Most people assume that Evolution is rooted in scientific fact while biblical Creationism is rooted in faith. Of course, those who make such assumptions are only half right. Both Evolution and Creationism are rooted in the same thing: faith. At the same time, one could actually say that Evolution and Creationism are both rooted in science. How can both of these things be?
First, when using the term science we are usually referring to observational/experimental science. For a discipline to qualify as observational science, one must be able to experimentally manipulate variables, observe the experiment along with its results, and repeat the experiment. When the experiment is repeated, results are consistent or inconsistent and thereby verify or falsify a hypothesis. For example, researchers can verify the water cycle through the scientific method.
By way of contrast, the Evolutionists' attempt to explain the origin of the universe and life itself cannot proceed on the above kind of scientific ground. No one was around at the formation of the universe to observe what happened. Thus, the study of origins is not experimental science but history, or what is called historical science. Simply put, historical science observes certain things in the present and seeks to formulate a hypothesis as to how those things came to be the way they are. So, we’re talking about interpretation of present phenomena, not observation of past events.
Creationism proceeds along the same lines. There are many who observe present phenomena and conclude they could not have come about by an evolutionary process and therefore must have been created. Therefore, Creationism falls into the same category as Evolution; it may rightly be called historical science.
Of course, the average person objects to such a designation. But on what grounds do they object? If the Evolutionist and the Creationist are doing the same thing, then they can be categorized the same way. Some will insist that Creationism is based on faith, not science. So too is evolution. Consider the definition of faith in Heb. 11:1: "Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." So, faith is the substance of things hoped for but not experimentally controllable or repeatable. Faith is the evidence of things not seen, that is, not scientifically observable. As the Christian would affirm that "by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that the things which are seen were not made of things which are visible (Heb. 11:3)," the evolutionist must affirm in his words "by faith we understand that the worlds were framed by something other than God so that the things which are seen were made through an evolutionary process." The evolutionist simply believes what he does about origins. He makes a leap of faith even as the Creationist does.
The debate should not be whether one or the other is science or faith. Both Creationism and Evolution can be called historical science and/or faith. The debate now should be centered on which is best supported by the evidence. As those who teach others, it’s our job to help them see when logical errors are imposed upon us, even if those logical errors are the prevailing errors in our culture – perhaps then especially so.
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About Paul Dean
Dr. Paul Dean is a pastor, cultural commentator, and author. He serves as a Regional Mentor with the International Association of Biblical Counselors, speaks at several conferences throughout the year, and provides training for ministers and churches on a regular basis. Paul resides in the Upstate of South Carolina with his wife and three children.
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