In recent months, much has been made of the divide between Atheists and Christians and between science and creation. Like gladiators locked in a battle to the death, the two sides equally treat this grand mystery of life as if it were some sort of competition.
When the bias of antiquated human doctrine is shed there actually is very little difference. The formation of the earth as described in the opening passages of Genesis is remarkably similar and in complete harmony with what science has proven.
Creationists just can’t seem to see the tree through the forest as science only confirms what the Bible already told you. If the Bible is indeed, the divine word of God, then the information and science it contains transcends time as measured by humans.
When these doctrinal beliefs were formulated, people didn’t understand the science of the Bible as there weren’t telescopes, geology, physics or any advanced human sciences to confirm or explain it. So they defined it in simple terms that they understood. When human science finally caught up with the scientific knowledge revealed in the Bible, doctrinal myth had become so internalized and part of culture that anything which questioned it was heretical.
Today’s scientific creationist is still preoccupied with defending human defined, mythological doctrine rather than viewing science as further evidence of Biblical truth. Evolution completely aside, science has proven, beyond any doubt or theory, that this is the case. Every effort to present ancient doctrinal myth as fact proves futile.
Likewise, atheists expend a great deal of intellectual energy attempting to disprove the existence of a divine creator when even the most advanced scientific knowledge has not been able to discredit the possibility of a divine God. For this reason, the great philosopher Pascal recommended we play it safe and leave the door of possibility ajar, as any attempt to completely disprove the existence of a creator has always proven equally futile.
Far from diminishing the holiness or authenticity of the Bible, modern science only proves the Bible’s actual version of creation events. Consider Genesis 1-28 through the lens of known, proven science and not human religious doctrine, the author’s order of the sequence of events that constitute the formation of the earth and appearance of life is remarkably accurate.
1) Dead planet
2) Earth begins rotating
3) Earth completely immersed under water
4) Continents rise and form and the present day oceans defined
5) Plants appear-creating an atmosphere
6) Earth orbits sun creating seasonal changes, atmosphere clears, creating climate and conditions suitable for animal life
7) Aquatic animals appear first
8) Land animals appear-birds/reptiles/mammals
9) Humans appear
10) Primitive civilizations form and humans domesticate certain animals and begin cultivating crops.
While I do not purport to be an academic, scientific scholar, I did pay enough attention in science class to know that science has confirmed beyond a doubt that this accurately describes the order life appeared on our planet. If creationists were to embrace the proven scientific accuracy of Genesis instead of insisting on the ridiculous argument of what constitutes a day, Christians would have the satisfaction and bragging rights of knowing that their God told Moses in a simple vision, knowledge that took secular science the span of nearly two thousand years to learn completely own their own.
Creationists, however, concentrate on that nagging question of just what constitutes a Biblical ‘day.’ Because a neutral reading of scripture interprets a more sophisticated level of scientific harmony and accuracy in other issues, including the formation of the planet, I ask scientific creationists to open themselves up to just the possibility that their interpretation of a ‘day’ is again doctrinal, not Biblical and may be incorrect.
The whole doctrinal notion of a twenty four day for each phase of creation was again, formulated at a time when there was no science to verify the Bible’s actual claim. There also weren’t the modern units of measurements for centuries and millenniums. How else would the author be able to mark the beginning and end of each creation period, other than; ‘The sun rises-the sun sets.’
Athanasius and other early religious leaders also had absolutely no knowledge of what it takes to form a fossil or how long a planet needs to form, so they based it upon what little they did know-a literal day. It was an acceptable idea for a more primitive and scientifically ignorant society and times. We now know otherwise.
If I were to make the statement: “Back in George Washington’s day,” using scientific creationist logic, then George Washington lived and died within the span of a literal single day. We all know that is complete and utter nonsense and that rather, this includes a particular stretch of time, measured in the decades in which George Washington lived and died-hence, an era.
I ask scientific creationists to open themselves up to just the possibility, nothing more, that this is what the authors of the bible were actually attempting to indicate. An era-a span of time that they didn’t have the terminology to describe, the actual length of tens of thousands or millions of years, either unspecified or perhaps unknown by the authors, in which each step of the formation and appearance of life occurred.
The Genesis version of life even leaves open the possibility of earthly evolution for Christians, but always through the guiding hand of a divine power. The Bible specifically says Genesis 24 that God, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds.” In other words, it is perfectly acceptable for a creationist to interpret this to mean that while God created the earth and the seeds of life, he also made the earth itself a living entity with the power to evolve or create, with his oversight, if you will, life forms suitable for habitation upon it. This easily makes perfect sense from a creation perspective.
Many people plant a garden and how often has one planted yellow squash and zucchini squash in too close of proximity? The two cross-pollinate and you wind up with this weird, distorted, yellow squash-zucchini monster like hybrid. The gardener still played a major role and made it possible by planting the seeds and tending the plants, but at the same time, it still would never have occurred without the natural process and intervention of the earth. So it could be with the God/earth relationship in evolution.
Consider God as a general contractor on a major project; The earth, as initially created, wasn’t move in ready anymore than a new home is after the exterior walls are constructed. Construction, like inhabiting a planet, happens in stages and at the right time. Subcontractors install fixtures, toilets and sinks only when the home has progressed to a certain stage. You wouldn’t install a wall switch before the wiring is done, just as earth couldn’t support woodland mammals before the forest and under growth had matured.
God does remind us further into the 24th verse that his guiding hand was with the living earth in the evolution and balance of all animal species, including humans. Genesis 25 also tells us that God had a partner in the creation of humanity as he doesn’t take singular credit: “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness.” Given that he already gave earth some say and power in the development of its own suitable life forms and seeing he also makes no reference to ever having had any other sidekick, earth and its divine gift of evolutionary powers seem the likely choice.
Just as the other scientific facts which were revealed by Genesis first, human science is again catching up and confirming the Biblical possibility of evolution. But instead of embracing this, foolish creationists cling to a defense of antiquated doctrine and deny God’s own inspired Bible science, as they did a thousand years ago. But science completely supports the sequence of creation events outlined in Genesis, to demand creationism be treated equally in schools sounds absurd and redundant-it already is.
Creationists will now probably raise the question: “If it wasn’t a literal day, why didn’t God spell this out to us, in every minute detail?” The answer is remarkably simple-it just doesn’t matter. Isn’t the miracle of a life from nothing enough for you? Doesn’t the fact that God gave Moses complex and accurate scientific knowledge of the formation of a living planet, at a time when most people didn’t even read, absolutely leave you in awe?
Are you so unimpressed by the miracle of this beautiful planet that now you must split hairs over whether or not it was a twenty four hour day? Even the miracle of human birth given to us by God takes nine months. Are you so arrogant, and your faith so weak, that if God didn’t wrap up this entire earth project in six literal days, it isn’t good enough? Does it diminish God, or does it even matter in the least, whether the earth is six thousand years old or six hundred million-do you think you could do better?
Scientific creationists read and interpret the Bible with the sole purpose of proving and confirming human, ancient doctrine, but not for what it really contains. They will twist scripture this way and that way, defending a doctrinal idea that is as futile and outdated as arguing the world is flat. Moreover, scientific creationists need to come to realize that the Bible doesn’t contradict science-they do.