creation

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Hinduism and the Beginning of the Universe

Does the universe have a beginning, or is it eternal? Are the creation stories found in Hinduism meant to be taken literally, or are their texts meant to be understood another way? Dr. Michael Egnor and Arjuna Gallagher discuss these issues and much more as they explore Hinduism's understanding of the creation of the universe. Read More ›
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House on Sand

Darwin’s Rhetorical Foundation of Sand: Theological Utilitarianism

On this ID the Future, biophysicist Cornelius Hunter explores Charles Darwin’s theological arguments for his theory of evolution. By theological, Hunter doesn’t mean that Darwin was arguing for theistic evolution. He means that Darwin received what is known as theological utilitarianism from the intellectual culture of his youth, which had strong deistic tendencies. Read More ›
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James Tour still from Faith and Science Podcast

Life’s Origin: Lab + Information = Mind

In this interview, Dr. James Tour and Dr. Stephen Meyer discuss science and faith, while getting into the details on the discovery of complex, sequence specific information required for life’s function and origin, and the required fine-tuned laboratory that we call our universe that must exist in order for assembly to occur. In the search for a cause, and by Read More ›

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Abstract digitally generated image chaos background
Abstract digitally generated image chaos background

The Man Who Was Thursday, the Nightmare of Modernity, and the Days of Creation

The Man Who Was Thursday: A Nightmare by G.K. Chesterton From the April 9, 2002 lecture at Seattle Pacific University This book is not a dispassionate philosophical treatise. Instead, it’s the account of a desperate war with high stakes: the future of human society hangs in the balance. This, Chesterton tells us, is what is really at issue when Gabriel Read More ›

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Sunlight pierces through the clouds

The Act of Creation

For Homer the act of creating poetry is a divine gift, one that derives from an otherworldly source and is not ultimately reducible to this world. This conception of human creativity as a divine gift pervaded the ancient world, and was also evident among the Hebrews. In Exodus, for instance, we read that God filled the two artisans Bezaleel and Aholiab with wisdom so that they might complete the work of the tabernacle. Read More ›
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Saint Augustine of Hippo, Church on the Mount of Beatitudes
Licensed from Adobe Stock

Abusing Theology

Abstract: According to Howard Van Till, the early Christian fathers Basil and Augustine taught that life appeared as a consequence of creaturely capacities which God bestowed on the world from the beginning, in contrast to special creationism, which teaches that God intervened in the creation to make living things. To reconcile Christian faith with modern science, Van Till advocates recovering “the historic creationist tradition,” which he characterizes as the “forgotten doctrine of Creation’s functional integrity” taught by Basil and Augustine. Basil, however, believed that God intervened in the creation to make living things, and was thus a special creationist. According to Augustine, God created everything simultaneously and placed causal principles into the creation which subsequently produced creatures in time. But Augustine proposed his theory of causal principles to emphasize that every species was created in the beginning by a special act of God, and he denied that creaturely capacities could produce anything new. Therefore, Van Till’s “forgotten doctrine of Creation’s functional integrity” has no basis in Basil’s theology, and its emphasis on creaturely capacities is alien to Augustine’s theology; so “the historic creationist tradition” is not what Van Till represents it to be.


Some Christians believe that the major features of living things could not have arisen through Darwinian evolution, but must have been specially created by God. Physicist Howard J. Van Till criticizes this position on the grounds that it relies on a “God-of-the-gaps” who must “act directly in the course of creation’s formative history to compensate for gaps or deficiencies in the capacities of created substances.” According to Van Till, the world is characterized instead by “functional integrity,” meaning that it “has no functional deficiencies, no gaps in its economy of the sort that would require God to act immediately.”1

Van Till maintains that his position is rooted in the theological writings of St. Basil of Caesarea and St. Augustine of Hippo. According to Van Till, these two early Christian fathers taught “that at the beginning God created, from nothing, all substances and forms, but that the forms of creatures became actualized only in the course of time. Most importantly, these creatures appeared in the course of history not as a consequence of some new, direct and ‘special’ act of God (an ‘intervention’), but as the consequence of created substances employing their God-given capacities to bring about in time what the Creator had in mind from the beginning.”2

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Mind Gap Sign On Subway Platform

Are There Gaps in the Gapless Economy?

Van Till's view of "functional integrity," while perhaps yielding aesthetic advantages to modern taste in metaphysics and theory, is implausible when confronted with orthodox Christianity. In particular, Christianity maintains that a "gap" in the natural order exists at the formation of individual human souls. Functional integrity, however, allows for no such discontinuities. Van Till cannot escape this problem. He must either abandon orthodox Christian anthropology to make his view plausible, or restrict the scope of functional integrity where human beings are concerned. Read More ›