Selected Writings on Relations between Modern Science and Religion:

Theological Basis for a Judeo-Christian Position on Creationism

by

James W. Skehan, S.J.

Abstract

The basic position of "creation science" (H.M. Morris, 1972) is that "the theory of evolution...is largely responsible for our present-day social, political, and moral problems...Creation, on the other hand...is a scientific theory which does fit all of the facts of true science as well as God's revelation in the Holy Scriptures."

On the other hand, I maintain that data and theories of science belong to an entirely different sphere of human understanding from that of the Genesis narrative. It is clear from modern theological analysis that the Genesis stories of creation cannot be interpreted factually based on consideration of: 1) source materials, 2) type of literature represented, and 3) the intent of the authors of Genesis to write a primitive religious history of Israel, deduced from the use of part of the older Babylonian creation myth, Enuma elish, as a vehicle for a distinctive religious message.

Thus Genesis is not a scientific treatment of the origin or age of the earth, or of life, including that of mankind, but is a primitive religious history of Israel, and a polemic against much of the theology of the Babylonian creation myth.

The study of the earth’s age and the origin of life, on the other hand, are the proper subject of geological and other scientific research, and from such studies valid data and theories may be derived. Creationism does a disserve to religion and to theology by interpreting the Bible factually as a scientific treatise rather than stricly as a theological document of Judeo-Christian religious history.

Key words: Creationism: education; philosphy of science.

The full article is found in Journal of Geological Education, 1983, v. 31, p. 307-314.

A letter of rebuttal to the Editor from Henry M. Morris, Director of the Institute for Creation Research, El Cajon, California was published in Journal of Geological Education, 1984 v. 32, p. 143, folowed by a reply by the Author, pp. 144-146.