C. Michael Patton at the Parchment & Pen blog (Credo House Ministries) writes Where I Stand on the Creation Evolution Circus. Patton is a young-Earth creationist, but holds to that position loosely, and doesn’t like the tone of many YEC advocates, as well as that of the other end of the spectrum, many theistic evolutionists. Here are some excerpts [with emphasis added]:
The problem that I have with this issue is not so much my criticism of positions that I don’t hold, but the dogmatism that adherents of each position is characterized by. Rarely do I find a balanced, respectful, humble adherent in these areas. The closest I find is in the Intelligent Design and Old Earth Creation proponents. They are much easier to listen to. Almost always, every other position finds itself in the company of those who use heavy handed tactics to demean and discredit their “opposition.”
Answers in Genesis position seems pretty clear: If you don’t accept a young earth, you have compromised the faith and biblical truth.
Biologos’ position (from what I continue to read is getting pretty clear as well): If you don’t accept evolution, you are no better than flat-earthers.
Each side illegitimizes the opposition (often due to nothing more than frustration) by attacking the legitimacy of the position by unfair associations. At this point, they become radical (almost cult-like) and lose the audience (who is already skeptical to begin with).
I take a position that the earth is young and that evolution did not happen. I could give you the reasons why, but I don’t really care enough to do so. Please don’t misunderstand. It is not that I don’t care enough about you, but that I don’t care enough about the subject. Yes, I am facinated by it. I find it important and interesting. But in the end, when I say “I take a postion that the earth is young etc.” don’t think it is black and white in my mind. I am not sure. If God were to send a prophet and supernatually inform me during breakfast tomorrow that he did indeed use evolution and that the earth was six billion years old, I would pause for about two seconds and then say, “Awesome. Can you pass me the syrup?” I don’t really have that big of a dog in this hunt. Frankly, I don’t think you should either.
It is simply not that big a deal.
“But, but, but, we are fighting the New Atheists. Dawkins and Hitchings and the like are all using evolution to prove that God does not exist. We have to stand strong against evolution.”
We don’t know as much as we like to think we know about this. The issues are simply not accessible. The Bible is not that clear on it (only two chapters devoted to the creation of all things?). Does your faith really hinge on how one interprets the first chapters of Genesis? Really?
In my defense of Christianity, I will just stick to the resurrection of Christ and the fact that something cannot come from nothing. The fact that something cannot come from nothing gets me to God. The resurrection of Christ gets me to the Christian God. A simple two step process that does not require a PhD to get there.
The evidence for the historicity of the resurrection is accessible and, in my opinion, impossible to rationally dismiss. I have never met an atheist who believes in the resurrection of Christ. This is the central issue of Christianity. Convince them that Christ rose from the grave and their atheism will necessarily disappear. I promise.
And even if evolution happened, this does not account for the elephant that has always been in the room: where did it all come from? I have never met a naturalistic evolutionist who believed in personal transcendent First Cause for everything. This is the issue of God’s existence, not how he did it.
Father, may I be filled with humility as I hold fast to your Word and write on this potentially divisive issue of origins. May my convictions be in submission to what you have revealed in your Word and in your creation, and may my love for those who differ with me be more important to me than that I win any arguments. Grant us as believers a stronger measure of the unity that we already have in Christ. In Jesus’ name, amen.
Grace and Peace