Sunday, April 26, 2015

The Great Schism(s)

For centuries, there has been a divide between religion, particularly Christianity, and science. Religion is very closely tied to Creationism, the ideology that asserts that life and the universe originated from a divine act performed by a divine being known as God. The opposite side subscribes to the scientific method, asserting there must be some sort of sufficient evidence to make any conclusions as to the creation of the universe or life. These differing ideas caused a rift between religion and science. However, in more recent decades the divide between the two has lessened with the rise of new ideas, such as Old Earth Creationism, that tries to bridge the gap.

Creationism is divided into two main belief systems: Old Earth Creationism and Young Earth Creationism. While there are differences between the two systems, for instance how much they accept scientific fact, they agree that there is some sort of divine intervention in the formation of the universe and the creation of life. The extent of divine intervention depends on the branch you choose. The major difference between Young and Old Earth Creationism is how they interpret the Bible. While Young Earth Creationism tends to interpret the Bible very literally, believing that the universe was created by God in a mere seven days, Old Earth Creationism does not believe in its literal interpretation. “A major problem [Old Earth Creationists] have with the literal interpretation of the Bible is that it does not fit the current scientific evidence” (Hitt). While the two different branches agree that there is divine intervention involved in the creation of everything, Old Earth Creationism recognizes the importance of science and empirical proof. Old Earth Creationism, unlike Young Earth Creationism, will not denounce findings or advancements in scientific knowledge. Instead, they try to incorporate these scientific discoveries within their beliefs. In recognizing science and its discoveries and evidence, Old Earth Creationists seem to be more of a bridge between science and religion.

Two branches of Old Earth Creationism are Gap Creationism and Day-Age Creationism. While the Bible writes that the universe was created over the course of seven days, Day-Age Creationists assert that every day described in the Bible is actually an indefinite amount of time, like an era of sorts. So one day could have been the paleontological era and each proceeding day was another era following that, leading up to the creation of man. Gap Creationism describes the creation of the universe as a cycle of creation followed by long periods of stability, cycling until humans were created.

Young Earth Creationism is closely tied to creation science and the claim that the Earth and the universe are six thousand years old. Young Earth Creationists assert that creation and evolution are both similar because they are events that cannot be tested and therefore cannot be proved or disproved. For Young Earth Creationists, the creation of the universe took six days and God rested on the seventh. Also, all humans are descendants of the creation of the first man and woman, Adam and Eve.

This dichotomy between Young and Old Earth Creationism greatly exemplifies the differing levels of faith within the church and Creationists in general. While on the one hand it appears that the gap between science and religion may be closing to a certain extent, it is still evident by the Young Earth Creationist ideology that the bridge may never be fully crossed and that science and religion will be forever divided.


Evolution Vs. Creationism: An Introduction by Eugenie Carol Scott
“Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design”
“The Evolution of Creationism in America” by Austin M. Hitt
“What is Wrong with Intelligent Design” by Elliott Sober
“Creationism and Evolution Beliefs Among College Students” by Ralph M. Barnes, Lesleh E. Keilholtz, Audrey L. Alberstadt
- Andrew Afable