As I wrote my previous post, I realized it might be a good idea to reveal my view of origins. Trying to follow good journalistic practices, I have attempted to describe various views as a neutral third-party, but this can be confusing to readers who are trying to infer what I think about such a contentious issue.
I recently decided that I am, ultimately, a ‘Pan-Creationist.’ To wit, it all panned out and here we are. Before you go accusing me of copping-out, let me explain.
I believe firmly in the first five words of Genesis: “In the beginning, God created.” After that, I WAS NOT THERE, so I don’t know.
I believe God is perfectly capable of creating the universe in six seconds, so six days isn’t a problem when it comes to His ability. Neither do I limit Him to six literal 24 hour days. It is a very interesting question, but to me it is not a doctrine on which I intend to stand or fall.
Dammit, Jim, I’m a chemist, not a Hebrew scholar, geologist, or biologist. I’ve never even taken a biochemistry course. Therefore, I do not have the technical expertise to comment with authority on the topic of origins, so I refuse to. That is not a cop-out, it is professional integrity.
I do not hold the Bible to the standards of the Journal of the American Chemical Society or similar. Given that scientific journals came thousands of years after Scripture, I don’t see modern scientific standards as being backwards compatible with ancient Hebrew literature.
As a layman who has studied the Bible for over 25 years, and as a PhD scientist who understands the scientific method and sees it as a valid and powerful method for studying the natural world, I lean at this point in the direction of progressive creation. That is, that the six days of Genesis 1 are periods of time, and creation occurred over billions of years. However, I am still open to new data and new interpretations of both the Book of Scripture and the Book of Nature. I find intriguing arguments in most of the various camps from the young earthers to the theistic evolutionists, but have not found a compelling set of arguments to place me firmly at a defined position. My experience tells me that the truth of hazy things often lies somewhere between the extreme views, so I tend to gravitate there while waiting for new info.
Part of the issue goes back to my theme of agent-mechanism dichotomy. Science, as a tool of studying the natural universe is able to offer extremely limited insight on things supernatural. Therefore, I have to rely on more than science to determine if the agent of creation is God, naturalistic forces, or some other unknown force. My assessment of all the data I have, including personal experience, is that God does exist. Historical sciences like paleogeology, astronomy and evolutionary biology have the substantial limitations of not being repeatable, with no living eyewitnesses or written documents (reliable or otherwise). Thus, interpretation of the data relies on key assumptions that apparently competent professionals disagree on, largely based on whether they assume the supernatural can even exist or not. This makes definitive mechanistic determinations difficult, but not impossible.
In summary, did God do it? Yes. How? I look forward to seeing the better than blu-ray version when I reach Glory. Til then, it’s an open question.