For Christians, the issues raised by the different views on creation and evolution can be 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.
Discovery Institute fellows Paul Nelson and John Mark Reynolds provide a clear explanation of the differences between theistic evolution, young earth, and old earth creationism. Young and old earth creationism both share a view that there are discontinuities in biology and real design in nature. Yet theistic evolution does not share this view.
Howard J. Van Till, a theistic evolutionist expounds his view of a “fully gifted creation” where the universe was created to bring life into existence through natural laws. He finds claims that Scriptures provide “privileged information” to be “embarrassing” because they show little regard for the “informed judgment” of the scientific community. Phillip Johnson finds Van Till’s views self-contradictory: Van Till argues that God should “withhold” no gift from creation that would require God’s intervention to create, but yet Christians of all stripes believe God has intervened in history.
Discovery Fellow and mechanical engineer Walter Bradley critiqued Howard Van Till, who argued that God must “fully gift” the universe to permit the natural origins of life. Yet Bradley replied that if natural laws specified amino acid sequences, then this would greatly limit the possible diversity of life on earth. Thus by directly intervening in a creation that is impotent to make life, Bradley believes God’s creativity can be fully expressed. Most poignantly, Bradley exposes Van Till’s true motivation for accepting naturalistic hypotheses for the origin of life: “maintain his intellectual integrity.” Bradley finds Van Till’s secular-envy ironic. As a scientist and acclaimed author critiquing origin of life hypotheses, Bradley knows that naturalistic hypotheses for the origin of life are highly controversial, meaning that by blindly accepting them, it is arguable that Van Till who makes intellectual blunders, and Van Till certainly has no right to cast such stones about on these controversial subjects.
This volume clearly expounds the pro’s and con’s of various Christian perspectives on creation. While this debate is surely not going to end soon, this book will bring a greater understanding and appreciation of “other viewpoints” to all interested.
Contributors not associated with Discovery Institute include Richard H. Bube, Howard Van Till, John Jefferson Davis, and Vern S. Poythress.