Stages of Creation
There are stumbling blocks for Bible-believing Christians in all three theories: evolution, intelligent design, and creationism.
There is an ongoing debate as to whether or not Charles Darwin's theory of evolution should be the only explanation of the origin of the human race taught in public schools.
Those in favor of Darwin's theory usually act as though his explanation of evolution has empirical validation. It doesn't! It's just a theory. A very reasonable theory, to be sure, but still a theory. The highly-touted biologist, Kenneth R. Miller, supports evolution and not ID. But even he claims that rabid Darwinists go "well beyond any reasonable scientific conclusions that might emerge from evolutionary theory." To prevent discussion of any other explanations of human origins is hardly what I would expect from open-minded educators.
There are other explanations of evolution that are available in the marketplace of ideas that at least deserve some consideration. For instance, paleontologist Teilhard de Chardin rejected the scientific-materialism viewpoint that says Darwinian processes are all there is. The theories of French biologist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck differed from Darwin's theory, which suggests that accidental mutations are what makes some organisms more fit for survival than others, hence fostering evolutionary development.
Both scientists contended that there is something within organisms which directs them towards adaptation to changing environmental conditions-a kind of intelligence, so to speak. Both held to alternative theories of evolution that lend support to the proponents of the belief in what is called "intelligent design."
As a matter of fact, statisticians have figured that the belief that adaptations of organisms to changed environmental conditions can be explained by accident alone is nearly impossible. That statistical discovery, however, proves nothing. But it does give legitimacy to the claim that intelligent design deserves some serious consideration as an alternative to Darwinism.
While a case can be made for intelligent design, I can't figure out why some Christians are so thrilled about that possibility. First of all, it doesn't prove there's a God. If anything, intelligent design lends support to some form of pantheism that defines God as immanent within nature. Intelligent design can be a bonanza for those New Agers who believe in Gaia, that the earth itself is some kind of intelligent being that gives life and purpose to all living things.
On the other hand, I have serious problems with fundamentalist Christians and their creationist theories. Although I believe that scripture is divinely inspired and infallible, I have a hard time going along with the belief that the whole creation process occurred in six twenty-four hour days. My skepticism is due, in part, to the fact that the Bible says that the sun wasn't created until the fourth day of creation (Genesis 1:16-19). I have a hard time figuring how twenty-four hour days could have been measured before that.
Like most Christians, I believe the Genesis account of creation is a description of six different stages of creation, each of which may have taken eons of time. Furthermore, I believe that the biblical creation story has far deeper truths for us than a historical account of how the universe came to exist-but that's for another article.
In the meantime, I think that the Kansas Board of Education did the right thing when it approved new standards for science courses in public schools, thus allowing for intelligent design to be taught along with Darwinism. After all, why should any one theory have exclusive rights?