Summing up on Creationism and Science

After writing my last post on this subject, I thought up a quick way to express my approach to scientific questions surrounding the age of the earth.  Here it is, in one sentence:

Because the act of creation was a miracle, the origin of the universe cannot be measured according to the same laws that are used to measure phenomena in the natural order of things as they exist now.

Think about that for a second.  What is a miracle?  I define a miracle as an extraordinary intervention of God that pertains to creation and quite often violates natural, scientific regularities (or laws, if that is your preferred term).  I say miracles “quite often” violate scientific laws because they do not necessarily do so in all cases.  The locust plague on the Egyptians was a miracle, but there is no reason to suppose that it violated any natural laws.  God simply providentially ensured that an extraordinarily large number of locusts would be gathered together on the land of Egypt at one time.  It is, of course, possible that God created these locusts ex nihilo and then sent them to Egypt, thereby including a law-violating component to the miracle, but Ockham’s Razor would lead us to the former conclusion that God providentially orchestrated natural phenomena to produce an extraordinary event within the ordered system of laws that he ordained over creation.  Nevertheless, we know that God’s extraordinary interventions quite often ignore natural laws and therefore would not be subject to the same kind of scientific scrutiny that regular events would be subject to (I have repeatedly mentioned Jesus’ turning the water into wine, which is only one of a host of examples I could cite). 

Was creation a miracle?  Surely every Christian would agree that it was.  Is it reasonable to suppose that it was a miracle that bypassed natural laws?  Everywhere the Bible claims that God created by the power of his Word alone, and that to me suggests clearly that creation was a miracle that occurred outside natural processes.  In fact, the creation of this world would have involved at the same time the ordering of the world under the scientific laws that govern it.  Therefore, even the laws themselves were “created” at that time as well. 

I conclude, therefore, that if we approach creation as a miracle, we should actually approach it as a miracle, meaning that it is something that God must interpret for us, not something we can claim to understand apart from his revelation.  I am not advocating the complete overthrow of science.  Science has an important role to play in our understanding of the world as it now exists and operates.  But I do not believe autonomous human reason alone can discover how it all began.  It is much better to trust what God has told us about his own miracles.  It is high time for science to get a dose of humility before God.


One Response to “Summing up on Creationism and Science”

  1. Luke Smith Says:

    Dear Aaron,
    I do not think the term miraculous is the appropriate term for creation. Miracles can only happen…after creation. As to your MISREADING of Genesis 1-11, fine….to each his own, though I think your approach badly misunderstands the passage, and creates stumbling blocks to the faith.

    As for your assertion that Southern has an interest in engaging the scientific community…you completely misunderstand what I am saying about a University setting….though it may that I am not being clear. How many labs do you have at Southern? How many physicists actually applying the scientific method? How many chemists….biologists….

    The neo-fundamentalist movement has made attacking evolution nearly a pillar of the faith. Genesis 1-11 is misread. If you ask ten youth who are indoctrinated in the neo-fundamentalist movement about Genesis 6-9 the discussion will focus almost entirely on FINDING THE ARK. Never mind the Noahic Covenant. Never mind the theological message…which is placed there to introduce Abraham.

    Here is a suggestion. Try this test…please for me. Ask your deacons to list the ten commandments.


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