Glossary of Creation Related Terms
A glossary is the basic element of the self-directed study of any subject. An established glossary provides definitions of terms that are used on a regular basis in studying creation. This glossary was developed from a number of sources including the PCA Report, books that support the Calendar-Day view and Wikipedia. Some of the most common terms used on the website will have a hyperlink.
In this glossary, terms are typically entered as a base word followed by a modifier. This allows terms with the same base word to be grouped together for comparison.
In this glossary, terms will be introduced gradually. Typically, a term will be used elsewhere on the website prior to it being placed in the glossary.
Calendar-Day: The term “Calendar-Day Interpretation” is the term the term used to characterize the view that God created the heavens and earth in six (6) days of ordinary length. This view is also termed the literal view, the traditional view, the twenty-four-hour view and the Day of Ordinary Length view. The terms “Interpretation” and “view” will be used interchangeably on this website.
Concordism: Concordism is a term used to describe interpretations of Genesis which attempt to preserve Genesis as history while harmonizing the Bible with secular science. This requires the reinterpreting certain passages. In the book Refuting Compromise… The Ruin-Restoration Interpretation of creation (Gap Theory) and Day-Age Interpretation are described as examples of concordism.
Creation: Creation is the description of how the heavens and earth came into existence. Creation is an important element of the reformed faith. Chapter 4 of the Westminster Confession of Faith is titled “Of Creation.”
Creation, Evolutionary (EC): This a term of choice used by BioLogos to describe theistic evolution. Theistic evolution is associated with discordant views of Scripture.
Creation, Old Earth (OEC): This term is commonly used by those believe that the earth and universe are old. And the age of the earth is defined by the secular scientific consensus but that human kind was uniquely created by God. Old Earth creationism is associated with concordant views of scripture. Theistic evolution could be termed a variety of Old Earth Creationism, however, Evolutionary Creation seems to be a preferred term.
Creation, Young Earth (YEC): This term is commonly used by those believe that the earth and universe are young and were created in six days of ordinary length. The term implies that the difference between Young Earth Creationism and Old Earth Creationism is only time. This is not the case. For this reason, terms such as Calendar-Day view, Literal view, and Traditional view are preferable.
Creation Project: In 2015, the Templeton Religion Trust awards a $3.4 million grant to the Carl F. H. Henry Center for Theological Understanding at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (Henry Center) in 2015 for a project called Evangelical Theology and the Doctrine of Creation (known in short as the “Creation Project”). The Creation Project is described as:
“….a three-year, six-program initiative intended to bring greater clarity, openness, and understanding about the doctrine of creation within the evangelical theological community in light of modern scientific discovery. In addition to providing wider guidance to the evangelical public, the project is also intended to stimulate interdisciplinary scholarship and engagement on the controversial issues at the intersection of Scripture, theology, and scientific discovery.”
Information and quotation were excerpted ON 5/4/16 from: www.covenantseminary.edu/the-thistle/Collins-research-fellowship
The project has a three year timeframe. The themes for the years are as follows:
Year 1 (2016-2017) “Reading Genesis in an Age of Science”
Year 2 (2017-2018) “Affirming the Doctrine of Creation in an Age of Science”
Year 3 (2018-2019) “Reclaiming Theological Antropology in an Age of Science”
More information may be obtained by visiting the: www.henrycenter.tiu.edu/creation project.
Discordism: Discordism is a term used to describe interpretations of Genesis gives lip service to preserving Genesis as history. The trust of discordism is to remove the Bible from scientific and historical discussion by using various literary interpretations and devices. This requires elaborate reinterpreting certain passages. In Refuting Compromise… The Framework Interpretation is described as an examples of discordism. The Analogical-Day Interpretation is another example of discordism.
Eisegesis: The term “Eisegesis” is the term means interpreting the Bible in such a way that it supports the preconceived ideas conclusions of the interpreter. Through eisegesis the Bible can be interpreted to support evolution, long ages or anything else. Both Concordant and Discordant views of creation exhibit eisegesis.
Euphemism: A good definition for this word may be found on Wikipedia. Portions of the definition were excerpted on 10/11/16 as follows:
“A euphemism is a generally innocuous word or expression used in place of one that may be found offensive or suggest something unpleasant. Some euphemisms are intended to amuse; while others use bland, inoffensive terms for things the user wishes to downplay.”
Evolution, Macro: Per the Brief Definitions section of the PCA Report, macro evolution is “…evolution that crosses the boundary of “kinds.”
Evolution, Micro: Per the Brief Definitions section of the PCA Report, micro evolution is “… genetic variations over time (or evolution) within certain limits (i.e. within a type or kind).” Today, most creationists prefer the term “variations within a kind.”
Evolution, Theistic: Theistic evolution (also termed Evolutionary Creation) is the view that God used evolution to create humankind from lower forms of life. Theistic evolution is associated the Big Bang, uniformitarianism, and an old earth. Theistic evolution is an effort by some Christians to harmonize the Bible and science. Secularists do not consider theistic evolution to be scientific. The following was excerpted from Wikipedia on 4/17/16:
“Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism, or evolutionary creationism are views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not 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….” (to glossary 10/11/16)
Theistic evolution is used by some Christians to harmonize the Bible to whatever the scientific consensus teaches. In contrast, theistic evolution does not harmonize the scientific consensus to the Bible.
Exegesis: The term “Exegesis” is the term that has historically meant interpreting the Bible by a plain reading. This plain reading recognizes that Scripture is God breathed and that Scripture interprets Scripture. The Historical Interpretation of Genesis (1-11) is bases on exegesis.
Hermeneutics: The term “Hermeneutics” is branch of theology that focuses on identifying and applying sound principals of Biblical interpretation. Elements of hermeneutics include: observation of text; context; perspicuity; plain reading; comparing scripture with scripture; classification of text (history, poetry, prophecy, epistles).
Interpretation, Analogical Day: The Analogical Day Interpretation basically treats the days of creation as an analogy. The view originated in the 1890’s. It became popular in the 1990s’ through the work of Dr. John Collins a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary, a PCA seminary located in St. Louis, MO. The Analogical Day Interpretation is an example of discordism.
Interpretation, Calendar-Day: The term Calendar-Day Interpretation is the term the term used to characterize the view that God created the heavens and earth in six (6) days of ordinary length. This interpretation is also termed the Literal Interpretation, Traditional Interpretation, the Twenty-Four-Hour Interpretation and the Days of Ordinary Length Interpretation. All of these terms are useful. The term literal focuses on the fact that this view was developed from the perspicuity of scripture and a plain reading of scripture. The term traditional focuses on the fact that this view is the traditional view of the church. The terms calendar-day, twenty-four-hour and ordinary length all focus on the duration of the creation days.
Interpretation, Day-Age: The Day-Age Interpretation interprets the days of Genesis 1 are long periods of time which could be millions or billions of years. The Day-Age Interpretation originated in the early 1800’s after the uniformitarian geology became accepted. The Day-Age Interpretation is an example of concordism.
Interpretation, Framework: The Framework Interpretation treats the days of creation as a literary framework. The view originated in the 1920’s. It became popular after 1958s’ through the work of Dr. Meredith Kline a professor at Covenant Theological Seminary, a PCA seminary located in St. Louis, MO. The Framework Interpretation is an example of discordism.
Interpretation, Ruin-Reconstruction (Gap): The Ruin-Reconstruction (Gap) Interpretation is that the original creation occurred in the very distant past. This original creation was ruined by Satan. The six days creation listed in Genesis 1 are considered to actually be reconstruction the earth that was ruined by Satan. The Ruin-Reconstruction (Gap) Interpretation originated in the early 1800’s after the uniformitarian geology became accepted. The Ruin-Restoration (Gap) Interpretation is an example of concordism. (added 10/17/16)
Level Playing Field: The term “Level Playing Field” implies fairness, equal opportunity, and adherence to rules of good conduct. The PCA Report on creation is an example of the use of a Level Playing Field to present differing ideas.
Liberty of Conscience: The term “Liberty of Conscience” expresses an individual’s freedom to hold or consider a fact or viewpoint, independent of other viewpoints. Liberty of Conscience is an important element of the reformed faith. Chapter 20 of the Westminster Confession of Faith is titled “Of Christian Liberty, and Liberty of Conscience.”
Naturalism: This term was excerpted from the PCA Report, Appendix A., Fuller Definitions, 4. Philosophical terms, as follows:
“Naturalism is a metaphysical position that the world exists on its own, and that God exerts no influence on any object or event in the world.”
Orthodox Presbyterian Church, OPC: The Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC) was established in 1936. It was formed by conservatives who broke with the mainline northern branch of the Presbyterian Church.
OPC Report: The term “OPC Report” is a short reference to “The Report of the Committee to Study the Views of Creation. The OPC Report was to the 71th General Assembly of the OPC in 2004. The OPC Report may be downloaded at: www.opc.org.
PCA Report: The term “PCA Report” is a short reference to “The Report of the Creation Study Committee” of the PCA. The PCA Report was to the 28th General Assembly of the PCA. The PCA Report may be downloaded at: www.pcahistory.org.
Perspicuity: Perspicuity basically means that a person of average intelligence is able to understand the Bible. Article 7. , Chapter 1 – Of the Holy Scripture, of the Westminster Confession of faith was excerpted from the Orthodox Presbyterian Church website (www. opc.org) on 4/4/2015:
- All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all: yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.
Plain Reading: Basically, with a plain reading, meanings are to be assigned the ordinary meaning of words. The following was excerpted from Wikipedia on 3/1/15:
“The plain meaning rule dictates that statutes are to be interpreted using the ordinary meaning of the language of the statute. In other words, a statute is to be read word for word and is to be interpreted according to the ordinary meaning of the language, unless a statute explicitly defines some of its terms otherwise or unless the result would be cruel or absurd. Ordinary words are given their ordinary meaning, technical terms are given their technical meaning, and local, cultural terms are recognized as applicable.”
Presbyterian Church in America, PCA: The Presbyterian Church in America (PCA) was formed in 1973 when conservatives broke with the mainline southern branch of the Presbyterian Church.
Science, Applied: Applied science (also termed engineering is an outgrowth of experimental science. Engineers will use the principals obtained from experimental science to design useful products.
Science, Experimental: Experimental science (also termed Operational Science) is science that may be confirmed by scientific methods.
Science, Forensic: Forensic science (also termed Historical Science) is the development of a theory based on observation. However, no experiments can be devised that prove the theory.
Science, Proposed PCA Report definition: “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, Loaded definition: “science is limited to explaining the natural world by means of natural processes” (National Science Teachers Association).
Science, Mainstream: Mainstream science is the science of secular scientific textbooks. These textbooks represent the consensus of the scientific community (termed Scientific Consensus). Mainstream science is a mixture of experimental science and forensic science.
Science, non-Mainstream: Non-mainstream science is outside the consensus of the scientific community. Non-mainstream science can become mainstream science. The Missoula Flood controversy is an example of this.
Science, Scientific Consensus: In basic terms, the scientific consensus is an official position of the scientific community as it relates to a particular subject. Most within the scientific community are in general agreement with this consensus. However this consensus is not unanimous. Presently, the scientific consensus supports the naturalism, the Big Bang, uniformitarianism, and evolution. The scientific consensus on a subject can change; however, any change in the scientific consensus is slow and deliberate.
Westminster Confession of Faith, WCF: The Westminster Confession of Faith is a reformed statement as to what the Bible teaches on 33 significant points of Christian doctrine. Presbyterian churches consider the WCF subordinate to the Bible. The WCF was agreed to by the Westminster Divines in 1647 and by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; it was ratified by Acts of Parliament in 1649 and 1690.