Ongoing creation (was: The Curse - Upon All Creation...?)

From: Loren Haarsma <lhaarsma@calvin.edu>
Date: Thu Sep 30 2004 - 08:57:57 EDT

On Wed, 29 Sep 2004, Ted Davis wrote:

> >>> "Mike Tharp" <mtharp@exammaster.com> 09/29/04 11:07AM >>>writes:
> ...I can't imagine there's anyone who would argue that "new
> species can't be forming after the end of Genesis 1."
>
> Ted asks:
> How about new stars? Can there be actual star formation now, in the Milky
> Way or elsewhere?

   I've got a story about this question:
   A member of our church named Ray is a retired theologian. He's almost
a shut-in at a retirement community, but he likes to participate in one of
our church's book clubs, so we often meet at his place. A few weeks ago,
we were discussing the book "Perspectives on an Evolving Creation"
(editted by Keith Miller).
   Ray liked the book. But at the end of the discussion, he brought up
this same point which others have mentioned: For centuries, Christian
theology has distinguished between God's creative activity and God's
providential activity. But evolutionary creation seems to blur that
distinction.
   I agreed with Ray that creation/providence is a theologically useful
distinction, and we shouldn't throw it out. However, a useful distinction
in one context is not always useful in another -- especially when science
gets into the mix. For example, living/non-living is a very useful
distinction in most contexts. But how do you classify a virus?
  "So," I said, "If I tell you that new species are forming all the time
today, that sounds like 'creation.' However, if I tell you that species
are constantly adapting, and if two sub-populations of one species become
reproductively isolated from each other (which can happen due to a number
of factors, to take just one example, each sub-population specializing in
different food sources), each sub-population will adapt to its niche, and
after a surprisingly small number of generations, the two sub-populations
will no longer be able to inter-breed with each other; however, each
sub-population is better adapted to its particular ecological niche than
the original population was --- well, that process sounds like
'providence.' But scientifically, I've just said the same thing."
  Ray grinned for about half a minute after that. That doesn't exactly
settle the question, but Ray seemed happy with how we left it.

Loren Haarsma
Received on Thu Sep 30 09:16:15 2004

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