Here are a couple of other articles that I wrote related to the theme of homeschooling and the evolution controversy for the 3/06 issue of my free, monthly e-mail homeschooling newsletter. I do not post on this weblog articles written by others because, although I do obtain permission to use them in the newsletter, I do not feel that I have equal permission to post them here. But if anyone wants to see the other articles, just e-mail me privately and I will be happy to send you the newsletter.
7. HOMESCHOOLING, CREATION, AND EVOLUTION
by Wayne S. Walker
The reason for the previous five articles was to show the fallacy of the claim made by the author referred to in the opening article and by John Clayton that “scientific creationism” or a belief in a young earth and literal six-day creation is necessarily associated with dispensational premillennialists. All five of those articles were written by men who are members of the non-denominational, New Testament church of Christ and who stand opposed to premillennialism in any form. Therefore, it is just not true that to believe in a literal interpretation of the Genesis account of creation one must accept the concept of dispensationalism.
Today creationism is making perhaps its strongest comeback since the 1925 Scopes Monkey Trial. The Oct. 15, 2005, issue of World Magazine (p. 24) has a story about the Dover, PA, school board which established a curriculum modification that requires ninth-grade biology teachers to name intelligent design (ID) as an alternate theory of origins prior to teaching evolution and to refer students to an ID textbook available in the school library. Intelligent Design is not the same thing as Biblical creationism, and ID scientists base their conclusions on observable nature rather than scripture, but their arguments from observable nature are quite similar to arguments made by scientific creationists from the scripture, so that in many instances the two go hand in hand.
Of course, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), who came to defense of Dayton, TN, teacher John Scopes, calling a prohibition on teaching evolution an unconstitutional violation of free speech, found eight families from the Dover school district, including plaintiff Tammy Kitzmiller, to file a suit that challenges the policy, thus lining up on the opposite side of free speech this time. Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District was argued on Sept. 26, 2005, and a ruling from the U. S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is expected in late October or early November.
The Discovery Institute of Seattle, WA, which is the leading intellectual force for ID, has filed an amicus brief from 85 scientists that urges Judge John E. Jones III (is he a Clinton appointee?) to protect academic freedom. Discovery Institute fellow John West reported that several other school boards around the country have successfully added scientific criticisms of Darwinism to their curriculum and said, “The reason why scientists are gravitating toward [ID] is because of the evidence. A court decision is not going to overturn the evidence.” In fact, such court proceedings are already drawing greater attention to the primary claim of ID that time plus chance cannot account for the complexity of life. Unfortunately, in last year's elections, the school board members who voted to include ID were voted out, and after that the judge ruled for the plaintiffs and against the inclusion of ID. We shall probably have more to say about that in a future issue.
The fact is that the evolutionists are running scared! Their monopolistic hold on the educational community is being challenged and, in fact, is in danger. Some of this can be attributed to homeschoolers and their pursuit of creationist rather than evolutionary science curricula. Of course, the evolutionists are not going to give up without a fight, but as I have said before, if the idea of creationism is such a stupid, inane, vapid idea that does not have a leg to stand on, why do they feel that they have to fight so hard against it? Now is the time for all true Bible believers to unite behind creationism rather than to compromise with the evolutionists on the age of the earth.
Therefore, it is a source of some amazement and concern that even a few of our own brethren are giving uncertain sounds on this issue. Past issues of this newsletter have talked about the debate at Florida College regarding the teaching of Hill Roberts, another college friend of mine, which is very similar to that of Hugh Ross and his “big bang/progressive creationism,” and Shane Scott who also began promoting the idea that there were long ages between the “literal six days” of creation. I have several articles by gospel preachers opposing these teachings in my files taken from various magazines published by brethren. When I lived in Dayton, OH, I ran in a little paper that I published, Search for Truth (June 20, 1999; Vol. V, No. 12-a), copies of articles by Wayne Wells in the Feb. and Mar., 1999, issues (Vol. XLIII, Nos. 2 and 3) of The East Florence Contender, published by the East Florence church of Christ in Florence, AL, reviewing Roberts's materials (a third issue of The East Florence Contender, Apr., 1999, was also devoted to the issue). And I have copies of Reason and Revelation, published by Apologetics Press (which is an organization operated by folks who are also members of the church of Christ) in which Bert Thompson, Brad Harrub, and Branyon May discuss “The Big Bang Theory–A Scientific Critique” and deal with Hugh Ross's teachings (May, June, and July, 2003).
One more article on this subject follows, and it is by me as well. It first appeared in the December, 2000, issue of With All Boldness (Vol. 10, No. 12; p. 8), and was reprinted in slightly adapted form in The Defender (Sept. 28, 2003; Vol. 45, No. 38), the bulletin of the Affton Church of Christ. I should think from the previous articles in this newsletter, anyone would easily conclude what I believe about creation. However, I do want to make a distinction. With regard to those who actively and publicly promote a “reinterpretation” of Genesis 1 for the purpose of compromising with the evolutionist's claim of millions and billions of years, I would stand opposed to them. Yet, I do believe that there are others who perhaps have just blindly accepted such teachings without really thinking them through. I believe that we can still work with such people. We must continue to teach only the truth, but instead of cutting everyone with whom we might disagree off, we might wish to keep lines of communication open so that perhaps those with honest hearts might be led to accept that truth. That is what the following article is really about.
8. THE DAYS OF CREATION
by Wayne S. Walker
By nature, I am a fairly simple person (I did not say simple-minded!). Through the years I have tried to benefit from complex, heavily-footnoted articles written by others (and have even written a few of those myself). However, the older I become, the more I see the need to distill all those complex arguments so that all can understand. Also, my aim is to have a simple faith in God and His word, determined that whenever there is a seeming conflict between the fallible theories of men and what God's word says, I will accept what God's word says.
Therefore, I have read with great interest discussions over the last few years among brethren regarding the days of creation. The Biblical account of creation is straightforward in Genesis 1:1 through 2:4, saying that God created the heavens and the earth in six days and rested on the seventh. However, the atheistic evolutionist is convinced that the Genesis account is just a myth because it does not allow the time which he claims is necessary for the universe to have evolved by purely natural means. Even among those who claim to accept the Bible, there are those who do not believe that it necessarily means what it says.
A couple of years ago, a controversy arose over some brethren who, according to what I have read, were, and perhaps still are, affirming that God created the earth in a literal six days but that between each of those six days long periods of time may have occurred, so that perhaps the atheistic evolutionist is right when he claims that the earth is millions and even billions of years old. The purpose of this article is not to provide all the facts of the discussion, but simply to make a few observations that have been in my thoughts as a result of what I have read and heard.
On the One Hand
Although my goal is always to stand for truth and against error, I do not feel it incumbent upon me to characterize everyone with whom I may disagree as one who has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel. None of us was present at creation, so aside from the rather sketchy record which God had Moses write, we do not have much information concerning the means and methods that God may have used. If a brother draws some different conclusions than I do and offers them merely as suggestions or possibilities, I may not necessarily decide that he is in damnable error even though I disagree with his opinions.
For instance, I had a teacher who, based on his knowledge of the Hebrew language and his study of the scriptures, was convinced that the word “day” in Genesis 1 did not necessarily mean a 24-hour day. He was quick to add that it could not be a long period of time, such as thousands, millions, or even billions of years, but could refer to a rather limited space of time such as, if I remember correctly, anywhere from two to six weeks or so. I was never convinced, but in spite of this, he is a well-respected brother and I know of no efforts that have been made to ferret him out as dangerous false teacher and blasphemous heretic.
Even among those who claim to be anti-evolutionists, some are “young earth creationists” and others are “old earth creationists.” These periodically hurl anathemas at each other. It so happens that I find the “scientific creationist” theory of a young earth to be the most plausible, but the truth is that no one knows exactly how old the earth is. Rather than fighting among ourselves, we would accomplish more by putting our arguments over opinions aside and directing our attention toward the true enemy. Certainly, there can be no compromise of truth, and perhaps I am a bit naive, but that is how I feel.
On the Other Hand
At the same time, I cannot fathom why those who claim to believe in Biblical creation would feel the need to “harmonize” what the Bible says with the ever-changing and irresolute theories of men. The problem is that when we have “harmonized” the Bible to whatever the theory-du-jour happens to be, then when the theory changes, we have to “re-harmonize” the Bible to fit it. Why go to all that trouble? Why not simply accept what the Bible has to say by faith and leave it at that (Hebrews 11:3)?
God put the Bible in a form to be understood by men. Therefore, the language is suited to the minds that He gave us. While figurative language is sometimes used, there is absolutely nothing in the context of Genesis 1 to suggest that Moses was presenting anything other than a historical account of what happened. The fact that Moses wrote that God created the world in six days and rested on the seventh, and then tied this to the command that the Israelites were to rest on the seventh day (a 24-hour period) of each week is strong evidence that Genesis 1 is to be understood exactly for what it seems to say. If we cannot trust the historical accuracy of the creation account, how can we trust the accuracy of any other Biblical account?
Someone may ask about fellowship. Can we continue to have joint-participation with those with whom we may differ on the days of creation? This is a question that individuals and congregations will have to decide on their own. There are some issues about which we disagree but continue to have fellowship. Other issues eventually bring about a break in fellowship. A lot depends upon the attitudes of those involved. However, “as for me and my house,” we shall continue to accept the Bible for what it says, refuse all compromise with those who are enemies of God's word, and let the chips fall where they may.
This article was not easy to write. While I am convinced that theories which claim to accept Biblical creation and yet make room for millions of years are sadly misguided and mistaken, I still think that we need to be very careful whom we identify as false teachers or opponents of the faith even though we may be convinced that they are misguided and mistaken.