It was surprising to see how much controversy Matt’s relatively non-controversial and mainly descriptive post stirred up. Originally I wasn’t planning on making a response, since there is little to be discussed at this point. Since he has put his cards on the table, however, by disclosing the view that he currently favors, I figured that I should do the same. Here is my story.
I guess that most of my life I have been a young-earth creationist, given that this is the predominant view held by those in the community I grew up in. Almost all the way through junior high and high school, I really saw the debate as between young-earth creationism and naturalistic evolution, and given only these two options, it is not very hard for a Christian to choose. Obviously God is involved in our lives in a personal and intimate way, which entirely contradicts any concept of naturalism, which could be reworded as “a-supernaturalism,” or simply atheism.
I have not had nearly the exposure to science or the scientific community that Matt has had. In fact, I have only taken one science class at the U of A. Part of this false dichotomoy that arose in my mind between young-earth creationism and naturalistic evolution arose from the fact that I never understood what was meant by the Big Bang until Matt explained it to me sometime near the end of high school or the beginning of college. I thought that it was merely an attempt at an atheistic explanation of the universe’s existence. I didn’t realize there were intermediary options, and I had never even considered that such an incredible occurrence may only be able to be caused (or may be best explained) by the existence of an all-powerful deity. Anyway, I remember Matt telling me that there was a lot of scientific evidence (particularly in astrophysics, his field) that points toward an older universe, and in particular, a Big Bang.
Having a lot of faith in Matt’s level-headedness, my endorsement of young-earth creationism began to fade a little, although I still favored it as a likely possibility. Over the past few years since that conversation, I have learned a lot (philosophy, theology, i.e. my college education, etc). Slowly I have become more comfortable with an old-earth creation scenario. I wrote a physics paper earlier this semester on the Big Bang, which was really interesting, because I actually learned a lot of the reasons why physicists think the universe was created by a singularity (the Big Bang), and the evidence is compelling. This naturally brings up the question: “If God didn’t create the universe by the Big Bang, then why did he make it look like he did?” Basically, this pushes me into skepticism of young-earth creationism, favoring old-earth creationism, although I really remain an agnostic on the issue. Another change in my academic development that helps me lean towards this view is a more open-minded and critical interpretation of Genesis, instead of blindly accepting the “Sunday School” interpretation. Although I don’t have a firm view on how it should be interpreted, I think that there is evidence both for and against a literal six days, but I will begin to address that in my first post in this series. I really don’t think about this issue that much, because I think that it gets too much attention (and negative attention at that) in the Church today, and it drags believers away from more important issues. Throughout my entire journey to this point, I have always held the stance that “however God created the universe, he created it,” and I think that the most important part of the Genesis account it obvious: “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” I have always been much more interested in the characters and themes of the creation/fall story, and not so much in the details, but perhaps this is simply my fascination with theology and the abstract in general. I have always preferred the question: “What does this tell us about God and his relationship to man?” to “What does this tell us about science/the world?”
-James, the younger brother