Some Thoughts on the Book “What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?” (Post #3) CREATIONISM and SCIENTISM!

06 Feb

There are certain beliefs which many Christians hold. And they shouldn’t, according to United Methodist minister Martin Thielen in his book What’s the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian?  Divided into two sections, Part 1 lists “Ten Things Christians Don’t Need to Believe” and Part 2 is entitled “Ten Things Christians Do Need to Believe.” Let’s think about the third belief Christians don’t need to believe.

3. True Christians Can’t Believe in Evolution: Thielen subtitles this chapter “Science and faith are fully compatible,and theistic evolution is a perfectly acceptable Christian belief.”

Thielen reviews scientific creationism, and challenges the most popular version which is called young earth creationism.  That view argues that “evolution is a myth, a lie, and an enemy of faith” (p. 15).  The author suggests that young earth creationism suffers from several major problems regarding science.  “It denies virtually every branch of modern science, including physics, chemistry, cosmology, geology, anthropology, genetics, and biology.” (p. 16).

This view also has biblical problems, he says.  Because the Bible is not a scientific textbook, it was written in a prescientific age.  Genesis, Thielen says, has two creation stories which cannot be reconciled.  The Bible doesn’t care about scientific details of creation, but more important issues like God, faith, meaning, love, justice, ethics, and hope.  In short, a young earth view “forces people to make an either/or choice between science and faith, a totally unnecessary choice.”

Therefore, Thielen advocates theistic evolution as the means by which God created the universe.  He believes that theistic evolution allows a Christian to affirm both science and the Bible.

MY RESPONSE:  Of course this is a controversial issue.  I too affirm the possible views of both young earth creationists as well as old earth creationists [Is God effectively lying to us in the geological record?, some might ask].  While it is true that the Bible is not a scientific textbook, the issue is can we trust the Bible in what it affirms?  Thielen says the Bible is concerned about “issues like God, faith, meaning, love, justice, ethics, and hope.”  but what about truth? Genesis 1-11 appears to present itself as historical fact.  There are major theological issues if the historicity of Adam and Eve are rejected.  And God Himself, the Lord Jesus Christ, affirmed the creation account as well as the existence of that first couple.

In the final analysis, I believe it will be shown that there is no final conflict between what true science affirms and what the Word of God truly affirms.  The problem (often) is scientism, a view that teaches that only the scientific method can discover truth and that materialism allows no room for God.  Some secular scientists openly admit that any form of creationism is out of bounds and that any hint of intelligent design is foolish thinking.

[T]he Christian worldview has the ability to embrace natural explanations without rejecting the supernatural ones out of hand. An over-reliance on science (often described as “scientism”) causes us to reject anything supernatural before we even begin to investigate an explanation. Which of these two approaches is most prejudicial?

Here’s a great interview with the philosopher J.P. Moreland on “Scientism and Secularism.”  “The idea that knowledge, and of course reality is limited to the world of natural science is the single most destructive idea on the stage of life today.” (Dallas Willard).


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Posted by on February 6, 2019 in beliefs


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