Joshua Swamidass: Senator Marco Rubio and the Age-of-Earth Question

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As a Christian and career scientist, I see the episode as an opportunity for both Republicans and evangelicals to establish a more coherent policy on evolution, creation and science, for two reasons.

First, the age of the Earth and the rejection of evolution aren't core Christian beliefs. Neither appears in the Nicene or Apostle's Creed. Nor did Jesus teach them. Historical Christianity has not focused on how God created the universe, but on how God saves humanity through Jesus' death and resurrection.

Currently, a debate is unfolding in theological seminaries and conferences about the correct interpretation of the Bible's Genesis account of creation. Echoing thinkers like St. Augustine, C.S. Lewis, Mark Noll and Pope John Paul II, many of the conservative theologians in the debate believe that a serious reading of Genesis can be compatible with the scientific account of our origins.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchHistoryMediaPhilosophyReligion & CultureScience & Technology* TheologyApologeticsTheology: Scripture

5 Comments
Posted November 30, 2012 at 11:10 am [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. Pb wrote:

There is some controversy over random mutation and natural selection apart from the age of the earth or whether life evolves. I would guess that as more galaxies are discovered, the universe will be seen as even older although everyone agrees on the present age. Life does evolve but again I would guess the present mechanism will be found to be too simplistic.

November 30, 3:35 pm | [comment link]
2. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

Once again, someone stands up and says “I’m a Christian and a Scientist” and then immediately puts on his/her science hat and tries to bend and mutilate Christianity to fit scientific observations.  Rejection of evolution is not a core Christian belief?  What about that Nicene Creed thing?  “We believe in one God the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth? [emphasis mine].  It doesn’t say “chief presider over the evolving cosmos”.  And then there’s that stuff in Genesis about creating man, not as some evolutionary process, but as an act, an action.

Of course the guy who puts on the science hat first is likely to say something like, “why would you believe something like that?”  Faith.

November 30, 7:19 pm | [comment link]
3. NewTrollObserver wrote:

#2 Capt., well, God did use dust to make man. Sounds like evolution to me.

November 30, 11:18 pm | [comment link]
4. Teatime2 wrote:

#2—Just curious. What does it matter if God created everything in 6 days or over a long period of time through evolution? God DID create. Jesus taught through parables and Genesis may have been written in a similar style but Truth remains the same whether it’s stated in basic declarative sentences or through prose. I honestly don’t understand this whole “Genesis has to be taken completely literally or you’re calling God/the Bible a liar” assertion.

December 1, 1:34 am | [comment link]
5. Capt. Father Warren wrote:

My point was the that the WSJ commentator, like so many others, comes on the stage and self-describes himself as a “Christian and Scientist” and then proceeds to argue as a scientist who apologizes [the secular meaning] for Christian beliefs by bending them around scientific observations.  That’s fine; it’s truly a logical, scholastic, and even enlightened thing to do.  The problem [for me] is that this thesis of his is accepted with a great deal of gravity and afforded an honored place in the realm of biblical exegesis because he is a “Christian AND a Scientist”.  In fact this person might be expected to ask the question “why would you believe things could be otherwise?”

To which I answer: faith.

I was trained as a physicist before I became a Christian, so I guess I could self-describe myself as a “Scientist and a Christian”.  But instead of leading with my enlightened thoughts, my salvation through faith in Jesus Christ has led me to lead by my faith.  And my faith is in the revelation of the Holy Scriptures.  And the scriptures, such as Gn. 1:1, talk about creation.  The Hebrew word is bara, and it is expressive of a creative act, action, energy; not a passive sit and watch and see what happens.

By faith I see a transcendental God creating the cosmos and creating man in His divine image as transcendental expressions of His divine love.  I see a God who breathes the creations into a 4-dimensional cartesian, time dependent existence we call the “universe”.  And in our cartesian limited powers of observation we see everything we need to see to convince ourselves that we are totally correct in our cartesian observations and what they teach us.

There is no independent objective finality to Swamidass’ version of things just as there is no independent objective finality to my version of things [in this world]: but I am comfortable with my version through faith.  I might tentatively suggest that possibly Swamidass clings to his version through perhaps, a lack of fully committed faith?  But then, I don’t know why he clings to his version; but I do know why I cling to mine, I fully know.

December 1, 10:17 am | [comment link]
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