Creation and evolution: teaching two histories
Published: 22 April 2012 (GMT+10)
Laws on what can and can’t be taught regarding creation and evolution differ from country to country. CMI’s Dr Carl Wieland helps guide a teacher at a Christian school in an African country on how to present the conflict beneficially. Narindra R. writes:
I’ve been a big fan of your site since November 2011, it helped me breaking the last barriers between me and God by believing genuinely His Word. The Bible is now my sole and final authority.
I was a theistic evolutionist since my youngest age, having been taught that the Bible is some kind of novel or fairy tale, I could not see the message of salvation in the Gospel. At 1st, I genuinely believed in God as a child, but as I grew older, I strayed progressively from Him, being drawn into occult nonsense, because I had no solid basis on the Divine Rock. I eventually got back to Him, but I still wondered about Gen. 1–9 until I stumbled upon your site.
I totally agree with you that evolutionist teaching is a gangrene for the faith of our children, and that’s precisely my point: I searched for the answer on your site, but your articles are of course mainly addressed to US, Australian and Canadian people. The situation of my country is somewhat particular when it is about faith: we are a Christian people by tradition (the 1st dwellers of our island seemed to have kept the knowledge of a Creator, that’s one of the reasons we resonated so easily with the Gospel) but many don’t really take the Christian faith seriously nowadays, moreover, we adopted the French curriculum when they colonized us, along with evolution theory.
I’m a French teacher in a Christian college in my country, but I have a strong interest in science. I never lose an occasion to talk to my pupils about how science wonderfully gives account of God’s power and goodness. I even made them study a book about the story of Noah, employing the information you give to prove them this is no fairy tale nor legend.
But before that, I wasn’t even aware that the Genesis account was true, in spite of my profound belief in the Bible. A girl asked me why what they were taught in science course and in religious course contradicted about the origin of humankind, I have to confess to my shame that I didn’t find anything relevant to answer her, going as far as to suggest that there could have been humans before Adam :$.
I was just thinking about him: WE ARE A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE BUT WE KEEP ON TEACHING EVOLUTIONARY THING TO OUR PUPILS BECAUSE IT IS IN THE CURRICULUM! It is illogical and dangerous!
So here is my request: what should I do? We can’t possibly stray from the curriculum, and I take every occasion I have to tell my pupils that evolution is no science and only the Bible is to be trusted, but if their science teacher tells them it is true science, it will bring confusion into them. So should I petition the director of our college, should I call a gathering of teachers to raise their interest about this issue by questioning gently their faith in the Bible and presenting your information? What should I do IYO?
It is really a concern for me, so I hope you will reply me quickly. Thanks in advance
CMI’s Dr Carl Wieland responds:
Dear Friend in Christ
I think I do understand your dilemma. A lot depends on the law in your country. In Australia, for example, one may not teach creation in science classes in government schools, but there is nothing to stop a teacher teaching evolution ‘warts and all’, i.e. the evidence both for and against the belief. A Christian school should be able to teach, in addition,
- The nature of science when it comes to the past (historical science vs experimental/operational) and its limitations.
- The fact that all reasoning starts with presuppositions. Evolutionary reasoning starts with the presupposition that everything that happened to bring about all things can be explained without God (naturalism). There are articles on our site explaining why this is and what it means. It is not so much that evolution is ‘not science’; it is that human reasoning without God will inevitably come to wrong conclusions about history.
- The problem is not with the evidence; everyone has the same world, and the same evidence, it is that this evidence must be interpreted, and if interpreted presupposing an unbiblical history of the world, it is not surprising to find it continually seeming to reinforce that history. The whole point of our ministry is to show that if the same evidence is interpreted through biblical worldview ‘glasses’, it makes a huge amount of sense. So it is the science of one belief system vs the science of another, if you like.
- The basic presupposition applied in the biblical worldview is also the framework within which the Gospel makes sense—an originally good world, ruined by sin, leading to the entry of death (the ‘last enemy’ as Paul calls it), to be restored in the future to a paradise without sin and death. This is a key point, and when you get the inevitable opposition, even from fellow believers, you need to remember that the millions-of-years idea comes from the belief that the fossil-bearing layers were laid down over millions of years before there were people. But the fossil record shows death, violence, and diseases like cancer. So the millions of years idea inevitably destroys and undermines the logic of the Gospel itself.
It will be important, however, not to teach as if it were ‘faith vs science’. It has to do with two opposing histories of the universe. And it is a stark, stark choice. So it is crucial that the teachers concerned have a solid grounding in creation reasoning and evidences. On our website, there are the two free books for download as pdfs (and I give you permission to print out copies for your and your colleagues’ use) Refuting Evolution, and The Creation Answers Book. Please give me your snail mail address and I will mail you a small batch of other materials, and let you know which can be copied/duplicated, for instance. But in fact the 8,500 articles on our site creation.com (with a powerful search engine and a well-structured Q & A section) have within them information on a huge range of associated topics.
Kind regards in Christ,
Yes it certainly is Nancy Pearcey. Sorry, brain fade.
The author of 'Saving Leonardo' is Nancy Pearcey.
While CMI make the vital point that nature is interpreted through worldview, I am coming to the conclusion that an additional level of explanation is required. We live in a philosphically post modern society which requires more than (or perhaps less than) logical arguments to sway an individual's view of the world.
I agree with Nancy Cleary (see her book, 'Saving Leonardo'), in that we need to educate people in the nature of their philosophical dualism before arguments over creation and evolution, truth or logic will have any influence over them.
Asking which interpretation of nature 'best fits the evidence' only makes sense within a worldview predisposed to the unity of reality. To a post modernist such a question is like asking them to choose their favourite colour. Such issues are considered to be beyond tangible reality, existing in the realm of 'value' judgements.
For example, I am fortunate to work with very intelligent and world savvy professionals who are prepared to humour me with my arguments againts evolution and geological long ages. However it is obvious that they consider such arguments to be irrelevant, or quaint. They don't really care if evolution is wrong. It works for them, and everybody else agrees with it, so that's good enough. This is the same brick wall we all face amongst our secular friends and families.
But as Cleary points out, the consequences of this two stage reality are devastating for individuals and society. I believe that it is here that the education needs to begin - with an understanding of the inevitable outcomes of embracing a dualistic individualism. Current events and social issues need to be examined and interpreted accordingly.
CMI play a vital role in lighting the way for the world. It is telling that they focus their attention on the church itself, because it is only from the church that the healing of our society can propagate. In this regard, the church needs to understand that its own liberalised post modernism is doing great damage. The church is the light of the world, the healing force and instrument of God. I am becoming increasingly convinced that this light, or Word, or logos, or Good News, is first and foremost the revelation of the unity of reality under God.
So I would add to Dr Wieland's suggestions that your students need also to understand their own mindset, through teaching them the history of the enlightenment and the post modern dualism which has resulted. This will then help to create a framework for them in which the creation/evolution debate itself makes sense and becomes relevant.