Vern Poythress: Redeeming Science

Dr. Vern Poythress, professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary, was invited to dialog with the Christ the Center team at the Reformed Forum about his book Redeeming Science.

This was a very interesting discussion about science and the place it holds for a Christian.  Poythress provided a lot of good insight and helpful approaches to dealing with skeptics.

When he began talking about the 6 days of creation I soon got lost.  Admittedly, I’m not up on all the different ways that Christians explain the 6 days of creation.  Poythress holds to an analogous perspective of the creation account — meaning that the 6 days of creation were not necessarily a 24 hour cycle, but were an much longer period — though not millions of years either.  This perspective views the 7 “days” as being an analogus pattern set by God for man to follow, even though not 24 hour days. I disagree with Poythress on this issue.

One of the primary supports for this is the perspective that God rested on the 7th day, and that day of rest is eternal because his work of creation was finished.  So, because the 7th day is eternal, therefore, strict 6-day creationists have a problem.

I didn’t understand his argument well enough to be sold on it.  Certainly, I could be missing something, but I don’t see  why Poythress places so much weight on this 7th day of rest as being eternal.  I read the Genesis creation account as being a literary unit of thought.  Certainly God has not been at rest these past 5000 years or so, and neither has been his image bearer,  man.  But the 7 day week pattern has continued.  So this view falls apart in my understanding because it’s main supporting reason seems to be flawed. 

Another reason in support of 6 24-hour days of creation is that each day creates something that cannot survive long without what will be created the following day.  God is creating an eco-system.  How do flowers and other plants survive without the insects to pollenate them, for example?  But then, some smart people look at the 6 day creation account and say that it’s not a chronological 6 days.  If that’s true, then all I have to say is “Thank you God for being misleading”.  Because then every generation of mankind for thousands of years has been mislead by God who took him to mean 6 chronological days of creation.  And so again, man elevates science over Scripture and places God in subservience to scientific perspectives. 

Despite whether you agree or disagree with Poythress, this is a very valuable discussion that will sharpen you and will help you see science as reflecting the glory of God in his created world.  The 6 day creation account is only one of the subjects discussed.

Vern Poythress: Redeeming Science >>>