Thursday, January 8, 2009

Theories of Creation: An Overview

Alice C. Linsley

Readers have asked me to explain my views on creation, but before I do so, I would like to present an overview of the main theories of creation.

Gap Theory creationism: In this theory, God created every original thing in six consecutive 24-hour days, but a gap of time between the first and the second verses of Genesis 1 explains the great age of the Earth. An early proponent of this view was Thomas Chalmers, a professor of Divinity at the University of Edinburgh.

Day-Age creationism notes that the Hebrew word yom may indicate a 24-hour day or an unspecified period of time that could entail a period of thousands or millions of years. This theory attempts to reconcile the differences between young-earth creationism and evolutionary creationism. According to this view, the sequence and duration of the seven "days" is representative of the cosmological events theorized to have happened, so that Genesis can be read as a summary of modern science, simplified for the benefit of pre-scientific humans.

Young Earth creationism holds to the six 24-hour days of creation but does not accept any gap of time. According to this theory the Earth is only between 6,000 and 10,000 years old. Within this camp, some accept the possibility of developmental change within species, but most believe that God created all living species in the beginning as an act of special creation. Proponents of this theory include Baptist Pastor and biochemist Duane Gish, and the late Henry M. Morris, a civil engineer and author of several books in which he developed young earth creationism.

Progressive creationism holds that God created new "kinds" of plants and animals over a period of millions of years. It estimates the age of the Earth in the millions, but generally rejects macroevolution as biologically untenable and without evidence in the fossil record. In this theory, it is not necessary for all humans to have decended from a common primal ancestor and Noah's flood is accepted to have been local rather than global. Proponents of this view include the late Bernard Ramm, a Baptist theologian and Bible scholar, and astronomer Hugh Ross, who holds that the Flood was local yet killed all humans except for those on the ark.

Evolutionary creationism (or Theistic Evolution) accepts the theory of evolution but insists that all change, growth and development over time is directed by God or by forces put into place by God. The greatest proponent of this view is Charles Darwin himself. He wrote in a 1879 letter to John Fordyce: "In my most extreme fluctuations I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.”

Framework Theory holds that the creation account of Genesis 1 is not to be taken literally or used as a scientific text, but should be regarded as an ancient sacred text with a symbolic structure that points to God's orderly design and the importance of the Sabbath commandment. In this view Genesis 1 is independent of Genesis 2. In this view the more primtive story is the Genesis 2-3 account of the creation and the Genesis 1 account dates to a later time of the Priestly source. Proponents of this theory are Henri Blocher and Meredith Kline.

Intelligent Design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. In Chapter 6 of The Origin of Species, Darwin posed critiques of evolution. He admitted that it is difficult to imagine how "organs of extreme perfection and complication," such as the eye, evolved by natural selection. ID is a well-considered form Darwin's own critique. Building on logical doubts, ID theorists have developed the idea of "irreducible complexity."

An integrated approach that takes its lead from the Bible

Here is another approach to creation and the book of Genesis. It draws on Biblical Anthropology, climate studies, linguistics, genetics, and the Bible itself as an important database.

We find evidence in Genesis for climate change and catastrophic flooding. Noah lived in the region of Lake Chad approximately 2490-2415 BC, when the Sahara experienced a wet period (Karl W. Butzer 1966). Recent geological studies have found that the huge basins and troughs of the Sahara were interconnected so that boats could travel from Niger to the Nile. This was one of the last wet periods and it coincided with cultural and technological achievements in the Old Kingdom.

Using kinship analysis we discover a unique marriage pattern among Abraham's ruler ancestors who practiced endogamy. This is why geneticists can identify the Kohen gene.

Biblical data has led to the discovery of the Nile-Japan Ainu connection. It also has established links between the Kushites and the Kushan.

Most of these discoveries represent important breakthroughs. Such discoveries are possible because science and religion are companions in the search for truth.

I am an old earth creationist. I reject young earth creationism because it is bad science and even worse Bible interpretation. Young Earth Creationists use Archbishop James Usher’s chronology to date the age of the earth. However, Usher was ignorant of the marriage and ascendancy structure of Abraham's Horite people and therefore misrepresented these early rulers as the first people on earth. The Genesis "genealogies" are regnal not generational. They are king lists and some kings ruled simultaneously. Further, the Biblical data indicates that these rulers were kingdom builders, metal workers, and temple builders. They lived no earlier than about 7,000 years ago and millions of years after the dinosaurs!

Young earth creationism assumes that Genesis must be defended against Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism. God's word does not need to be defended. If anything, it needs to be defended from bad science that imposes a timeline that contradicts what Genesis reveals.

I believe that from "the beginning" God created humans in the divine image and fully human, and that humans and apes have always been separate species. Discovery Institute's Casey Luskin maintains that the complete sequencing of the gorilla genome challenges the theory that humans and apes have a common ancestor. Luskin says, "There is not a clear signal of ancestral relationships that is coming out of the gorilla genome once you add it into the mix."

Luskin, as with many who do not concur with conventional Darwinian views, is regularly pillored at evolution blogs and websites.

As far as I have been able to determine, finds of ancient fossils have been easily categorized as either ape or archaic human. Finds labled "hominids" in evolutionary taxonomy represent different archaic human populations.

After almost 100 years of frantic searching, there remains no material evidence that humans and apes had a common ancestor. This aspect of Darwin simply has not been proven. Until it is, I feel no compulsion to relent in my position. That's the empirical approach, afterall.

This doesn't mean that I reject a role for natural processes. These can be observed. I wonder why such observations must be forced into Neo-Darwinian interpretations. The air sacs being an example. Many features that Darwinians insist are evidence of evolution have other likely explanations. The morphology of the hyoid that suggests that A. afarensis had air sacks in the throat is not indicative of evolution of humans and apes from a common ancestor. The same hyoid bone feature has been found in other archaic human populations as an adaption to aquaboreal environments. Similar hyoid structure appears in the Kebara Cave population of Israel that lived around 60,000 B.C.

Genesis tells us that God created in an orderly fashion over a period of time and according to a plan. It is the work of science to discover the order and the work of theologians and Bible scholars to discern the plan. For Abraham's ancestors the order was perceived as fixed, though they recognized flux within the fixed boundaries. Their acute observation of the patterns in nature suggested a divine plan.

Since none of us were present to observe the beginning, we can speak only of what we think may have happened.  We tend to describe events according to our cultural understandings, our worldviews.  However, the book of Genesis presents the understanding of the Nilotic and Proto-Saharan peoples who were Abraham's ancestors, and it is their culture that we must consider. These ancestors migrated out of Africa to Pakistan, India, and even Cambodia. Anghor Wat, in Cambodia, was originally a Horite shrine city and the Horites originated in Egypt and Sudan.  Angkor is a variant of the ancient Egyptian Anhk-Hor, meaning "Life to Horus."  Wat means city or shrine settlement  In the ancient world the largest settlements were at water shrines tended by a caste of priests and defended by a caste of warriors.

One of the oldest known castes is that of the Hapiru or Habiru (Hebrew). This was a caste of priests and priest attendants who served at the water shrines and temples of the ancient world beginning as early as 4000 BC. They are sometimes called "O-piru" because they reveranced the Sun as the emblem of the Creator. The O in O-piru is a solar symbol.

Within this priest caste there emerged a cult devoted to Horus as early as 3500 BC at Nekhen in Sudan. These are called Horites. The Horites were a Proto-Saharan caste who later were found among the Kushites. The Kushite marriage and ascendancy structure speaks of the promised Son to whom God will deliver the eternal kingdom. Abraham's people were Horites. Even today Jews call their ancestors "Horim" which is a variant of "Horite."

Genesis is a valuable source of information about early modern human populations. It provides details that are useful in reconstructing points of origins, diversity of populations, migrations, technological development, religious practices, and the marriage and ascendancy structure of the early rulers and the spread of the Afro-Asiatic worldview. It connects many of the peoples living from Borno to Borneo and explains common mythological motifs such as the serpent, the tree of life, the solar boat, and falcon-shaped Harappan fire altars dedicated to Horus, the prefigurement of Jesus Christ. 

When it comes to theories of creation, people immediately think of the creation narratives in Genesis. However, Genesis is not about the origins of life on earth. Ultimately, it is about the origins of Messianic expectation among Abraham's Habiru ancestors, a caste of priests who spread their worldview far and wide. It is the story of Jesus' very ancestors to whom God made a promise thousands of years ago that a Woman of their caste would bring for the "Seed" of God (Gen. 3:15). Jesus is that Seed. He is a direct descendant of those people to whom that promise was made, and He is the fulfillment of Horite expectation.

Related reading: A Scientific Timeline of GenesisScientists Against Scientism; The Folly of ScientismBiblical Anthropologists Discuss Darwin; Genesis: Is it Really About Human OriginsBetween Biblical Literalism and Biblical Illiteracy; Who Were the Kushites?; Who Were the Horites?; Abraham's Ancestors Came Out of Africa

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