Monday, September 26, 2005

Theology is NOT science!

I have huge issues with Intelligent Design, mostly because it seeks to take a concept that cannot be proven or disproven by scientific method--the existence of God--and try to force it into science. However, at least its proponents aren't out to try and make a word-for-word reading of Genesis the basis of scientific theory about our origins.

Unlike those behind the Creation Museum.

"We're placing this [velociraptor] in the hall that explains the post-Flood world," explains [museum vice president Mark Looy. "When dinosaurs lived with man."

"We call him our 'missionary lizard,' " Looy says. "When people realize the T. rex lived in Eden, it will lead us to a discussion of the gospel. The T. rex once was a vegetarian, too."

Whoa. T Rex in Eden. Oookaaaaay...

What scares me about this kind of thinking is that it seeks to make the Bible be something it isn't: a science textbook. How can the Genesis account of creation be the basis of our "scientific" understanding when Genesis has two separate and incompatible Creation stories. Within two chapters of each other. The first, for example, teaches that man and women were created simultaneously and last. The second teaches that man was created before animals and when none of the animals were found to be a suitable helpmate for man, woman was then created after them from man. Attempts to reconcile these versions as one and the same, as if the whole Bible or even all of Genesis are one continueous story rather than a whole library of stories by a myriad of different writers with different purposes so distorts it that it renders it utterly meaningless. Conservatives accuse progressives of twisting the Bible to conform to our views, but no progressive Christian take on the Bible violates scripture anywhere near as much as the attempt to smash two distinct creation stories into one and say it's literally true and must be the basis for our scientific understanding of our origins.

Young Earth Creationists emphasize the rigor of their science. Looy rattles off the names of experts with doctorates, many of whom obtained degrees from mainstream universities. A creationist scientist, Kurt Wise, worked as a graduate student at Harvard with prominent biologist Stephen Jay Gould. John Baumgardner of the Los Alamos National Laboratory became a well-regarded designer of computer models for planetary catastrophes.

They herald successes. Recent discoveries by geologists tend to support creationists' beliefs that great floods -- albeit not necessarily ordered up by God -- played a role in gouging out some canyon lands.

But often, scientists say, the creationist bottom line is a through-the-looking-glass version of science. The scientific method of theory, experiment and assumptions upended does not apply. Ask ["Answers in Genesis" President Kenneth] Ham if he could accept evidence that conflicts with his reading of Genesis -- proof, say, that a fossil is more than 6,000 years old -- and he shakes his head.

This is idolatry plain and simple. The Bible is not God, it is from God. There is a distinct difference. You can't believe in a Living and Infinite God while worshiping a finite text. You can't be putting your trust in God--and the world God created--if you have to force everything in nature to fit into a tenth century B.C.E. mindset. It does violence to scripture and it crams God into a tiny box in which God cannot possibly fit.

God's creation of the universe and what that means to us is theology. Don't make it into science.


At 1:09 PM, Anonymous Summer said...

Yay Kels!

I actually wrote an an essay for one of my classes on "The Essential Elements of an Informed Christian Doctrine of Creation." In it I specified that "guesses at timespan" isn't one of them. The copy is on my school computer but I plan on posting it to the XPFC files.


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