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Three Views of
Theistic Creation


This page contains some of the educational resources for VIEWS OF CREATION.

      Three views of creation are defined by answers to three questions:
      WHO — creation by God?  Is our world designed and created by God, with the ideas-and-actions of God producing the material substance and characteristics of nature, and governing the history of nature?  A person with a theistic worldview will say YES.
      WHEN — age of universe?  Is the universe (including the earth) young or old, with an age measured in thousands of years or billions of years?
      HOW — method of creation?  Has the formative history of nature involved only normal-appearing natural process (theistically actualized and governed by God) or has it also included some miraculous-appearing changes (theistically actualized and governed by God)?

      As you can see in this table, the three main views agree about the most important doctrine of creation — the question of WHO created — but they disagree about the WHEN and HOW of creation:
terms commonly used:
terms with more detail:
theistic worldview? — WHO
age of universe? — WHEN
   method of creation? — HOW   
(using only natural process?)
  during 6 days,  
was miraculous
   natural plus   
only natural

      Theistic Creation
      In contrast with a pantheistic view that the universe has become God, or an atheistic view that denies the existence of God, or a deistic view that denies the ongoing activities of God, each view described here (above and below) can be authentically theistic by affirming that God created our world and is active in our world.

      Three basic creation theories, plus variations — all agreeing about WHO, but with differing views of WHEN and HOW — seem to be compatible with a Judeo-Christian doctrine of theistic creation:
      In young-earth creation, everything in the universe was miraculously created in a 144-hour period less than 10,000 years ago.  Later, most of the earth's geology and fossil record were formed in a global flood.  { In a variation that is less common, the earth is young but the universe is old. }
      In progressive creation, also called old-earth creation, at various times during a long history of nature (spanning billions of years) God used miraculous-appearing action to create.  There are two kinds of progressive creation:  one proposes independent creations "from scratch" so a new species would not necessarily have any relationships with previously existing species;  another proposes creations by modification of the genetic material (by changing, adding, or deleting it) for some members (or all members) of an existing species.  Each of these two theories proposes a history with some natural-appearing evolutionary creation plus miraculous-appearing creations (independent or by modification) that occur progressively through time.
      In evolutionary creation, also called theistic evolution, natural evolution was God's method of creation, with the universe designed so physical structures (galaxies, stars, planets) and complex biological organisms (bacteria, fish, dinosaurs, humans) would naturally evolve.

What is "evolution" and how can it be evaluated using Logical Comparisons?

      ASA's View
      What is the view of the American Scientific Affiliation?  "As an organization, the ASA does not take a position when there is honest disagreement between Christians on an issue.  We are committed to providing an open forum where controversies can be discussed without fear of unjust condemnation.  Legitimate differences of opinion among Christians who have studied both the Bible and science are freely expressed within the Affiliation in a context of Christian love and concern for truth."  {from the ASA Statement of Faith}
      But on the most important question there is no disagreement, as explained by Richard Bube, writing as editor of the ASA journal in 1971:
      The ASA does not take an official position on controversial questions.  Creation is not a controversial question.  I have no hesitancy in affirming, "we believe in creation," for every ASA member.  The Biblical doctrine of creation is one of the richest doctrines revealed to us by God.  It reveals to us that the God who loves us is also the God who created us and all things; at once it establishes the relationship between the God of religious faith and the God of physical reality. ...  We believe in creation.  It is unthinkable for a Christian to do otherwise.   { quoted from We Believe in Creation (6 k) }

      We also think that when we're searching for truth by asking important questions about creation — who, when, and how — our goal should be a wise use of all available information, from both sources that God has provided for us:  the Word of God (in the Bible) and the Works of God (in nature).

Details about our views are in The American Scientific Affiliation — Views & Actions on Origins Questions.

The ASA Creation Commission Statement summarizes general creation principles and four specific positions: three views of creation (young-earth, old-earth, evolutionary) plus intelligent design.  (13 k)
• One author of this statement, Keith Miller, describes ASA's approach to controversial questions about creation, and explains why evolutionary creation is a creationist view, in The American Scientific Affiliation and the Evangelical Response to Evolution.  (9 k) (also in PDF)
• What is the basis for harmony between science and Christianity?  What is the role of ASA in promoting dialog as a way to improve our understanding and mutual respect?  Randy Isaac, the executive director of ASA, examines these questions in The Pursuit of Science in a Christian Context.  (19 k)

• Two important aspects of this educational website for "questions about origins" are outlined in Accurate Understanding and Respectful Attitudes.  (6 k)

OVERVIEWS Comparing All Views:
Christian Views of Science and Earth History are described (with comments) by Rich Milne & Ray Bohlin for Probe Ministries  (17 k + 2k)
Can Creation and Evolution Both Be Right? by Loren & Deborah Haarsma, who describe (with comments) basic creationist views — young earth, old earth, evolutionary — plus variations (15 k), and you can read the Introduction (18 k) and Chapter 1 (25 k) from their new book about Origins: Creation, Design, and Evolution plus an associated website.
Spectrum of Beliefs on Evolution, Creation and Literalism by Vance McAllister  (7 k + comments)
Creationism (Young Earth, Progressive, Evolutionary) by Jeffrey Koperski, is an overview of these views.  (23 k)
Creation and Evolution is a links-page with an introductory overview by Jack Haas — who is a current editor of ASA's Website, and former editor of ASA's journal, Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith — plus links to papers expressing a wide range of views.  (4 k intro, 2 k quote from We Believe in Creation , 20 k for links with descriptions)

THE Christian View of Creation?
Many young-earth creationists claim there are only two basic views of origins:  young-earth creation (Christian) and old-earth evolution (atheistic).  They define all old-earth views as "evolutionary" and imply that an old-earth view cannot be authentically Christian.  They ignore the important differences between three questions (when, how, who) and use "when" to define the answer to all three.  This young-earth "view of other views" is oversimplistic, and for a variety of reasons — personal & interpersonal, spiritual & scientific — it's important to ask "Is young-earth belief an essential part of Christian theology?"   AGE OF THE EARTH — THEOLOGY

This page is mainly for describing views;  logical evaluation of views is in other parts of the website, in the sub-areas for AGE OF THE EARTH & UNIVERSE (THEOLOGY & SCIENCE), and METHODS OF CREATION (theology) & EVALUATION OF EVOLUTIONS (science), plus DESIGN IN SCIENCE (for theology/philosophy & science) and most parts of ORIGINS EDUCATION.

One principle for logical evaluation — which can be used in science, theology, or any other area of life — is outlined in the appendix below, using evolution as an example.

      When we ask "What is evolution?", we can look at many types of evolutionary change — astronomical, geological, and chemical, plus four scientific aspects of biological evolution:
      • micro-E (within a species) and minor macro-E (to produce a new-yet-similar species),  • fossil-E progressions (in the geological record),  • common descent (with all species related by shared ancestors), and  • Total Macro-E with all biocomplexity and biodiversity produced by cumulative effects of macro-E.  And in a non-scientific meaning, some people think that evolution implies "only nature exists, and there is no God."  This table shows whether these aspects of evolution are accepted in four views of creation:

theories of creation:
For each E, does a creation
theory say yes or no?
by natural
creations by
 micro-E and minor macro-E  YES YES YES YES
fossil-E (on an old earth) YES
full common descent
YES no no
natural Total Macro-E YES no no no
 "only nature exists" atheism  no no no no

      Splitting a general "evolution" into specific components allows logical comparisons:
      To distinguish between any two theories, we should compare them and focus on disputed components, where one theory says YES and the other says NO.  All theories agree (YES YES YES YES) about "micro-E and minor macro-E" so these are not useful for evaluating the creation theories;  and only young-earth creation disagrees with evidence for fossil evolution;  evidence for common descent counts against one old-earth theory (with independent creations) but not another (with creations by genetic modification);  and most of the common "evidence for evolution" does not support creation by natural evolution over progressive creations by modification.   { these ideas are from an FAQ for Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design by Craig Rusbult, 5 k }


• This page describes high-quality educational resources on the web, with views from a variety of perspectives, that we think you'll find interesting and useful, that will stimulate your thinking and help you explore a wide world of ideas.   INFORMATION for readers is in a brief page about our Goal (a quick education for you), Quality (because we've made choices) and Variety (you'll see multiple positions, hence the disclaimer below), Exploring with Freedom (you can use sections and page-links in any order), Size (what does "20 k + 5k" mean?), and Links (that open in a new window).


In this page you'll find links to resource-pages expressing a wide range of views, which don't necessarily represent the views of the American Scientific Affiliation.  Therefore, linking to a page does not imply an endorsement by the ASA.  We encourage you to use your own critical thinking to evaluate everything you read.

This website for Whole-Person Education has TWO KINDS OF LINKS:
an ITALICIZED LINK keeps you inside a page, moving you to another part of it, and
 a NON-ITALICIZED LINK opens another page.  Both keep everything inside this window, 
so your browser's BACK-button will always take you back to where you were.

this page, written by Craig Rusbult (editor of ASA's website for Whole-Person Education), is
and was revised June 4, 2010

all links were checked-and-fixed on July 3, 2006

other links-pages about Origins Questions are at the top of this page,
or you can Search the Website