The Genesis flood and creationism

During the 19th century, there was a great discussion about a more precise figure for the age of the earth.  Lux Mundi, an 1889 volume of theological essays, marked a stage in the acceptance of a more critical approach to scripture.  These essays took the stance that readers should rely on the gospels as completely historical, but should not take the earlier chapters of Genesis literally. By a variety of independent means, scientists have determined that the earth is approximately 4.54 billion years old.  The Christian fundamentalist Seven Day Evangelist University of Wisconsin Professor Ronald Numbers (1942-) argued that Christians should challenge aspects of the scientific consensus that they believe contradict their religion with his book, The Creationists: The Evolution of Scientific Creationism, A History of the Origins of Anti-evolutionism, in 1992, that was revised and expanded in 2006, with the subtitle changed to From Scientific Creationism to Intelligent Design.  This book has been described as “probably the most definitive history of anti-evolutionism”.  He based his views on the 1961 book Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and its Scientific Implications, written by young earth creationists John C. Whitcomb Jr (1924-2020) and Henry M. Morris (1918-2006) that elevated creationism to a position of fundamentalist orthodoxy.  Thus, in the latter half of the twentieth and even into the twenty-first century today, so-called “flood geology” was and is championed.  The scientific community maintained that flood geology was a pseudoscience because it contradicted a variety of facts in geology, stratigraphy, geophysics, physics, paleontology, biology, anthropology, and archeology.  In relation to geological forces, uniformitarianism explains the formation of the earth’s features by means of mostly slow-acting forces seen in operation today.  In contrast, there is a lack of evidence for the catastrophic mechanisms proposed by flood geologists.  Scientists do not take these seismic claims seriously.  By the 17th century, believers in the Genesis account faced the issue of reconciling the exploration of the New World and the increased awareness of the global distribution of species with the older scenario whereby all life had sprung from a single point of origin on the slopes of Mount Ararat.  Biblical scholars of that time, such as Justus Lipsius (1547–1606) and Athanasius Kircher (1601–1680), had also begun to subject the Ark story to rigorous scrutiny, as they attempted to harmonize the biblical account with the growing body of natural historical knowledge.  The resulting hypotheses provided an important impetus to the study of the geographical distribution of plants and animals, and indirectly spurred the emergence of biogeography in the 18th century.  Natural historians began to draw connections between climate and how animals and plants adapted to it.  Less than a century later, discoveries of new species made it increasingly difficult to justify a literal interpretation for the Ark story.  By the middle of the 18th century only a few natural historians accepted a literal interpretation of the narrative.  What do you think about the history of animals?


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