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Creationism: A Denial of the Authority of the Whole Bible

by Herold Weiss

Cover1It is disconcerting to witness the many efforts carried out by different groups, with otherwise disparate perspectives, to have creationism taught in public High Schools as a valid scientific explanation of the origins of the universe and life. Proposals to achieve this goal have been debated at local school boards, school district boards, and state departments of education. When requests for the teaching of creationism at science classrooms have been denied by these boards, appeals have been made to the courts, and some cases have reached all the way up to the Supreme Court of a state. This record of the insistence with which efforts to have creationism taught in in the science curriculum of public High Schools gives ample evidence of the high interest on the part of some to achieve this goal.
Failing to achieve their aim through the public school system, those insisting on the teaching of creationism to the young steer their efforts to have the state provide funds to denominational schools so as to make tuition payments less onerous. In private religious schools creationism most likely is the only way in which the origins of the universe and life are taught in the science curriculum.
There is a great deal of irony in this story. Those seeking to make sure that young people learn the truth about origins are primarily concerned with establishing the Bible as the final authority on all human knowledge. The irony is that they have not read the Bible in its entirety to determine how the universe is viewed within its pages. Creationism is an ideology concocted out of a superficial reading of the first three chapters of the Bible, but is presented as if it were all the Bible has to say about the universe in which we live. Anyone who reduces all that the Bible has to say about creation to the first three chapters of Genesis, obviously, does not take the Bible seriously.
This means that all the efforts to teach creationism in public High Schools, or to teach only creationism in private denominational schools, are in effect efforts to misrepresent the Bible to the students on the part of those who pretend to protect them from falsehoods and to defend the Bible’s authority. I do not think those who advocate the teaching of creationism in science classrooms aim to have the words of the first three chapters of Genesis tested scientifically. They just want to have them taught the way they do. In the process, they wish to keep the rest of the Bible silent about creation. Is not this a blatant denial of the authority of the whole Bible?

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  1. Herold:
    You are quite right! This is one of many examples of misrepresentation of what is in the Bible. In my view, much of Biblical literalism and Fundamentalism is flawed in this regard. It is an age old problem and, sadly, still exists-

  2. I posted something on this today, What Creationists Could Learn from Herold Weiss, and no, I’m not saying they would learn to agree with him in one easy post, or even many. (I’d suggest that if you want to argue with my post you do it here. I made it a blog post as it’s too long for a reasonable comment. If you comment here, you’ll be eligible for our book giveaway this week.)
    There are two places we need to focus the debate on this issue within Christianity. First is how we understand scripture. Each side believes they are more faithful to scripture. Why? Second, how does our view of creation impact our understanding of everything else? The Bible in canonical form begins and ends with creation. How does that impact our doctrine?

  3. Thank you, Herold.
    As others have stated, creationism is neither good theology nor good science, and thus a poor rendering of both fields of inquiry. The history of such debate is engaging as well. Personally, I have long enjoyed a line from Augustine’s “The Literal Meaning of Genesis” in which he acknowledges the ill-fated consequence of deriving empirical ideas from the Bible that are of no actual interest to the text.
    “It is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian , presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these (cosmological) topics, and we should take all means to prevent such an embarassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn.”

    1. Thank you very much for your quote from St. Augustine. He is absolutely right. I have always considered his “Confessions” a most helpful book, especially his chapter on memory and the Holy Spirit.

  4. Mr. Weiss,
    Yes, creationism is taught throughout the Bible, not only from the lips of Jesus but within the Ten Commandments. We are to keep the Sabbath, the 7th day of the week, holy, “for in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the seventh day and hallowed it” (Ex. 20:11). And lest you say that a “day” is not a literal 24-hour day, it is made clear in Genesis 1:5 that “the evening and the morning were the first day.” The second , third, fourth, fifth, and sixth day are defined the same way. No one was there to see it, so, evidently, God had Adam record it – “This is the book of the genealogy of Adam” (Gen. 5:1). And lest you say that Adam is only symbolic of mankind who evolved, we can be assured that he was indeed the first man, as shown in the genealogy of Jesus which is traced back to Adam (Luke 3:38)! Surely, you don’t question the truth of the New Testament which has more manuscript authority than any ancient document in history. Not only that, but Jesus referred to Adam and Eve literally when he said, “Have you not read that He who made them AT THE BEGINNING made them male and female …” (Matt. 19:4-5, quoting Gen. 2:24). Jesus was called the Second Adam. Dr. Henry Morris (now deceased), the father of modern creation science, was a brilliant man. He was a college professor of applied science, a professor and Doctor of Hydraulic Engineering, and professor and chair of Civil Engineering at both the Universities of Louisiana and Virginia Tech. He co-founded Christian Heritage College in Santee, CA, which established the Institute for Creation Research in 1972. I suggest you get a copy of his book, “The Genesis Record.”
    As for evolution, it takes more “faith” to believe this THEORY of the origins of life than to believe the divinely inspired Scripture that our Heavenly Father made sure we have a copy of! Many noted scientists deem it to be nonsense, including Sir Isaac Newton and Louis Pasteur. Even Charles Darwin, late in life, became very distressed about the theory he put forth, saying, “I was a young man with unformed ideas. I threw out queries, suggestions, wondering all the time over everything, and to my astonishment, the ideas took like wildfire. People made a religion of them.”
    The Book of Genesis has been attacked more than any other part of Scripture. It is the foundation for the whole Bible, and if Satan can undermine a Christian’s belief in its truths, then he cast doubt on the rest of Scripture.
    I have already written too much, but there is so much more to say about the geological column, the Second Law of Thermodynamics, neo-catastrophism, the missing-link hoaxes, dinosaurs, and the Chinese language. I have written a paper on these things. This subject is of the utmost importance, and I hope more schools will allow the teaching of creationism (or intelligent design).
    Blessing the Creator,
    Nancy Petrey

  5. Nancy Petry – I already considered Isacc Newton a great genius, but learning that he managed to criticize a theory published 132 years after his death makes him even more impressive.
    Please tell us – did Mr. Newton foresee the future much more precisely than any other prophet before or since, or did he just cheat by inventing a time machine?

    1. I couldn’t help but do a little research on Petrey’s purported Darwin quotation. Numerous web sites cite it uncritically, but Wikipedia put a context around it, as part of a 1915 article by one Elizabeth Cotton, aka Lady Hope:

      Everyone in Darwin’s family denied the validity of the story.[11] In 1918, Darwin’s son Francis wrote that “Lady Hope’s account of my father’s views on religion is quite untrue. I have publicly accused her of falsehood, but have not seen any reply. …”

      Even Ken Ham’s “Answers in Genesis” disavows this story (see Wikipedia link above).

      1. Dear Pierce Butler,
        Well, you certainly nailed me about Sir Isaac Newton! Of course, I didn’t think that out, did I? There are many scientists who do not believe in the theory of evolution, even though Newton could not have known about it. As for the Lady Hope story, I did read up on that previously and formed the opinion that his family did not want it to be true, and there was other evidence backing up her story. However, after reading the Wikipedia article you mentioned and going to Ken Ham’s site, I must say you are also right on that point of my post.
        I want to quote the end of Dr. Mitchell’s article which sums it up for me: “It is unfortunate that the story continues to be promoted by many sincere people who use this in an effort to discredit evolution when many other great arguments exist, including the greatest: the Bible.”
        Thank you for holding me to account. I have learned from many excellent sources, but some that have helped me the most are “The Genesis Record” by Henry Morris, “The Discovery of Genesis: How the Truths of Genesis Were Found Hidden in the Chinese Language” by C.H. Kang and Ethel R. Nelson, and “Rocks, Fossils and Dinosaurs” by G. Thomas Sharp. Many years ago I studied Genesis in a Bible study written by Kay Arthur, also an excellent source.
        Jesus used simple parables from everyday life to teach truth. And Creation is not complicated – the truth can be learned from God’s Word – all of it but primarily Genesis, Psalms, Job, the Gospels, and the Epistles. Where the scientists come in is to show us all the intricate wonders of God’s magnificent power and beauty in His handiwork of everything that is!

        1. Thanks for your openness to changing your mind when presented with further facts.
          Though I disagree with many of your expressed and implied viewpoints, for now I just want to salute our meeting of minds here.

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