Creation, Science, and Christianity

The Debate Over 6-Day Creation

There is currently a debate occuring in several Reformed denominations over the proper way to interpret the days of Genesis 1. Are they 24-hour days? All of them? Can time intervene between the days? Are the days a literary structuring device to express an otherwise inexpressible reality? Are they broadly consecutive but intended more to portray God as a human worker who even "rests" at the end of the week? These questions and more are considered by the following articles from varying points of view.

The Westminster View of Creation Days: A Choice between Non-Ambiguity or Historical Revisionism
     (From www.archive.org)

By David Hall
Argues persuasively that the Westminster Divines did intend to communicate creation in 6, ordinary days. This article figured prominently at the 1998 PCA (Presbyterian Church in America) General Assembly.

Declaration of the Westminster Presbytery on Creation (From www.archive.org)
This is a recent declaration by one Presbytery of the PCA (Presbyterian Church in America). Notice the assumptions they make: 1. If one holds to anything besides 144-hours of creation, he has "refused to uphold the truth of the historicity of the creation account in Genesis 1 and 2." 2. The hermeneutics employed by those who interpret Gen. 1 as not requiring 144 hour creation is guiltily associated with hermeneutics which are used "to support such heresies as women's ordination, homosexuality, and the denial of the historicity of great foundational truths of the Christian faith such as the virgin birth, the substitutionary atonement and the bodily resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ." 3. They hold that there is not even a credible case that can be made for opposing viewpoints. Are these assumptions good ones? This statement makes it impossible for one holding to anything but 144 hour creation from being ordained in Westminster Presbytery. Time will tell if this is legal, given the General Assembly's appelate power and its ruling that this is not a grounds for rejecting an ordination.

An Open Letter to Our Brother Elders of Westminster Presbytery
By: Potomac Presbytery, Presbyterian Church in America
This statement was written by a committee of the Potomac Presbytery of the PCA and was adopted on June 12, 1998. It is a response to the statement above from Westminster Presbytery. Potomac disagrees with Westminster's position, and calls upon them to reconsider their stand which has the effect of saying that many of the great presbyterians of the past and present should be defrocked...

My Pilgrimage Regarding Creation (Offsite)
By: Morton H. Smith
In his "Systematic Theology," this respected Southern Presbyterian says that a man's position on the length of the creation days alone should not keep him from being ordained as a PCA minister. Here he expresses his personal views on the issue

Animadversions on Alex Mitchell's View of the Westminster Assembly and the Days of Creation (Offsite)
By: J. Ligon Duncan
An Excerpt: "Recently, there have been a number of public, printed and spoken assertions made about the alleged latitude of our Reformed forbears on the issue of the interpretation of Genesis I. Because many of these assertions have come in the context of a current ecclesiastical debate or polemic, you will appreciate my skepticism (as an historian) of their historical accuracy and value!

One such assertion that is presently popular is the opinion that the Westminster divines had no consensus on the time-span of creation (six literal days) and did not intend to exclude any view of that time-span by the use of the phrase "in the space of six days" in the Westminster Confession IV:1. I am, personally, open to being convinced that the Westminster Confession is not following Calvin's literalist position: though the Assembly indisputably parrots his technical phrase, "in the space of six days" (which was explicitly employed by Calvin to deny a figurative reading of the creation days and to rebut the instantaneous creation theory). But someone is going to have to produce the evidence! This historical-theological discussion (if it is to be of any practical use at all) is going to have to be carried on at a factual level, dealing with primary sources, rather than a rhetorical level, dependent upon anecdotes, recent tradition (even if that tradition spans the last 150 years!), and secondary sources."

The Center for Scientific Creation is a non-profit (Offsite)
CSC is a non-profit organization located in Phoenix, Arizona, dedicated to origins research. The questions below and many others are answered in a new book by Dr. Brown entitled In the Beginning: Compelling Evidence for Creation and the Flood.

Six Day Creation (Offsite)
By: Grover Gunn
Section Titles: "The Position of the Westminster Standards, The Day Age Theory, Anthropomorphic Days, The Framework Hypothesis, Creation and Science, What About Hodge and Warfield, The Copernican Revolution"

Bryan Chapell's Statement on Covenant Seminary's Position Regarding the Length of Creation Days (Offsite)
By: Bryan Chapell
This is a statement from Bryan Chapell, the president of Covenant Theological Seminary, the PCA's denominational seminary. Here he defends the seminary from charges that it has "sold out" or "gone liberal" because most of its professors do not hold to 24-hour creation days. Chapell does a good job showing that the seminary, from its very inception, has had liberty on this issue analogous to the liberty afforded PCA pastors on millennial views. Read it and see what you think...

The Handwriting On The Wall: A Reply to Bryan Chapell's "President's Goals and Report" (Offsite)
By: Jack B. Scott
I hardly feel right giving this essay the attention it will get by posting it at CRTA. Mr. Scott is very respected down South. His weekly bible-study column is still featured in the State of Mississippi's liberal newspaper (The Clarion Ledger) every week! He has written a very helpful introduction to the Old Testament for Sunday School classes called "God's Plan Unfolded". But this essay says some hurtful things about Covenant Seminary. His perception of the issues is perhaps clouded by his own experience with the liberalizing of Columbia Theological Seminary. Judge for yourself.

A Response to Dr. Bryan Chapell's '98-'99 President's Goals and Reports (Offsite)
By: Grover Gunn
This is more dispassionate than Scott's response to Chapell, and it raises some interesting questions.

From Chaos to Cosmos: A Critique of the Framework Hypothesis (Offsite)
By: Joseph A. Pipa, Jr.
This is a response to one of the alternate views of the creation account: The Framework Hypothesis. The Framework Hypothesis is more commonly held to in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church due to its prominence at Westminster Seminary, where many OP ministers are educated. This is not a popular position in the PCA as far as CRTA can ascertain.

What was Cornelius Van Til's Position on the Age of the Earth?
By: Jonathan Barlow
Using evidence from an audio recording, argues that Van Til felt that the age of the earth was debatable.

Creation as Miracle
By: Ed Walsh
This was one response from an e-mail discussion thread that had perhaps 300+ posts. For some reason few interacted with this line of reasoning. Why was that? See what you think…

General Articles

Beyond Creation vs. Evolution: Taking the Full Measure of the Materialist Challenge
By: T.M. Moore
The popular materialist-science apologetic of Sagan, Gould, and Hawking falls prey to its own demands.


Book Reviews

Christianity and the Nature of Science: A Philosophical Investigation, by J.P. Moreland
Reviewed By: Douglas Jones

Portrait of Confusion:
Science, the Bible, and the Christian Academy
By Michael W. Kelley


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