Despite what people may believe, there are really only two worldviews that exist: one with God and one without God. Here are some helpful definitions of terms explaining the difference between the two. Defining words is always entirely helpful and these can really help make it easier to get at truth when you speak with someone who does not share your worldview.
Worldview – the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world; a collection of beliefs about life and the universe held by an individual or a group
<>< THE CREATION WORLDVIEW
The consistent biblical creationist is one whose worldview is based on the Bible; this is his or her ultimate standard. As such, the creationist believes that an all-powerful [Mat 19:26], all-knowing [Col 2:3], triune [Isa 45:5; John 8:18] God created the universe in six ordinary days [Exo 20:11] thousands, not billions, of years ago (based on genealogies such as Genesis 5:4-32). Today, God upholds the universe by His sustaining power [Heb 1:3] in a logical and consistent way that we call the “laws of nature” or “laws of science” [Jer 33:25]. The method by which God created the universe is not the same method by which He sustains it; God ended His work of creation by the seventh day [Gen 2:2]. The world was a paradise when it was first created [Gen 1:31; Deu 32:4]. The first man (Adam) was given charge over all creation [Gen 1:28, 2:15]. Adam rebelled against the Lord [Gen 3:6]. As a result, God cursed His creation [Gen 3:14-19], which is why we now have death and suffering in the world [Rom 5:12, 8:21-22]. Since all humans today are descended from Adam [Acts 17:26], we all have a sin nature, and we too rebel against God – disobeying His commandments. Like Adam, we deserve death and eternal separation from God. In Christian theology, this is why God became a man [John 1:1, 14] and died on a cross. Jesus took our place as an act of mercy and has offered forgiveness for all who receive Him as Lord [Rom 10:9-10]. God had created the original animals and plants “after their kind” [Gen 1:11, 21, 25], indicating that there are discrete barriers between basic animal and plant kinds, but that there can be variation within. The animals and plants we observe today are all variations of the original kinds (though some kinds have gone extinct). Natural selection happens … animals and plants can adapt somewhat to their environment. However, the processes involved never increase the information in the DNA and thus never result in a new kind of organism. God once flooded the entire earth in response to man’s wickedness [Gen 5:5-7, 17] but spared a few people in response to Noah’s obedience [Gen 5:9, 18] and preserved them and the animal kinds by an ark [Gen 6:19]. Creationists believe that most of the fossils found on earth today are a result of this global Flood. This is only a very brief summary of the creationist position. For those unfamiliar with the above concepts, I highly recommend The New Answers Book (volume 1 and 2).
Biblical Creation – the supernatural events, occurring over 6 approximately 24-hour days, described in Genesis 1 and 2, by which God caused the formation of the heaven and earth and everything in them
Created Kind (baramin) – the original organisms (and their descendants) created supernaturally by God as described in Genesis 1; these organisms reproduce only their own kind within the limits of preprogrammed information, but with great variation
Catastrophism – the doctrine that changes in the geologic record are a result of physical processes operating at rates that are dramatically higher than are observed today
Catastrophic Model of Plate Tectonics – based on rapid movement of the plates associated with Noah’s flood
Operational (observational) Science – a systematic approach to understanding that uses observable, testable, repeatable and falsifiable experimentation to understand how nature commonly behaves
Operational Theory – an explanation of a set of facts based on a broad set of repeatable and testable observations that is generally accepted within a group of scientists
Anthropic Principle – life in our universe requires physical constants, laws and properties that fall within certain narrow ranges; the universe appears designed to support life
<,>,< THE EVOLUTION WORLDVIEW
Unfortunately, there is no single “evolution worldview” to summarize. Different evolutionists hold to slightly different worldviews. However, those worldviews all have certain features in common and are all rationally defective, as we will see. Here is a summary of what seems to be the most common position. Evolutionists reject the straightforward record of Genesis. The ultimate standard for an evolutionist varies from person to person. Their ultimate standard is often either naturalism (the belief that nature is all that there is) or empiricism (the idea that all knowledge is gained from observations). As a result, evolutionists believe that the universe is billions of years old. It originated in a big bang – a rapid expansion of space, time and energy from a single infinitesimally small point. Energy cooled and became matter, which condensed into stars and galaxies. Stars made the heavier elements, some of which condensed to become planets. Our solar system in particular was formed about 4.5 billion years ago from a collapsing gas cloud. The stars, galaxies and planets are all the results of natural laws working over vast amounts of time. On earth, certain chemicals came together to form the first replicating cell. This cell reproduced others just like it, but occasionally a mutation (a copying mistake) produced a variation. Most of these variations are not as “fit” to their environment, resulting in the death of the organism, and thus the mutation is not passed on. However, some mutations end up benefiting the organism. Such “enhanced” organisms are more able to survive, and end up passing on the mutation to their offspring. In this way, organisms are said to gradually evolve, resulting in a tremendous variety of life forms we observe today. All life is the result of the laws of nature acting over time (“naturalism”). A god is not necessary for the process, though some evolutionists do believe in God, or atleast a god. According to evolutionists, there has not been a global Flood. Rather, the fossils were supposedly laid down over hundreds of millions of years of gradual processes. Evolutionists tend to hold to the philosophy of uniformitarianism (to varying degrees). This is the assumption that present rates and processes are representative of those that have happened in the past: “the present is the key to the past.” This is only a brief summary of a typical evolutionist’s position.
Evolution – all life on earth has come about through descent with modification from a single common ancestor
Darwinism – the Darwinian theory that species originate by descent, with variation, from parent forms, through the natural selection of those individuals best adapted for the reproductive success of their kind
Neo-darwinism – the theory of evolution as expounded by later students of Charles Darwin, esp. Weismann, holding that natural selection accounts for evolution and denying the inheritance of acquired characters; any modern theory of evolution holding that species evolve by natural selection acting on genetic variation
Phylogenetic Tree – diagrams that show the alleged evolutionary relationships between organisms
Uniformitarianism – the doctrine that present-day processes acting at similar rates as observed today account for the change evident in the geologic record
Uniformitarian Model of Plate Tectonics – based on the gradual movement of the plates over hundreds of millions of years
Historical (origins) Science – interpreting evidence from past events based on a presupposed philosophical point of view
Historical Theory – an explanation of past events based on the interpretation of evidence that is available in the present
Humanism – a belief in mankind as the measure of all things; based on relative truth and morality and rejecting any supernatural authority
Materialism – a belief claiming that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all organisms, processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or interactions of matter
Naturalism – a belief denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance; specifically, the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena
Relativism – relativists believe that truth is “relative” – that it varies from person to person. Relativism includes the idea that there are no absolutes. A self-defeating idea: But the proposition that “there are no absolutes” is itself an absolute proposition. Relativists assert that it is absolutely true that truth is not absolute. This is a self-defeating philosophy. If relativism were absolutely true, it would lead to a consequence that it cannot be absolutely true. So, if it were true, it would be false; therefore it is false.
Empiricism – a belief that all knowledge is gained from observations. Some knowledge is gained through observation – this is perfectly consistent with Scripture. God made our senses to reliably probe the universe and so there is nothing wrong with empirical methods. A self-defeating idea: But the philosophy of empiricism goes much further than this. Empiricists believe that all knowledge is acquired by observation. Or to put it another way, observation is the ultimate standard by which all truth claims are tested. And that I do not believe. However, many evolutionists are empiricists. We must eventually ask the empiricist how he knows that “all knowledge is gained through observation.” Clearly this is not something that the empiricist has observed (since knowledge cannot be “seen”). So then how could anyone possibly know that empiricism itself is true, if all things are indeed known by observation? If empiricism is proved in some way other than through observation, then it refutes itself. If the empiricist’s ultimate standard did happen to be true, the empiricist could never actually know that it is true; he could never prove it. And if a person’s ultimate standard is uncertain, then all his other beliefs (which are based on that standard) are called into question. Empiricism destroys the possibility of actually knowing anything.
Spontaneous Generation – the false belief that life can arise from nonliving matter
~ APPLIES TO BOTH BIBLICAL CREATION & EVOLUTION
Presupposition – a belief that is accepted as true and is foundational to one’s worldview
Faith – belief in things that cannot be directly known or observed
Religion – a cause, principle or belief system held to with zeal and conviction
One of the most helpful and important things you can remember when talking with someone is that both God and human evolution lie outside the realm of science because both are beyond human observation and, therefore, cannot be proved by science.
- Definitions of the Creation worldview: A world with God
- Definitions of the evolution worldview: A world without God