Re: statement on creationism?

gordon brown (gbrown@euclid.Colorado.EDU)
Thu, 18 Nov 1999 14:05:46 -0700 (MST)

On Wed, 17 Nov 1999, George Murphy wrote:

> Dick Fischer wrote:
> >
> > Paul Arveson wrote:
> >
> > >I agree with Ted that I think we need only a brief statement to convey the
> > >main point: that many of the outspoken "creationists" don't speak for a lot
> > >of the
> > >evangelical scientists in this country on what we believe about creation
> > >or evolution. We could go further and offer some reasons why we think
> > >the teachings of these outspoken creationists is theologically and
> > >scientifically suspect, and why we think it is not necessarily biblical, and
> > >even goes against some of the Bible's teachings, including the ones Wendee
> > >mentioned.
> >
> > 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?
> A bit overstated. "If not us, then who?" The vast majority of Lutheran, Roman,
> Anglican, Presbyterian - & other - theologians, for a start. & if there's anything
> lacking in this regard it's that they regard a "young earth" position as being as dead
> as the humoral theory of disease & not even worth time speaking against. If
> Evangelicals would have more contact with (which is not to say, total agreement with)
> the main current of Christian theology then YEC could be seen for what it is - a
> theological fossil.
> Shalom,
> George
> George L. Murphy

If we are only interested in counteracting the position that the earth is
young, it is not necessary to go to the theologians of mainline
denominations. It is not at all uncommon for professors of Old Testament
at evangelical seminaries to hold to an old earth position (usually PC,
less frequently TE).

The first paper on science in The Fundamentals endorses an old earth. The
lead paper in the meeting of the International Council on Biblical
Inerrancy in 1982(?) was devoted to defending an old earth view as being
scriptural and exposing the fallacies in the "scientific" arguments for a
young earth, and it was strongly seconded by one of the two responding
papers. A library of reasonable size in almost any evangelical church is
likely to contain a Bible commentary that either supports an old earth or
admits it as a possibility. I have heard or read that Benjamin Warfield,
the defender of inerrancy who introduced the use of that term, was open to
the possibility of theistic evolution.

Evangelicals are much more likely to pay attention to theologians with
these credentials rather than to those with affiliations they trust less
or to laymen who are scientists, but they and their positions get much
less publicity in most evangelical churches than the ICR does.

Gordon Brown
Department of Mathematics
University of Colorado
Boulder, CO 80309-0395