Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Do 'Creationists' Believe in Creation?

To believe in creation is to believe that this world, with its natural laws and boundary conditions, was created by God, that these laws and initial conditions, and what follows from them in the natural course of events, are what they are in virtue of God's creative intentions. To believe in creation is to believe that what happens in nature is God’s doing. It is to believe that God acts by means of what the theological tradition calls secondary causation. It is to believe, for example, that if the human species came into existence in the natural course of events, as a result of the operation of natural laws over billions of years, then this is how God created the human species. Many “creationists” assert, to the contrary, that if the human species came into existence in the natural course of events, as a result of the operation of natural laws over billions of years, then God did not create the human species. To accept what science tells us about human origins is, they say, to deny that God created us. They say that God can have created the human species only directly, miraculously, not by means of secondary causes. Apparently, they reject the idea that God acts in the world by way of secondary causes: either God did something directly or God did not do it at all. This is tantamount to believing that this world, even if it is an arena into which God on occasion miraculously intervenes, is not God’s creation.

3 Comments:

Blogger s said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

3:24 AM  
Blogger s said...

But of course you're right that one can hold that the Bible is mistaken and also hold that God made the world (e.g. by secondary causation).

3:25 AM  
Anonymous Don Wacome said...

Re s's cryptic comment:

Assuming that "the world" denotes the creation in a broad sense (not just the Earth), then no theist believes that God created the world by way of secondary causes. God made the world in its initial state out of nothing.

On the other hand, to believe that God created various things within the world, e.g., the first humans, by means of secondary causes, is not necessarily to believe that the Bible is mistaken. It might be to believe that a particular literalistic interpretation of primeval Genesis is mistaken.

2:38 PM  

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