2007 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Myths; Religious disputes

"Creationism" can also refer to origin beliefs in general, or to an alternative of traducianism.
"The Creation of Light" by Gustave Doré.
"The Creation of Light" by Gustave Doré.

Creationism can either refer to:

  1. the belief that humanity, life, the Earth, or the universe as a whole was specially created by a supreme being (often referred to specifically as God) or by other forms of supernatural intervention. or
  2. in other common definitions, it is referred to more precisely as the belief in a literal interpretation of specific religious works referring to God creating the universe.

This divine intervention may be seen either as an act of creation from nothing ( ex nihilo) or the (re)-emergence of order from pre-existing chaos ( demiurge). Creationism is a belief about a supernatural entity and not per se a scientific description of nature. Various forms of creationism are found; principally in religions of the Abrahamic faiths such as Christianity, and in some Dharmic faiths such as Hinduism, although such beliefs can be found in many other theistic religions. In modern usage, the term creationism has come to be specifically associated with the brand of conservative Christian fundamentalism which rejects various aspects of evolution, geology, cosmology, and other natural sciences that address the origins of the natural world.

Many who believe in a supernatural creation consider the idea to be an aspect of religious faith compatible with, or otherwise unaffected by, scientific descriptions. However, "creationism" in common usage typically connotes a religious, political, and social campaign—for instance, in education—to assert the dominance or widespread acceptance of a spiritual view of nature and of humanity's place in it. This view is in direct conflict with certain interpretations of the scientific method or naturalism that are rejected by such creationists as materialistic, secular, or even antireligious.

Those who hold creationist views reject scientific theories which they feel contradict their religious texts. Most notable is the rejection of evolution and common descent by many creationists, who, like Bishop Wilberforce find the idea of humans being "ascended from lesser creatures" offensive or blasphemous. Such creationists often also reject the current scientific consensus regarding the origin of life, origin of the human species, geologic history of the Earth, formation of the solar system, and origin of the universe. Such Creationism is also separate from, and should not be confused with the separate Christian tradition of " Creation Spirituality" which draws upon the theology of Matthew Fox.


The term creationism is most often used to describe the belief that creation occurred literally as described in the book of Genesis (for both Jews and Christians) or the Qur'an (for Muslims). The terms creationism and creationist have become particularly associated with beliefs conflicting with the theory of evolution by mechanisms acting on genetic variation. This conflict is most prevalent in the United States, where there has been sustained creation-evolution controversy in the public arena. Many who consider themselves adherents of the Abrahamic denominations, however, believe in divine creation but accept evolution by natural selection, as well as, to a greater or lesser extent, scientific explanations of the origins and development of the universe, the Earth, and life – such beliefs have been given the name " theistic evolution","evolutionary creationism" or "progressive creationism".

In a Christian context, many creationists adopt a literal interpretation of the Biblical creation narratives, and say that the Bible provides a factual account, given from the perspective of the only one who was there at the time to witness it: God. They seek to harmonize science with what they believe to be an eye-witness account of the origin of things (see Young Earth Creationism, for example). Opponents argue that this throws doubt upon scientific evidence as an empirical source for information on natural history, questioning the scientific nature of the literalistic Biblical view. Creationists take the position that neither theory is verifiable in the scientific sense, and that the scientific evidence conforms more closely to the creation model of origins than it does to the evolutionary model.

Almost all churches teach that God created the cosmos. Most contemporary Christian scholars from mainstream churches, such as Roman Catholic, Anglican and Lutheran, reject reading the Bible as though it could shed light on the physics of creation instead of the spiritual meaning of creation. The Roman Catholic Church now explicitly accepts the theory of Evolution , as do pretty well all Anglican scholars Of which Rev Dr John Polkinghorne FRS is a paradigm, arguing that evolution is one of the principles through which God created living beings. Earlier examples of this attitude include Frederick Temple, Asa Gray and Charles Kingsley who were enthusiastic supporters of Darwin's theories on publication, and the French Jesuit priest and geologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, saw evolution as confirmation of his Christian beliefs, despite condemnation from Church authorities for his more speculative theories. Another example is that of Liberal theology, which assumes that Genesis is a poetic work, and that just as human understanding of God increases gradually over time, so does the understanding of His creation. In fact, both Jews and Christians have been considering the idea of the creation history as an allegory (instead of an historical description) long before the development of Darwin's theory of evolution. Two notable examples are Saint Augustine (4th century) that, on theological grounds, argued that everything in the universe was created by God in the same instant, (and not in seven days as a plain account of Genesis would require) ; and the 1st century Jewish scholar Philo of Alexandria, who wrote that it would be a mistake to think that creation happened in six days, or in any set amount of time.

However, many believers in a literal interpretation argue that once a poetic view of the creation account in Genesis is adopted, one begins to question the historicity of other central topics of that book. Furthermore, the liberal approach suggests, sometimes outright, that Jesus as seen in the New Testament, or the writers of the Bible, had a mistaken understanding of the reliability of the Bible, and erroneously believed the book of Genesis to be literal history: a proposition that, if adopted, could have radical implications for Christian faith and the reliability of the Bible.

Political context

In the secular sense, "creationism" refers to a political doctrine which asserts the validity and superiority of a particular religiously-based origin belief over those of other belief systems, including those in particular espoused through secular or scientific rationale (see Creation-evolution controversy). The meaning of the term "creationism" depends upon the context wherein it is used, as it refers to a particular origin belief within a particular political culture.

In the United States, more so than in the rest of the world, creationism has become centered in political controversy, in particular over public education, and whether teaching evolution in science classes conflicts unfairly with the creationist worldview. Currently, the controversy has come in the form of whether advocates of the Intelligent Design movement who wish to " Teach the Controversy" in science classes have overstepped the boundaries of separation of church and state.

Creation Science is a branch of creationism that aims to reconcile modern science with a creationist worldview. Advocates of Creation Science believe that scientific evidence best supports the Biblical account of creation. The scientific status of Creation Science is disputed by most of the scientific community as pseudoscience because Creation Science begins with a desired answer and attempts to interpret all evidence to fit in with this predetermined conclusion. According to the methodological demarcation principle of the rationalistic falsificationism, justified by Karl Popper as a philosophy of science and broadly supported by scientists, scientific theories need to be falsifiable. Opponents of Creation Science see this as in direct conflict with the assumption that the literal interpretation of the Bible is absolutely true and cannot be refuted even in principle.

The most widely accepted postmodern irrationalistic philosophy of science was proposed by Thomas Kuhn and contrasts this rationalistic view. He held that only such theories are accepted (by paradigm shift) that show a superior ability to solve problems. The scientific consensus is that this is not the case for either creation science or intelligent design. Yet, Kuhn's philosophy was partly welcomed and embraced by creation science and intelligent design proponents, since it lacks universal methodological rules that could rule out their views from science. This intentional and inherent provision has been a frequent cause of attack and criticism on Kuhn's philosophy, especially by those opposing relativism. (See Relevance of The Structure of Scientific Revolutions for details.)


The history of creationism is tied to the history of religions. Creationism in the West primarily had some of its earliest roots in Judaism. For example, Abraham ibn Ezra's (c. 1089–1164) commentary on Genesis is greatly esteemed in traditional rabbinical circles and he was a creationist.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, naturalists challenged the Biblical account of creation as to be in conflict with empirical observations of natural history from scientific inquiry. Creationists consider their primary source to be the ancient Hebrew text describing creation according to Genesis. While the term creationism was not in common use before the late 19th century they see themselves as being the philosophical and religious offspring of the traditions that held that text sacred.

The biblical account of history, cosmology and natural history was believed by Jews, Christians and Muslims. But, both Jews and Christians have been considering the idea of the creation history as an allegory (instead of an historical description) long before the beginning of modern history. Most people in Europe, the Middle East and other areas of the Islamic world believed that a supreme being had existed and would exist eternally, and that everything else in existence had been created by this supreme being, known variously as God, YHWH, or Allah. This belief was based on the authority of Genesis, the Qur'an, and other ancient histories, which were held to be historically accurate and no systematic or scientific inquiry was made into the validity of the text.

Islamic scholars preserved ancient Greek texts and developed their ideas, leading to the Renaissance which brought a questioning of Biblical cosmology. With the Enlightenment a variety of scientific and philosophical movements challenged traditional viewpoints in Europe and the Americas. Natural history developed with the aim of understanding God's plan, but found contradictions, which in revolutionary France were interpreted as science supporting evolution. Elsewhere, particularly in England, clerical naturalists sought explanations compatible with interpretations of biblical texts, anticipating many later creationist arguments.

While the concept of an ancient earth became widely accepted, Charles Darwin's theory of natural selection directly challenged belief in God's immediate involvement in creating species, and in response Creationism arose as a distinct movement aiming to justify and reassert the literal accuracy of sacred texts, particularly the words of Genesis.

The history of creationism has relevance to the creation-evolution controversy. Proponents of creationism claim that it has a rich heritage grounded in ancient recorded histories and consistent with scientific observation. Opponents describe creationism's offspring, creation science and intelligent design, as pseudosciences and argue that these are reactionary movements against science.

Types of creationism

Creationism covers a spectrum of beliefs which have been categorized into the broad types listed below. As a matter of popular belief and characterizations by the media, most people labeled "creationists" are those who object to specific parts of science for religious reasons, though many (if not most) people who believe in a divine act of creation do not categorically reject those parts of science.

Young Earth creationism

The belief that the Earth was created by God within the last ten thousand years, literally as described in Genesis, within the approximate timeframe of biblical genealogies (detailed for example in the Ussher chronology). (They may or may not believe that the Universe is the same age.) It rejects not only radiometric and isochron dating of the age of the Earth, arguing that they are based on debatable assumptions, but also approaches such as ice core dating and dendrochronology. Instead, it interprets the geologic record largely as a result of a global flood. This view is held by many Protestant Christians in the USA, and by many Haredi Jews. It is also estimated that 47% of Americans hold this view, and a little under 10% of Christian colleges teach it. For Christian groups promoting this view, see the Institute for Creation Research (ICR), El Cajon, California, USA, and the Creation Research Society (CRS), Saint Joseph, Missouri, USA. Answers in Genesis (AIG) Ministries based in the Greater Cincinnati area is currently constructing the first Creation Museum.

Because Young Earth creationists believe in the literal truth of the description in Genesis of divine creation of every "kind" of plant and creature during a week about 6,000 years ago, they dispute parts of evolution (specifically Universal Common Ancestry) which describes all species developing from a common ancestor, independent of divine intervention, by random chance, over a much longer time.

Modern geocentrism

The view that God recently created a spherical world, and placed it in the centre of the universe. The Sun, planets and everything else in the universe revolve around it.

Omphalos hypothesis

The Omphalos hypothesis argues that in order for the world to be functional, God must have created the Earth with mountains and canyons, trees with growth rings, and that therefore no evidence that we can see of the presumed age of the earth and universe can be taken as reliable. The idea has seen some revival in the twentieth century by some modern creationists, who have extended the argument to light that appears to originate in far-off stars and galaxies.

Creation science

The technical arm of the creationist movement, most adherents to creation science believe that God created the Earth only recently, and the scientific evidence supports their interpretation of scripture. Various claims of these creation scientists include such ideas as creationist cosmologies which accommodate a universe on the order of thousands of years old, explanations for the fossil record as a record of the destruction of the global flood recorded in Genesis (see flood geology), and explanations for the present diversity as a result of rapid degradation of the perfect genomes God placed in " created kinds" (see creation biology).

Old Earth creationism

The view that the physical universe was created by God, but that the creation event of Genesis is not to be taken strictly literally. This group generally believes that the age of the Universe and the age of the Earth are as described by astronomers and geologists, but that details of the evolutionary theory are questionable.

Old-Earth creationism itself comes in at least three types:

Gap creationism

Also called "Restitution creationism" this is the view that life was immediately created on a pre-existing old Earth. This group generally translates Genesis 1:2 as "The earth became without form and void," indicating a destruction of the original creation by some unspecified cataclysm. This was popularized in the Scofield Reference Bible, but has little support from Hebrew scholars.

Day-age creationism

The view that the "six days" of Genesis are not ordinary twenty-four-hour days, but rather much longer periods (for instance, each "day" could be the equivalent of millions of years of modern time). This theory often states that the Hebrew word "yôm", in the context of Genesis 1, can be properly interpreted as "age." Some adherents claim we are still living in the seventh age ("seventh day").

Progressive creationism

The view that species have changed or evolved in a process continuously guided by God, with various ideas as to how the process operates (often leaving room for God's direct intervention at key moments in Earth/life's history). This view accepts most of modern physical science including the age of the earth, but rejects much of modern evolutionary biology or looks to it for evidence that evolution by natural selection alone is incorrect. This view can be, and often is, held in conjunction with other Old-earth views such as Day-age creationism or framework/metaphoric/poetic views.

Theistic evolution

Also known as "evolutionary creationism", this is the general view that, instead of faith being in opposition to biological evolution, some or all classical religious teachings about God and creation are compatible with some or all of modern scientific theories, including specifically evolution. It generally views evolution as a tool used by God, and can synthesize with gap or day-age creationism. Most adherents consider that the first chapters of Genesis should not be interpreted as a "literal" description. It can still be described as "creationism" in holding that divine intervention brought about the origin of life or that divine Laws govern formation of species, but in the creation-evolution controversy its proponents generally take the "evolutionist" side. This sentiment was expressed by Fr. George Coyne, (Vatican's chief astronomer between 1978 and 2006): America, creationism has come to mean some fundamentalistic, literal, scientific interpretation of Genesis. Judaic-Christian faith is radically creationist, but in a totally different sense. It is rooted in a belief that everything depends upon God, or better, all is a gift from God.

While supporting the methodological naturalism inherent in modern science, the proponents of theistic evolution reject the implication taken by some atheists that this gives credence to ontological materialism. In fact, many modern philosophers of science, including atheists, refer to the long standing convention in the scientific method that observable events in nature should be explained by natural causes, with the distinction that it does not assume the actual existence or non-existence of the supernatural. Among other things, it means that science does not deal with the question of the existence of a Creator, and argues neither for nor against it.

Many creationists (in the strict sense) would deny that the position is creationism at all, while on the other hand many scientists support such faiths which allow a voice to their spiritual side.


Neo-Creationists intentionally distance themselves from other forms of creationism, preferring to be known as wholly separate from creationism as a philosophy. Its goal is to restate creationism in terms more likely to be well received by the public, education policy makers and the scientific community. It aims to re-frame the debate over the origins of life in non-religious terms and without appeals to scripture, and to bring the scientific debate before the public. One of its principal claims is that ostensibly objective orthodox science is actually a dogmatically atheistic religion. Its proponents argue that the scientific method excludes certain explanations of phenomena, particularly where they point towards supernatural elements. This effectively excludes religious insight from contributing to understanding the universe. Neo-Creationists also argue that science, as an "atheistic enterprise", is at the root of many of contemporary society's ills (social unrest, family breakdown). The most recognized form of Neo-Creationism in the United States is the Intelligent Design movement. Unlike their philosophical forebears, Neo-Creationists largely do not believe in many of the traditional cornerstones of creationism such a young Earth, or in a dogmatically literal interpretation of the Bible. Common to all forms of Neo-Creationism is a rejection of naturalism, usually made together with a tacit admission of supernaturalism, and an open and often hostile opposition to what they term " Darwinism", which generally is meant to refer to evolution.

Intelligent design

Intelligent design (ID) is the concept 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." Its leading proponents, all of whom are affiliated with the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank , claim that intelligent design is a scientific theory that stands on equal footing with, or is superior to, current scientific theories regarding the origin of life.

Jewish creationism

Judaism has a continuum of views about creation, the origin of life and the role of evolution in the formation of species. The major Jewish denominations, including many Orthodox Jewish groups, accept evolutionary creationism or theistic evolution. Reform and Conservative Judaism do not take the Torah as a literal text, but rather as a symbolic or open-ended work. For Orthodox Jews who seek to reconcile discrepancies between science and the Bible, the notion that science and the Bible should even be reconciled through traditional scientific means is questioned. To these groups, science is as true as the Torah and if there seems to be a problem, our own epistemological limits are to blame for any apparent irreconcilable point. They point to various discrepancies between what is expected and what actually is to demonstrate that things are not always as they appear. They point out to the fact that the even root word for "world" in the Hebrew language — עולם (oh•luhm) — means hidden. Just as they believe God created man and trees and the light on its way from the stars in their adult state, so too can they believe that the world was created in its "adult" state, with the understanding that there are, and can be, no physical ways to verify this. This belief has been advanced by Rabbi Dr. Dovid Gottlieb, former philosophy professor at Johns Hopkins University. Also, relatively old Kabbalistic sources from well before the scientifically apparent age of the universe was first determined are in close concord with modern scientific estimates of the age of the universe, according to Rabbi Aryeh Kaplan. Other interesting parallels are brought down from, among other sources, Nachmanides, who expounds that there was a Neanderthal-like species with which Adam mated (he did this long before Neanderthals had even been discovered scientifically).

Christian God as absolute origin

Nearly all denominations of Christianity assert that God is the origin, the first cause. The Roman Catholic Church holds as an unchangeable tenet of Christian faith, that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth". Here, creation is described as an absolute beginning, which includes the assertion that the very existence of the universe is contingent upon a necessary higher being, God, who is not Himself created. Therefore the doctrine of biblical creation places the knowledge of God central in the pursuit of the knowledge of anything, for everything comes from God. Nevertheless, this view does not mandate the concept of separate human creation; it says nothing about the mechanism by which any thing was created.

Prevalence of creationism

United States

Creationist car in Athens, Georgia
Creationist car in Athens, Georgia

According to a 2006 Gallup poll, about 46% of Americans believe in strict creationism, concurring with the statement that "God created man pretty much in his present form at one time within the last 10,000 years," and 36% believe that God guided the process of evolution. Only 13% believe that humans evolved over millions of years, without any supernatural intervention. Belief in creationism is inversely correlated to education; of those with post-graduate degrees, only 22% believe in strict creationism.

In 1987, Newsweek reported: "By one count there are some 700 scientists with respectable academic credentials (out of a total of 480,000 U.S. earth and life scientists) who ascribed to Biblically literal creationism."

In 2000, a poll by the left wing think-tank People for the American Way estimated that:

20% of Americans believe public schools should teach evolution only;
17% of Americans believe that only evolution should be taught in science classes — religious explanations should be taught in another class;
29% of Americans believe that Creationism should be discussed in science class as a 'belief,' not a scientific theory;
13% of Americans believe that Creationism and evolution should be taught as 'scientific theories' in science class;
16% of Americans believe that only Creationism should be taught;

According to a study published in Science, between 1985 and 2005 the number of adult Americans who accept evolution declined from 45 to 40%, the number of adults who reject evolution declined from 48 to 39% and the number of people who were unsure increased from 7% to 21%. Besides the United States the study also compared data from 32 European countries (including Turkey) and Japan. The only country where acceptance of evolution was lower than in the United States was Turkey (25%). (See the chart)

Less-direct anecdotal evidence of the popularity of creationism is reflected in the response of IMAX theaters to the availability of Volcanoes of the Deep Sea, an IMAX film which makes a connection between human DNA and microbes inside undersea volcanoes. The film's distributor reported that the only U.S. states with theaters which chose not to show the film were Texas, Georgia, North Carolina, and South Carolina:

We've got to pick a film that's going to sell in our area. If it's not going to sell, we're not going to take it," said the director of an IMAX theatre in Charleston that is not showing the movie. "Many people here believe in creationism, not evolution."

The western world outside the United States

Most vocal creationists are from the United States, and creationist views are much less common elsewhere in the western world.

According to a PBS documentary on evolution, Australian Young Earth Creationists claimed that “five percent of the Australian population now believe that Earth is thousands, rather than billions, of years old.” The documentary further states that “Australia is a particular stronghold of the creationist movement.” Taking these claims at face value, Young Earth Creationism is very much a minority position in Western countries.

In Europe, creationism is a less well-defined phenomenon, and regular polls are not available. However, evolution is taught as scientific fact in most schools. In countries with a Roman Catholic majority, papal acceptance of evolution as worthy of study has essentially ended debate on the matter for many people. In the United Kingdom the Emmanuel Schools Foundation (previously the Vardy Foundation), which runs three government-funded 13 to 19 schools in the north of England (out of several thousand in the country) and plans to open several more, teaches that creationism and evolution are equally valid “faith positions”. One exam board (OCR) also specifically mentions and deals with creationism in its biology syllabus . However, this deals with it as a historical belief and addresses hostility towards evolution rather than promoting it as an alternative to naturalistic evolution. Mainstream scientific accounts are still expressed as fact. In Italy, former prime minister Silvio Berlusconi wanted to retire evolution from schools in the middle level; after one week of massive protests, he reversed his opinion..

According to a study published in Science, a survey over the United States, Japan and Europe showed that public acceptance of evolution is most prevalent in Iceland, Denmark and Sweden at 80% of the population. (See the chart)

Of particular note for Eastern Europe, Serbia suspended the teaching of evolution for one week in 2004, under education minister Ljiljana Čolić, only allowing schools to reintroduce evolution into the curriculum if they also taught creationism. "After a deluge of protest from scientists, teachers and opposition parties" says the BBC report, Čolić's deputy made the statement, "I have come here to confirm Charles Darwin is still alive" and announced that the decision was reversed. Čolić resigned after the government said that she had caused “problems that had started to reflect on the work of the entire government.”

In the United Kingdom a 2006 poll on the “origin and development of life” asked participants to choose between three different perspectives on the origin of life: 22% chose creationism, 17% opted for intelligent design, 48% selected evolution theory and the rest did not know. The poll had the effect of reinforcing a culture war false dichotomy on the subject in an attempt by the news organization to demonstrate the extent of the controversy. As the poll lacked nuanced survey techniques and equivocated on origin definitions as well as forced participants to make choices as though there were only three options, its results do not necessarily indicate the views of the general public concerning mainstream science or religious alternatives.

Criticism of creationism

Scientific critique of creationism

Since the origins of modern geology in the 18th and 19th centuries, forms of creationism have become increasingly separated from mainstream science. As modern science called into question the literal interpretations of biblical account of creation in Genesis, creationists (especially Young Earth creationists) began to actively oppose the scientific consensus on questions of origins.

There is a fundamental difference between the scientific approach to explaining the natural world and the creationist approach. The scientific approach uses the scientific method as a means of discovering information about nature. Scientists use observations, hypotheses and deductions to propose explanations for natural phenomena in the form of scientific theories. Predictions from these theories are tested by experiment. If a prediction turns out to be correct, the theory survives. This is a meritocratic form of systematic enquiry, where the best ideas supported by evidence and positive experimental results survive. In principle, the scientific method does not seek answers that fit a certain pre-determined conclusion, but rather works to construct viable, testable, and provable theories based on a solid evidential foundation. The evidential foundation therefore precludes any reference to revelation.

Creationism, on the other hand, works by taking theologically conservative interpretations of scripture as the primary or only source of information about origins. Creationists believe that since the Creator created everything and also revealed scriptures, the scriptures have pre-eminence as a kind of evidence. Consistency with their interpretations of scripture is the measure by which they judge all other evidence. They then accept or reject scientific accounts based on whether or not they agree with their beliefs, discounting that which contradicts their understanding of scriptural revelation. This perspective can be seen as a type of luddism or anti-modernism since any seemingly opposing ideas are either ignored or dismissed. Those who oppose creationism point out that such positions are fundamentally unscientific and a hallmark of pseudoscience. Additionally, aspects of the scriptures which are not subject to scientific examination are not considered as reliable evidence to scientists.

Certain adherents to creationism have declared that there exist versions of creationism (namely creation science) that are based on the scientific method. It was such claims that were the basis for the legal arguments that creationism deserved equal-time in the science classroom. Skeptical critics charge that creation science is not a theory that has come about through a systematic and scientific accumulation of evidence. It is predominantly based on the assumption of a literal interpretation of religious scripture and the emphasis of the authority of scripture over other sources of knowledge is evident in creation science literature.

All scientific theories are falsifiable; that is, if evidence that contradicts any given theory comes to light, or if the theory is proven to no longer fit with the evidence, the theory itself is shown to be invalid and is either modified to be consistent with all the evidence or is discarded. Scientific theories can be (and often are) found to be incorrect or incomplete. Since creationism rests on an article of faith, its construction assumes that the narrative accounts of origins can never be shown falsified, no matter how strong the evidence is to the contrary.

Evolutionary modern synthesis is the theory that fits all known biological and genetic evidence while being backed up by overwhelming evidence in the fossil record. Contrary to frequent claims by many opponents of the theory of evolution, transitional fossils exist which show a gradual change from one species to another. Moreover, evolutionary selection has been observed in living species (for a macroscopic instance, “tuskless elephants,” see elephant).

In the last ten years, DNA analysis techniques applied to many organisms have demonstrated the genetic relationship between all forms of known life (humans share 50% of their DNA with yeast, 96% with chimpanzees). Even if the theory of evolution was disproved, this would not imply separate human creation, which is the main feature of creationism in the Abrahamic religions. It is exclusively in the public sphere, where young Earth creationists (especially in the U.S.) have fought for recognition of their world view, that the debate about creationism and evolution continues.

The Christian critique of creationism

In "Intelligent Design as a Theological Problem", George Murphy argues against the common view that life on Earth in all its forms is direct evidence of God's act of creation (Murphy quotes Phillip Johnson's claim that he is speaking "of a God who acted openly and left his fingerprints on all the evidence."). Murphy argues that this view of God is incompatible with the Christian understanding of God as "the one revealed in the cross and resurrection of Jesus." The basis of this theology is Isaiah 45:15, "Truly, thou art a God who hidest thyself, O God of Israel, the Savior." This verse inspired Blaise Pascal to write, "What meets our eyes denotes neither a total absence nor a manifest presence of the divine, but the presence of a God who conceals himself." In the Heidelberg Disputation, Martin Luther referred to the same Biblical verse to propose his "theology of the cross": "That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things which have actually happened ... He deserves to be called a theologian, however, who comprehends the visible and manifest things of God seen through suffering and the cross."

Luther opposes his theology of the cross to what he called the " theology of glory":

A theologian of glory does not recognize, along with the Apostle, the crucified and hidden God alone [I Cor. 2:2]. He sees and speaks of God's glorious manifestation among the heathen, how his invisible nature can be known from the things which are visible [Cf. Rom. 1:20] and how he is present and powerful in all things everywhere.

For Murphy, Creationists are modern-day theologians of glory. Following Luther, Murphy argues that a true Christian cannot discover God from clues in creation, but only from the crucified Christ.

Murphy observes that the execution of a Jewish carpenter by Roman authorities is in and of itself an ordinary event and did not require Divine action. On the contrary, for the crucifixion to occur, God had to limit or "empty" Himself. It was for this reason that Paul wrote, in Philippians 2:5-8,

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

Murphy concludes that,

Just as the son of God limited himself by taking human form and dying on the cross, God limits divine action in the world to be in accord with rational laws God has chosen. This enables us to understand the world on its own terms, but it also means that natural processes hide God from scientific observation.

For Murphy, a theology of the cross requires that Christians accept a methodological naturalism, meaning that one cannot invoke God to explain natural phenomena, while recognizing that such acceptance does not require one to accept a metaphysical naturalism, which proposes that nature is all that there is.

In March 2006, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, the leader of the world's Anglicans, reported that he was opposed to teaching creationism in schools. "My worry is creationism can end up reducing the doctrine of creation rather than enhancing it," Williams explained. Archbishop Williams also explained that creationism was "a kind of category mistake, as if the Bible were a theory like other theories." Williams's position is in line with that of the Episcopal Church, the American branch of the Anglican Communion.

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