by Susan Trollinger and William Trollinger
We (Bill and Sue) are very pleased that our essay, “The Bible and Creationism,” is included in this just-published volume from Oxford. It is an honor that editor Paul Gutjahr asked us to join such an august list of contributors, which happens to include rightingamerica.net contributors Rebecca Barrett-Fox and Jason Hentschel.
In this essay – which was great fun to write – we trace the evolution of creationism over time. As we discuss, Biblical creationism emerged in the late nineteenth century among conservative Protestants who were unable to square inerrancy and its “literal” reading of the Bible with Charles Darwin’s theory of organic evolution. But over time a variety of increasingly literal “creationisms” have emerged. For the first century after Origin of Species (1859) old Earth creationism – which accepted mainstream geology – held sway. With the 1961 publication of The Genesis Flood, flood geology (Noah’s flood explains the geological strata) and young Earth creationism took center stage. Waiting in the wings, however, is geocentric creationism, which rejects mainstream biology, geology, and cosmology.
We conclude the essay by noting that:
In the end, all forms of creationism – old Earth, young Earth, geocentric – hinge on this point of biblical authority. All creationists affirm that they stand on the authority of the Word, but that still leaves open the questions as to what that Word – read plainly, commonsensically, literally – actually means, and to what degree can that plain, commonsensical, literal Word be reconciled with mainstream science. The historical trajectory of creationism suggests that we will see less, not more, reconciliation in the future. Put differently, in fifty years [geocentrist] Gerardus Bouw, like [young Earth creationist] George McCready Price before him whose arguments once were seen as ridiculous, may be squarely in the creationist mainstream.
For those who are interested, here’s the complete essay: The Bible and Creationism