There are several reasons why I’ve come to believe in Creationism and why I believe that other Christians ought be as well.
1. I believe in God.
For several reasons. I’ve never been an atheist. To my point of view, it always just required more faith to rule out the possibility of God than to believe that God was possible. I have the same problem with skepticism: How can I rule out that we can’t be sure we know anything before I at least try? And how can I know that I can never really know? Isn’t that a self-defeating proposition? Since I have NO RESPECT for agnostics [The guys who claim we can’t know if there’s a God. If you believe that a God is possible, it makes sense to investigate whether it’s PROBABLE and, if it is, to find out what that God might expect out of you! And why are we just ruling this possibility out from the beginning? Agnosticism is lazy-mindedness parading as intelligence.] or apatheists [the guys who don’t care whether God exists or not], intellectual integrity demanded that I investigate the matter. For the sake of brevity, the cosmological argument, the argument from design and the argument from Moral Law pretty much sum up my reasons for my belief in God.
a: The cosmological argument is the idea of a First Cause. The universe, as evidenced from studying Edwin Hubble’s red shifts, had a beginning. The universe we see now is an effect. The universe as a whole doesn’t explain it’s own existence; it requires an explanation for why it bothers to exist. An infinite regress of reasons is impossible, rather like a paradox, so there must be a self-sufficient independent cause to the whole universe. It’s important to note that since this First Cause would cause the universe to exist that time, universal laws, et cetera would not apply to the First Cause, which necessarily must exist independent of the universe we observe. Some people feel this a cop-out. If so, they need to tell those scientists who’re out there looking for a “grand unifying theory” or final “theory of everything” that they’re wasting their time!
b: The argument from design [the teleological argument] has been summed up famously by William Paley’s Divine Watchmaker analogy [and attacked voraciously by Richard Dawkins’ Blind Watchmaker book/argument, among others.] The basics are that if we saw a pocket watch lying on the ground [as opposed to a rock], we would have cause to presume that the watch, having all the characteristics of design, had a designer, not that it had formed from natural processes. Likewise, the universe and life in particular show evidence of design, through homology of species, universal constants, the anthropic principle [Consider how perfectly fit Earth – and the universe – is for life!], et cetera, and it is therefore probable that we should presume a Designer. Dawkins argues that the “blind, unconscious, automatic process” of Natural Selection had produced the appearnce of design, however minute and complex, so that it is sufficiently “the explanation for the existence and apparently [as opposed to actually] purposeful form of all life… It is the blind watchmaker.” [Richard Dawkins. The Blind Watchmaker (New York: W. W. Norton, 1996), page 5 – [brackets mine])
Dawkins’ counter argument of the mere appearance of design fails for the excellent reason that it is wrong. First, natural selection is a biological agent which presupposes life. Natural selection cannot operate before it has life to evolve; therefore, it is in no way an explanation for the “apparent design” of the non-living universe: universal laws and constants, the order of rotating galaxies and systems, the order of weather patterns, geometic design in non-living matter, et cetera. Also, natural selection itself requires an explanation. It did not cause itself. Where did it come from? And what criterion are we using to determine the difference between design and only apparent design? Humans do design things. We know that when WE do it, it’s not just how we perceive things to be: no, it was actually designed. So is it merely arbitrary that we assign Nature the label of apparent design and human invention the status of actual design? So why the proposed ambivalence? The idea of design suggests a Creator. A Creator suggests that Man might be accountable to someone else.
c: Which brings me to the moral argument. There is a Moral Law that pervades humanity. As C. S. Lewis put it, men might not agree on how many wives a man ought to have, but we agree that it is wrong that a man should try to sleep with another man’s wife! By and large, man agrees that we should not lie, murder, cheat, steal or beat one another senseless. As one commentator put it, our freedom to do as we please with our fists must necessarily end at the other guy’s nose. Most people call it a conscience. We feel guilt when we do something wrong, even if no one else knows we’re wrong. It’s possible to dull or even negate the effects of conscience by contrary conditioning. Any more, society – even the Church -seems to be trying to do away with the concept of guilt, but it’s there and it’s an integral part of concience. We’ve based our civic laws on the one we know intuitively, but where did this ingrained sense of right and wrong come from? The presence of a universal Moral Law implies a Law Giver. Moral Law also implies accountability to man and possibly even God.
So there we have it: Deism bordering on theism. A God may’ve wound up the universe and designed it in minute detail, going so far as to give men free will [and all the intelligence that implies] and a conscience to keep them from using that free will to hurt each other too badly, and then went about His business to do something else. It seems more probable that He’s interested in the doings of a Creation He designed so inimately. It seems probable that we are about to discover a God who is personal.
2: I believe that Jesus Christ lived, was crucified under Pontius Pilate, died, was buried and rose again.
I have catalogued some of the reasons I believe this here: Resurrection Apologetics. It is in fact the resurrection of Christ that converted me from mere deism bordering on theism to Christian theism.
3: I believe that the Bible is historically, archaeologically and supernaturally true.
The Bible has been substantiated by the archaeological record time and again. It must be really embarrassing for all of the naysayers to eat crow on such a regular basis: they claim the Bible is inaccurate because, say, no one’s ever heard of Hittites, but then we re-discover Hittites. Then we get guys claiming that the Israelites crossed the Red Sea, not on dry land but during a season where the water was really shallow, yet these same experts can’t explain why the narrative states that Pharaoh, his armies and his horses were all drowned in such poor quantities of water! It’s actually pretty funny. More than one historian has commented on the geographical accuracy of Luke and Acts.
And then there’s fulfilled prophecy. Jesus himself fulfilled tons of Messianic prophesy. The chance of his fulfilling just eight of them was averaged up. The number was so big that the easiest analogy would be to fill the state of Texas several feet deep with silver dollars, mark one red, blindfold a man and tell him he may walk as long as he wishes in any direction, but when he stops, he must reach down and only pick up the red one. Steep odds! Yet, impossibly, Jesus fulfilled ALL of them, not just the eight studied! Besides Messianic passages, there are prophecies that deal with kings and history that have come to pass just as prophesied.
Because I can trust what the Bible says about the resurrection, history and prophecy, I can trust it in all that it says.
4: I believe that the Bible accurately describes the world. The Fall, the sin nature of man, and its contrast with a creature enobled, being made in the image of God with a conscience, God’s law written on our hearts, to do and judge what is right is evidentially evident in the world we live in and in the pages of history. Man is capable of great evil but also great nobility. This picture of man is described in tthe Bible. Also, Christianity is a reality-based religion. It does not deny evil or suffering or promise its adherents unrealistic reprieve from calamity. Jesus stated, “In this world you will have trouble, but I give you my peace.” The Bible’s insistence of the eternality of the human soul speaks of the worth of the individual. I could go on. Suffice it to say that the Bible has proven to be experientially accurate in what it predicts about the world and human nature. I am confident then that I am not following some unrealistic philosophy like Christian Science or Buddhism with their denial of the reality of suffering.
5: As a result of the Bible’s evidenced reliability, I am a fundamentalist.
A fundamentalist, in historical context, is someone who believes we ought to take the Bible literally. I believe this, though one would be a fool not to realize that the Bible makes use of figurative speech and metaphor, as we do in our everyday lives. We say that the sun rises and sets when it does no such thing! It appears to. We say it’s raining cats and dogs when it’s raining condensed water vapor. The Bible includes similar figures of speech. We estimate and round numbers. The Bible makes use of this same tool in places. We also may give different yet all truthful factual accounts of the same events. We may omit a detail or add one [perhaps we don’t mention there was a passenger in the vehicle, or we mention the driver’s name was Bob when no one else did, or we refer to Bob as Robert or by his nickname Squirrelly], but the difference in these views of the incident do not make the witnesses liars unless they make truly contradictory statements like “There was only Bob” when Bob had a passenger. A literal reading of the Bible, you see, isn’t necessarily an unreasonable one.
Of course, this means that I believe in miracles. Why? Well [follow me closely here, because this is reeeeeally difficult to grasp], it seems rather inconsistent to believe in the miracle of the resurrection and preclude all other miracles. It seems hypocritical to believe in a supernatural God and then to exclude supernatural acts recorded in the Bible, explaining them away as ignorance or allegory. Do Christians no longer THINK out the implications of believing the resurrection?
We are then to believe in the death and resurrection of Christ for our eternal salvation, but the rest of it [or at least the beginning, which also relates in the verses concerning Man’s Fall our need for salvation and predicts the Redeemer, which journey to remdeption forms the basis of the entire Biblical account], gleaned from the self-same sourcebook, is obviously bunk, right? That’s consistent. The problem is that we accomodate the disputers of this age because they make truth claims in the name of science. And we don’t want to be thought of as ignorant. And we forget that science comes with philosophical baggage, even if it isn’t examined. Scientists who repudiate the idea of miracles are saying that the resurrection never happened, despite the evidence, because that’s just not what good scientists believe.
Scientists believe in what it empirically testable and proveable, right? Which brings up the question of whether they would ever recognize a miracle if they saw one. Seriously. Humans have this tendency to sort everything through their bias filter. If what they see agrees with what they already suppose to be true, they accept it. If it doesn’t, they throw it out, assuming that something must be wrong with their methodology or they got a bad specimen or whatever. It’s true of all of us. It’s efficient, but it can get in the way of unbiased observation. We try to nullify the effects of this bias filtering as best we can, but it’s impossible to be rid of completely: it’s how we think and process new information. So if a scientist sees a miracle, what does he do with it? He throws it out as an anamoly and moves on. Besides which, by definition miracles are the acceptions to the rules. Scientists test things to find rules. There is no way to test for divine intervention. Since God doesn’t subject himself to scientific verification, the purely naturalistic scientist is in a quandry. He has to rule out God and the supernatural from the start because the scientific method can never have anything to say about these things. The Christian must reasonably allow that the supernatural is valid but outside the realm of empirical science. On the other hand, while we can’t see and test God, we can see and test the effects of what God has done, those things which have left His fingerprint on His Creation. Much as we can’t see nor test the wind, but we can see and test the effects of the wind. The purely naturalistic scientist’s hands are tied, but the scientist who allows for both the natural AND the supernatural can test these things.
Take cosmology. Scientific measurements of space have led to the conclusion that the universe had a beginning, what some call a Big Bang. Naturalistic scientists are faced with a quandry. What came before the beginning? In order to escape a First Cause, they have speculated about imaginary time, multiverses no one can see, even the idea that aliens in another universe created us as a science experiment whose success and results they could never verify [fruitless exercise!]. Creationists are comfortable because their view that “in the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” was not established in order to synctretize or force a harmony between science and the Scriptures. Our theology is fixed. Science is the ever-ammending enterprise. Astronomer Robert Jastrow has put it famously: “For the scientist who has lived by his faith in the power of reason, the story ends like a bad dream. He has scaled the mountains of ignorance; he is about to conquer the highest peak. As he pulls himself over the final rock, he is greeted by a band of theologians who have been sitting there for centuries.” [Robert Jastrow. God and the Astronomers (New York: W. W. Norton, 1992), page 107]
Consistently, this is how the drama is played out: Theology has its fixed claims. Science comes up with a claim that seems to contradict theology’s claims. Some try to find ways to force an agreement between the two. Naturalistic science scorns both theology and attempts at syncretism and touts the supremacy of science. Theology has its fixed claims. A new discovery or paradigm leads to a new revelation and uh-oh it looks like theology was right all along. Theology has its fixed claims. Science comes up with a new, seemingly contradictory claim…
Now, scientists don’t [all] do this to try to tear down religion. They do it because there is a difference in how they go about their search for the truth. Theologians believe there is a God and that therefore there is an order to the universe and that something about God may be known through the Bible and through nature. Theologians search for why truth is true. Scientists try to discover truth. They too believe the universe is ordered [a concept borrowed from theologians] and that the rules of the universe can be known [even though their intelligence is a chance mishap of blind, accidental processes and there’s really no reason after all why they should trust that their intelligence is dependable]. Scientist try to discover truth independently of divine revelation. In doing so, they have limited the means of their search to reason and what is empirically [naturally] observable alone. In limiting their search thus, they have eliminated the possibility that the final answer will be supernatural. It follows that if truth turns out to be supernatural [that is, God], they have doomed themselves to failure from the ouset due to a too narrow methodology. Ever learning, never able to come to the knowledge of the truth….
The problem is that Christians inconsistently try to explain away the Bible and syncretize it with the latest fad of science. Dinesh D’Souza makes a statement that sums up my view of the Bible in regards to science: “I am not citing the Bible to prove that God created the universe. I am citing it to show that the biblical account of how the universe was created is substantially correct… What it [says] about creation – about the fact of creation and about the order of creation – turns out to be accurate.” [Dinesh D’Souza. What’s So Great About Christianity? (Washington, D.C.: Regnery Publishing Inc., 2007), page 124.] The irony, with respect to Mr. D’Souza is that he doesn’t take the Bible literally when it says that God created in 6 days. He explains it away as best he can as requiring a figurative interpretation claiming that “most traditional Christians have no problem with a creation account that extends over millions, even billions of years.” [D’Souza, page 122] Elsewhere he carefully distances himself from fire-breathing fundamentalists like myself. He is capitulating to “science, falsely so called,” when it contradicts the Scriptures instead of saying, “No, I believe what it says because it also says that I am literally saved by the shed blood of Christ Jesus, who literally died, was buried and rose again bodily and will literally return one day, and either the Book is bunk and I’m deceived or the Bible Stands and I’m saved.” Why? Does he think Christendom will fall if we do not bend to what the world supposes [for now] to be true? Instead, he ought to stand by his Bible and remember that it is God-breathed and inspired and that it is not a collection of cleverly-devised fables. He ought to stand by his Bible because our Lord validated the OT record of Adam & Eve and of Jonah, quoted the Scriptures as truth and declared, “Sanctify them by Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth!” He ought to stand by his Bible as tell them, simply, that they are wrong and one day, if God allows, they will see the truth of it, for His Word stands secure. He ought to proclaim, no matter their scorn or derision, as Martin Luther did, “Here I stand; I can do no other!”
On an anticlimactic note, I cannot conceive of a fundamentalist who is not also a Creationist, simply because the literal, face value interpretation I have described here could faithfully come to no other conclusion about the Genesis account.
You may also wish to read Why I am a Creationist 2