Creationist Terminology

Russell T. Cannon (
Fri, 28 Mar 1997 17:01:03 -0600


You asked about the meaning of OEC. I also wonder what many terms used
here mean, so I offer the following explanation of my understanding of
the various terms in the hopes that this will initiate a discussion as
to the correct definition of each.

YEC Young Earth Creationism - The belief that the earth
and all living creatures and plants were created by
God and that all creation events as described in
the Bible occurred over the course of six twenty-
four-hour days about six thousand years ago.

There is a variation on this view that holds that
the universe is old, but that the earth is young.
Another variation from that is that both are old,
and that the creation story is about the restoration
of the earth following mass destruction that
resulted from the rebellion of Lucifer. Some hold
that this latter view is not truly YEC, but I
consider it to be because the creation activity
that occurs is a supernatural replacement of what
had existed in the first earth.

OEC Old Earth Creationism - The belief that the earth
and all living creatures were created by God but
that the age of the earth is more or less in line
with that suggested by radiometric dating. OEC's
believe that the expression "the evening and
the morning were the xth day" is either symbolic
of long periods of time or that its literal
meaning does not necessarily convey twenty-four-
hour days.

From this various theories are derived about how
other things occurred such as whether God used
only supernatural mechanisms, only natural ones,
or a combination of both. Moreover, the creation
of Adam and Eve pose special problems--were they
created specially or did God create them through
the pre-hominid species as evolution suggests.

Questions about the Garden of Eden and the Flood
are answered in various ways ranging from recent
Garden/global flood all the way to ancient Garden/
local flood and every combination thereof.

TE Theistic Evolution - The belief that the earth
was created by God and that he used natural
mechanisms either mostly or exclusively in doing
so. This belief holds that evolution is more or
less certain and that this was simply the means
God used to create a diverse environment and
man himself.

Some TE's do not believe that God intervened in
any supernatural way and that everything has
come down from the beginning by purely natural
mechanisms. This view sounds very much like
deism to me. (You TE's out there that disagree
with my definition, please correct me.) I do
not say that TE denies the supernatural elements
of Christianity, only that it denies that super-
natural mechanisms were used in Creation.

EC Evolutionary Creationism - I am not sure whether
this is synonymous with TE or if it represents
a variation on the theme. It may be a matter
of emphasis in which one focuses on what God
did (TE) and the other on what happened (EC).
There may be no practical distinction between
the two. (Someone help me on this.)

What do I believe? I hold the OEC view and believe that God used both
natural and supernatural mechanisms to create. Moreover, I think that
some of His supernatural methods could appear to evolutionists to be
natural mutations. By this I mean that God might have used the
womb--once it was created--as His laboratory for creating new species
and variations of existing ones.

The Virgin Birth might be a recent example of just that kind of activity
although it involved the incarnation of God as opposed to adding new
organs or structures to an animal to derive a new species. For those
who ask why God would have to use the womb of some species to form
another, I ask, "Why did God need to use Mary's womb?" He did it
because this is the way He chose. The fallacy is that God *had* to do
it this way. God did what He chose to do the way He chose to do it.
This speaks only about the choices He made, not what other choices were
available to Him or *whether* he could have done it differently. Ask
not why He *had* to create the way he did, rather ask why He *chose* to
create that way.

Russell T. Cannon