YEC / OEC – what are the Differences? Element 5 – YEC and OEC Views of Science

Introduction

Within the creation discussion we often hear accusations like this: “YEC’s are afraid of science and hate science!”  Are YEC’s really afraid of science?  Do YEC’s really hate science? We hope to answer these questions in this post. 

Before addressing these accusations, it is necessary to establish a good definition of science.  The PCA Report definition of science should be acceptable to all Christians since it recognizes the supernatural:

The sciences are disciplines that study features of the world around us, looking for regularities as well as attempting to account for causal relations.  In the causal chains we allow all relevant factors (including supernatural ones) to be considered.” 

Science deals with knowledge and the following graphic provides a visual overview of knowledge available to both Christians and non-Christians.  The illustration shows the relationship between the natural and supernatural.  It also shows the limits of knowledge available to the natural man (I Corinthians 2:14) and a much greater body of knowledge available to the Christian.  

The Overview of Knowledge Illustration

Human knowledge is limited.

Both YEC and OEC views of creation are outside the scientific consensus.  This is do to the fact that both YEC and OEC views have a presupposition of God rather than naturalism.  Secularists do not consider theistic evolution to be scientific.  This is well illustrated in the Wikipedia definition below: 

“Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism, evolutionary creationism or God-guided evolution are views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not in itself a scientific theory, but a range of views about how the science of general evolution relates to religious beliefs in contrast to special creation views.”  (The above was excerpted from Wikipedia on 1/13/19.  Hyperlinks and footnotes have been removed.  Bold face and italic fonts have been modified.)

The YEC View of Science

Significant aspects of the YEC view of science are summarized below:

  • Conflicts with the scientific consensus are expected and not feared.  Conflicts is rooted in different presuppositions of reality (God versus naturalism). 
  • The scientific consensus is respected and there may be agreement with some of its positions.  However, it is recognized to be the consensus of the natural man (I Corinthians 2:14). 
  • The scientific consensus is a limited view of reality since it does not recognize the God of the Bible. 
  • The positions of the scientific consensus are notconsidered to be “Natural Revelation” or “General Revelation.”
  • Science is to be studied and appreciated.  The scientific creationism draws materials from the scientific community and common grace found in non-believers.  YEC’s are not afraid of science.  YEC’s do not hate science.

The OEC View of Science

Significant aspects of the OEC view of science are summarized below:

  • Conflicts with the scientific consensus are avoided; per Wikipedia: 

“Supporters of theistic evolution generally harmonize evolutionary thought with belief in God, rejecting the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict each other.“ (The above was excerpted from Wikipedia on 1/13/19.  Hyperlinks and footnotes have been removed.  Bold face and italic fonts have been modified.)

  • The positions of the scientific consensus are considered as “natural revelation” and that there can never be a conflict between “natural revelation” and “special revelation.”  As a result, OEC’s must continually reinterpret the Bible to make it conform with the scientific consensus.  These efforts started in the 1830’s when the Day-Age and Ruin-Restorations view were formulated to accommodate uniformitarian geology.  These efforts continued in order to accommodate evolution and the “Big Bang.”  The current OEC focus is to reinterpret the historicity of Adam. 
  • The positions of the scientific consensus are promoted as science while those outside the scientific consensus are marginalized, attacked, and ridiculed.
  • Theistic evolution is call scientific even though neither secularist nor the YEC community consider it so.

In Summary

  • Both the YEC and OEC views of science are outside the scientific consensus.
  • Supporters of the YEC view acknowledge that there is a conflict between the Bible and the scientific consensus.  Supporters of the YEC view use scientific information from the scientific community to support their view.
  • Supporters of the OEC view have difficulty acknowledging that there is a conflict between their interpretation of the Bible and the scientific consensus. 
  • Supporters of OEC continually reinterpret passages of the Bible in order to align it with the scientific consensus. 

Homework

In our next post, we will examine the YEC and OEC views of the world. Your homework is as follows:

  • Briefly, summarize the YEC and OEC views of science in your own words.
  • Read John 17, and 1 John 2:15 &16.

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