Creation and Evolution Session 1


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How should we read Genesis 1 & 2 in light of current scientific theory?

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Creation and Evolution Session 1

  1. 1. In the beginning
  2. 2. God created
  3. 3. the heavens and the earth
  4. 4. And God said And there was light! And God saw that the light was good. Let there be light!
  5. 5. And God said Let there be a huge space between the waters . And it happened! And that happened too! God said, Let the water under the sky be gathered into oceans. Let dry land appear!
  6. 6. Then God said: And it happened! Let the land produce plants and trees, each bearing fruit with seeds in it. And God saw that it was good!
  7. 7. And God saw that it was good! And God said, Let there be lights in the huge space of the sky, a sun and a moon to give light to the earth.
  8. 8. God said: Let the waters be filled with living things. Let birds fly above the earth.
  9. 9. God said: Let the land produce all kinds of living creatures: cattle and snakes and tigers.
  10. 10. And God saw that it was good!
  11. 11. Then God said, Let’s make human beings; let’s make them like us. They can take care of the fish and the birds and all of the animals for us. God blessed them: Have children, fill the earth and bring it under your control.
  12. 12. God saw everything that he made. <ul><li>Then God rested… </li></ul>And it was very good! It was the seventh day.
  13. 13. 13,700,000,000 years ago…
  14. 17. 200,000,000 years ago
  15. 19. From 2,000,000 to present Homo annarborensis Homo habilis Homo instrumentalis
  16. 21. Creation and/or Evolution How should we read Genesis 1 & 2 in light of current scientific theory?
  17. 22. Creation and/or Evolution Origins: A Reformed Look at Creation, Design, & Evolution by Deborah B. Haarsma and Loren D. Haarsma ( What questions does this topic raise for you? We will identify and analyze the different approaches to the topic Perspectives on an Evolving Creation , Keith B. Miller ed. Eerdmans Pub.
  18. 23. Creation and/or Evolution Session 1: God’s Word and God’s World Session 2: Interpretations of Genesis 1 & 2 Session 3: Evidences of Evolution Session 4: Intelligent Design Session 5: Human Origins (Who were Adam and Eve anyway?) Session 6: Human Origins, cont. Emergent Complexities
  19. 24. The Two Books of Revelation <ul><li>God </li></ul>Nature Scripture Science Culture, Worldview, etc. Theology, Church tradition Worldview Biblical Interpretation Potential Conflict No conflict
  20. 25. Principles of Biblical Interpretation 1. Each passage should be interpreted in light of the rest of the Bible. Progressive revelation— progressive understanding— narrative advance 2. Attention must be paid to the genre of the text: poetry, proverb, narrative (history, epic, legend, anecdote, fable, myth…)
  21. 26. Principles of Biblical Interpretation 3. How did the original author and the intended audience understand the text? The Holy Spirit had no intention to teach astronomy; and in proposing instruction meant to be common to the simplest and most uneducated person He made use by Moses…of the popular language…. Calvin
  22. 27. Principles of Scientific Interpretation Observation Hypothesis Prediction Testing Theory: a comprehensive explanation of some aspect of nature that is supported by a vast body of evidence (e.g. heliocentric theory, theory of relativity)
  23. 28. Criteria for Good Scientific Theory: Explanatory power of large amounts of data Predictive power (testable expectations) Fruitfulness (ability to generate new questions and new directions of research) Aesthetics (beauty, simplicity, symmetry) The reason evolutionary theory is a powerful theory is that it makes sense of an incredible variety of observations and continues to generate fruitful and testable hypotheses.
  24. 29. When Science and Biblical Interpretation Clash Science - a handmaiden to theology Science - an equal partner with theology Copernicus : from geo- to heliocentrism He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved. …The sun knows when to go down. -Psalm 104: 5, 19 The sun stopped in the middle of the sky… -Joshua 10:13
  25. 30. When Science and Biblical Interpretation Clash Science - superior to theology Materialism is absolute, we cannot allow a divine foot in the door. -Richard Lewontin The universe that we observe has precisely the properties we should expect if there is, at bottom, no design, no purpose, no evil and no good, nothing but blind, pitiless indifference. –Richard Dawkins
  26. 31. Worldviews <ul><li>Needed for science Christian Beliefs </li></ul>Humans have the ability to study nature and to understand, at least in part, how it functions. Events in the natural world work by natural cause and effect Humans are God’s image-bearers in this world. Thanks to the abilities God has given us, we can understand, at least in part, how the world works. There are no nature spirits, no capricious gods, no fate. There is only one God who rules the world in a faithful, consistent manner.
  27. 32. Worldviews <ul><li>Needed for science Christian Beliefs </li></ul>Natural phenomena are repeatable; they are regular across space and time. Observations and experi-ments are necessary to build and test scientific models that correctly describe natural phenomena. God has established natural laws and faithful covenants with the physical universe. Humans are limited and sinful. Our scientific models based on logic and deduction must be tested by careful experimen-tation & observation.
  28. 33. Worldviews <ul><li>Needed for science Christian Beliefs </li></ul>Science is a worthwhile use of human time and resources. Studying nature is worth doing because we are studying the very handiwork of God.
  29. 34. Christians Agree and Disagree <ul><li>Christians in agreement: </li></ul><ul><li>God created, sustains, and governs this universe. </li></ul><ul><li>The God who created this world also reveals himself to humanity. </li></ul><ul><li>The God who created this world is also our Redeemer. </li></ul>
  30. 35. Christians Agree and Disagree <ul><li>Christians in agreement: </li></ul><ul><li>The Bible is authoritative and sufficient for salvation. </li></ul><ul><li>God is sovereign over all realms of human endeavor and God has given human beings special abilities and responsibilities. </li></ul>
  31. 36. Christians Agree and Disagree <ul><li>Christians in disagreement: </li></ul><ul><li>As we study God’s word , what is the best way to understand passages that talk about God’s acts of creation? </li></ul><ul><li>As we study God’s world , what can we reliably conclude that it tells us about its history? </li></ul>
  32. 37. Christians Agree and Disagree <ul><li>Christians today are </li></ul><ul><li>young earth creationists </li></ul><ul><li>old earth creationists </li></ul><ul><li>evolutionary creationists </li></ul><ul><li>progressive creationists </li></ul>
  33. 38. Christians Agree and Disagree <ul><li>The (CRCNA) wishes to honor its commitment to the freedom of exegesis by not imposing upon its members an authorized interpretation of specific passages in Scripture, insisting only that such exegetical freedom be carried on within the limits of the analogy of Scripture and the confessional guidelines of the creeds . </li></ul>
  34. 39. Christians Agree and Disagree <ul><li>The (CRCNA) wishes also to respect the freedom of science by not canonizing certain hypotheses, models, or paradigms proposed by the sciences while rejecting others, insisting only that all such theorizing be subject to the teaching of Scripture and the confessions. - Acts of Synod , CRCNA, 1991 </li></ul>
  35. 40. Christians Agree and Disagree <ul><li>If the Lord has willed that we (Christians) be helped in physics, dialectic, mathematics, and other like disciplines, by the work and ministry of the ungodly, let us use this assistance. For if we neglect God’s gift freely offered in these arts, we ought to suffer just punishment for our sloth. -John Calvin, Institutes .. 2.2.16 </li></ul>