Evolution versus Creationism
by Lewis Loflin
There are multiple theories concerning the origins of the multitude of species of life on Earth:
Creation Science: One version of this theory teaches that God created all of the species of life, from bacteria to dinosaurs to oak trees, and humans. This happened during less than a week, perhaps 6 to 10 thousand years ago. This is one of many interpretations of the creation stories in the book of Genesis in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). The correct translation isn't days, but periods of time.
Creation Science with a literal Six-Days is incompatible with the beliefs of Deism. They accept the conclusions of science that all life did not appear on earth suddenly, recently, and in more or less its present form and diversity.
They believe that the fossil record and radiometric dating show that evolution happened over an interval of about 3.5 billion years. "In Deism, Intelligent Design has absolutely nothing to do with the...Biblical myth of creation."
Naturalistic evolution: This theory suggests that the evolution of the species from the first one-celled form of life to present day humans took place over about 3.5 billion years as a result of purely natural processes, including natural selection. God was not involved in these processes. This is compatible with the beliefs of most Deists because it allows for a God who set up the world and the rest of the universe, started it up and then left.
Theistic evolution: This theory accepts most of the theory of evolution but suggests that God used evolution as a tool to guide the process towards the eventual development of humans. This is also incompatible with the beliefs of most Deists who believe that God set up a set of natural laws when he initially created the universe about 15 billion years ago.
Then God left, and hasn't been actively involved in events on Earth since that time. However, some Deists do believe that God has interfered with species evolution. For them, theistic evolution is a viable theory.
Intelligent design: This theory suggests that there are processes, organs, and designs in nature that could only have been created by an advanced intelligence -- either a deity or deities or some life form that has advanced far beyond what humans are capable of.
This designer intervened at multiple times in the history of the Earth. This is also in conflict with the beliefs of most (radical) Deists because, like theistic evolution, it is incompatible with belief in an creator God who is now absent. Radical deists often confuse Aristotle's Prime Mover with God, something moderd science has debunked.
Not included in the theory of evolution is the study of abiogenesis: the origin of life itself. Evolution only covers the origins of species that developed from the original single-celled life form. There is believed to be no consensus at this time among Deists as to whether the development of the first life from inanimate matter was an act of creation by God or a natural process without divine intervention.
Some deists believe that a Divine Creator initiated a universe in which evolution occurred, by designing the system and the natural laws, although many deists believe that God also created life itself, before allowing it to be subject to evolution. They find it to be undignified and unwieldy for a deity to make constant adjustments rather than letting evolution elegantly adapt organisms to changing environments.
The view of this website is theistic evolution.
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