Wayne Walker here. There follows the lead article from the Mar., 2006, issue of my free monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter, on the theme of creation versus evolution in homeschooling. If you would like to read the entire issue, I would be happy to e-mail it to you. Just send me an e-mail asking for it at firstname.lastname@example.org. I will probably post a few smaller articles from it later.
HOMESCHOOL EDUCATORS ON ACTIVE DUTY, SENDING UPWARD PRAISES
Monthly newsletter of general interest, encouragement,
and information for homeschooling Christians
% Wayne S. Walker, 9024 Amona Dr., Affton (St. Louis), MO 63123
E-mail: email@example.com; phones: (314) 638-4710 home, 544-1612 office
March, 2006; Volume 8, Number 8
THEME: HOMESCHOOLING AND THE EVOLUTION CONTROVERSY
TABLE OF CONTENTS (part 1)
1. MORE ON HOMESCHOOLING AND THE EVOLUTION CONTROVERSY by Wayne S. Walker
2. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF “DAYS” (PLURAL) IN CREATION by David E. Pratte
3. DEALING WITH THE DAYS OF CREATION by Bob Waldron
4. SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCES OF A YOUNG EARTH: DO THEY EXIST? Jim Robson
5. THE DAYS OF CREATION by Greg Gwinn
6. A CONVERSATION BETWEEN ADAM AND HIS BOYS by Matt Hennecke
7. HOMESCHOOLING, CREATION, AND EVOLUTION by Wayne S. Walker
8. THE DAYS OF CREATION by Wayne S. Walker
9. QUESTION AND ANSWERS from the HomeSchoolers List
10. BOOK REVIEWS
1. MORE ON HOMESCHOOLING AND THE EVOLUTION CONTROVERSY
by Wayne S. Walker
The Jan., 2005, issue of this newsletter had as it theme “Homeschooling and Evolution Controversies.” Let me begin by saying that I am an ardent, Bible-believing, six-day creationist. There was a specific reason for choosing that theme, but I had so much good general material on the subject of evolution versus creationism and/or intelligent design that I just ran out of room before I got to my main purpose. My desire to explore the theme of homeschooling and evolution controversies was sparked by an article entitled “Homeschooling and Scientific Creationism” by Angela Garcia which appeared in the July/August, 2003, issue of Does God Exist?, edited by John Clayton of Niles, MI, and published by the Donmoyer Ave. Church of Christ, 718 Donmoyer Ave., South Bend, IN 46614. While Clayton's views differ from theistic evolution and even the “progressive creationism” of Hugh Ross, he also like Ross has written many articles in strong opposition to the “young earth creationism” view of the Institute for Creation Research, Answers in Genesis, and, though not mentioning them by name, Apologetics Press (see Does God Exist?, July/August, 2004, “Motives and Assumptions in the Age-of-the-Earth Question,” pp. 11-19).
Therefore, it is no surprise to learn the gist of Garcia's article. She begins, “How exhilarating for homeschool parents to walk down the aisles of an exhibit hall during a curriculum fair! Knowing we have the freedom to choose the books and materials for our children's educational needs gives us a satisfying sense of purpose and responsibility. Our children will have the best we can provide–no humanistic or anti-Christian textbooks for us. No blind acceptance of the latest evolutionary theory.” So far so good. She continues, “We enthusiastically plunge into a brand of science which was never available in the public school system. A new world opens its doors to us–a world where the Bible is taken seriously and Genesis is taken literally.” Again, most of us would agree wholeheartedly with this assessment.
However, a change in tone starts to appear. “My own story does not end there. For 11 years, I have continued to search for the best science books for my growing children….So, in 2002, I began to take a closer look at the science literature I had used for so many years. In order to test the scientific spirits, I went to the local library and checked out every book on the creation/evolution debate I could find, regardless of the source.” She mentions several books, including some favoring evolution, two by Hugh Ross, “written by an evangelical Christian astronomer, in favor of an old earth but against evolution. Presents arguments against a young earth philosophy;” one by Clayton; one by Paul Taylor with “an overview of the young earth creationist point of view, written for children;” and one by Henry Morris, “president of the Institution for Creation Research, a young-earth organization.” This sounds like a good mix.
However, her conclusion is somewhat startling. “Most of those sources led me to a disturbing conclusion: almost all of the Christian homeschool science curriculum available is based on scientific creationism which is supported and promoted by dispensational creationists.” I begin to see several problems here. First, she does not define her terms. She just starts talking about “scientific creationism” without telling the reader what it means, or even what she means by it, although the gist of the article seems to be that “scientific creationism” is teaching a literal six-day creation of a young earth. She merely says that it “is supported and promoted by dispensational creationists” which leaves the impression that “scientific creationism” is equal to “dispensational creationism” (whatever that is). Here seems to be one of the main sticking points that Clayton has with young earth creationism–he almost always equates it with dispensational premillennialism, and I believe that this is a false assumption.
It is undoubtedly true that a lot of dispensational premillennialists do support and promote scientific creationism. But, what does that prove? One could just as easily say, “Almost all of the Christian homeschool curriculum available is based on the Bible, which is supported and promoted by dispensational premillennialists.” That is certainly a true statement. So, should we reject the Bible because dispensational premillennialists claim to support and promote it? The article also says regarding Garcia's findings on scientific creationism, “However, it was a great shock to discover that a great many of their opponents are people who also call themselves Christians and believe in the validity of the Bible.” Again, what does that prove? A great many people who call themselves Christians and claim to believe in the validity of the Bible actually believe and teach organic evolution too. Truth is not determined by who teaches what or claims to be what.
“Scientific creationism has a stronghold in the homeschool and private Christian school communities partly because of the nature of its teachings. It claims that the only true Christian interpretation of Genesis is that God brought all of the creation into being in six 24-hour days, approximately 6,000 years ago, regardless of any historical or scientific problems. Most homeschooling families hold Christian beliefs of some kind, and what believer does not want to be a true Christian?” She ridicules scientific creationism as claiming to present “the only true Christian interpretation of Genesis.” No, my dear lady, it is not an “interpretation.” THAT IS WHAT IT SAYS!!!!! That is like the homosexuals who, when we read Romans 1:26-27 to condemn homosexuality, reply, “Well, that is just your interpretation!” And what are all these “historical and scientific problems?” Every view of origins and earth history–be it evolution, old earth creationism, progressive creationism, or young earth creationism–will have some “scientific and historical problems” simply because no human being was there to chronicle the beginning and everything that has happened since then (and even if someone were there, a lot of people would not believe him!). But we must be careful that we do not accept as truth unproven hypotheses and theories that atheistic humanists claim as “facts” and try to fit what the Bible says into them, but accept what the Bible says as truth and filter all human assertions through it. I have found that scientific creationism has far fewer “historical or scientific problems” than any other theory because it better fits in with what both the Bible says and what true science tells us.
The article continues, “Until I began my recent search for answers to questions about the Bible and science, I knew of no other acceptable alternatives to scientific creationism. Reading Creation and Time by astronomer Hugh Ross brought me to the realization that I had allowed myself to be deceived for many years. I found out that the science which makes today's world a technological wonder we all take for granted is the same science which can tell us the age of the universe and the age of the earth. An old earth used to be equivalent to evolution in my mind. Now I know better.” Or, perhaps, she now knows worse. Science can actually tell us the age of the earth? The “scientific facts” that do exist can just as easily, and in my opinion better, be explained by a young earth as an old earth. In fact, as Jay Wile often shows in his “Exploring Creation” high school science textbooks for homeschoolers, there are many evidences that cannot be explained in any other way than accepting a young earth. In any event, what the lady says here is a tacit admission that since the modern (humanistic) view of “the science which makes today's world a technological wonder” claims that the age of the universe and the age of the earth are millions and even billions of years (in order to make room for evolution), then Bible believers have to modify their beliefs to fit that.
How are we supposed to do that? “I also learned there is more than one way to read the first few chapters of Genesis….Requiring a child, or anyone else, to put their faith in a creation creed based on fallible human wisdom can cause more harm than good.” Well, there are more than one way to read other sections of Genesis as well. The modernists have found a way to read Genesis chapters 6-9 to eliminate the possibility of a world-wide flood, because they do not want to accept the conclusions of catastrophism. The homosexual rights movement has found a way to read Genesis chapter 19 to mean that homosexuality is actually acceptable to God because they do not want to accept Biblical teaching that homosexuality is a sin. So some have now found a way to read Genesis chapters 1-3 to mean that creation took millions or billions of years because they do not want to accept the limitations of a literal six-day creation but rather try to fit what the Bible says into a system devised by organic, atheistic evolutionists. Actually, modernists have been mythologizing the creation account in Genesis for years. And the view of an earth millions of years old may be just as much a “creation creed based on fallible human wisdom.”
So, what did the author do? “So what do we do with our science curriculum now? Well, I am not ashamed to admit I am basically starting over by re-evaluating my entire curriculum. I have removed some books from my shelves and am looking for ways to replace them.” Interestingly enough, this is exactly what evolutionists want to do with all creationist materials–just remove them from the shelves. It is also interesting that creationist materials, unlike evolutionary ones which only present the evolutionary side, almost always present both sides of the issue, giving the claims and supposed evidences for evolution, and then looking at the claims and the same evidences from a creationist viewpoint. “The books I have had to remove from my curriculum deal mainly with earth science, geology, and fossils. The prehistoric nature of those subjects lends itself to a great deal of theorizing and speculation.” Well, I have found that the writings of Hugh Ross, John Clayton, and others like them also contain a great deal of theorizing and speculation too.
The author admits, “Whether it is evolutionistic or creationistic, speculation is hard to avoid. So I do not rule out using material with minimal prehistoric speculation as long as the author's terminology shows when he is speculating and when he has scientific proof. I have become aware that many evolutionists may be honest with their use of language, and some who call themselves Christians may not be.” Her last statement may be true, but there is a great problem here because when we start giving more credence to someone who starts out from a position that denies God and constructs his view of science from that basis than to those who begin with God and construct a world view from there (even if we may disagree with some of their beliefs), we are treading on a very dangerous slippery slope. Yet, I am amazed when I read statements like, “If we ask questions like those above, we need not be afraid to use scholastic material that does not acknowledge God, yet teaches the basic universal principles of science. We also must not relax our vigilance when using science material by self-proclaimed Christian sources.” Listen to the evolutionists, but watch out for those Christians!
The article concludes, “To teach science in the modern world is a challenge for any Christian, but it is especially challenging for homeschooling families. Because many react so strongly to the teachings of evolution, we unknowingly become enmeshed in another extreme. The next time I walk through the garden of books at a curriculum fair, I will take along a dose of healthy skepticism to counteract the temptation to believe every claim of biblical science.” It is certainly good to be have “a dose of healthy skepticism” regarding anything that we read from fallible men (and I will certainly do so with regard to the old earth creationists!), but it seems to me that the author is making the same mistake that the evolutionists make. She concludes that Hugh Ross and John Clayton present “scientific proofs” whereas scientific creationists have only “theorizing and speculation” in the same way that the evolutionists conclude that evolution is based on “scientific proofs” whereas creationism is only the “theorizing and speculation” of religion.
The beauty of homeschooling is that each family can choose its own curriculum. If a family is atheistic, it can choose evolutionary scientific materials. If the author of the article wishes to choose “old earth creationist” materials, she is free to do so. I am not one to charge everyone who holds a slightly different view of some things from that which I hold as a false teacher or a compromiser. However, it irks me to no end that these so-called “old earth creationists” seem to delight in charging anyone and everyone who simply accepts the Bible for what it says, that “in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them” (Exodus 20:11), as being guilty of deceiving others, depending on fallible human wisdom, presenting nothing but theorizing and speculation, and having become enmeshed in another extreme. It appears to me that some honest evolutionists have more respect for scientific creationism than many of these “old earth creationists”!
I realize that many ardent scientific creationists do have problems with theistic evolutionists, old earth creationists, progressive creationists, and even the intelligent design movement, and I understand why. I do believe that in those areas where we agree we should be able to work together for a common goal and in those areas where we disagree we can agree to disagree without being disagreeable. However, I also see the need to keep sounding the warning that once we have accepted many of the assumptions of the atheistic evolutionist who needs millions and billions of years for his theory to work as “scientific proof” when there is no real evidence for it, he will be more than happy for us to “throw God in there somewhere” because he knows that he already has everything that he needs.
It is still my firm conviction that “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Genesis 1:1). It is also my firm conviction that God did it exactly the way that He said that He did it, “in six days” (Exodus 31:17). Others may choose a different course, but, while I may not necessarily deem an absolute heretic unworthy of any consideration everyone who differs from what I believe, for me and my house we shall continue to use homeschooling science materials, such as those from Apologia Educational Ministries, Apologetics Press, Answers in Genesis, and like organizations which uphold the Biblical concept of creation in science and do not compromise with the changing aspects of modern scientific theories, especially those that do not begin with God and thus do not view science as learning about God's creation.