The War Over How the World Began
by Deborah B. Haarsma & Loren D. Haarsma
Exploring Christian perspectives on creation.
Most people, Christians or atheists, are not content to hold competing and contradicting beliefs in separate compartments. We don’t want to have one set of beliefs when we study the natural world, another set when we decide how to vote, a third set when we decide how to spend our money and a fourth set for church. We want all the parts of our lives to flow from a unified, consistent set of beliefs.
Most importantly, Christians cannot simply separate science from religion because the Bible proclaims that God is sovereign over every part of life. The God who created the planets and the stars is also the God who inspired the Bible and who is personally revealed in human history. The God who made the sky and the ocean is also the God who commands us to act out of love rather than selfishness. The God who made the plants and animals is also the God who redeems us after we disobey His commands. The God who gave us the ability to study the world scientifically is also the God who guides us with the Holy Spirit as we seek to understand His written revelation. We cannot separate our study of God’s Word from our study of God’s world because both come from and point us toward the same God.
Where Christians Agree
When Christians discuss creation, evolution and design, it is easy to focus immediately on areas of controversy and disagreement. We think it is important to start by pointing out certain areas in which nearly all Christians agree. Christians generally agree about the fundamentals of God, God’s Word and God’s world in the five areas described below:
God created, sustains and governs this universe.
This truth is confirmed in the first line of the Apostles’ Creed, one of the ecumenical creeds of the Church that many Christians recite every week: “I believe in God, the Father almighty, creator of heaven and earth.” Christians believe that God created all things from nothing, bringing them into being through His Word, His Son (John 1:1-3). God continually sustains the whole universe, governing all creatures according to His providential care.
The God who created this world also reveals Himself to humanity.
God has revealed Himself at various times and in multiple ways throughout history, including the written Scriptures and the Incarnation. As it says in the first verses of the book of Hebrews:
“In the past God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken to us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom also He made the universe. The Son is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of His being, sustaining all things by His powerful word. After He had provided purification for sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty in heaven” (Hebrews 1:1-3 NIV).
The God who created this world is also our Redeemer
We belong to God because He created us, but when humanity turned from God He bought us back. He redeemed us through the incarnation, life, suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ…
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RECOMMENDED RESOURCE: Three Views on Creation and Evolution by J.P. Moreland and John Mark Reynolds (editors)
For Christians, the issues raised by the different views on creation and evolution are challenging. Can a ‘young earth’ be reconciled with a universe that appears to be billions of years old? Does scientific evidence point to a God who designed the universe and life in all its complexity? Three Views on Creation and Evolution deals with these and similar concerns as it looks at three dominant schools of Christian thought. Proponents of young earth creationism, old earth creationism, and theistic evolution each present their different views, tell why the controversy is important, and describe the interplay between their understandings of science and theology. Each view is critiqued by various scholars, and the entire discussion is summarized by Phillip E. Johnson and Richard H. Bube. The Counterpoints series provides a forum for comparison and critique of different views on issues important to Christians. Counterpoints books address two categories: Church Life and Bible and Theology. Complete your library with other books in the Counterpoints series.
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