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The Mormon Church, a sect of Christianity sometimes referred to as a cult, has a collection of sacred writings called the Pearl of Great Price .
Mormons believe in the concept of creation according to Genesis, but they also give some additional information based on several other texts from Moses, Abraham, and texts of Joseph Smith.
According to those texts, before the earth was created there was a great meeting in heaven. In this council, God gathered his spirit children (each human being had a life as a spirit before creation) and presented a plan for their salvation. Here, the creation of Earth is mentioned as a training field, where God’s children could progress.
But Earth is not the only planet mentioned in Mormon scriptures. One very interesting excerpt from their texts is the following:
And I saw the stars, that they were very great, and that one of them was nearest unto the throne of God; and there were many great ones which were near unto it;
And the Lord said unto me: These are the governing ones; and the name of the great one is Kolob, because it is near unto me, for I am the Lord thy God: I have set this one to govern all those which belong to the same order as that upon which thou standest.
And the Lord said unto me, by the Urim and Thummim, that Kolob was after the manner of the Lord, according to its times and seasons in the revolutions thereof; that one revolution was a day unto the Lord, after his manner of reckoning, it being one thousand years according to the time appointed unto that whereon thou standest. This is the reckoning of the Lord’s time, according to the reckoning of Kolob.”Pearl of Great Price - Abraham 3:2-4
In this passage, reference is made to another planet called Kolob.
In the Mormon’s scripts, God placed Adam and Eve in Eden and commanded them to multiply, also commanding them, as in the Christian text, not to eat from the forbidden tree. Yet while in Eden, Adam and Eve could not multiply because Eve could not carry children. This would only have been possible after eating from the tree of good and evil, and appears to be two contradictory commands given at the same time from God.
The answer? Mormons believe that eating from the tree was something that God wanted so that humans could multiply. God wanted Adam and Eve to ‘fall’ so that they could follow his plan for salvation.
Critical Theory vs. Christianity
You may not have heard the term “critical theory” before, but you’ve seen its ideas playing out in our culture. Neil Shenvi has been doing great work writing and speaking on this topic, helping Christians understand the ideas of critical theory and how they conflict with Christianity (see below for an excellent video). Here’s how he defines the central idea of critical theory in an article he wrote with Pat Sawyer:
Modern critical theory views reality through the lens of power. Each individual is seen either as oppressed or as an oppressor, depending on their race, class, gender, sexuality, and a number of other categories. Oppressed groups are subjugated not by physical force or even overt discrimination, but through the exercise of hegemonic power—the ability of dominant groups to impose their norms, values, and expectations on society as a whole, relegating other groups to subordinate positions.
Because critical theory is driving much of our current cultural conversation, it’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with its concepts. The article linked above is a good introduction, but I highly recommend taking the time to watch Shenvi’s video below, where he gives an in-depth, fair, non-sensationalistic explanation of why critical theory and Christianity are incompatible. (If you prefer a written version of his presentation, you can find that here.)
Here’s an excerpt from the transcript of his presentation contrasting the Christian worldview with the worldview of critical theory:
Christianity tells one comprehensive, overarching narrative about reality in four basic acts: creation, fall, redemption, and restoration. Who are we? We are the creatures of a holy, good, and loving Creator God. What is our fundamental problem as human beings? We have rebelled against God. What is the solution to our problem? God sent Jesus to bear the penalty of our rebellion and rescue us. What is our primary moral duty? To love God. What is our purpose in life? To glorify God. This is the basic story that Christianity tells us and is the grid through which we ought to interpret everything else.
Critical theory also functions as a worldview, but it tells [an] alternate comprehensive, overarching story about reality. The story of critical theory begins not with creation, but with oppression. The omission of a creation element is very important because it changes our answer to the question: “who are we?” There is no transcendent Creator who has a purpose and a design for our lives and our identities. We don’t primarily exist in relation to God, but in relation to other people and to other groups. Our identity is not defined primarily in terms of who we are as God’s creatures. Instead, we define ourselves in terms of race, class, sexuality, and gender identity. Oppression, not sin, is our fundamental problem. What is the solution? Activism. Changing structures. Raising awareness. We work to overthrow and dismantle hegemonic power. That is our primary moral duty. What is our purpose in life? To work for the liberation of all oppressed groups so that we can achieve a state of equality.
As you can see, Christianity and critical theory answer our most fundamental questions about reality in very different ways. I worry that too many people are trying to hold on to both Christianity and critical theory. That’s not going to work in the long run. We’ll constantly be forced to choose between them in terms of values, priorities, and ethics. As we absorb the assumptions of critical theory, we will find that they inevitably erode core biblical truths. [Emphases in original.]
The Big Bang and Mormon Creation
Much of the discussion of creation has been focused on Evolution, but there is another scientific theory that is important to examine. Within the last twenty years scientists have theorized that everything came from a "Big Bang" when a fist sized blob of mass and energy exploded. From that explosion came the Universe filled with uncountable particles and energy.
For Mormonism, the theory causes as many theological problems as it does supports them. The biggest of the problems is that some Traditional Christians have used it to support their own ideas of the creation at odds with the LDS view:
Some interpretations of the Big Bang theory go beyond science, and some purport to explain the cause of the Big Bang itself (first cause). These views have been criticized by some naturalist philosophers as being modern creation myths. Some people believe that the Big Bang theory is inconsistent with traditional views of creation such as that in Genesis, for example, while others, like astronomer and old Earth creationist Hugh Ross, believe that the Big Bang theory lends support to the idea of creation ex nihilo ("out of nothing").
A number of Christian and traditional Jewish sources have accepted the Big Bang as a possible description of the origin of the universe, interpreting it to allow for a philosophical first cause. Pope Pius XII was an enthusiastic proponent of the Big Bang even before the theory was scientifically well-established, and consequently the Roman Catholic Church has been a prominent advocate for the idea that creation ex nihilo can be interpreted as consistent with the Big Bang. This view is shared by many religious Jews in all branches of rabbinic Judaism.
Mormonism's creation theology is opposed to both "first cause" and especially "ex nihilo" because there is nothing that has been made that didn't already exist. Matter and energy are eternal, although the materials have changed. Even if the Big Bang resembles more traditional theology, it doesn't completely support either first cause or ex nihilo. The definitions of both are not the same as what the theory explains. First Cause has not been about the creation where the theory postulates a singular event, but about the Creator. Just as problematic is that ex nihilo is "out of nothing" where the theory can only work if there exists something. In fact, a lot of something has to exist that is packed into an extremely heavy glob of energy.
The problem for Mormonism is that the Big Bang doesn't seem to fit the cosmological theology, vague as the descriptions. The theology is broken down into two main parts. First is the nature of any existant substances as eternal and always existant. Joseph Smith as qouted in "Scriptural Teachings of the Prophet Joseph Smith" pg 205, states:
He rejected that there was a beggining and end to both matter and, in the next sentence, principals. Nothing that is was never. With the Big Bang, everything had a start with that one singular event. No scientist has given a theory why the glob existed in the first place. That is perhaps where theologins have filled in "the gap" by using it to prove their own teachings.
The second part of Mormon creation theology is the cyclic nature of creation. Whatever was used and discarded would become part of another creation for the use of man and God to His Glory. Nothing goes to waste or simply disappears. The Scriptures explain:
Although the relative nature of time must be considered, the Big Bang does not represent in its present theory a typical cyclical creation. It starts with a point in time when there was an explosion that started the formation of the Universe. That isn't to say that a cyclical creation hasn't been postulated with the theory. Some scientists believe the Universe has expanded and is going to contract back into what it was before the Big Bang. The cyclical "germ" is possible. Joseph Smith seems to have rejected any single event and put the two ideas of the eternal existance and cyclical nature of matter together. The creation was a combination of both:
There isn't time to explore all Mormon cosmological theology that might be relevant to the discussion. One of those is the infamous star Kolob that has been erronously interpreted to mean the Throne of God, a planet, or the center of the Universe. Each reading seems to indicate a far more symbolic rather than literal place. It is a time-keeper rather than a map location. This is brought up to demostrate how much conjecture comes into interpreting the creation. Definitions are sometimes forced without consideration of other possible meanings or recognition of vagaries.
It is hard to reconcile, although not impossible, what modern revelation has taught about the Universal creation and the Big Bang theory. When a Mormon tries, they end up doing the same thing traditionalist Christians do redefine definitions to fit the paradigm. It is a theory that has been largely ignored in Mormon creation discussion, but has very distinct implications. Perhaps its relative distance from the creation of the Earth and the Garden of Eden has made it less interesting. Right now it seems immune to a vigorous argument for its rejection or acceptance while at the same time remains an elephant in the theological room.
Why not simply point out that among the two main theories of quantum gravity within physics the big bang isn't the absolute beginning? Lee Smolin's Loop Quantum Gravity postulates an infinite number of universes each affecting one an other's creation in a fashion analogous to evolution. (In this way avoiding the problem of anthropic reasoning) And of course in M-Theory (kind of the new version of string theory) our universe is but one brane in a much larger universe and thus our big bang is but the beginning of our brane but not the beginning of everything.
So why should Mormons have trouble here?
Those are nice theories as such, but they are not taken as seriously as the Big Bang itself that is close to taking on the same scientific authority as Evolution. Right now the Loop Quantum Gravity and M-theory (and string theory itself) has been taking some hits among the scientific community. They are nowhere near authentication outside of mathematical theoretical computations. In other words, the problem is that Mormons who argue those would be on currently shaky ground. They might ultimately find validitiy, but then again maybe not.
It is hard to reconcile, although not impossible, what modern revelation has taught about the Universal creation and the Big Bang theory.
I disagree. First of all, I think the scriptures (both LDS and non-LDS) make a convincing case that God exists outside of the 3D+time framework of this particular universe. Indeed, I have a hard time reconciling the scriptures and modern revelation with any other interpretation.
Our current universe is only about 13 billion years old, yet we have existed for all eternity. That existence, ipso facto, must be outside of this universe -- or, as LDS scriptures (PofGP, BofM, D&C) to put it, "from all eternity to all eternity".
It is my firm belief that God created this universe, that He exists outside of it (though He is capable of visiting it -- truly the 'condescension of God'), and that He comprehends it completely. "And [His] curtains are stretched out still." (Moses 7:30) ..bruce..
I kind of like what bwebster wrote. I think that multiple universes best reconciles two ideas in our thought that seem at odds. Multiple universes would explain how our heavenly father can be supreme and the alpha and omega in the sense that there is no deity we know above him in this universe, while at the same time allowing for his infinite nature. Thus, there is a series of deity each in charge of forming and giving shape to a universe out of its chaotic state. I think this solves a lot of the questioning about whether God was once a man in this Universe. It is likely that as long as this Universe was, God was already fully divine. I think it works as an elegant solution to a lot of theological problems
Very intriguing everyone. Although I have not studied what you have been talking about (Big Bang and how it ties in with theology) I know a man in my ward that is freakishly knowledgeable about this subject. I am a skeptic of the validity of The Big Bang Theory. I would love to learn more about this subject however i feel there are more important matters at hand. Such matters are about this country and the sanctity of our freedom. There is this wonderful site i urge you to visit and search, ponder and pray about the things on that site to know for yourself whether or not that is the sad state we all live in. I have a link to this site which will blow your mind away!
http://awakeandarise.org/ I plan on talking with a brother from church about what i have read on this blog this coming Sunday.
Interesting information here. I just wanted to share some thoughts I have had on the subject. Hopefully this blog entry isn't too old for some dialogue to occur, as I'm interested in what some of you may think in regards to my thoughts.
My understanding has always been that the Big Bang theory doesn't claim that the universe came from nothing, but from a singularity. Now, a singularity is defined as a point at which gravitational forces cause matter to have infinite density and infinitesimal volume, and where space and time become infinitely distorted. In other words, the Big Bang theory is not a claim that matter came from nothing, but that previous to the event, matter was in a state that would be completely foreign to how we know and understand it today.
In LDS theology, God did not create matter but organized it from it's disorganized state. In the truest sense of the word, a singularity would be the result of disorganized matter and perhaps the only state at which matter is not cool enough or even has room to organize. A rock is the result of organization, a liquid is a form of organization, a gas is a form of organization, even a molecule or atom is a form of organization, but a singularity is so hot, so dense, and so unstable that it would be impossible for protons or electrons, or anything else for that matter to join with each other and organize…it is very truly disorganization.
The process by which matter, energy, etc., rapidly expanded after the Big Bang seems to me to be a greatly organizing event, as atoms, molecules, dust, galaxies, planets, stars, etc. would be given a chance to organize in the resulting explosion according to eternal laws, or at least laws which God set forth (what we might refer to as the laws of physics). To me the Big Bang theory accounts for the fact that matter was disorganized and was then organized as I have described.
As to Loop Quantum Cosmology, this seems to answer another question of LDS theology. According to Joseph Smith and other Prophets of the Latter-days, God was once a man and obtained his exaltation just as we must. However, if God created the universe, then what universe did God go through his mortal probation in? According to Loop Quantum Cosmology, it would be possible that the disorganized singularity from which the Big Bang occurred could have been the collapsed matter of a previous universe, one that had gone through the Big Crunch (perhaps the same matter used for previous universes throughout eternity). Perhaps after that previous universe had fulfilled it's purpose, it collapsed into a disorganized singularity from which God would create our current universe.
Except the Big Bang was a theory that came from the mind of a Catholic physicist. To say that Christians (not Mormons) attach their own views to the theory are completely false. The theory was created, not from prejudice or polemics, but from scientific observation, AND it came from the mind of a Catholic. Another problem for Mormon Cosmology is the fact that today most in the scientific community believe in an open universe. One day all matter in this universe will cease to exist. Too bad Joseph Smith didn't live in a time where General Relativity was taught. He might not have been so influenced by the Steady State model of the ancient Greeks.
It is called the Electric Universe that is based on the work of Plasma Cosmology. Plasma is the result of an electric charge which is why the basis of the cosmology changed to electricity.
Check out www.thunderbolts.info to learn more and how the Big Bang is a modern myth with no basis in reality.
The Law of Thermodynamics is real. That matter can be neither created or destroyed. Actual real experimentation and science that proves the Universe has no beginning.
Big Bang, M-theory, strings, black holes, dark matter, dark energy, gravitational lensing are all works of fiction or mathematical constructs that form the philosophies of men.
The universe is not DARK, it is LIGHT. A Dark Universe is filled with Black Holes, Dark Matter, Dark Energy, unobservable, unknowable, mysterious, unmeasurable and unattainable objects that say man is ZERO and of no worth except to observe, live, and then die to be no more.
A Light Universe is filled with 99.99% plasma (verified), which must be powered by electricity (verified), and obey the LAW of Thermodynamics, Gravity, and are ETERNAL. This is the true universe we live in that can be tested, verified and experimented upon to testify the TRUTH to all man.
Do not be deceived, here is a simple test of understanding. Imagine a small metal ball. Let it fall to the ground. It requires the entire mass of the Earth to hold that ball down on the ground. Next have a five year old come to the ball with a magnet who places it over the ball and CLICK easily picks up the metal ball and walks away.
That demonstrates the weakness of gravity. Go outside, look up at the universe and see that it is not made up of Dark Matter, black holes, and Dark Energy, but LIGHT!
God governs the Universe and wants us to understand his creation to better understand Him. This is the fulfillment of the prophecy that even the elect can be deceived.
Matthew 24:24 and Joseph Smith - Matthew 22.
Do not be deceived, God has given us Truth and Light, not a Dark Universe filled with Black Holes, Dark Matter and Dark Energy.
Pray to God to open your understanding and see his marvelous creation I sincerely plead in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.
Points to Ponder
(2-18) In Genesis and the parallel accounts in Moses and Abraham is a brief record of the creation of the earth and of man who would dwell on it. It is a simple and straightforward account. Although we are not told exactly how the Lord brought about the creative processes, we are taught several essential concepts:
First, God, the Father of all men, instituted the creation of this world as a place for men to come to mortality and progress toward their eternal destiny.
Second, man is the offspring of deity.
Third, the world was not created by chance forces or random accident.
Fourth, Adam was the first man and the first flesh on the earth (see Reading 2-16 for a definition of “first flesh” [Moses 3:7]).
Fifth, Adam fell from a state of innocence and immortality, and his fall affected all life upon the earth as well as the earth itself.
Sixth, the Atonement of Jesus Christ was planned before the world was ever created so that men could come to a fallen earth, overcome death and their sins, and return to live with God.
In the world another theory of how things began is popularly held and widely taught. This theory, that of organic evolution, was generally developed from the writings of Charles Darwin. It puts forth different ideas concerning how life began and where man came from. In relation to this theory, the following statements should help you understand what the Church teaches about the Creation and the origin of man.
“It is held by some that Adam was not the first man upon this earth, and that the original human being was a development from lower orders of the animal creation. These, however, are the theories of men. The word of the Lord declares that Adam was ‘the first man of all men’ (Moses 1:34), and we are therefore in duty bound to regard him as the primal parent of our race. It was shown to the brother of Jared that all men were created in the beginning after the image of God and whether we take this to mean the spirit or the body, or both, it commits us to the same conclusion: Man began life as a human being, in the likeness of our heavenly Father.” (First Presidency [Joseph F. Smith, John R. Winder, Anthon H. Lund], in Clark, Messages of the First Presidency, 4:205.)
“Any theory that leaves out God as a personal, purposeful Being, and accepts chance as a first cause, cannot be accepted by Latter-day Saints. … That man and the whole of creation came by chance is unthinkable. It is equally unthinkable that if man came into being by the will and power of God, the divine creative power is limited to one process dimly sensed by mortal man.” (Widtsoe, Evidences and Reconciliations, 1:155.)
“I am grateful that in the midst of the confusion of our Father’s children there has been given to the members of this great organization a sure knowledge of the origin of man, that we came from the spirit world where our spirits were begotten by our Father in heaven, that he formed our first parents from the dust of the earth, and that their spirits were placed in their bodies, and that man came, not as some have believed, not as some have preferred to believe, from some of the lower walks of life, but our ancestors were those beings who lived in the courts of heaven. We came not from some menial order of life, but our ancestor is God our heavenly Father.” (George Albert Smith, in Conference Report, Oct. 1925, p. 33.)
“Of course, I think those people who hold to the view that man has come up through all these ages from the scum of the sea through billions of years do not believe in Adam. Honestly I do not know how they can, and I am going to show you that they do not. There are some who attempt to do it but they are inconsistent—absolutely inconsistent, because that doctrine is so incompatible, so utterly out of harmony, with the revelations of the Lord that a man just cannot believe in both.
“… I say most emphatically, you cannot believe in this theory of the origin of man, and at the same time accept the plan of salvation as set forth by the Lord our God. You must choose the one and reject the other, for they are in direct conflict and there is a gulf separating them which is so great that it cannot be bridged, no matter how much one may try to do so. …
“… Then Adam, and by that I mean the first man, was not capable of sin. He could not transgress, and by doing so bring death into the world for, according to this theory, death had always been in the world. If, therefore, there was no fall, there was no need of an atonement, hence the coming into the world of the Son of God as the Savior of the world is a contradiction, a thing impossible. Are you prepared to believe such a thing as that?” (Smith, Doctrines of Salvation, 1:141–42.)
(2-19) But what of the scientific evidence that supposedly contradicts these statements? Isn’t the evidence that all life evolved from a common source overwhelming? Harold G. Coffin, Professor of Paleontology and Research at the Geoscience Research Institute, Andrews University in Michigan, presented one scientist’s view of how life began. The following excerpts are from a pamphlet on the Creation written by Dr. Coffin.
“The time has come for a fresh look at the evidence Charles Darwin used to support his evolutionary theory, along with the great mass of new scientific information. Those who have the courage to penetrate through the haze of assumptions which surrounds the question of the origin of life will discover that science presents substantial evidence that creation best explains the origin of life. Four considerations lead to this conclusion.
Complex animals appeared suddenly.
Change in the past has been limited.
Change in the present is limited.
“Anyone interested in truth must seriously consider these points. The challenge they present to the theory of evolution has led many intelligent and honest men of science now living to reevaluate their beliefs about the origin of life.” (Coffin, Creation: The Evidence from Science, p. .)
The First Presidency (1901–1910): John R. Winder, President Joseph F. Smith, Anthon H. Lund
Life Is Unique
“Scientist Homer Jacobson reports in American Scientist, January, 1955, ‘From the probability standpoint, the ordering of the present environment into a single amino acid molecule would be utterly improbable in all the time and space available for the origin of terrestrial life.’
“How much organic soup, the material some point to as the source of the first spark of life, would be needed for the chance production of a simple protein? Jacobson answers this question also: ‘Only the very simplest of these proteins (salmine) could possibly arise, even if the earth were blanketed with a thickness of half a mile of amino acids for a billion years! And by no stretch of the imagination does it seem as though the present environment could give even one molecule of amino acid, let alone be able to order by accident this molecule into a protoplasmic array of self-reproducing, metabolizing parts fitting into an organism.’ [Homer Jacobson, “Information, Reproduction and the Origin of Life,” American Scientist, Jan. 1955, p. 125.]
“Another scientist, impressed with the odds against the chance formation of proteins, has expressed his opinion as follows: ‘The chance that these five elements [carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, sulfur] may come together to form the molecule, the quantity of matter that must be continually shaken up, and the length of time necessary to finish the task, can all be calculated. A Swiss mathematician, Charles Eugene Guye, has made the computation and finds that the odds against such an occurrence are 10 160 to 1, or only one chance in 10 160 that is, 10 multiplied by itself 160 times, a number far too large to be expressed in words. The amount of matter to be shaken together to produce a single molecule of protein would be millions of times greater than that in the whole universe. For it to occur on the earth alone would require many, almost endless billions (10 243 ) of years.’ [Frank Allen, “The Origin of the World—by Chance or Design?” in John Clover Monsma, ed., The Evidence of God in an Expanding Universe, p. 23.]” (Coffin, Creation, pp. [3–4].)
Complex Animals Appeared Suddenly
“In 1910, Charles Walcott, while riding horseback across the Canadian Rockies, stumbled onto a most interesting find of sea fossils. This site has provided the most complete collection of Cambrian fossils known. Walcott found soft-bodied animals preserved in the very fine-grained mud. Many different worms, shrimp, and crablike creatures left impressions in the now hardened shale. The impressions include even some of the internal parts such as intestines and stomachs. The creatures are covered with bristles, spines, and appendages, including marvelous detail of the structures so characteristic of worms and crustaceans.
“By examining the visible hard parts of these fossils it is possible to learn much about these animals. Their eyes and feelers indicate that they had a good nervous system. Their gills show that they extracted oxygen from the water. For oxygen to have moved around their bodies they must have had blood systems.
“Some of these animals grew by molting, like a grasshopper. This is a complicated process that biologists are still trying to understand. They had very intricate mouthparts to strain special kinds of foods out of the water. There was nothing simple or primitive about these creatures. They would compare well with any modern worms or crabs. Yet they are found in the oldest rocks that contain any significant number of fossils. Where are their ancestors? …
“What you have read so far is not new. This problem has been known at least since the time of Charles Darwin. If progressive evolution from simple to complex is correct, the ancestors to these full-blown living creatures in the Cambrian should be found but they have not been found. …
“On the basis of the facts alone, on the basis of what is actually found in the earth, the theory of a sudden creative act in which the major forms of life were established fits best.” (Coffin, Creation, pp. [5–6].)
Basic Kinds of Animals Have Not Changed
“Scientists who study fossils have discovered another interesting piece of information. Not only did complicated animals appear suddenly in the lower Cambrian rocks, but the basic forms of animals have not changed much since then. … To put it more plainly, this is the problem of the missing links. It is not a case of one missing link. It is not even a case of many missing links. Evolutionists are confronted with the problem of whole sections of the chain of life missing. …
“G. G. Simpson, quite aware of this problem also, says, ‘It is a feature of the known fossil record that most taxa appear abruptly. They are not, as a rule, led up to by a sequence of almost imperceptible changing forerunners such as Darwin believed should be usual in evolution.’ [The Evolution of Life, p. 149.]
“Thus we see that not only is the sudden appearance of complete and intricate animals a problem for evolution, but the absence of change from one major type into another is equally serious. Again we can say that this is no new problem. Soon after collectors started accumulating fossils, it became obvious that fossils belong in the same major categories as do modern animals and plants. A number of scientists have commented in recent years about the lack of change and the absence of connecting links for specific kinds of animals. …
“Every high school student has seen pictures, perhaps in his own biology textbook, of a scantily clad and hairy Neanderthal man with low-slung neck, stooped shoulder, bowed legs, and bestial appearance. Such pictures grew out of the original description of Neanderthal man given by the Frenchman Boule in 1911–1913. [Marcellin Boule, Fossil Men.] The picture has passed unchanged from book to book, year to year, for nearly sixty years. But Boule based his description originally upon one skeleton whose bones have recently been shown to be badly deformed by a severe case of arthritis.
“William Straus and A. J. E. Cave, the two scientists who discovered this situation, declared, ‘There is thus no valid reason for the assumption that the posture of Neanderthal man of the fourth glacial period differed significantly from that of present-day men. … Notwithstanding, if he could be reincarnated and placed in a New York subway—provided that he were bathed, shaved, and dressed in modern clothing—it is doubtful whether he would attract any more attention than some of its other denizens.’ [William L. Straus, Jr., and A. J. E. Cave, “Pathology and the Posture of Neanderthal Man,” Quarterly Review of Biology, Dec. 1957, pp. 358–59.] That was written some years ago. Neanderthal man might attract less attention today if he were not shaved!” (Coffin, Creation, pp. [6, 10].)
Change in the Present Is Limited
“On a television panel celebrating the centennial of Charles Darwin’s book Origin of Species, Sir Julian Huxley began his comments by saying, ‘The first point to make about Darwin’s theory is that it is no longer a theory, but a fact. No serious scientist would deny the fact that evolution has occurred, just as he would not deny the fact that the earth goes around the sun.’ [Sol Tax and Charles Callender, eds., Issues in Evolution, p. 41.] This is a confusing statement that tells only part of the truth. First, the word evolution must be defined.
“The word itself merely means ‘change,’ and on the basis of this definition, evolution is a fact. However, most people understand evolution to mean progressive change in time from simplicity to complexity, from primitive to advanced. This definition of evolution is not based on fact. The study of inheritance has revealed principles and facts that can prove evolution—if we understand the word evolution to mean ‘change.’ But the obvious minor changes occurring to living things today give no basis for concluding that limitless change has happened in the past. …
“Yes, new species of plants and animals are forming today. The almost endless intergradations of animals and plants in the world, the fantastic degeneration among parasites, and the adaptations of offense and defense, lead to the inevitable conclusion that change has occurred. However, the problem of major changes from one fundamental kind to another is still a most pressing unanswered question facing the evolutionist. Modern animals and plants can change, but the amount of change is limited. The laboratories of science have been unable to demonstrate change from one major kind to another, neither has such change happened in the past history of the earth if we take the fossil record at face value.” (Coffin, Creation, pp. [13, 15].)
“Constant exposure to one theory of origins, and only one, has convinced many that no alternative exists and that evolution must be the full and complete answer. How unfortunate that most of the millions who pass through the educational process have little opportunity to weigh the evidences on both sides!
“Examinations of the fossils, stony records of the past, tell us that complicated living things suddenly (without warning, so to speak) began to exist on the earth. Furthermore, time has not modified them enough to change their basic relationships to each other. Modern living organisms tell us that change is a feature of life and time, but they also tell us that there are limits beyond which they do not pass naturally and beyond which man has been unable to force them. In consideration of past or present living things, man must never forget that he is dealing with life, a profoundly unique force which he has not been able to create and which he is trying desperately to understand.
“Here are the facts here are the evidences here, then, are the sound reasons for believing life originated through a creative act. It is time that each individual has the opportunity to know the facts and to make an intelligent choice.” (Coffin, Creation, p. .)
The Origin of the Old-earth Worldview
Prior to the 1700s, few believed in an old earth. The approximate 6,000-year age for the earth was challenged only rather recently, beginning in the late 18th century. These opponents of the biblical chronology essentially left God out of the picture. Three of the old-earth advocates included Comte de Buffon, who thought the earth was at least 75,000 years old. Pièrre LaPlace imagined an indefinite but very long history. And Jean Lamarck also proposed long ages.11
However, the idea of millions of years really took hold in geology when men like Abraham Werner, James Hutton, William Smith, Georges Cuvier, and Charles Lyell used their interpretations of geology as the standard, rather than the Bible . Werner estimated the age of the earth at about one million years. Smith and Cuvier believed untold ages were needed for the formation of rock layers. Hutton said he could see no geological evidence of a beginning of the earth and building on Hutton’s thinking, Lyell advocated “millions of years.”
From these men and others came the consensus view that the geologic layers were laid down slowly over long periods of time based on the rates at which we see them accumulating today. Hutton said:
This viewpoint is called naturalistic uniformitarianism, and it excludes any major catastrophes such as Noah’s flood. Though some, such as Cuvier and Smith, believed in multiple catastrophes separated by long periods of time, the uniformitarian concept became the ruling dogma in geology.
Thinking biblically, we can see that the global flood in Genesis 6–8 would wipe away the concept of millions of years, for this Flood would explain massive amounts of fossil layers. Most Christians fail to realize that a global flood could rip up many of the previous rock layers and redeposit them elsewhere, destroying the previous fragile contents. This would destroy any evidence of alleged millions of years anyway. So the rock layers can theoretically represent the evidence of either millions of years or a global flood, but not both. Sadly, by about 1840, even most of the Church had accepted the dogmatic claims of the secular geologists and rejected the global flood and the biblical age of the earth.
After Lyell, in 1899, Lord Kelvin (William Thomson) calculated the age of the earth, based on the cooling rate of a molten sphere, at a maximum of about 20–40 million years (this was revised from his earlier calculation of 100 million years in 1862).13 With the development of radiometric dating in the early 20th century, the age of the earth expanded radically. In 1913, Arthur Holmes’s book, The Age of the Earth, gave an age of 1.6 billion years.14 Since then, the supposed age of the earth has expanded to its present estimate of about 4.5 billion years (and about 14 billion years for the universe).
Table 5. Summary of the Old-earth Proponents for Long Ages
|Who?||Age of the Earth||When Was This?|
|Comte de Buffon||78 thousand years old||1779|
|Abraham Werner||1 million years||1786|
|James Hutton||Perhaps eternal, long ages||1795|
|Pièrre LaPlace||Long ages||1796|
|Jean Lamarck||Long ages||1809|
|William Smith||Long ages||1835|
|Georges Cuvier||Long ages||1812|
|Charles Lyell||Millions of years||1830–1833|
|Lord Kelvin||20–100 million years||1862–1899|
|Arthur Holmes||1.6 billion years||1913|
|Clair Patterson||4.5 billion years||1956|
But there is growing scientific evidence that radiometric dating methods are completely unreliable.15
Christians who have felt compelled to accept the millions of years as fact and try to fit them into the Bible need to become aware of this evidence. It confirms that the Bible ’s history is giving us the true age of the creation .
Today, secular geologists will allow some catastrophic events into their thinking as an explanation for what they see in the rocks. But uniformitarian thinking is still widespread, and secular geologists will seemingly never entertain the idea of the global, catastrophic flood of Noah’s day.
The age of the earth debate ultimately comes down to this foundational question: Are we trusting man’s imperfect and changing ideas and assumptions about the past? Or are we trusting God ’s perfectly accurate eyewitness account of the past, including the creation of the world, Noah’s global flood, and the age of the earth?
Benefits of a proper approach
A proper approach makes for an effective witness (2 Corinthians 10:5, 1 Peter 3:15). We connect with unbelievers &lsquowhere they are at&rsquo and do not insult them by trying to prove or imply that they cannot think any logical thoughts whatsoever. Also, we don&rsquot use esoteric philosophical arguments that most people will not relate to, and which can come across as avoiding the evidence.
As Martin Murphy wrote, &ldquoThe Christian apologist must meet the seeker at his own level.&rdquo 19
In all of this we recognize the vital role of the Holy Spirit in enabling a person to change his/her attitude toward God (repentance/faith). Murphy&rsquos quote goes on to say (emphasis in original): &ldquoApologetics cannot and will not save anyone. The powerful work of the Holy Spirit can and will change the heart.&rdquo 18
The basis for many creationists' beliefs is a literal or quasi-literal interpretation of the Book of Genesis. The Genesis creation narratives (Genesis 1–2) describes how God brings the Universe into being in a series of creative acts over six days and places the first man and woman (Adam and Eve) in the Garden of Eden. This story is the basis of creationist cosmology and biology. The Genesis flood narrative (Genesis 6–9) tells how God destroys the world and all life through a great flood, saving representatives of each form of life by means of Noah's Ark. This forms the basis of creationist geology, better known as flood geology.
Recent decades have seen attempts to de-link creationism from the Bible and recast it as science these include creation science and intelligent design. 
To counter the common misunderstanding that the creation–evolution controversy was a simple dichotomy of views, with "creationists" set against "evolutionists", Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Science Education produced a diagram and description of a continuum of religious views as a spectrum ranging from extreme literal biblical creationism to materialist evolution, grouped under main headings. This was used in public presentations, then published in 1999 in Reports of the NCSE.  Other versions of a taxonomy of creationists were produced,  and comparisons made between the different groupings.  In 2009 Scott produced a revised continuum taking account of these issues, emphasizing that intelligent design creationism overlaps other types, and each type is a grouping of various beliefs and positions. The revised diagram is labelled to shows a spectrum relating to positions on the age of the Earth, and the part played by special creation as against evolution. This was published in the book Evolution Vs. Creationism: An Introduction,  and the NCSE website rewritten on the basis of the book version. 
The main general types are listed below.
|Humanity||Biological species||Earth||Age of Universe|
|Young Earth creationism||Directly created by God.||Directly created by God. Macroevolution does not occur.||Less than 10,000 years old. Reshaped by global flood.||Less than 10,000 years old, but some hold this view only for our Solar System.|
|Gap creationism||Scientifically accepted age. Reshaped by global flood.||Scientifically accepted age.|
|Progressive creationism||Directly created by God, based on primate anatomy.||Direct creation + evolution. No single common ancestor.||Scientifically accepted age. No global flood.||Scientifically accepted age.|
|Intelligent design||Proponents hold various beliefs. (For example, Michael Behe accepts evolution from primates.)||Divine intervention at some point in the past, as evidenced by what intelligent-design creationists call "irreducible complexity." Some adherents accept common descent, others do not.||Some claim the existence of Earth is the result of divine intervention.||Scientifically accepted age.|
|Theistic evolution (evolutionary creationism)||Evolution from primates.||Evolution from single common ancestor.||Scientifically accepted age. No global flood.||Scientifically accepted age.|
Young Earth creationism
Young Earth creationists such as Ken Ham and Doug Phillips believe that God created the Earth within the last ten thousand years, literally as described in the Genesis creation narrative, within the approximate time-frame of biblical genealogies (detailed for example in the Ussher chronology). Most young Earth creationists believe that the universe has a similar age as the Earth. A few assign a much older age to the universe than to Earth. Creationist cosmologies give the universe an age consistent with the Ussher chronology and other young Earth time frames. Other young Earth creationists believe that the Earth and the universe were created with the appearance of age, so that the world appears to be much older than it is, and that this appearance is what gives the geological findings and other methods of dating the Earth and the universe their much longer timelines.
The Christian organizations Answers in Genesis (AiG), Institute for Creation Research (ICR) and the Creation Research Society (CRS) promote young Earth creationism in the United States. Carl Baugh's Creation Evidence Museum in Texas, United States AiG's Creation Museum and Ark Encounter in Kentucky, United States were opened to promote young Earth creationism. Creation Ministries International promotes young Earth views in Australia, Canada, South Africa, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.
Among Roman Catholics, the Kolbe Center for the Study of Creation promotes similar ideas.
Old Earth creationism
Old Earth creationism holds that the physical universe was created by God, but that the creation event described in the Book of Genesis is to be taken figuratively. This group generally believes that the age of the universe and the age of the Earth are as described by astronomers and geologists, but that details of modern evolutionary theory are questionable. 
Old Earth creationism itself comes in at least three types: 
Gap creationism (also known as ruin-restoration creationism, restoration creationism, or the Gap Theory) is a form of old Earth creationism that posits that the six-yom creation period, as described in the Book of Genesis, involved six literal 24-hour days, but that there was a gap of time between two distinct creations in the first and the second verses of Genesis, which the theory states explains many scientific observations, including the age of the Earth. Thus, the six days of creation (verse 3 onwards) start sometime after the Earth was "without form and void." This allows an indefinite gap of time to be inserted after the original creation of the universe, but prior to the Genesis creation narrative, (when present biological species and humanity were created). Gap theorists can therefore agree with the scientific consensus regarding the age of the Earth and universe, while maintaining a literal interpretation of the biblical text.   
Some [ which? ] gap creationists expand the basic version of creationism by proposing a "primordial creation" of biological life within the "gap" of time. This is thought to be "the world that then was" mentioned in 2 Peter 3:3–6.  Discoveries of fossils and archaeological ruins older than 10,000 years are generally ascribed to this "world that then was," which may also be associated with Lucifer's rebellion. [ citation needed ]
Day-age creationism, a type of old Earth creationism, is a metaphorical interpretation of the creation accounts in Genesis. It holds that the six days referred to in the Genesis account of creation are not ordinary 24-hour days, but are much longer periods (from thousands to billions of years). The Genesis account is then reconciled with the age of the Earth. Proponents of the day-age theory can be found among both theistic evolutionists, who accept the scientific consensus on evolution, and progressive creationists, who reject it. The theories are said to be built on the understanding that the Hebrew word yom is also used to refer to a time period, with a beginning and an end and not necessarily that of a 24-hour day.
The day-age theory attempts to reconcile the Genesis creation narrative and modern science by asserting that the creation "days" were not ordinary 24-hour days, but actually lasted for long periods of time (as day-age implies, the "days" each lasted an age). According to this view, the sequence and duration of the creation "days" may be paralleled to the scientific consensus for the age of the earth and the universe.
Strictly speaking, day-age creationism is not so much a version of creationism as a hermeneutic option which may be combined with other versions of creationism such as progressive creationism. [ citation needed ]
Progressive creationism is the religious belief that God created new forms of life gradually over a period of hundreds of millions of years. As a form of old Earth creationism, it accepts mainstream geological and cosmological estimates for the age of the Earth, some tenets of biology such as microevolution as well as archaeology to make its case. In this view creation occurred in rapid bursts in which all "kinds" of plants and animals appear in stages lasting millions of years. The bursts are followed by periods of stasis or equilibrium to accommodate new arrivals. These bursts represent instances of God creating new types of organisms by divine intervention. As viewed from the archaeological record, progressive creationism holds that "species do not gradually appear by the steady transformation of its ancestors [but] appear all at once and "fully formed." 
The view rejects macroevolution, claiming it is biologically untenable and not supported by the fossil record,  as well as rejects the concept of common descent from a last universal common ancestor. Thus the evidence for macroevolution is claimed to be false, but microevolution is accepted as a genetic parameter designed by the Creator into the fabric of genetics to allow for environmental adaptations and survival. Generally, it is viewed by proponents as a middle ground between literal creationism and evolution. Organizations such as Reasons To Believe, founded by Hugh Ross, promote this version of creationism.
Progressive creationism can be held in conjunction with hermeneutic approaches to the Genesis creation narrative such as the day-age creationism or framework/metaphoric/poetic views.
Philosophic and scientific creationism
Creation science, or initially scientific creationism, is a pseudoscience      that emerged in the 1960s with proponents aiming to have young Earth creationist beliefs taught in school science classes as a counter to teaching of evolution. Common features of creation science argument include: creationist cosmologies which accommodate a universe on the order of thousands of years old, criticism of radiometric dating through a technical argument about radiohalos, explanations for the fossil record as a record of the Genesis flood narrative (see flood geology), and explanations for the present diversity as a result of pre-designed genetic variability and partially due to the rapid degradation of the perfect genomes God placed in "created kinds" or "baramins" due to mutations.
Neo-creationism is a pseudoscientific movement which aims to restate creationism in terms more likely to be well received by the public, by policy makers, by educators and by the scientific community. It aims to re-frame the debate over the origins of life in non-religious terms and without appeals to scripture. This comes in response to the 1987 ruling by the United States Supreme Court in Edwards v. Aguillard that creationism is an inherently religious concept and that advocating it as correct or accurate in public-school curricula violates the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment.   
One of the principal claims of neo-creationism propounds that ostensibly objective orthodox science, with a foundation in naturalism, is actually a dogmatically atheistic religion.  Its proponents argue that the scientific method excludes certain explanations of phenomena, particularly where they point towards supernatural elements, thus effectively excluding religious insight from contributing to understanding the universe. This leads to an open and often hostile opposition to what neo-creationists term "Darwinism", which they generally mean to refer to evolution, but which they may extend to include such concepts as abiogenesis, stellar evolution and the Big Bang theory.
Unlike their philosophical forebears, neo-creationists largely do not believe in many of the traditional cornerstones of creationism such as a young Earth, or in a dogmatically literal interpretation of the Bible.
Intelligent design (ID) is the pseudoscientific view   that "certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection."  All of its leading proponents are associated with the Discovery Institute,  a think tank whose wedge strategy aims to replace the scientific method with "a science consonant with Christian and theistic convictions" which accepts supernatural explanations.   It is widely accepted in the scientific and academic communities that intelligent design is a form of creationism,     and is sometimes referred to as "intelligent design creationism."      
ID originated as a re-branding of creation science in an attempt to avoid a series of court decisions ruling out the teaching of creationism in American public schools, and the Discovery Institute has run a series of campaigns to change school curricula.  In Australia, where curricula are under the control of state governments rather than local school boards, there was a public outcry when the notion of ID being taught in science classes was raised by the Federal Education Minister Brendan Nelson the minister quickly conceded that the correct forum for ID, if it were to be taught, is in religious or philosophy classes. 
In the US, teaching of intelligent design in public schools has been decisively ruled by a federal district court to be in violation of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. In Kitzmiller v. Dover, the court found that intelligent design is not science and "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents,"  and hence cannot be taught as an alternative to evolution in public school science classrooms under the jurisdiction of that court. This sets a persuasive precedent, based on previous US Supreme Court decisions in Edwards v. Aguillard and Epperson v. Arkansas (1968), and by the application of the Lemon test, that creates a legal hurdle to teaching intelligent design in public school districts in other federal court jurisdictions.  
In astronomy, the geocentric model (also known as geocentrism, or the Ptolemaic system), is a description of the cosmos where Earth is at the orbital center of all celestial bodies. This model served as the predominant cosmological system in many ancient civilizations such as ancient Greece. As such, they assumed that the Sun, Moon, stars, and naked eye planets circled Earth, including the noteworthy systems of Aristotle (see Aristotelian physics) and Ptolemy.
Articles arguing that geocentrism was the biblical perspective appeared in some early creation science newsletters associated with the Creation Research Society pointing to some passages in the Bible, which, when taken literally, indicate that the daily apparent motions of the Sun and the Moon are due to their actual motions around the Earth rather than due to the rotation of the Earth about its axis. For example, Joshua 10:12–13 where the Sun and Moon are said to stop in the sky, and Psalms 93:1 where the world is described as immobile.  Contemporary advocates for such religious beliefs include Robert Sungenis, co-author of the self-published Galileo Was Wrong: The Church Was Right (2006).  These people subscribe to the view that a plain reading of the Bible contains an accurate account of the manner in which the universe was created and requires a geocentric worldview. Most contemporary creationist organizations reject such perspectives. [note 1]
The Omphalos hypothesis is one attempt to reconcile the scientific evidence that the universe is billions of years old with a literal interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative, which implies that the Earth is only a few thousand years old.  It is based on the religious belief that the universe was created by a divine being, within the past six to ten thousand years (in keeping with flood geology), and that the presence of objective, verifiable evidence that the universe is older than approximately ten millennia is due to the creator introducing false evidence that makes the universe appear significantly older.
The idea was named after the title of an 1857 book, Omphalos by Philip Henry Gosse, in which Gosse argued that in order for the world to be functional God must have created the Earth with mountains and canyons, trees with growth rings, Adam and Eve with fully grown hair, fingernails, and navels  (ὀμφαλός omphalos is Greek for "navel"), and all living creatures with fully formed evolutionary features, etc. and that, therefore, no empirical evidence about the age of the Earth or universe can be taken as reliable.
Various supporters of Young Earth creationism have given different explanations for their belief that the universe is filled with false evidence of the universe's age, including a belief that some things needed to be created at a certain age for the ecosystems to function, or their belief that the creator was deliberately planting deceptive evidence. The idea has seen some revival in the 20th century by some modern creationists, who have extended the argument to address the "starlight problem". The idea has been criticised as Last Thursdayism, and on the grounds that it requires a deliberately deceptive creator.
Theistic evolution, or evolutionary creation, is a belief that "the personal God of the Bible created the universe and life through evolutionary processes."  According to the American Scientific Affiliation:
A theory of theistic evolution (TE) – also called evolutionary creation – proposes that God's method of creation was to cleverly design a universe in which everything would naturally evolve. Usually the "evolution" in "theistic evolution" means Total Evolution – astronomical evolution (to form galaxies, solar systems. ) and geological evolution (to form the earth's geology) plus chemical evolution (to form the first life) and biological evolution (for the development of life) – but it can refer only to biological evolution. 
Through the 19th century the term creationism most commonly referred to direct creation of individual souls, in contrast to traducianism. Following the publication of Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation, there was interest in ideas of Creation by divine law. In particular, the liberal theologian Baden Powell argued that this illustrated the Creator's power better than the idea of miraculous creation, which he thought ridiculous.  When On the Origin of Species was published, the cleric Charles Kingsley wrote of evolution as "just as noble a conception of Deity."   Darwin's view at the time was of God creating life through the laws of nature,   and the book makes several references to "creation," though he later regretted using the term rather than calling it an unknown process.  In America, Asa Gray argued that evolution is the secondary effect, or modus operandi, of the first cause, design,  and published a pamphlet defending the book in theistic terms, Natural Selection not inconsistent with Natural Theology.    Theistic evolution, also called, evolutionary creation, became a popular compromise, and St. George Jackson Mivart was among those accepting evolution but attacking Darwin's naturalistic mechanism. Eventually it was realised that supernatural intervention could not be a scientific explanation, and naturalistic mechanisms such as neo-Lamarckism were favoured as being more compatible with purpose than natural selection. 
Some theists took the general view that, instead of faith being in opposition to biological evolution, some or all classical religious teachings about Christian God and creation are compatible with some or all of modern scientific theory, including specifically evolution it is also known as "evolutionary creation." In Evolution versus Creationism, Eugenie Scott and Niles Eldredge state that it is in fact a type of evolution. 
It generally views evolution as a tool used by God, who is both the first cause and immanent sustainer/upholder of the universe it is therefore well accepted by people of strong theistic (as opposed to deistic) convictions. Theistic evolution can synthesize with the day-age creationist interpretation of the Genesis creation narrative however most adherents consider that the first chapters of the Book of Genesis should not be interpreted as a "literal" description, but rather as a literary framework or allegory.
From a theistic viewpoint, the underlying laws of nature were designed by God for a purpose, and are so self-sufficient that the complexity of the entire physical universe evolved from fundamental particles in processes such as stellar evolution, life forms developed in biological evolution, and in the same way the origin of life by natural causes has resulted from these laws. 
In one form or another, theistic evolution is the view of creation taught at the majority of mainline Protestant seminaries.  For Roman Catholics, human evolution is not a matter of religious teaching, and must stand or fall on its own scientific merits. Evolution and the Roman Catholic Church are not in conflict. The Catechism of the Catholic Church comments positively on the theory of evolution, which is neither precluded nor required by the sources of faith, stating that scientific studies "have splendidly enriched our knowledge of the age and dimensions of the cosmos, the development of life-forms and the appearance of man."  Roman Catholic schools teach evolution without controversy on the basis that scientific knowledge does not extend beyond the physical, and scientific truth and religious truth cannot be in conflict.  Theistic evolution can be described as "creationism" in holding that divine intervention brought about the origin of life or that divine laws govern formation of species, though many creationists (in the strict sense) would deny that the position is creationism at all. In the creation–evolution controversy, its proponents generally take the "evolutionist" side. This sentiment was expressed by Fr. George Coyne, (the Vatican's chief astronomer between 1978 and 2006):
. in America, creationism has come to mean some fundamentalistic, literal, scientific interpretation of Genesis. Judaic-Christian faith is radically creationist, but in a totally different sense. It is rooted in a belief that everything depends upon God, or better, all is a gift from God. 
While supporting the methodological naturalism inherent in modern science, the proponents of theistic evolution reject the implication taken by some atheists that this gives credence to ontological materialism. In fact, many modern philosophers of science,  including atheists,  refer to the long-standing convention in the scientific method that observable events in nature should be explained by natural causes, with the distinction that it does not assume the actual existence or non-existence of the supernatural.
There are also non-Christian forms of creationism,  notably Islamic creationism  and Hindu creationism. 
In the creation myth taught by Bahá'u'lláh, the Baháʼí Faith founder, the universe has "neither beginning nor ending," and that the component elements of the material world have always existed and will always exist.  With regard to evolution and the origin of human beings, `Abdu'l-Bahá gave extensive comments on the subject when he addressed western audiences in the beginning of the 20th century. Transcripts of these comments can be found in Some Answered Questions, Paris Talks and The Promulgation of Universal Peace. `Abdu'l-Bahá described the human species as having evolved from a primitive form to modern man, but that the capacity to form human intelligence was always in existence.
Buddhism denies a creator deity and posits that mundane deities such as Mahabrahma are sometimes misperceived to be a creator.  While Buddhism includes belief in divine beings called devas, it holds that they are mortal, limited in their power, and that none of them are creators of the universe.  In the Saṃyutta Nikāya, the Buddha also states that the cycle of rebirths stretches back hundreds of thousands of eons, without discernible beginning. 
Major Buddhist Indian philosophers such as Nagarjuna, Vasubandhu, Dharmakirti and Buddhaghosa, consistently critiqued Creator God views put forth by Hindu thinkers.   
As of 2006 [update] , most Christians around the world accepted evolution as the most likely explanation for the origins of species, and did not take a literal view of the Genesis creation myth. The United States is an exception where belief in religious fundamentalism is much more likely to affect attitudes towards evolution than it is for believers elsewhere. Political partisanship affecting religious belief may be a factor because political partisanship in the US is highly correlated with fundamentalist thinking, unlike in Europe. 
Most contemporary Christian leaders and scholars from mainstream churches,  such as Anglicans  and Lutherans,  consider that there is no conflict between the spiritual meaning of creation and the science of evolution. According to the former archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, ". for most of the history of Christianity, and I think this is fair enough, most of the history of the Christianity there's been an awareness that a belief that everything depends on the creative act of God, is quite compatible with a degree of uncertainty or latitude about how precisely that unfolds in creative time." 
Leaders of the Anglican  and Roman Catholic   churches have made statements in favor of evolutionary theory, as have scholars such as the physicist John Polkinghorne, who argues that evolution is one of the principles through which God created living beings. Earlier supporters of evolutionary theory include Frederick Temple, Asa Gray and Charles Kingsley who were enthusiastic supporters of Darwin's theories upon their publication,  and the French Jesuit priest and geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin saw evolution as confirmation of his Christian beliefs, despite condemnation from Church authorities for his more speculative theories. Another example is that of Liberal theology, not providing any creation models, but instead focusing on the symbolism in beliefs of the time of authoring Genesis and the cultural environment.
Many Christians and Jews had been considering the idea of the creation history as an allegory (instead of historical) long before the development of Darwin's theory of evolution. For example, Philo, whose works were taken up by early Church writers, wrote that it would be a mistake to think that creation happened in six days, or in any set amount of time.   Augustine of the late fourth century who was also a former neoplatonist argued that everything in the universe was created by God at the same moment in time (and not in six days as a literal reading of the Book of Genesis would seem to require)  It appears that both Philo and Augustine felt uncomfortable with the idea of a seven-day creation because it detracted from the notion of God's omnipotence. In 1950, Pope Pius XII stated limited support for the idea in his encyclical Humani generis.  In 1996, Pope John Paul II stated that "new knowledge has led to the recognition of the theory of evolution as more than a hypothesis," but, referring to previous papal writings, he concluded that "if the human body takes its origin from pre-existent living matter, the spiritual soul is immediately created by God." 
In the US, Evangelical Christians have continued to believe in a literal Genesis. Members of evangelical Protestant (70%), Mormon (76%) and Jehovah's Witnesses (90%) denominations are the most likely to reject the evolutionary interpretation of the origins of life. 
Jehovah's Witnesses adhere to a combination of gap creationism and day-age creationism, asserting that scientific evidence about the age of the universe is compatible with the Bible, but that the 'days' after Genesis 1:1 were each thousands of years in length. 
The historic Christian literal interpretation of creation requires the harmonization of the two creation stories, Genesis 1:1–2:3 and Genesis 2:4–25, for there to be a consistent interpretation.   They sometimes seek to ensure that their belief is taught in science classes, mainly in American schools. Opponents reject the claim that the literalistic biblical view meets the criteria required to be considered scientific. Many religious groups teach that God created the Cosmos. From the days of the early Christian Church Fathers there were allegorical interpretations of the Book of Genesis as well as literal aspects. 
Christian Science, a system of thought and practice derived from the writings of Mary Baker Eddy, interprets the Book of Genesis figuratively rather than literally. It holds that the material world is an illusion, and consequently not created by God: the only real creation is the spiritual realm, of which the material world is a distorted version. Christian Scientists regard the story of the creation in the Book of Genesis as having symbolic rather than literal meaning. According to Christian Science, both creationism and evolution are false from an absolute or "spiritual" point of view, as they both proceed from a (false) belief in the reality of a material universe. However, Christian Scientists do not oppose the teaching of evolution in schools, nor do they demand that alternative accounts be taught: they believe that both material science and literalist theology are concerned with the illusory, mortal and material, rather than the real, immortal and spiritual. With regard to material theories of creation, Eddy showed a preference for Darwin's theory of evolution over others. 
Hindu creationists claim that species of plants and animals are material forms adopted by pure consciousness which live an endless cycle of births and rebirths.  Ronald Numbers says that: "Hindu Creationists have insisted on the antiquity of humans, who they believe appeared fully formed as long, perhaps, as trillions of years ago."  Hindu creationism is a form of old Earth creationism, according to Hindu creationists the universe may even be older than billions of years. These views are based on the Vedas, the creation myths of which depict an extreme antiquity of the universe and history of the Earth.  
In Hindu cosmology, time cyclically repeats general events of creation and destruction, with many "first man", each known as Manu, the progenitor of mankind. Each Manu successively reigns over a 306.72 million year period known as a manvantara, each ending with the destruction of mankind followed by a sandhya (period of non-activity) before the next manvantara. 120.53 million years have elapsed in the current manvantara (current mankind) according to calculations on Hindu units of time.    The universe is cyclically created at the start and destroyed at the end of a kalpa (day of Brahma), lasting for 4.32 billion years, which is followed by a pralaya (period of dissolution) of equal length. 1.97 billion years have elapsed in the current kalpa (current universe).The universal elements or building blocks (unmanifest matter) exists for a period known as a maha-kalpa, lasting for 311.04 trillion years, which is followed by a maha-pralaya (period of great dissolution) of equal length. 155.52 trillion years have elapsed in the current maha-kalpa.   
Islamic creationism is the belief that the universe (including humanity) was directly created by God as explained in the Qur'an. It usually views the Book of Genesis as a corrupted version of God's message. The creation myths in the Qur'an are vaguer and allow for a wider range of interpretations similar to those in other Abrahamic religions. 
Islam also has its own school of theistic evolutionism, which holds that mainstream scientific analysis of the origin of the universe is supported by the Qur'an. Some Muslims believe in evolutionary creation, especially among liberal movements within Islam. 
Writing for The Boston Globe, Drake Bennett noted: "Without a Book of Genesis to account for . Muslim creationists have little interest in proving that the age of the Earth is measured in the thousands rather than the billions of years, nor do they show much interest in the problem of the dinosaurs. And the idea that animals might evolve into other animals also tends to be less controversial, in part because there are passages of the Koran that seem to support it. But the issue of whether human beings are the product of evolution is just as fraught among Muslims."  However, some Muslims, such as Adnan Oktar (also known as Harun Yahya), do not agree that one species can develop from another.  
Since the 1980s, Turkey has been a site of strong advocacy for creationism, supported by American adherents.  
There are several verses in the Qur'an which some modern writers have interpreted as being compatible with the expansion of the universe, Big Bang and Big Crunch theories:   
"Do not the Unbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were joined together (as one unit of creation), before we clove them asunder? We made from water every living thing. Will they not then believe?" [Quran 21:30 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)] "Moreover He comprehended in His design the sky, and it had been (as) smoke: He said to it and to the earth: 'Come ye together, willingly or unwillingly.' They said: 'We do come (together), in willing obedience.'" [Quran 41:11 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)] "With power and skill did We construct the Firmament: for it is We Who create the vastness of space." [Quran 51:47 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)] "The Day that We roll up the heavens like a scroll rolled up for books (completed),- even as
We produced the first creation, so shall We produce a new one: a promise We have undertaken: truly shall We fulfil it." [Quran 21:104 (Translated by Yusuf Ali)]
The Ahmadiyya movement actively promotes evolutionary theory.  Ahmadis interpret scripture from the Qur'an to support the concept of macroevolution and give precedence to scientific theories. Furthermore, unlike orthodox Muslims, Ahmadis believe that humans have gradually evolved from different species. Ahmadis regard Adam as being the first Prophet of God – as opposed to him being the first man on Earth.  Rather than wholly adopting the theory of natural selection, Ahmadis promote the idea of a "guided evolution," viewing each stage of the evolutionary process as having been selectively woven by God.  Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has stated in his magnum opus Revelation, Rationality, Knowledge & Truth (1998) that evolution did occur but only through God being the One who brings it about. It does not occur itself, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
For Orthodox Jews who seek to reconcile discrepancies between science and the creation myths in the Bible, the notion that science and the Bible should even be reconciled through traditional scientific means is questioned. To these groups, science is as true as the Torah and if there seems to be a problem, epistemological limits are to blame for apparently irreconcilable points. They point to discrepancies between what is expected and what actually is to demonstrate that things are not always as they appear. They note that even the root word for "world" in the Hebrew language—עולם (Olam)—means hidden—נעלם (Neh-Eh-Lahm). Just as they know from the Torah that God created man and trees and the light on its way from the stars in their observed state, so too can they know that the world was created in its over the six days of Creation that reflects progression to its currently-observed state, with the understanding that physical ways to verify this may eventually be identified. This knowledge has been advanced by Rabbi Dovid Gottlieb, former philosophy professor at Johns Hopkins University. [ citation needed ] Also, relatively old Kabbalistic sources from well before the scientifically apparent age of the universe was first determined are in close concord with modern scientific estimates of the age of the universe, according to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan, and based on Sefer Temunah, an early kabbalistic work attributed to the first-century Tanna Nehunya ben HaKanah. Many kabbalists accepted the teachings of the Sefer HaTemunah, including the medieval Jewish scholar Nahmanides, his close student Isaac ben Samuel of Acre, and David ben Solomon ibn Abi Zimra. Other parallels are derived, among other sources, from Nahmanides, who expounds that there was a Neanderthal-like species with which Adam mated (he did this long before Neanderthals had even been discovered scientifically).     Reform Judaism does not take the Torah as a literal text, but rather as a symbolic or open-ended work.
Some contemporary writers such as Rabbi Gedalyah Nadel have sought to reconcile the discrepancy between the account in the Torah, and scientific findings by arguing that each day referred to in the Bible was not 24 hours, but billions of years long.  Others claim that the Earth was created a few thousand years ago, but was deliberately made to look as if it was five billion years old, e.g. by being created with ready made fossils. The best known exponent of this approach being Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson  Others state that although the world was physically created in six 24-hour days, the Torah accounts can be interpreted to mean that there was a period of billions of years before the six days of creation. 
Most vocal literalist creationists are from the US, and strict creationist views are much less common in other developed countries. According to a study published in Science, a survey of the US, Turkey, Japan and Europe showed that public acceptance of evolution is most prevalent in Iceland, Denmark and Sweden at 80% of the population.  There seems to be no significant correlation between believing in evolution and understanding evolutionary science.  
A 2009 Nielsen poll showed that 23% of Australians believe "the biblical account of human origins," 42% believe in a "wholly scientific" explanation for the origins of life, while 32% believe in an evolutionary process "guided by God".  
A 2013 survey conducted by Auspoll and the Australian Academy of Science found that 80% of Australians believe in evolution (70% believe it is currently occurring, 10% believe in evolution but do not think it is currently occurring), 12% were not sure and 9% stated they do not believe in evolution. 
A 2011 Ipsos survey found that 47% of responders in Brazil identified themselves as "creationists and believe that human beings were in fact created by a spiritual force such as the God they believe in and do not believe that the origin of man came from evolving from other species such as apes". 
In 2004, IBOPE conducted a poll in Brazil that asked questions about creationism and the teaching of creationism in schools. When asked if creationism should be taught in schools, 89% of people said that creationism should be taught in schools. When asked if the teaching of creationism should replace the teaching of evolution in schools, 75% of people said that the teaching of creationism should replace the teaching of evolution in schools.  
A 2012 survey, by Angus Reid Public Opinion revealed that 61 percent of Canadians believe in evolution. The poll asked "Where did human beings come from – did we start as singular cells millions of year ago and evolve into our present form, or did God create us in his image 10,000 years ago?" 
In 2019, a Research Co. poll asked people in Canada if creationism "should be part of the school curriculum in their province". 38% of Canadians said that creationism should be part of the school curriculum, 39% of Canadians said that it should not be part of the school curriculum, and 23% of Canadians were undecided. 
In Europe, literalist creationism is more widely rejected, though regular opinion polls are not available. Most people accept that evolution is the most widely accepted scientific theory as taught in most schools. In countries with a Roman Catholic majority, papal acceptance of evolutionary creationism as worthy of study has essentially ended debate on the matter for many people.
In the UK, a 2006 poll on the "origin and development of life", asked participants to choose between three different perspectives on the origin of life: 22% chose creationism, 17% opted for intelligent design, 48% selected evolutionary theory, and the rest did not know.   A subsequent 2010 YouGov poll on the correct explanation for the origin of humans found that 9% opted for creationism, 12% intelligent design, 65% evolutionary theory and 13% didn't know.  The former Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, head of the worldwide Anglican Communion, views the idea of teaching creationism in schools as a mistake.  In 2009, an Ipsos Mori survey in the United Kingdom found that 54% of Britons agreed with the view: "Evolutionary theories should be taught in science lessons in schools together with other possible perspectives, such as intelligent design and creationism." 
In Italy, Education Minister Letizia Moratti wanted to retire evolution from the secondary school level after one week of massive protests, she reversed her opinion.  
There continues to be scattered and possibly mounting efforts on the part of religious groups throughout Europe to introduce creationism into public education.  In response, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe has released a draft report titled The dangers of creationism in education on June 8, 2007,  reinforced by a further proposal of banning it in schools dated October 4, 2007. 
Serbia suspended the teaching of evolution for one week in September 2004, under education minister Ljiljana Čolić, only allowing schools to reintroduce evolution into the curriculum if they also taught creationism.  "After a deluge of protest from scientists, teachers and opposition parties" says the BBC report, Čolić's deputy made the statement, "I have come here to confirm Charles Darwin is still alive" and announced that the decision was reversed.  Čolić resigned after the government said that she had caused "problems that had started to reflect on the work of the entire government." 
Poland saw a major controversy over creationism in 2006, when the Deputy Education Minister, Mirosław Orzechowski, denounced evolution as "one of many lies" taught in Polish schools. His superior, Minister of Education Roman Giertych, has stated that the theory of evolution would continue to be taught in Polish schools, "as long as most scientists in our country say that it is the right theory." Giertych's father, Member of the European Parliament Maciej Giertych, has opposed the teaching of evolution and has claimed that dinosaurs and humans co-existed. 
A June 2015 - July 2016 Pew poll of Eastern European countries found that 56% of people from Armenia say that humans and other living things have "Existed in present state since the beginning of time". Armenia is followed by 52% from Bosnia, 42% from Moldova, 37% from Lithuania, 34% from Georgia and Ukraine, 33% from Croatia and Romania, 31% from Bulgaria, 29% from Greece and Serbia, 26% from Russia, 25% from Latvia, 23% from Belarus and Poland, 21% from Estonia and Hungary, and 16% from the Czech Republic. 
A 2011 Ipsos survey found that 56% of responders in South Africa identified themselves as "creationists and believe that human beings were in fact created by a spiritual force such as the God they believe in and do not believe that the origin of man came from evolving from other species such as apes". 
In 2009, an EBS survey in South Korea found that 63% of people believed that creation and evolution should both be taught in schools simultaneously. 
A 2017 poll by Pew Research found that 62% of Americans believe humans have evolved over time and 34% of Americans believe humans and other living things have existed in their present form since the beginning of time.  Another 2017 Gallup creationism survey found that 38% of adults in the United States inclined to the view that "God created humans in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years" when asked for their views on the origin and development of human beings, which Gallup noted was the lowest level in 35 years. 
According to a 2014 Gallup poll,  about 42% of Americans believe that "God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so."  Another 31% believe that "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God guided this process,"and 19% believe that "human beings have developed over millions of years from less advanced forms of life, but God had no part in this process." 
Belief in creationism is inversely correlated to education of those with postgraduate degrees, 74% accept evolution.   In 1987, Newsweek reported: "By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who give credence to creation-science, the general theory that complex life forms did not evolve but appeared 'abruptly.'"  
A 2000 poll for People for the American Way found 70% of the US public felt that evolution was compatible with a belief in God. 
According to a study published in Science, between 1985 and 2005 the number of adult North Americans who accept evolution declined from 45% to 40%, the number of adults who reject evolution declined from 48% to 39% and the number of people who were unsure increased from 7% to 21%. Besides the US the study also compared data from 32 European countries, Turkey, and Japan. The only country where acceptance of evolution was lower than in the US was Turkey (25%). 
According to a 2011 Fox News poll, 45% of Americans believe in creationism, down from 50% in a similar poll in 1999.  21% believe in 'the theory of evolution as outlined by Darwin and other scientists' (up from 15% in 1999), and 27% answered that both are true (up from 26% in 1999). 
In September 2012, educator and television personality Bill Nye spoke with the Associated Press and aired his fears about acceptance of creationism, believing that teaching children that creationism is the only true answer without letting them understand the way science works will prevent any future innovation in the world of science.    In February 2014, Nye defended evolution in the classroom in a debate with creationist Ken Ham on the topic of whether creation is a viable model of origins in today's modern, scientific era.   
In the US, creationism has become centered in the political controversy over creation and evolution in public education, and whether teaching creationism in science classes conflicts with the separation of church and state. Currently, the controversy comes in the form of whether advocates of the intelligent design movement who wish to "Teach the Controversy" in science classes have conflated science with religion. 
People for the American Way polled 1500 North Americans about the teaching of evolution and creationism in November and December 1999. They found that most North Americans were not familiar with creationism, and most North Americans had heard of evolution, but many did not fully understand the basics of the theory. The main findings were:
- Only evolution should be taught in science classes, religious explanations
can be discussed in another class
In such political contexts, creationists argue that their particular religiously based origin belief is superior to those of other belief systems, in particular those made through secular or scientific rationale. Political creationists are opposed by many individuals and organizations who have made detailed critiques and given testimony in various court cases that the alternatives to scientific reasoning offered by creationists are opposed by the consensus of the scientific community.  
Most Christians disagree with the teaching of creationism as an alternative to evolution in schools.   Several religious organizations, among them the Catholic Church, hold that their faith does not conflict with the scientific consensus regarding evolution.  The Clergy Letter Project, which has collected more than 13,000 signatures, is an "endeavor designed to demonstrate that religion and science can be compatible."
In his 2002 article "Intelligent Design as a Theological Problem," George Murphy argues against the view that life on Earth, in all its forms, is direct evidence of God's act of creation (Murphy quotes Phillip E. Johnson's claim that he is speaking "of a God who acted openly and left his fingerprints on all the evidence."). Murphy argues that this view of God is incompatible with the Christian understanding of God as "the one revealed in the cross and resurrection of Christ." The basis of this theology is Isaiah 45:15, "Verily thou art a God that hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Saviour."
Murphy observes that the execution of a Jewish carpenter by Roman authorities is in and of itself an ordinary event and did not require divine action. On the contrary, for the crucifixion to occur, God had to limit or "empty" himself. It was for this reason that Paul the Apostle wrote, in Philippians 2:5-8:
Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Just as the Son of God limited himself by taking human form and dying on a cross, God limits divine action in the world to be in accord with rational laws which God has chosen. This enables us to understand the world on its own terms, but it also means that natural processes hide God from scientific observation.
For Murphy, a theology of the cross requires that Christians accept a methodological naturalism, meaning that one cannot invoke God to explain natural phenomena, while recognizing that such acceptance does not require one to accept a metaphysical naturalism, which proposes that nature is all that there is. 
The Jesuit priest George Coyne has stated that is "unfortunate that, especially here in America, creationism has come to mean. some literal interpretation of Genesis." He argues that ". Judaic-Christian faith is radically creationist, but in a totally different sense. It is rooted in belief that everything depends on God, or better, all is a gift from God." 
Teaching of creationism
Other Christians have expressed qualms about teaching creationism. In March 2006, then Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the leader of the world's Anglicans, stated his discomfort about teaching creationism, saying that creationism was "a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories." He also said: "My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it." The views of the Episcopal Church – a major American-based branch of the Anglican Communion – on teaching creationism resemble those of Williams. 
The National Science Teachers Association is opposed to teaching creationism as a science,  as is the Association for Science Teacher Education,  the National Association of Biology Teachers,  the American Anthropological Association,  the American Geosciences Institute,  the Geological Society of America,  the American Geophysical Union,  and numerous other professional teaching and scientific societies.
In April 2010, the American Academy of Religion issued Guidelines for Teaching About Religion in K‐12 Public Schools in the United States, which included guidance that creation science or intelligent design should not be taught in science classes, as "Creation science and intelligent design represent worldviews that fall outside of the realm of science that is defined as (and limited to) a method of inquiry based on gathering observable and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning." However, they, as well as other "worldviews that focus on speculation regarding the origins of life represent another important and relevant form of human inquiry that is appropriately studied in literature or social sciences courses. Such study, however, must include a diversity of worldviews representing a variety of religious and philosophical perspectives and must avoid privileging one view as more legitimate than others." 
Randy Moore and Sehoya Cotner, from the biology program at the University of Minnesota, reflect on the relevance of teaching creationism in the article "The Creationist Down the Hall: Does It Matter When Teachers Teach Creationism?" They conclude that "Despite decades of science education reform, numerous legal decisions declaring the teaching of creationism in public-school science classes to be unconstitutional, overwhelming evidence supporting evolution, and the many denunciations of creationism as nonscientific by professional scientific societies, creationism remains popular throughout the United States." 
Science is a system of knowledge based on observation, empirical evidence, and the development of theories that yield testable explanations and predictions of natural phenomena. By contrast, creationism is often based on literal interpretations of the narratives of particular religious texts.  Creationist beliefs involve purported forces that lie outside of nature, such as supernatural intervention, and often do not allow predictions at all. Therefore, these can neither be confirmed nor disproved by scientists.  However, many creationist beliefs can be framed as testable predictions about phenomena such as the age of the Earth, its geological history and the origins, distributions and relationships of living organisms found on it. Early science incorporated elements of these beliefs, but as science developed these beliefs were gradually falsified and were replaced with understandings based on accumulated and reproducible evidence that often allows the accurate prediction of future results.  
Some scientists, such as Stephen Jay Gould,  consider science and religion to be two compatible and complementary fields, with authorities in distinct areas of human experience, so-called non-overlapping magisteria.  This view is also held by many theologians, who believe that ultimate origins and meaning are addressed by religion, but favor verifiable scientific explanations of natural phenomena over those of creationist beliefs. Other scientists, such as Richard Dawkins,  reject the non-overlapping magisteria and argue that, in disproving literal interpretations of creationists, the scientific method also undermines religious texts as a source of truth. Irrespective of this diversity in viewpoints, since creationist beliefs are not supported by empirical evidence, the scientific consensus is that any attempt to teach creationism as science should be rejected.   
Do the creationist shuffle and twist!
Don't you hate it when you get up in the morning and the first thing you read on the internet is the news that your entire career has been a waste of time, your whole field of study has collapsed, and you're going to have to rethink your entire future? Happens to me all the time. But then, I read the creationist news, so I've become desensitized to the whole idea of intellectual catastrophes.
Today's fresh demolition of the whole of evolutionary theory comes via Christian News, which reports on a paper in the journal Molecular Biology and Evolution which challenges the ape to human evolutionary theory. Wait, that's a journal I read regularly. What did I miss?
Fresh findings in the field of genetics have directly challenged yet another key evolutionary hypothesis by showing that the differences between humans and apes cannot be easily accounted for under the theory of evolution.
A recent 12-page journal article, written by three scientists in Spain and published in Molecular Biology and Evolution, details the results of careful analysis of human and chimpanzee DNA. After comparing and contrasting thousands of orthologous genes from humans and chimps, the scientists found their final data to be very much at odds with evolutionary theory. [Oh, reeeally?] In fact, they even titled their article "Recombination Rates and Genomic Shuffling in Human and Chimpanzee--A New Twist in the Chromosomal Speciation Theory."
I knocked over my bowl of oatmeal in my haste to track down this "groundbreaking genetic discovery," and got the paper downloaded and read while I sipped my morning tea. Hey, it's from Aurora Ruiz-Herrera's lab &mdash I know her work. Good stuff. Nice to know she's going to be winning the Nobel prize for toppling evolutionary theory, even if it means I'm going to have to find something new to study.
But there's a little contradiction here. The creationist account continues:
Why are these findings seen as a "new twist" to the evolutionary theory? In short, because many scientists have claimed that genetic differences between humans and apes can be attributed to a process known as "genetic recombination," [They do? News to me.] which is a phenomenon that generates slight genetic variation via meiosis. However, this new journal article seriously calls this proposition into question.
In their research, the three Spanish scientists scrutinized differences between human and chimp genes, expecting to find higher genetic recombination rates in these areas of dissimilarity [Are you sure about that, Christian News?] . Even though studies of human-chimp similarities have been conducted in years past, this particular research was unprecedented because the scientists took advantage of new, high-resolution genome maps.
Ultimately, the study results were contradictory to what evolutionists had theorized [Really?] . Not only were genetic recombination rates markedly low in areas of human-chimp DNA differences ("rearranged" chromosomes), but the rates were much higher in areas of genetic similarity ("collinear" chromosomes) [Correct.] . This is the reverse of what evolutionists had predicted. [Uh, what?]
"The analysis of the most recent human and chimpanzee recombination maps inferred from genome-wide single-nucleotide polymorphism data," the scientists explained, "revealed that the standardized recombination rate was significantly lower in rearranged than in collinear chromosomes." [Yes.]
Jeffrey Tomkins, a Ph.D. geneticist with the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), told the Christian News Network that these results were "totally backwards" from what evolutionists had predicted, since genetic recombination is "not occurring where it's supposed to" under current evolutionary theory. [Now, you see, this is where I lose all respect for you, Mr Tomkins.]
The problem here is that while the creationists got the main result right, they tried to wedge it into a bungled, fallacious version of evolutionary theory. Ruiz-Herrera has refuted creationist evolution all right, but not the real science that the rest of us study. In fact, it goes the other way and uses detailed genomic maps to confirm a hypothesis about evolution.
You didn't expect anything else, did you? This is the way it always turns out. Creationist makes claim, creationist interpretation is bullshit.
Let's look at what the paper actually says. But first, a little background.
There are a number of common genetic changes that affect rates of recombination &mdash inversions and translocations. These changes can suppress recombination.
For example, look at this pair of complementary chromosomes. One of them carries an inversion: that is, the chunk of DNA that carries the e, ro, and ca genes is flipped around on one strand, so that the sequence e&mdashro&mdashca on the white strand reads ca&mdashro&mdashe on the black strand. This is not a problem for the organism. It still carries two copies of each of the genes, as it should, they're just arranged in different ways on the two chromosomes.
This rearrangement does not inhibit pairing during meiosis, either. As you can see in the bottom illustration, the two chromosomes have to get all twisty and kama-sutraey to line up all the genes, but they can do it just fine. So meiosis, the process by which the organism produces gametes like sperm and egg, can work out with no problem. So this is a rearrangement that doesn't affect viability or fertility in any significant way.
With one exception. What if there is a crossover event, that is, an exchange of DNA strands, within the inversion? It can get ugly. In the diagram below, there has been a crossover or recombination event between the ro and ca genes. Try tracing the effects on each DNA strand with your finger &mdash you'll see that some of the strands are going to be really messed up.
Or just look below. The four DNA strands that result from this process are separated to make it clear what happens.
A crossover event involves two strands of DNA out of the total of four, so you still get two uninvolved bystanders, the two noncrossover products. They're fine and will lead to two normal, healthy gametes with a full genetic complement.
The crossover strands are totally screwed up. One is now dicentric, having two centromeres &mdash when they're separated at cell division, it will be like a little tug-of-war. This is a gross abnormality in the chromosomes, and will be read as a problem that leads to suppression of division and cell death. The other crossover chromosome is acentric, no centromere at all, as well as being severely truncated and lacking most of the genes present on the chromosome. It will most likely be lost completely during cell division, leading to a genetic deficiency.
The net result of all this finagling is an apparent suppression of crossovers in the progeny. The alleles present at the e, ro, and ca genes on each chromosome are locked in to each other and aren't easily reshuffled around.
That's all basic genetics. What does evolutionary theory think about inversions?
They are mechanisms that could reduce gene flow between two populations, one that carries the inversion and another that doesn't. It's a process that could contribute to genetic isolation between those populations, and could therefore be part of speciation.
I'm not making this up, and I'm not relying on esoteric knowledge to know this: the paper states it clearly in the opening paragraph!
More recently, a number of related studies have proposed an alternative explanation by which chromosomal rearrangements could reduce gene ﬂow and potentially contribute to speciation by the suppression of recombination (Noor et al. 2001 Rieseberg 2001). According to this "suppressed recombination" model, chromosome rearrangements could have a minimal inﬂuence on ﬁtness, but would suppress recombination leading to the reduction of gene ﬂow across genomic regions and to the accumulation of incompatibilities.
That's the part of evolutionary theory the scientists are addressing. It's the idea that regions of DNA that differ, that lead to the differences between two related species, might also be accompanied by genetic changes like inversions that reduced gene flow between the founding populations. It's a component of the speciation process that allowed novel polymorphisms to accumulate in one group without spreading to the other group.
Let me try to make this even simpler. The prediction of this hypothesis is that regions of DNA that contribute significantly to the differences between two species ought to also show higher frequencies of chromosomal rearrangements and lower frequencies of recombination. Master that one sentence and you'll have the gist of this part of evolutionary theory.
So, in this paper, what did they find? They used high resolution genomic data to compare recombination rates in regions of the human and chimpanzee genome, predicting low recombination in those areas that are significantly different. Here's the summary:
Overall, our data provide compelling evidence for the existence of low recombination rates within genomic regions that have been rearranged in the chromosomal evolution of human and chimpanzee.
Allow me to repeat what creationist geneticist Jeffrey Tomkins said.
Jeffrey Tomkins, a Ph.D. geneticist with the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), told the Christian News Network that these results were "totally backwards" from what evolutionists had predicted, since genetic recombination is "not occurring where it's supposed to" under current evolutionary theory.
Huh. Did he not read that paragraph I quoted from the introduction, that clearly stated the expectation of evolutionary theory, and that the results fit that expectation?
Perhaps he skipped over the introduction, knowing it all already. So did he miss this statement in the results?
These data suggest that those chromosomes that have been maintained collinear during evolutionary history retained higher recombination rates than those that have been altered during evolution in each particular lineage.
That's the flip side: collinear regions between chimp and human chromosomes retain a conserved arrangement, and have a higher recombination rate.
So he didn't read or understand the introduction or the results. Did he comprehend this statement from the discussion?
Using this approach, we provide evidences of a reduction of recombination within genomic regions that have been implicated in the chromosomal evolution between human and chimpanzee.
I daresay Mr Tomkins failed to read the whole damned paper! Or stared at it with glazed eyes and struggled to find some imaginary objection he could use to distort it into a rejection of evolution.
I'm sorry to say that Dr Ruiz-Herrera will not be winning a Nobel prize for refuting evolution, but she has still made a useful and interesting contribution to the evidence for evolution.
Farré M, Micheletti D, Ruiz-Herrera A (2012) Recombination Rates and Genomic Shuffling in Human and Chimpanzee--A New Twist in the Chromosomal Speciation Theory. Mol Biol Evol 30(4):853-864.
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Why We Believe in Creation
I am often asked why the creation/evolution controversy is so important. Tempers flare, sometimes explosively, over this issue. Some people think, there are enough problems with the image of evangelicals without creating unnecessary controversies. Is it just a matter of interpreting Genesis? If so, then let the theologians debate the issues and leave me out. But let's not obscure the simple message of the gospel. Others wonder, is it just a scientific argument? If so, then why should I care about the controversy? I'm not a scientist. Well, I think much more is at stake than that. It has to do with the very nature and character of God!
We must realize that the book of Genesis is the foundation of the entire Bible. The word Genesis means "beginnings." Genesis tells the story of the beginning of the universe, solar system, earth, life, man, sin, Israel, nations, and salvation. An understanding of Genesis is crucial to our understanding of the rest of Scripture.
For example, Genesis chapters 1-11 are quoted or referred to more than 100 times in the New Testament alone. And it is over these chapters that the primary battle for the historicity of Genesis rages. All of the first eleven chapters are referred to in the New Testament. Every New Testament author refers somewhere to Genesis 1-11.
Jesus Himself, on six different occasions, refers to each one of the first seven chapters of Genesis, thus affirming His belief in their historical nature. He refers back to Adam and Eve to defend His position on marriage and divorce in Matthew 19:3-6. He makes His argument a historical one when He says that "from the beginning" God created them male and female. Jesus affirms that Adam and Eve were real people. Jesus' comments are in an historical context.
Jesus affirms the historicity of Cain and Abel in Matthew 23:29-36. In this passage, Jesus connects the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of the prophet Zechariah. The murder of Zechariah at the door of the Temple was within the last 400 years and was clearly historical. If this was historical, then so was the murder of Abel!
Jesus confirms the historical nature Noah and the Flood in Matthew 24:37-39. The time before Noah is related to the time that Christ returns. If the flood is just a story to communicate a pre-New Testament vision of the gospel, then is Jesus return just another story to communicate some other spiritual truth? The historicity of Genesis 1-11 is tied to many aspects of Jesus' teachings.
In many ways it is difficult to separate the book of Genesis, even the first eleven chapters, from the rest of Scripture, without literally rejecting the inspiration of Scripture and the divine nature of Jesus. It is hardly possible to assume that Jesus was knowingly deceiving these pre-modern people in order to communicate the gospel in a context they understood.
How can the first 11 chapters be separated from even the rest of Genesis? The time of Abraham has been verified by archeology. The places, customs, and religions spoken in Genesis related to Abraham are accurate. The story of Abraham begins in Genesis 12. If Genesis 1 is mythology and Genesis 12 history, where does the allegory stop and the history begin in the first 11 chapters? It is all written in the same historical narrative style.
The Nature of the Evolutionary Process
Many believers do indeed call Genesis 1-11 allegory or myth. They boldly declare that God simply used evolution as His method to create! The purpose of the creation account is only to promote God as a transcendent all-powerful God who is completely different from the gods of the surrounding Near East cultures of that time. This is called theistic evolution. Without question, God could create by any means He chose. But is the God of the Scriptures the god of evolution?
My simple answer to that question is no! At least not the evolution which is communicated in today's textbooks and university classrooms. The nature of the evolutionary process is contrary to the nature of God.
The principles behind evolution are ideas such as the selfish gene, and survival of the fittest. An offshoot of evolutionary thinking is the relatively new field of sociobiology. In another essay (Sociobiology: Evolution, Genes and Morality), I defined sociobiology as the biological basis for ALL social behavior. In other words, our behaviors are the result natural selection as much as our physical characteristics.
For instance, if you ask a sociobiologist the question, why do we love our children, he or she will answer that "we love our children because it works." It is an effective means to raise productive offspring, so it was "selected for" over time. Ultimately, then, from this perspective, all behavior is selfish. Everything we do is geared toward furthering our own survival and the production and the survival of our own offspring. Our behaviors have been selected over time to aid in our survival and reproduction and that's all.
Evolution is a wasteful, inefficient process. Carl Sagan says that the fossil record is filled with the failed experiments of evolution. Evolutionary history is littered with dead-ends and false starts. Stephen Jay Gould characterizes the nature of the evolutionary process as one of contingency history. Organisms survive primarily by chance rather than some inherent superiority over other organisms. There is no purpose, no goal, no meaning at all.
The question has to be, would God use such a method? A person's character is reflected in his or her work. Not just in what is produced, but the process also is indicative of the mind that is at work. For instance, the paintings of Vincent van Gogh reveal a troubled mind, not just in the subjects he painted but also in the colors he used and character of the brush strokes. And you don't have to be an art critic to see this in his paintings, particularly those just before he took his own life.
God is a person and thus has character. We should see God's character in His work as well as in His method. First, let's take a brief look at the revelation of God's character.
Jesus is the perfect manifestation of God's character. Jesus said, "Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father" (John 14:9-11). Not only that, but Jesus is the Person of the Godhead that brought about the creation. Colossians 1:16 reads, "All things were created by Him, for Him, and through Him." John 1:3&mdash"Nothing came into being apart from Him." Hebrews 1:2&mdash"By Whom and through Whom the worlds were created."
Since Jesus is a person and is also the creator, then if Jesus used evolution as his method to create, then we should see a correlation between the character of Jesus and the process of evolution.
The Personal Character of Jesus the Creator
If Jesus used evolution as His method of creation, then His character must be reconcilable with the evolutionary process. We discussed above the nature of the evolutionary process. Now I want to take a brief look at the character of God. A detailed unveiling of Jesus' character is found in Matthew 5. This is not an ideal we are to strive for, but a picture of what can happen in the life of a believer who is fully yielded to Christ.
In Matthew 5:3, Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit." This phrase describes one who allowed himself to be trodden down. Jesus exemplified a security in Himself that did not become offended when He was put down. An evolutionarily successful organism seeks its own interests, not the interests of others.
In verse 5, Jesus says, "Blessed are the gentle." The mild, patient and long-suffering are not likely to succeed in an evolutionary world. The meek are pushed aside by the self-assertive. Ultimately it is the strong, the fit and the selfish that are the ones who succeed!
In verse 7, Jesus says, "Blessed are the merciful." The struggle for existence is never motivated by mercy. Mercy could only be tolerated if shown towards a member of the same species that shares a significant proportion of their genes. To be merciful outside your immediate family unit may compromise your survival or the survival of your offspring, neither of which is productive in an evolutionary world.
In verse 9, Jesus says, "Blessed are the peacemakers." Jesus also said we should love our enemies. In many mammals, such as lions and gorillas, the first act of a new dominant male following his ascent to power is to kill the younger offspring sired by the previous dominant male. This has the double effect of removing offspring from the group that are not his, and bringing their mothers into heat so he can mate with them to produce his own offspring. This is selfish natural selection at work. Where is the mercy, the gentleness, the peacemaking in these events?
The struggle for existence among living organisms today is a result of sin entering a perfect creation and is not the method of bringing that creation into existence.
Romans 8:19-22 reveals that nature is groaning in the pains of childbirth, because of being subjected to futility, for redemption from the curse. Nature is in turmoil. Organisms do struggle for survival. Competition is often fierce. While there are many examples of cooperation in nature, it can always be explained in terms of selfish gain and cooperation is the easiest way to obtain the desired end. Organisms do act selfishly. But to hear nature's groaning and interpret it as the song of creation is to be ignorant of both God and nature!!
Some Christians debate the effects of the fall and how far back into earth history the effects can be realized. But the point is that something happened at the fall. This passage makes clear that the creation does not function today as God intended it to and it is not the creation's fault. The creation was subjected to futility because of man's sin.
When we take the time to investigate whether the God revealed in the Scriptures is the same God who created through the evolutionary process as it is currently understood, the answer is clear. The God of the Scriptures is not the god of evolution.
A Modern Twist on Theistic Evolution
In a modern formulation, some theistic evolutionists are declaring that not only could God use evolution, but He must use some form of evolution to create. These individuals indicate that there is a "functional integrity" to the universe that God created initially and for God to intervene in any way, is to admit that He made a mistake earlier. And of course, God does not make mistakes. Physics professor Howard van Till from Calvin College describes:
. a created world that has no functional deficiencies, no gaps in its economy of the sort that would require God to act immediately, temporarily assuming the role of creature to perform functions within the economy of the creation that other creatures have not been equipped to perform." [Christian Scholars Review, vol. XXI:I (September 1991), p. 38].
Diogenes Allen from Princeton Theological Seminary put it this way:
According to a Christian conception of God as creator of a universe that is rational through and through, there are no missing relations between the members of nature. If, in our study of nature, we run into what seems to be an instance of a connection missing between members of nature, the Christian doctrine of creation implies that we should keep looking for one" [Christian Belief in a Postmodern World (Louisville: Westminster /John Knox Press, 1989), p. 53].
A loose paraphrase might be, "If you find evidence of a miracle, you need to keep looking for a naturalistic explanation." This view of creation seems awfully close to deism or semi-deism. Theistic evolutionists deny this, of course, by reminding us that, unlike deism, they firmly believe that God continuously upholds the universe. If He were to completely withdraw as deism holds, the universe would come apart.
But the Bible, particularly the gospels, is full of miracles. The Lord Jesus was born as a human baby in a stable, He changed water into wine, healed blindness and leprosy, fed multitudes on scraps of food, raised people from the dead, died on a cross, and rose from the dead Himself. The response is that this is salvation history which is entirely different from natural history. Diogenes Allen put it this way:
In general we may say that God creates a consistent set of lawlike behaviors. As part of that set there are the known physical laws. These laws apply to a wide variety of situations. But in certain unusual situations such as creating a chosen people, revealing divine intentions in Jesus, and revealing the nature of the kingdom of God, higher laws come into play that give a different outcome than normal physical laws which concern different situations. The normal physical laws do not apply because we are in a domain that extends beyond their competence.
It is true that we do not invoke God to account for repeatable observable events such as apples falling from trees. But what could be more unusual and beyond the competence of physical laws than the creation of life, the creation of coded information in DNA, the creation of a human being? Even in this framework, it seems reasonable to assume that these events could also be a part of salvation history. What we end up with, however, is a view that says that the activity of the Creator cannot be detected in any of the workings of nature. Once again, the God of the Scriptures is not the god of evolution.
The Theology of Romans 1
The world of nature that is left to us by those who believe in theistic evolution is indistinguishable from that of the philosophical naturalist or even the pantheist. Whether you accept Genesis 1 and 2 as being historical or not, the clear tenor of the narrative is of a God who interacts with his creation, not one who just lets it unwind according to some preconceived plan. How is a scientist supposed to see God in the creation if all there is, from his perspective, is natural mechanisms?
The pantheist could see this perspective as compatible with his view of the natural world as well. The pantheist sees god as an impersonal force that is present all throughout nature. god is all and in all. All is one. Matter itself contains the inherent ability to bring about complexity according to the mind which permeates all of nature. Similarly, theistic evolution requires that matter contains within itself, by God's creative design, the full capacity to actualize all of the physical and biological complexities that exist. The distinctions of Christian theism become blurred.
Finally, if God created through evolution, what are we to do with Romans 1:18-20? Paul says:
For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. (NASB)
The fact that God exists, and even a few things about His power and nature, is clearly understood by observing the natural world, that which He created. If God's method of creation is indistinguishable from that of a naturalist or a pantheist, where is this so-called evidence?
Princeton theologian, Diogenes Allen, says that "even though nature does not establish God's existence, nature points to the possibility of God. That is, it raises questions which science cannot answer and which philosophy has been unable to answer" (Christian Belief in a Postmodern World, p.180). But Romans declares that his invisible nature, eternal power, and deity are clearly seen through what has been made! This is more than raising questions! If God has created through naturalistic evolution then men and women have quite a few excuses. If natural processes are all that is needed, who needs God?
One final note. It has been interesting to me that, as I have observed theistic evolutionists throughout my academic career, I have found that evolutionists have little tolerance for theistic evolutionists because if you accept evolution, then why do you need God? Perhaps even more importantly, they are puzzled about why one would continue to believe in the God of the Bible if you have concluded that He used inefficient, chancey, contingent, and messy natural selection as His method. Even they see the incompatibility of the two.
In summary, Genesis and creation are central to Scripture and Jesus appears to have believed in an historical and interactive creation. Evolution is contrary to the nature and character of God. And, if natural processes are all that is needed for creation, then men are indeed full of excuses to the existence of God, contrary to Romans 1.
Comparison Chart — Mormonism and Christianity
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS or Mormon church) professes to be a Christian church. However, a careful comparison of basic doctrinal positions of that church to those of historical, biblical Christianity reveal many radical differences. This pamphlet compares Mormon doctrines as stated in LDS authoritative primary sources to those of historic Christianity as derived solely from the Bible.
The Doctrine of God:
The Doctrine of Jesus Christ:
The Doctrine of Scriptures and Authority:
The church also regards The Doctrine and Covenants (D&C) as Scripture. It “is a collection of modern revelations . . . regarding The Church of Jesus Christ as it has been restored in these last days” (GP, p. 54).
The Pearl of the Great Price (PGP) is the fourth book believed to be inspired.
“It clarifies doctrines and teachings that were lost from the Bible and gives added information concerning the creation of the earth” (GP, p. 54).
The Doctrine of Humanity:
The Doctrine of Sin:
The Doctrine of Salvation:
These are some of the blessings given to exalted people:
1. They will live eternally in the presence of Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ (see D&C, 76).
3. They will have their righteous family members with them and will be able to have spirit children also. These spirit children will have the same relationship to them as we do to our Heavenly Father. They will be an eternal family.
4. They will receive a fullness of joy.
5. They will have everything that our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ have – all power, glory, dominion, and knowledge (See GP, p. 302).
The Doctrine of Life after Death:
1. Exaltation in the Celestial Kingdom for faithful Mormons where people may become gods or angels “Then shall they be gods” (D&C 132:20).
2. Terrestrial Kingdom for righteous non-Mormons “These are they who are honorable men of the earth, who were blinded by the craftiness of men. These are they who receive of his glory, but not of his fullness” (D&C 76:75-76).