In Gary Laderman & Arri Eisen (eds.), Science, Religion, and Society: An Encyclopedia of History, Culture, and Controversy. Sharpe Reference (2006)

Jeffrey Koperski
Saginaw Valley State University
Creationism is usually paired these days with evolution, as in “The Creation vs. Evolution Debate.” Although there is something right about that, it is not the whole story. The controversy is older than Darwin and touches on far more than biological evolution. In this chapter, we consider broader questions about the origin of the universe and the relation between science and Scripture: How old is the universe? If God created it, how did he do so? How should we interpret the account of creation in the early chapters of Genesis? There are four main approaches to these questions. The first is naturalism: nothing exists beyond the realm of nature, material objects, and energy. Most naturalists consider religious beliefs to be purely matters of faith, making no contribution to history or science. Although naturalism and atheism are not synonymous, when it comes to matters of religion, they are essentially the same. The second view is young earth creationism (YEC), which takes a literal interpretation of Genesis and the six days of creation. The last two views, progressive creationism (PC) and theistic evolution (TE), reject this interpretation and agree with contemporary science about the age of the universe. The difference between PC and TE has to do with God’s activities after the initial creation of the cosmos. Although there are nonchristian theists in each camp, the debate is a much larger, defining issue among contemporary, Protestant Christians than it is in other religions.
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