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Creation, Intelligent Design, and Biblical Inerrancy July 31, 2005

Posted by TimTheFoolMan in Religion, Philosophy, and Science.

(These comments are excerpted from an e-mail exchange I had with the Youth Minister at my church. Our church was preparing to have an open discussion with youth about the various Creation vs. Evolution debates going on in various school systems around the country.)

In general, I’ve never thought that engaging in Creation vs. Evolution arguments was a productive use of our time as Christians. It seems that most of the time, we alienate non-Christian by-standers, and do very little to change the minds of people on the other side.

I’ve read through the Case for a Creator site, and it didn’t present anything convincing to me (I’ve heard the “Intelligent Design” arguments long ago).

Ultimately, I always come down to this: If God created everything, does it really matter if He chose to use a literal Genesis-style creation, or if He decided to use a mechanism similar to evolution? (This is why I always emphasize that the most important words in Genesis are the first four from 1:1, “In the beginning, God…“.)

In my experience, the mechanism of creation doesn’t matter to anyone except someone who gets upset over whether or not such questions demonstrate doubt about the Bible’s credibility/infallibility. The Bible does not attempt to be a book of science, though it does address scientific issues at times. (Many Christians don’t get this, and treat it like it is a book of science.) It doesn’t attempt to be a book of philosophy, but you’ll see many deep philosophical themes.

Accordingly, I feel that lining up the Bible against textbooks of science is a “bad move” ™. (This is in spite of the fact that many of our current science textbooks are barely more adequate as books of science than the Bible…). In my opinion, it degrades what the Bible is, as doing so can appear to equate it with (and bring it down to) such texts. Likewise, science books never tried to be the Bible either, so trying to figure out how the Genesis flood could really happen as the Bible describes when there’s no good explanation for “where the water went” is somewhat akin to grabbing “Gray’s Anatomy,” and emphasizing its failures to adequately explain complex human psychology.

Even worse, spending a great deal of energy coming up with complex explanations for how Biblical accounts can line up with known science usually focuses on minutiae of translation that make the explanations hard to accept on a logical basis, much less a scientific one.

I think this may be a useful debate to have, but I fear we (Christians) spend far too much time worrying about the “how,” and lose track of the “Who.” After all, isn’t it the “Who” from Genesis 1:1 that’s really important?

P.S. It will be interesting to see how Strobel will respond to the new hominid discovery off the southern coast of Indonesia

P.P.S. IMHO, the attack on NPR listed on the “Case for a Creator” site is pretty “out there,” since the NPR stories seem to have accurately presented what’s really going on (that Creationists have been pushing an “Intelligent Design” curriculum, not-so-cleverly disguised as “scientific analysis of Darwinian Evolution”).