Friday, 14 October 2011

Creation Beliefs Update

Back in February of 2010 I attempted to group together and classify the many creation beliefs that are found in Christianity. I thought I had covered all of the stand out beliefs, but now I need to update it. The original attempt can be seen here and still seems to stand up, though naturally it has some issues (and should not be taken as a prediction of origins).

A few months ago I stumbled across a blog which discussed a different view of creation, one which has its roots in gap theory (1.2.1 in my scheme) yet accepts evolution (putting it in 2.2). Perhaps I could formulate a complementary scheme which takes origins of views into account, but for now I will explain what this belief claims and how it fits into my current taxonomy.

I found this unusual view on Greg Boyd's blog for Christus Victor Ministries. It takes seriously the palaeontological evidence for extinction throughout the history of life yet tries to stick to a literal reading of Genesis creation. It is quite inventive, to say the least. Like other gap theorists, they see a gap between verse 1 and 2, but they additionally claim that nature was corrupted by demonic powers during this time. Elsewhere in the Bible, when creation is mentioned, some warfare symbolism can be seen and evolutionary gap theorists claim that this fits in between verses 1 and 2, a gap which also contains the creation and fall of angels. Then there was a cataclysmic judgement and a recreation (for which this view departs from the evidence).

It goes further than that, well into some fantastical scenarios. Ralph Winters claims that God set angels to oversee creation, angels which were also in training, which explains why it took so long. Some of these angels rebelled during the Cambrian period, hence why we have predation. Winters also goes on to claim that the rest of Genesis 1 is from the perspective of someone on Earth, though this appears to be a difference between him and Boyd and is not integral to their beliefs.

For more on evolution as cosmic conflict and modified/evolutionary gap theory, see these blog posts, as I cannot do justice to a view I know so little about:

So in my previous taxonomy this is clearly part of group 2.2 Christian Evolutionism, as it accepts evolution in the history of life. It seems to fit somewhere in or around 2.2.1 Weak Theistic Evolution, as it clings to a literalistic Genesis, even though it is still rather loose with it. I get the feeling that if I investigate more evangelical approaches to evolution, that 2.2.1 will develop its own subdivisions, within which this view, which I will keep calling Evolutionary Gap Theory, will fit.

It is not a view I buy at all, but I found it interesting nonetheless. It is a step up from a lot of the other creation views, but it does not accommodate the scientific evidence sufficiently. It seems the sort of view which would only be persuasive to theologians and evangelicals who have no proper grasp of evolution. But as I said, it is a step up at least.

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