Every Sunday, I will share a quote from something I’ve been reading. The hope is for you, dear reader, to share your thoughts on the quote and related issues and perhaps pick up some reading material along the way!
Reframe the Origins Debate?
I have been going through a number of books in the Zondervan Counterpoints series and completed Three Views on Creation and Evolution recently. There are a number of choice quotes found throughout the book and overall I enjoyed it quite a bit. One author therein suggested that we need to view the creation/evolution debate in a different light which avoids the false dichotomy of creation or evolution:
Is the creation’s formational economy sufficiently robust (that is to say, is it equipped with all the necessary capabilities) to make it possible for the creation to organize and transform itself from elementary forms of matter into the full array of physical structures and life-forms that have existed in the course of time? (Van Till 185-186, cited below)
Howard J. Van Till is a theistic evolutionist (he does not like the term–or at least did not at the publication of this book), and he views that position as a “fully gifted creation”–one in which God, on creating, imbued creation with the capacities to develop naturally over the course of time. This is the “economy of creation” in which–according to Van Till–God created without the need for continual intervention.
Now, so far as this reframing is concerned, it seems to me that Van Till, in attempting to avoid the either/or dichotomy between creation and evolution, went a bit to the other extreme. Putting a word like “robust” in there suggests that anyone who would disagree is clearly questioning the capacity of the Creator in creating. However, I do think there is something to the notion that we do need to rethink exactly where the lines form in the origins debate. I have written on the various options for Christian origins positions and I think that we need to be aware of the fact there is more to it than even “three views” could begin to outline.
Regarding the question itself: what do you think? Do we need to outline the origins debate with different terms so that we can avoid a false dichotomy? Moreover, do you think that creation is indeed set up in such a way?
What options are there in the origins debate? – A Taxonomy of Christian Origins Positions– I clarify the breadth of options available for Christians who want to interact on various levels with models of origins. I think this post is extremely important because it gives readers a chance to see the various positions explained briefly.
Sunday Quote– If you want to read more Sunday Quotes and join the discussion, check them out! (Scroll down for more)
Howard J. Van Till, “The Fully Gifted Creation: ‘Theistic Evolution'” in Three Views on Creation and Evolutionedited by J.P. Moreland & John Mark Reynolds (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1999).