Joined: Oct. 2005
|The creation of Creationism|
Today's brand of Protestant extremism should worry theologians as well as scientists
Belief in creation is a way of acknowledging that the fact of existence is not self-explanatory. That anything exists at all is an ultimate and unfathomable mystery, and it is this mystery at the point where explanations come to an end that religions have usually identified as God. This can claim to be a rational belief, not vulnerable to scientific refutation, since all assertions about the objectivity and truth of science must themselves depend on belief in some form of reality which is simply “given”.
Creationism is much more specific and much less plausible. Its central claim is that the precise mode of creation has been revealed in the Bible, and follows the pattern set out in the first chapter of Genesis. In thus identifying God’s action with a particular series of events and a particular timetable, rather than as the ultimate mystery underlying all reality, it lays itself open to the possibility of direct conflict with alternative scientific explanations. The main motive for risking this potential conflict has been to uphold belief in the verbal inerrancy of the Bible, and the literal interpretation of its statements about creation, which most mainstream theologians and biblical scholars have long read as myth, or poetry, or doctrine, rather than as history.