of years old, and that the scientific theory of evolution
correctly describes at least some aspects of the development of life on
Earth. We believe these findings of science are compatible with Scripture.

We denounce those who portray specific interpretations of the details of
creation (usually the 6x24 hour interpretation) as essentials of the
faith. This is not only adding to the Gospel to the extent that it
approaches "preaching a different Gospel" [Gal. 1:6-9], but it divides
the church and harms its witness among the scientifically literate.

We affirm the historic doctrine of God's *status* as Creator as the
essential, with details of the *means* of creation being secondary at best.

Without taking a position on the science of evolution itself, we point
out that God's sovereignty over nature means it is wrong to say that
finding a "natural" explanation for something rules out God's status as
its creator and sustainer. We therefore reject any implication (as found
in some textbooks and other science writing) that the theory of evolution
means the development of life was "purposeless" and "unsupervised" and
that it eliminates God. We also deplore the acceptance of this fallacy
as to the meaning of evolution by some Christians, who then oppose the
science of evolution in the mistaken belief that such opposition is
essential to defend the faith. We believe that those in the church who
imply that the theory of evolution (as opposed to the fallacious
philosophy that often gets attached to it) must be false in order for
Christianity to be true are theologically in error and are doing
significant harm.

We affirm that God can and does carry out much of his work through
"natural" processes, and that God is not diminished if he chose such
processes, under his governance, to carry out his work in creation.

-------------------------------------------------------------------------
| Dr. Allan H. Harvey | aharvey@boulder.nist.gov |
| 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." |
-------------------------------------------------------------------------