Religious Ideas of Creation
Genesis 1: 1-2 - ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of these waters.’
The world, creatures and humans, created out of nothing. CREATION EX NIHILO. Everything comes from God. The world cannot exist without Him, and it is not independent from Him. Nothing in the world in evil, as it is directed by Him. Some believe literal biblical account of creation – the world was created in 6 days, each of 24 hours etc. Others believe creation is compatible with modern science, and say that if it more believable to state the 6 days are in fact longer periods of time.
Gerald Schroeder – believed there was a correlation between the biblical account and scientific understanding ‘identical realities…described in vastly different terms.’
YOUNG EARTH CREATIONISM
Take every word of the Bible literally. Same as Christian Fundamentalists & Bible Literalists. Story of creation is scientific and literal truth. Bible is the word of God, and so cannot be tampered with or changed.
Believe the world was created just 6000 years ago (scientists believe 13 billion)
DAY 1 = God created light & dark
DAY 2 = God created the oceans and the rain
DAY 3 = God made dry land and mountains
DAY 4 = God made the sun and the moon
DAY 5 = God made the fish and the birds
DAY 6 = God made land animals and humans
DAY 7 = God rested, He was pleased with his work.
OLD EARTH CREATIONISM (progressive creationism)
‘Days’ stated in Genesis are not 24 hours, but longer periods of time. Accepts scientific age of the Earth. Take the Bible literally, still believe the world is created by God, ex nihilo.
The Bible is inspired by God, and therefore cannot be wrong.
Universe appears to have been designed by a intelligent being, as it’s ‘fine tuned’ to allow everything to grow and flourish
Do not name the designer as being God
It looks at scientific complexities as evidence for God
God is still sole creator of the universe
Genesis – Universe is ontologically dependant on God for continued existence. We do not have ‘being’ itself, we exist due to Gods continuous providing of ‘being’, by his ongoing creative action. If he was to stop, the Universe would cease to be.
God sustains the world by providing order. He organised
He also organised time, putting 24 hours in a day, 7 days in a week.
Genesis shows God as a ‘personal God’. Looks after his creation. Describes God ‘anthropomorphically’, having human qualities. Genesis 1, humans have been created in the image and likeness of God, relationship is one of dignity, responsibility.
Human’s are God’s representatives for Earth.
God created the world and then went away and left it to survive
Does not interfere with it
They believe it does not matter HOW the world was created, just that it was created by God.
Prayer for Deists is pointless, he is not personal, and seeks no relationship with humans.
Conflicting ideas to Creation?
Big Bang - the universe began because of a huge explosion, it created space time and energy which condensed to form physical matter. This happened 10-20 billion years ago, still expanding!
Evidence: red shift (the really far away stars look red, so we can calculate how old they are), background radiation, singularity.
Challenges religious belief:
1) Universe started from an explosion, over millions of years this formed planets. Obviously contradicts story of Creation.
2) No room for a creator.
3) Does this hint that the entire Bible is untrue? Does this theory question the very foundation of Christian faith?
Big Crunch – The ever expanding Universe will slow down, and eventually stop, this will mean that all the matter in the universe will rush back to the point of singularity and the universe will cease to exist. ‘Crunch’ may form another big bang, expanding universe and starting cycle all over again.
Evolution – Charles Darwin. Species change over time due to natural selection, whichever species is best suited to an environment will survive and pass their genes on to future generations. Evidence found in fossils.
Challenges religious belief:
1) Evolution questions the special relationship humans have with God (Genesis said God made humans in his image, Evolution says we evolved from primitive life forms).
2) Also implies we have no purpose in the world, mainly to survive and pass on the successful genes.
3) Evolution questions a need for God at all. Life has evolved to fit round the environment, not environment designed to fit life.
Richard Dawkins – the scientific worldview makes God unnecessary and impossible. Evolution leaves no space for God.
How Christianity responds to Evolution & Big Bang
- Fundamentalists - totally reject Big Bang and Evolution. Everything in the bible is the word of God, no room for interpretation.
- Scientific Creationism – the theory of Big Bang and belief in God are totally incompatible. Big Bang relies on ‘dark matter’, which makes up a lot of the universe. It has not been proven to exist, so if it doesn’t, the whole theory of Big Bang will be wrong.
- Symbolic Bible – Genesis is symbolic, there are things that an link Big Bang & religion.
- Mythological Truth – two mythological stories in Genesis. 1. God created everything in 6 days, humans being the last & best. God has a relationship with humans. Or 2. God creates Garden of Eden, where he puts all plants, animals, Adam & Eve, then gives them responsibility to look after the world.
- Theological Truth – We must accept scientific ideas because there’s so much evidence for it. Can be compatible with a belief in God though, e.g. 6 days was long periods of time.
- Stephen Jay Gould – science cannot discredit religion. Darwin’s theory has no bearing on the existence of God.
- Alister McGrath – Darwin’s theory is not a reason to state that everyone should be an atheist.
- Charles Kingsley – God created primitive creatures capable of self development, so He wouldn’t have to interfere all the time.
- Fossils – No fossils which show gradual processes of changing into other species
Reductionism – breaking it down and looking at the small simple parts can understand things that are complex. Humans are ‘nothing but’ molecules, atoms and sub atomic particles.
Michael Behe Darwin’s black box
Supports Intelligent Design. Some structures are too complex to just be explained by evolution
IRREDUCIBLE COMPLEXITY – too complex for their existence to be reduced by science. Must be an intelligent designer
Daniel Dennett Darwin’s dangerous idea
Similar to Dawkins. Even extremely complex structures e.g. the eye, can be explained through natural selection. Some structures, like the eye which has a blind spot, do have design flaws which make it less likely a designer was involved.
Richard Dawkins – Memes are necessary for our survival. The way we see things as beautiful makes us look after it, e.g. we see a baby as beautiful so we take care of it, see the natural landscape as beautiful so we protect it. & Natural selection gives appearance of design.