Why Creationism Isn't True Science
Before anyone gets me wrong…
I just know that there’s going to be at least one person who reads this Hub’s title and pegs me for a disgruntled “reddit atheist” with an axe to grind—here to destroy everyone else’s religion. Let me assure you: you couldn’t be more wrong.
I am a Christian. I believe that the Bible is the Word of God and the only perfect rule for faith, doctrine, and conduct. I also believe that our salvation comes through Jesus Christ—fully man and fully God—who was born of a virgin, died for the sins of mankind, and rose again, conquering death. I believe there is no other name in heaven or on Earth by which we are saved.
"But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect."
1 Peter 3:15
In fact, it’s because I believe the Bible is the Word of God that when I read 1 Peter 3:15, which states, “…always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have,” I believe that we as Christians have a responsibility to answer truthfully as to why we believe what we believe. If we truly believe God made this vast and beautifully intricate universe and the skies themselves proclaim the work of his hands (Psalm 19:1), we should not need to twist fact or be deceptive in answering for our faith.
After all, a question that isn’t answered truthfully remains unanswered.
So here I am, gently and respectfully submitting that some of my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ are, intentionally or not, deceiving themselves and others by proclaiming that Creationism is a scientific theory and even more so by touting as “scientific fact” what is meant to be taken by faith.
A poor start indeed…scientifically speaking.
Perhaps the most noticeable way in which science differs from creationism is the way in which conclusions are reached—our “starting points”, if you will.
If a scientist is properly following the scientific method, he will make a hypothesis (or an educated guess), gather data from experiments which test said hypothesis, and form from that evidence a final verdict. In other words, a conclusion isn’t reached until there is hard data which either proves it or provides a reasonable basis for why the conclusion can be inferred.
Creationism, on the other hand, operates entirely backwards of this process. Regardless of the reasons and personal evidences we have for believing that the Bible is God’s Word, it is because we believe that His Word is true that we believe that God created the heavens and the earth. From the creationist viewpoint, people start with this conclusion and then proceed to evidence this belief. That isn’t the order of the scientific method. In fact, some have even willfully left out facts and skewed data in the name of “proving” God.
This isn’t to say that our position is untrue simply because our faith in the reliability of the Bible isn’t placed on a strictly scientific basis. Something doesn’t need to qualify as proper science to be true. Consider most philosophy, ultimate purpose, love—most people would heartily agree that there is real and applicable truth these even though science can do nothing to “prove” any of them!
But this doesn’t exempt us of being real about what is scientific and what is not.
Claiming the unprovable (and undisprovable)...
More big problems with creationism’s scientific validity are its claims regarding God.
When we familiarize ourselves with scripture, there are a few things that we come to realize about God—certain Diving qualities that we can think of as “God properties”:
- God is eternal. God came before and will be after. Time is merely a construct He created; and He is not bound by it as we are.
- God is transcendent. Because God created the universe and existed even before it, His Being is not dependent on matter, energy, or space (at least not space as we understand it).
- God is the only God. God’s word makes it clear that there are no other gods but God. Though tripartite in nature, He is One.
- God can intervene miraculously. God doesn’t have to act in accordance with the laws of nature here in this physical universe. He can intervene miraculously, acting in ways we cannot fathom on account of His being omniscient and omnipotent.
- God is the ultimate causal factor. Nothing came into being except through God. He is the First—the “Causeless Cause” by which all else came. He created the heavens, the earth, and all that is in them.
By claiming that God created the universe and everything in it, we are (by extension) claiming that God exists—and not just any god, the One God, who meets the criteria above and many, many more.
This makes the position of creationism very different from, say, Intelligent Design Theory and Neo-Darwinian Evolutionary Theory: neither Intelligent Design theory nor Neo-Darwinian Evolutionary claim the definite existence of a deity (but neither can they rule God's existence out).
And when we claim that creationism is scientific, we are also (by extension) claiming we can authoritatively say that science reveals God’s existence.
The problem is that science, by definition, is incapable of conclusively determining God’s existence, even though it isn’t inherently naturalistic. Granted, we can find scientific evidence to support the existence of a god (or gods), but there is no way to conclusively say that it evidences the existence of any specific god (or gods). Remember, we as Christians aren’t just claiming the existence of any god or gods; we’re claiming the supreme authority of the everlasting Yahweh God!
We can’t observe, quantify, or test spiritual or supernatural forces—not in the way that we can test chemical reactions or interactions of matter and energy. This is because we as humans are limited in what we can perceive, quantify, and test.
So when push comes to shove, there is no objective way to say that science is solely responsible for our belief in God, who fulfills (among others) the qualities above. Our belief stems from our faith the truthfulness of God’s Word. We can find scientific evidence that supports our faith, but this scientific evidence is not the source of our faith, and neither can we scientifically prove that our evidence is indicative of our God (as opposed to just any god).
Failing the test of falsifiability...
Perhaps the greatest factor that prevents creationism from being considered a valid scientific theory is because it fails the test of falsifiability. That is, there is no known way that the claim could possibly be shown to be false from the study of things we can observe and test.
Why is that a problem? If something has no inherent capability of being falsified, then essentially the premise is supposed to be true and everyone else just has to take the word of the one making the claim! Anything goes!
Because the God we claim exists is transcendent, eternal, self-sustaining, omnipotent, and omniscient, there’s no way that any scientific counter-claim could be made against His existence. In fact, we’d have to treat God’s existence as a scientific law of reality by assumption.
Keep in mind that a theory is not a description of how something definitively works or why it is; a theory is man’s best explanation for how it works or why it is, based on evidence. Being that men are fallible creatures with limited understanding, we cannot ignore the human possibility for error or misinterpretation of evidence when we deem something a “scientific theory”.
"Many experiments may prove me right, but it takes only one to prove me wrong."
- Albert Einstein
When we claim that God didn’t possibly to create the universe but that He definitely did, we’re also indirectly claiming that we aren’t wrong (because we have faith that God’s Word is true, and God is not fallible). We're not claiming a likely explanation (i.e. a theory); we're claiming a reality.
And again, just because something isn’t falsifiable (and therefore isn’t scientific) doesn’t mean it can’t be true. In fact, there are even claims made by scientists that many others would agree are unfalsifiable because they either cannot be definitively tested or are unobservable—like “M-theory” (String Theory) or the claim of a “multiverse”!
I really don’t see why it is that some Christians truly desire creationism to be considered a valid scientific theory when theories still have the possibility for error.
I don’t know about you, but I don’t believe that it’s a mere possibility or even a likelihood that Jesus, our savior and redeemer, was the Son of God—the God that spoke all of creation into being. I believe it is a certainty. I don’t believe that there’s a chance that Jesus’ death and resurrection occurred. I believe they happened.
Truth will out!
As Christians we needn’t be discouraged that there’s no easy scientific assurance of God’s Being or that He alone created this universe. It is by faith that we know these things are true.
I believe the attempts of some Christians to make God into something that we can “prove” or be assured of because of some wealth of scientific evidence are really their attempts to do away with their own need for faith—faith in what we cannot fully understand, cannot fully explain in a purely rational manner, and cannot contain in some neat mathematical proof!
Consider what God’s Word tells us in Hebrews, chapter 11, verse 6:
“And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that He exists and that He rewards those who seek Him.”