Stephen E. Jones

My Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): Introduction:
Positions on the Creation-Evolution spectrum

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FAQ: INTRODUCTION: POSITIONS ON THE CREATION-EVOLUTION SPECTRUM
 

Q. What is your understanding of the various positions on the Creation-Evolution spectrum?

The table below summarises my understanding of the various positions in the Creation-Evolution debate and their relationship to each other.
 
As can be seen, the defining characteristics are primarily the degree to which it is held there has been supernatural intervention by God in natural history, and secondarily the age of the Universe and Earth.
 
Note that this is only in respect of natural history. A Christian theistic evolutionist would accept that God has supernaturally intervened in salvation history, i.e. at least some of the redemptive miracles in the Bible.
 
There are many permutations and combinations of these positions that an individual might hold. For example, a Christian could be a fully naturalistic evolutionist but hold that God supernaturally intervened to create Adam and Eve only.
 
My personal position in the table below is Progressive Creation, specifically Progressive (Mediate) Creation.
 

POSITION

DESCRIPTION

Naturalistic evolution (NE)

Universe and life originated and developed fully naturally, with God playing no part. Universe and Earth billions of years old. Includes Materialist, Idealist and Dualist versions of Naturalism.

Deistic evolution (DE)

Universe created by God. Thereafter, life originated and developed fully naturally, with God playing no part. Also referred to as Theistic Evolution (TE) or Evolutionary Creation (EC). Age as per NE.

Theistic evolution (TE)

As per Deistic Evolution (DE), except that God supernaturally intervened in the origin of life and/or the origin of humans. Age as per NE and DE.

Old-Earth Creation (OEC)/
Progressive Creation(PC)

As per DE and TE, in God creating the universe, with emphasis on it being immediate (i.e. ex nihilo - from out-of-nothing). As per TE, God supernaturally intervened in the origin of life and also the origin of humans, but also progressively in the origin of life's major groups. This supernatural intervention may have been immediate (i.e. ex nihilo) or mediate (i.e. through the use of existing materials and natural processes). Age as per NE, DE and TE, i.e. Old-Earth Creation (OEC).

Note that one could hold an Old-Earth/Young Adam position, i.e. believe that the Earth was billions of years old, and also believe that man was comparatively young - of the order of tens of thousands of Therefore the 1991 Gallup poll finding that "45% of [American] respondents chose `God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so,' [my emphasis] the statement that most closely describes biblical creationism," probably includes many (if not most) OEC/PCs, especially since the only alternatives were versions of "evolution".

Fiat Creation (FC)/
Young-Earth Creation (YEC)

As per OEC/PC, except that all `basic kinds' were created ex nihilo by God as whole organisms, and the Earth (and usually the Universe) are only of the order of thousands of years old.

References:

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Created: 7 February, 2001. Updated: 10 August, 2003.

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