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A Unique Theory of Creation (and Evolution)The debate between creation and evolution obviously inspires passion on both sides, but what if creationists and evolutionists were both right? I consider myself to be a creationist, but here I'm making an honest attempt to approach this debate with objective and unbiased thinking, giving more consideration to opposing viewpoints. I have attempted to identify with the passion that many people of science have for evolution, because it seems to be the same deep degree of passion that I have for my view of creation. Reading more about evolution has enabled me to better understand this issue from the scientific point of view. Although I cannot yet claim to debate these issues completely without emotion, I believe that I have made significant progress in allowing for tolerance of opposing viewpoints, and in staying open-minded for possible reconciliation. This has resulted in a rather unique possibility of creation theory, but I must first present some background information.
Fact vs. Theory
The evolutionist argues that the terms "fact" and "theory" have been distorted. Facts and theories are completely different things, as opposed to the thinking that a fact simply implies a higher degree of certainty than a theory. The evolutionist might say that facts are evidenced by the world around us, while theories are ideas that interpret facts.
In science, the definition of a "fact" seems to be somewhat subjective. A fact would be something that has been confirmed to a certain, but still arbitrary, degree. The evidence in favor of a fact would have become strong, but still to an arbitrary degree. Finally, a fact would be considered highly probable, but, again, this probability is highly subjective. The key to the subjectivity in each part of this definition seems to be a question of reasonableness; basically that it would be silly for any knowledgeable person not to accept it.
By this definition, the evolutionist would argue that evolution is a fact. Modern organisms have evolved from older organisms, and modern species continue to change over time. Taking the process of evolution to its limit, many evolutionists have concluded that all organisms descended from common ancestors; i.e., birds evolved from non-birds, and humans from non-humans.
On the other hand, the definition of a "theory," in science, would be a statement of the causes of something known--not, as some might think, simply a hypothesis or speculation. Given these definitions, the evolutionist would then admit that there are questions about the theory by which the fact of evolution occurred. In other words, he is convinced that evolution occurred, because evolution is a fact, not a theory. The only remaining question for him is how evolution occurred.
The Disconnect Between Evolutionists and Creationists
To evolutionists, the evidence for evolution is overwhelming, and to the creationist, the evidence for creation is overwhelming. I think that one reason for the disconnect between evolutionists and creationists is the lack of knowledge by those on each opposing side. As a creationist, I lack (or was not grounded in) the knowledge of science that is required to understand what the evolutionist understands. On the other hand, I believe that many evolutionists lack the background in creation and faith that would enable them to understand the creationist's point of reference. Few people possess a true knowledge of both camps, although Francis Collins (leader of the Human Genome Project) may be an exception.
It makes sense to me that fossils in certain layers of rock can be compared to those in other layers of rock. Then, by studying the differences in the fossils, and applying our knowledge of radiometric fating, I can see how some "facts" might be stated. I somewhat understand the fossil evidence found in the various layers of rock, and how radiometric dating might be validated. However, I read many scientific explanations for which I simply don't have enough training in science to understand (or perhaps, the ideas aren't clearly expressed). As a result, I become confused, I get lost, I lose interest, etc.
One can have a dual-belief system (Christianity and science), whereby he believes that Genesis 1-3 simply teaches us that God created everything, and scientific evidence teaches us that He created it using evolution. However, both sides have greater tendencies to suspect such a person, like Collins.
Human-like Fossils Relative to Christ's Family Line
One outstanding question in this debate concerns how human-like fossils fit into Christ's family line, or if they should be regarded. The Gap Theory offers a possible explanation for the time when the dinosaurs lived on the earth, and the time for which we find dinosaur bones today. I suppose that the same could possibly be true for human-like fossils. If this is the case, then these human-like fossils don't fit at all into Christ's family line. Rather, they would have to fit into the time before the "gap" in the "gap theory," with a previously-created mammal with some similarities to man, long before God created Adam and Eve.
A second possibility would be that of Young Earth Creationism (YEC), where the human-like fossils, along with the dinosaurs, apply to the time between the creation of Adam and Eve, and the Great Flood. However, I believe that both scientists and creationists would be less likely to accept this possibility; scientists, because the YEC timeframe is inconsistent with the results of Radiometric (Carbon) Dating for these human-like fossils, and dinosaurs; and, creationists, because they don't believe that Adam was created as an ape-like creature.
Can We Reconcile Common Ancestry with Genesis 1-3?
We can accept God's method of creation, whatever method He chose to use, even if that was evolution. Genesis 1 and 2 aren't specific regarding this question. Perhaps the Bible wasn't intended to be a science textbook. Collins has said, "If God created the universe, and the laws that govern it, and if He endowed human beings with intellectual abilities to discern its workings, would He want us to disregard (the scientific revelations produced by) those abilities? Would He be diminished or threatened by what we are discovering about His creation?"
Scientific evidence might cause an evolutionist to believe in a common ancestor, while the same evidence might cause a creationist to believe that God used successful design principles over and over again. Some evolutionists would present the evolution timeline of the "rendezvous points" of man (common ancestry) as follows:
sponges -> worms -> sharks -> amphibians -> rodents and rabbits ->
-> monkeys -> orangutans -> gorillas -> chimpanzees -> modern man
My unique creation theory rejects the theory of common ancestry. Instead, the results of the "rendezvous points" above might be a certain mammal, with some similarities to man. However, my theory provides for a re-creation of the earth according to the Gap Theory, with modern man being created long after any sequence similar to the above "rendezvous points."
My Attempt to Reconcile Creation and Evolution
Let's make the following assumptions:
- An age of the universe of some 14B years
- An age of the earth of some 4B years
- A non-literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3 that says that God created everything
- Gerald Schroeder's idea that the days of Creation are based on cosmic time, not 24-hour earth days
Now let's attempt to test a hypothesis that we can reconcile the universe-earth ages of evolution with the Genesis sequence of creation:
mya = million years ago
tya = thousand years ago
Could we build the following theory?
- The duration of Day 1 was approximately 1.6 billion years, from about 4.6 bya to about 3.0 bya. On Day 1, God created light and the earth.
- The duration of Day 2 was approximately 2.5 billion years, from about 3.0 bya to about 500 mya. On Day 2, God created the sky, photosynthesis, and an oxygen-rich atmosphere.
- The duration of Day 3 was approximately 140 million years, from about 500 mya to about 360 mya. On Day 3, God created plans and seeds.
- The duration of Day 4 is somewhat unclear. Perhaps Genesis 1:14-19 implies that God actually created the sun and the moon when He created light on Day 1. Maybe Day 4 was just a momentary event--possibly when He started the rotation of the earth, and the rotation of the earth around the sun.
- The duration of Day 5 was approximately 210 million years, from about 360 mya to about 150 mya. On Day 5, God created sea animals, amphibians, and birds.
- The duration of Day 6 was approximately 198 million years, from about 200 mya to about 2 mya (although this overlaps with Day 5 for 50 million years--unexplainable). On Day 6, God created land animals, mammals, and man.
- The "Man" in the Evolution column at 2 mya was not modern man. Instead, it was a certain mammal, with some similarities to man.
- The re-creation of the earth, according to the Gap Theory, occurred sometime after the 2ma point in the Evolution time column.
- The date of 200 tya for the "Modern Man" in the Evolution column is incorrect, due to inconsistencies in Carbon (Radiometric) Dating. The true date is derived from the Bible at about 6 tya. This is relatively small error when the domain is some 14 billion years.
However, the following inconsistencies remain:
- Each Day doesn't even come close to covering the same duration (off by a factor of 10), but his may not be of significance.
- Day 4 is unclear, with my speculation about where the sun and the moon fall in the Creation sequence.
- Days 5 and 6 overlap because of the inconsistency of where the birds fall in the two sequences.
Owen Weber 2009