Having decided to blog a couple of times per week about my blogroll, I’m going to start with a site I just added, Geocreationism.com. If you’ve been following this blog for any period of time, you will have noticed occasional comments from Geocreationist, and this is his blog.
I have a couple of reasons for including it. First, he disagree with a number of positions I take, but is open to dialog. That’s an excellent start. Second, his position on creation and evolution illustrates one of my key contentions: This is not a black and white issue in which there are only two sides. One of the defining features of the moderate position, as I see it, is refusing to be held to a choice of extremes. That’s why moderates are frequently very annoying to extremists–we refuse to get stuck with only two options. Sometimes even if you give us A, B, C, and D, we want E-none of the above.
Before I go to a particular post, let me look at Geocreationism’s subtitle: Geocreationism – Showing harmony between mainstream science and scripture. It’s very easy to forget that when we look at the interaction between science and scripture that both sides can vary. One can differ on a view of science or of a particular scientific theory, or one can differ on the interpretation of scripture. Any type of reconciliation or harmony involves both. This subtitle is one I would not use, for example, because I don’t think there is any need for harmony simply because I don’t believe science and scripture address the same questions. There are occasional overlaps, but these are incidental, I think. This is one of the issues for Christians. Just what is scripture trying to address, and in what way does it address it?
We’ll see some of this in action in a recent post, Evidence for Creation (Review) – Ground Rules for the Review. Geocreationist is reviewing Tom DeRosa’s book Evidence for Creation – Intelligent Answers for Open Minds. In laying out his own ground rules he distinguishes what he calls “Darwinian evolution” and “Theistic Evolution.” He defines Darwinian evolution as largely equivalent to atheistic evolution, though he sees little difference between that and the various deistic views.
He contrasts theistic evolution, in which he says that God not only starts everything, but “He started every wave of Evolution as well.” In his view, God is still distant in this view of theistic evolution, and thus he presents his own third view: geocreationism, or geocreationist theistic evolution. In this case, God is continually present and concerned. I’ll have to read more to see how this impacts the process along the way.
Now I must say that this terminology is somewhat surprising to me. For example, evolution occurring in waves with God starting each wave sounds very much like old earth creationism to me. Further, Geocreationist describes his view in this way: “Evolution would occur with our without the randomness, as long as God remains involved; remove God however, and the randomness would not be enough.” That latter view sounds somewhat like ID or “guided evolution” to me, depending on how one fills in the details.
If I’m reading all of this correctly, I’m going to fall into the “Darwinian evolution” camp. My problem with being placed there is that I don’t think God is distant. For each and every law of nature I believe we can say it happens “because God.” In other words God wills gravity, and should he stop willing it, there would be no gravity. Not to worry, however, he’s pretty fond of gravity. God also wills variation and natural selection, and those produce certain types of order according to that law. Remove God and you remove everything.
Now I know that there are some views that allow for indetectible divine intervention, but I’m not particularly interested at the moment in things that are even theoretically indetectible. I believe that God creates the laws, i.e. the system, which in turn produces everything that we see. God can intervene, but he would do so because he wants to, primarily because he wants to communicate with these weird creatures who have come into being.
I have one further comment initial comment. Geocreationist appears to be looking for at least an historical outline in the Genesis accounts. I think this is doomed to be a disappointing search in the long run. I do not believe that the literature involved was written with the intent to provide a narrative history of anything, but rather to express God’s relationship to creation using the cosmology and symbolic language of the time. I will blog more on it as time goes on, but I have found that everything tends to fit quite nicely when read in that context.