Monday, January 11, 2010

Churches beliefs on Creation and Evolution

I was interacting with someone who stated that there are many fine Christian denominations that have no problem believing in evolution. This hasn't been my experience but I grew up in a very fundamental environment. So, I decided to surf the Internet looking for official church documents regarding evolution and creation. Perhaps there are those within each church that can believe in evolution with a clear conscience and somehow reconcile it with there faith. I personally believe the more literal the Bible is taken the harder this is. In those church you simply would not talk about evolution in any positive light.

There were a few surprises in this list. Some churches publicly have no opinion on evolution, leaving it to their flock to decide
individually and some churches support evolution. Of course the greater majority believe in creationism and some underhandedly mask it under ID, while others are clear about their belief in ID. An oddity I found was for some it was very important to know whether God created life out of nothing or there was stuff already there (Catholics and Mormons). Not sure what the point was on that one.

Note there are churches who reject evolution and yet teach it in their schools. This falls into know your enemy category.

Anyway here are official statements from a host of churches. There are so many denominations it is impossible to list them all. Probably in the time I composed this 2 or 3 more popped up.


Seventh Day Adventist - creationist

The official Adventist conference of 2004 affirmed believe in creationism.

- Creation is a foundational pillar in the entire system of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine—it bears direct relationship to many if not all other fundamental beliefs. Any alternative interpretation of the creation story needs to be examined in light of its impact on all other beliefs. Several of the Faith and Science Conferences reviewed alternative interpretations of Genesis 1, including the idea of theistic evolution. These other interpretations lack theological coherence with the whole of Scripture and reveal areas of inconsistency with the rest of Seventh-day Adventist doctrine. They are therefore unacceptable substitutes for the biblical doctrine of creation held by the church.
- We affirm the primacy of Scripture in the Seventh-day Adventist understanding of origins.
- We affirm the historic Seventh-day Adventist understanding of Genesis 1 that life on earth was created in six literal days and is of recent origin.

An Affirmation of Creation

Mormon - perhaps IDers
Mormon are a bit more cagey about creation. I think there must be some controversy within. From one of their websites, while they allow for time and not 6 days, Adam and Eve were first and immortal. That to me conflicts with evolution.

- Adam and Eve were created in the image of God. In the Garden of Eden, they were immortal. After the fall, they became mortal.
- The six “days” of creation were actually six consecutive creative periods of unknown length.
- (God) did not create the world “out of nothing,” as some people believe.

Creation Mormon Beliefs

Jehovah Witnesses - Total creationist

To undermine belief in the creation account in Genesis is to undermine the very foundations of the Christian faith. Evolutionary theory and the teachings of Christ are incompatible

Did God Use Evolution to Create Life

The Church of God of Prophecy - creationist

- Man did not evolve from a single-celled organism over the space of millions of years; he is the special creation of God.
- (life is too complex for evolution to have happened)

A Biblical View of Human Life

Christian Scientist-Mind over Matter...if you don't mind it don't matter

Christian Science departs from the theory of creationism that proposes that God created matter and also from the theory of evolution that proposes that Mind, God, must be left out of its own creation. Christian Science clears up the debate by showing that creation is in fact a spiritual process with God at its center, creating spiritual ideas, which human theory or material belief (i.e., matter) tries to copy or misinterpret. The only substance to matter is illusion—the erroneous thought we hold about it. True creation comprises the spiritual ideas that God evolves.

Christian Scientist position on creation/evolution

Lutherans - Missouri Synod - IDers

The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod believes, teaches and confesses that Adam and Eve were real historic individuals and
that the Genesis account ofCreation is true and factual,not merely a “myth”or a “story”made up to explain the origin of all things.

What about Creation and Evolution - Lutheran Missouri Synod

Church of the Brethren - creationist

- The first eleven chapters of Genesis tell about the first few thousand years of human history.
- Some of the sharpest attacks against the Bible have been leveled against the early chapters of Genesis. The devil knows that the best way to demolish a building is to strike at its foundation. If a person can be persuaded to pull out the first pages of the Bible, the last pages will fall out too, and soon not much will be left.

The Genesis Account of Creation

Pentecostalist - creationist

n the beginning God created man innocent, pure and holy; but through the sin of disobedience, Adam and Eve, the first of the human race, fell from their holy state, and God banished them from Eden. Hence by one man's disobedience, sin entered into the world. (Gen. 1:27; Rom.
3:23, 5:12).

Apostolic Pentecostal Beliefs

Southern Baptist - creationist

Hal N. Ostrander, associate dean and professor of Christian theology at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary's James P. Boyce College of the Bible, Louisville, Ky., and a biblical creationist, said the long-supported evolution theory is being dismantled slowly by an argument for "intelligent design" the theory that life came about intentionally and not by chance because it's too complex to be explained any other way. (He) predicts the evolution theory will "one day come to an end if for no other reason than the fact there is a telltale lack of historically provided evidence, for its truthfulness, for its genuine fit with reality."

Unraveling the Myth of Evolution
Evolution incompatible with Christianity

United Methodist Church - no opinion

What is The United Methodist Church's position on evolution? The UMC does not have an official statement on any theories of evolution.

Our churches and campus ministries can help (members) through the issues that arise when faith and science collide. We can help (them) remain grounded in the Scriptures, which speak of a God who creates and yet whose creation will always be beyond our comprehension (Job 38-39).

UMC on Evolution

Catholics - IDers

Concerning human evolution, the Church has a more definite teaching. It allows for the possibility that man’s body developed from previous biological forms, under God’s guidance, but it insists on the special creation of his soul. (The Church) has not infallibly defined whether the world was created only a few thousand years ago or whether it was created several billion years ago. The Church has infallibly defined that the universe was specially created out of nothing. (Adam and Eve were the first humans)

Adam, Eve and Evolution

Eastern Orthodox Church - IDers

if by evolution one is referring to the theories and teachings of Charles Darwin, the Orthodox Church surely does not subscribe to evolution in any manner. At the same time Orthodoxy is not literalist in its understanding of the accounts of creation in Genesis.

Evolution & Orhtodoxy

Messianic Jews - creationist new earth mostly. Some old earth and IDers

The majority of Messianics believe in a literal 7,000 year period for the human history of the world, from Adam to the Judgment, and believe that we are the final generation that will experience the Biblical apocalypse. A small, yet steadily growing, sector of Messianics have adopted forms of Old Earth Creationism which, while denying the theory of evolution, does discount a 6,000-7,000 year old earth, or Theistic Evolution, the belief that God created using evolution or that evolution occurred but that natural selection is an insufficient explanation.

Messianic Jewish theology wiki

Presbyterians - no opinion

- Neither Scripture, our Confession of Faith, nor our Catechisms, teach the Creation of man by the direct and immediate acts of God so as to exclude the possibility of evolution as a scientific theory.
- The Bible is not a book of science. As John Calvin said, commenting on Genesis: "To my mind, this is a certain principle, that nothing is here treated of but the visible form of the world. He who would learn astronomy and other recondite arts, let him go elsewhere."

Evolution Statement - Evolution and the Bible

Quakers - accepting of evolution

- Quakers were generally supportive of Darwin’s theory and were critical of those Christians who rejected the theory on religious grounds.
- Friends hold that the words of the Bible should not be taken as the final revelation of God

Quaker Responses to Evolution
So don't Quakers believe in Intelligent Design
The Religious Society of Friends

Unitarian Universalist - evolutionist

- At a Unitarian Universalist worship service or meeting, you are likely to find members whose positions on faith may be derived from a variety of religious beliefs: Jewish, Christian, Buddhist, naturist, atheist, or agnostic. Members might tell you that they are religious humanists, liberal Christians, or world religionists.
- Classically, Unitarian Universalist Christians have understood Jesus as a savior because he was a God-filled human being, not a supernatural being.
- Many religious groups fiercely resisted these scientific analytical ideas. Some still do. In the churches of our forebears, new scientific and social ideas-from Newtonian physics, to evolution, to psychology, to relativity-found ready acceptance. Indeed, some of the greatest scientists and social theorists of the age were either privately or publicly Unitarian or Universalist: Joseph Priestley, Charles Darwin, Maria Mitchell, and Benjamin Rush, for example.
-In continuity with our forebears, today Unitarian Universalists expect new scientific disclosures to cohere, not conflict, with our religious faith.


Assemblies of God - creationist

- Assemblies of God believers hold that the Genesis account should be taken literally.
- Much of the moral and spiritual decline of modern society is traceable to the skepticism that has formed around creation.


United Church of Christ - creationist and will use ID

- God is the ultimate intelligent Designer
- Ultimately, only the Bible explains both the origin and meaning of life on earth. Only God's prophetic Word reveals where mankind is really headed as we face an otherwise unknown and increasingly uncertain future. The Bible reveals why humanity exists and the majestic nature of our final destiny. Atheistic evolution, sadly, has no clue and no say!

Creation or Evolution: Which Is More Believable?
editor note: Subject really says it all, not which is scientific, but which is believable.
United Church of God - FAQ

1 comment:

  1. St. George Jackson Mivart, He lived in Britain in Darwin's time and was one of his most persistent critics. He wrote a book called Genesis of Species (1871). Looks like he was one of the first IDers and guess what, a Catholic. Ha!

    He is famous for starting as an ardent believer in natural selection who later became one of its fiercest critics. Trying to reconcile Darwin's theory of evolution with the beliefs of the Catholic Church, he ended up being condemned by both parties. He was close friends of Huxley. They met in 1859.

    Looks like quite the study in trying to reconcile the irreconcilable.

    Wiki Mivart