I hardly consider myself a theistic evolutionist, but I won’t call myself a creationist either. I think making the topic of creation the article on which the Church stands or falls is a bit dramatic. I think Fundamentalists have done a great discredit to 6-day creation because they have held to it and defended it as if that is what makes one a Christian. I wouldn’t doubt St. Augustine’s confession of faith at all yet in his commentary on the Book of Genesis, he writes:
“Above all, let us remember, as I have tried in many ways to show, that God does not work under the limits of time by motions of body and soul, as do men and angels, but by the eternal, unchangeable, and fixed exemplars of His coeternal Word and by a kind of brooding action of His equally coeternal Holy Spirit. . . Hence, we must not think of the matter in a human way, as if the utterances of God were subject to time throughout the various days of God’s works. . .
“In matters that are obscure and far beyond our vision, even in such as we may find treated in Holy Scripture, different Interpretations are sometimes possible without prejudice to the faith we have received. In such a case, we should not rush in headlong and so firmly take our stand on one side that, if further progress in the search of truth justly undermines this position, we too fall with it. That would be to battle not for the teaching of Holy Scripture but for our own, wishing its teaching to conform to ours, whereas we ought to wish ours to conform to that of Sacred Scripture.”
Furthermore, the Venerable Bede writes:
Neither was heaven created in any six-day period and the stars illuminated and the dry land separated from the water and the trees and vegetation planted. Rather, Scripture customarily uses “day” to denote an unspecified period of time, as the apostle did when he said, “Behold, this is the day of salvation.” He was not referring to a particular day but to the entirety of the time of the present life in which we labor for eternal salvation. The prophet also spoke not of one specific day but of numerous moments of divine grace, saying, “In that day, the deaf will hear the words of this book.” Moreover, it is difficult to understand how in one day God made heaven and earth and all the brush of the field and every plant of every region, unless we say that all creatures were created simultaneously in formless matter, according to which it is written, “He who lives forever created all things together.”
I wouldn’t doubt the salvation of either of these men despite the fact that they wouldn’t meet Fundamentalist criteria for what it means to be a Christian.
Here also, I have a excerpt from a very interesting article I read that had been posted even before the Nye-Ham debate:
“As a matter of fact, we may even have lost our sanity. A peculiar kind of madness lies in this narrowing of reason to what we can measure and manipulate; William Blake called it “Newton’s sleep”, and for C.S. Lewis it was exemplified in the figure of Professor Weston in the Space Trilogy. This is the madness that comes from trying to understand the universe without attributing to it any meaning–other than what we can give it by subordinating it by force to our own ends and purposes. That is what happens when we take seriously Sir Francis Bacon’s aphorism that “Knowledge is power”, or Marx’s that “up to now philosophers have only interpreted the world, the point is to change it.””
The important thing to take away from this excerpt is namely that the attempt to define truth in a series of measured and manipulated categories is essentially materialistic. Fundamentalism has completely boughten into the materialistic mind set and uses creationism (as an ism) as a method to refute evolutionism. The issue I have is that they are both operating from materialistic principles where truth is measured within the confines of those principles, and if it can’t be then it’s not true. Like the evolutionist, the creationist is just as convinced that his or her position is true, ergo there must be hard evidence for them to find to prove it (though, don’t mention anything about taking the Words of Institution or Holy Baptism literally, that’ll get your Fundamentalist membership revoked).
Keep in mind, the Western Church knew that the earth was round and there was plenty of scientific thought to indicate that the earth was not the center of the universe; however, the teaching that the earth is the center of the universe was maintained because it is consistent with truth, not facts. Here I invoke the medieval concept of the spheres and leave it at that.
To conclude my rather long (and possibly incoherent) comment on the matter I would like to caution everyone who thinks that they have to “beat the secularists” by out-“facting” them in a scientific debate. Please consider what the implications are of this approach to scientific and philosophical dialogue. We live in a day and time that is dominated by philosophies of which we are often completely unaware. Until we are able to address these first principles of philosophy and techne, we are unable to have a profitable discussion of craft and science.