We tend to associate Creationism (that is to say, Young Earth Creationism) with American fundamentalism. However, it is alive and kicking in Britain too. According to a recent survey carried out on behalf of Theos think-tank, 17% of Britons take the Young Earth position (compared with 11% for Intelligent Design, 28% for Theistic Evolution, and 37% for Atheistic Evolution).
Not long ago, The BBC website carried this article about British creationists. It discusses, among other things, the Genesis Expo museum, set up in Plymouth by the Creation Science Movement.
A few random thoughts of mine are
1. The question of origins is an important, but not the most important, aspect of creation. If half the energy that some people expend arguing about origins was expended on caring for the creation as we now inhabit it in all its richness and vulnerability, that energy would be well spent.
2. Young Earth Creationists prefer the infallible teaching of Holy Scripture to the fallible teachings of science. All very well. But then they should make sure that they interpret and apply Scripture responsibly. For instance, I have blogged previously on some of the unconvincing attempts of Hugh Ross to find anticipations of modern science in the pages of the Bible. Creationists generally are too fond of referring to ‘the clear teaching of Genesis’ when they have failed to provide sufficient evidence for their particular interpretation. (In saying this, I am by no means capitulating to the ‘that’s just your interpretation’ approach, as though we can never be sure of the meaning of any text of the Bible. But let us not be more sure of our interpretations than is warranted by the nature of the case).
3. The rather drastic implications of Young Earth Creationism are aptly summarised by someone commenting on the BBC article:-
4. Calvin saw, and we should see, that the Bible (including Genesis) is pro-science. To conclude that the entire enterprise of modern science is fundamentally mistaken is to repudiate common grace and general revelation. (See here on Calvin and Common Grace).
5. I’m not young enough any more to know everything. When I was a new Christian, I knew exactly how the universe began, and how it would end. Now, I’m not so sure. One of the greatest tasks for the would-be student of theology is to know what to be sure about, and what to be less sure about. Quite early on, I discovered (from reading Ramm’s Christian View of Science and Scripture) that there were several ways of understanding the relationship between science and the Bible, each of which sought to be faithful to God’s written word. I’m happy to carry on thinking and reading, with the prayer that God will cause yet more light to shine out of his holy word.
6. I don’t accept that, in inclining as I do towards a theistic evolution position (with a generous sprinkling of intelligent design, but without the capital letters) I’m siding with science against Scripture. The two domains are (to use the expression of Alister McGrath) ‘partially overlapping magisteria (‘POMAs’). Believing as I do that the same God who made the cosmos speaks in his written word, I’m content to study them both in order to enrich my understanding and guide my actions.