Creationism proposes that the universe and all the living organisms originate from particular acts of divine creation out of nothing, as in the biblical account.
What is a Creationist? Broadly speaking, it is a person who accepts God as the Absolute Creator of heaven and earth. He fashioned them by an act of free will out of nothing. This implies a “transcendent” deity beyond the realm of any human experience. God is immanent and constantly evolving in his creation, such that some kind of intervention can take place if needed. The world, however, will not cease to exist. Christians, Muslims, and Jews believe this to be true and thus are Creationists.
There is a difference between theists and deists in this context although both believe in the presence of God in human life. Deists believe in God, while theists believe a “designer” might have created our world and all within it. It smacks of Intelligent Design as a concept. Interventions and interference are not possible once the “design” is done. While they may be Creationists, the term has different dimensions.
The narrower sense of Creationism appears in popular articles. They are most often found in the U.S. but are also seen across the globe. These articles focus on the first few chapters of the Book of Genesis in the Bible, deeming the text a true guide to the creation of the universe, and therefore human life. Yes, it is a restricted and literal approach for sure, but it has widespread acceptance among those who posit that the beginning of all we know and experience has been in existence - but a short time.
For example, Young Earth Creationists are known to look to Archbishop Ussher’s seventeenth-century assumption of about 6,000 years as an estimate. In addition, they take the six days of creation at face value. Some debate the use of the word, day, in the Bible, pondering whether it means twenty-four hours or something greater. What’s more, humans (homo sapiens to be specific) are said to descend from Adam and Eve. Eve is seen as a miraculous creation of God for the purpose of “keeping Adam company”. It is not clear whether she came after or simultaneously.
Creationists abound who believe that a world-wide flood followed the initial creation of mankind. A few animals and people did survive, however, as they continue to populate the planet. Other issues and events are accepted, including the Tower of Babel and Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt. Those who take a narrow perspective of creation are called Fundamentals, also Biblical Literalists. Then the broader Scientific creationists take pride in using science to ground their beliefs.
Whatever their ilk, many Creationists are generally optimistic about Intelligent Design. It is a complex issue given the many ramifications of their beliefs with no definite cohesion. Most modern thinkers see Creationists as literalists. It may be a generalization as others see them as “inerrantists”. It is a matter of interpretation and linguistic preference. Nonetheless, it boils down to how one interprets the Bible, especially prophecies.
We can postulate that Creationists are opposed to Darwin’s evolution (originating in Origin of Species). There is great debate in modern schools whether to teach one, both, or the other. Those against evolution resist any so-called scientific facts, such as fossils. They cannot fathom a world where living, and dead, creatures are end products of some natural evolving process in which new forms are developed from a prior group, even inorganic matter (called “common descent”).
Two types of evolution are in question: macroevolution and microevolution. Think apes to humans or one finch species to another. In any event, Creations deny evolution, stating that Darwin’s views are false. They give the example of the survival of the fittest in which a given population is in a struggle for existence. Then there is the “problem” of mutations (errors) and heredity as well as the randomness of genetic results. Species and organisms differ, making it difficult to find common ground.
Natural selection is Darwin’s conclusion, but doubters still abound. Then why do some species survive through adaptation and reproduce, while others die out. Is it evolution or the reality of Creation?