Home Up Science and the Spirit Review and Reflections Explanation - Interdisciplinary As Iron Sharpens Iron… The Spirit of Science



As Iron Sharpens Iron…: A Narrative Response

by Dr. Mike Tenneson and Dr. Steve Badger


This essay has two parts. First, we respond to the criticisms of our essay “Does the Spirit Create through Evolutionary Processes?” offered by Jeff Hittenberger, William Kay, and Nimi Wariboko.[1] Second, each of us describes his personal journey in learning to integrate scientific knowledge with New Testament faith in Christ Jesus.


Responses to Our Reviewers


We appreciate the time and effort these three scholars invested in reading and reflecting on Science and the Spirit. Below we offer responses. Jeff Hittenberger correctly interprets our intentions in “Does the Spirit Create through Evolutionary Processes?” when he writes that we point out some of the evidence that leads Christians to embrace the idea of macro-evolution and offer some of the critiques of that perspective offered by young earth and old earth creationists. The authors do not advocate for any of the three, but instead provide a framework for civil discussion among Pentecostals about the scientific evidence as well as the parallel theological and moral issues. Indeed, we teach students the presuppositions, issues, and observations that lead people to adopt a particular conclusion and encourage them to form their own. We also affirm that some Pentecostals have been too quick to deny the possible creative role of the Holy Spirit through evolutionary processes.[2]

Nimi Wariboko’s criticism that we fail to propose a uniquely Pentecostal model for understanding evolutionary processes is accurate in one sense, but incorrect in another. Pentecostals speak with “many tongues” on the general topic of origins; we are not monolithic or univocal. However, we point the reader to some of Yong’s writings on emergence theory and briefly explain how we think his approach is consistent with a Pentecostal hermeneutic.

We do not address the question of faith-science integrative paradigms in our chapter, but we address it in our contribution to another work, The Spirit Renews the Face of the Earth.[3] In it, we (Badger and Tenneson) explain why it is important for everyone to establish, a priori, a procedure for integrating the findings of theology and science. Conflict and NOMA (Gould’s Non-Overlapping Magisteria) are inferior to more integrative approaches, such as complementarism or concordism.[4]

 We agree with Wariboko that there is need for an examination of the theological implications of human evolutionary theory. Young earth creationists and old earth creationists avoid the problem since they usually see Adam and Eve as historical persons whose appearance on earth occurred as described in Genesis. Evolutionary creationists are divided on this issue. Some believe Adam and Eve were historical persons, while others feel they represent a community of beings (perhaps as many as 10,000) upon whom the imago Dei was conferred or developed. Attempts to integrate recent genetics findings (e.g. mitochondrial eve and y-chromosome Adam) with the conferral of the image of God need to be improved.

Among other things, William Kay comments on our online origins survey:


…the response rate for the 2008 survey is rather low and the size of the 2008 sample is about a third of the size of the 2004 sample. The comparisons are presented in terms of percentages and there is little or no attempt to verify the representativeness of the two samples by, for instance, comparing them with known age distributions or other confirmatory information.


Here are some additional survey results that were not available at the time we wrote our chapter. The 2004 survey and the 2008 survey were different instruments. We administered the Origins Survey to the same population (students, staff, faculty at Assemblies of God [AG] colleges and universities) in 2004 and again in 2009 (Tables 1 and 2). The surveys were examined for content and construct validity along with reliability.[5] Content validity was supported through content judge evaluations of the survey items. Construct validity was shown using factor analysis, which yielded top loading factors that corresponded with the researchers’ empirical constructs. Finally, reliability was determined to be high using the Cronbach’s alpha method.


Table 1: Self Reported Positions of Faculty at AG colleges and universities.

Self-Reported Position

2004 (n=224)*

2009 (n=145)*

Young Earth Creationists



Old Earth Creationists



Evolutionary Creationists



Undecided and Blank



Atheistic Evolutionists



*p≤0.05, χ2=11.066, df=3 (AE and DE omitted)


Table 2: Self Reported Positions of Students at AG colleges and universities.

Self-Reported Position

2004* (n=763)

2009* (n=185)

Young Earth Creationists



Old Earth Creationists



Evolutionary Creationists



Undecided and Blank



Atheistic Evolutionists



* *p≤0.01, χ2=14.933, df=3 3 (AE and DE omitted)


A statistically significant shift among faculty and students occurred from 2004 to 2009, favoring the ancient creation positions (OEC and EC).[6] The 2008 survey dealt specifically with beliefs and teachings about evolution and was taken by 70 faculty at Pentecostal (AG and non-AG) colleges and universities (Table 3).


Table 3: Self-Reported Position of Pentecostal Faculty

Self-Reported Position

2008 (n=70)

Young Earth Creationists


Old Earth Creationists


Evolutionary Creationists


Undecided and Blank


Atheistic Evolutionists




For the 2008 sample, the ancient creation viewpoints (OEC and EC) were more strongly represented than the YEC view. In a personal communication to one of us (Badger), Kay encouraged us to greatly expand the scope of the sample. We agree, and we hope to include CCCU members and secular institutions sometime in the future. (If you would like to have your class or other group take the online survey, contact the authors at tennesonm@evangel.edu or at badgers@evangel.edu.)


In Pursuit of Integration[7]


 “It’s either the Bible or evolution, you must choose one or the other,” my pastor told me in a Bible study class when I was a biology graduate student. I resisted feebly with a couple of questions about integrating the two, which were dismissed out of hand. I had experienced the new birth not very long before this, so I was learning about discipline and submission to God’s will. I loved and respected this pastor, so this and my zeal for conforming my inner and outer man to God’s will made this choice easy. I chose God and the Bible and became a young earth creationist (YEC).

I wasn’t comfortable with this for very long, though.

Fellow science graduate student friends, particularly those studying geology, challenged me to consider the idea that Christian faith and science could coexist and that both could and should be used together to answer the big questions. I read Whitcomb and Morris’ The Genesis Flood.[8] Although the authors’ obvious love of God and innovative explanations for stratigraphy and the fossil record were interesting, their out-of-hand-dismissal of the findings of radiometric dating was hard to accept. I realized that I was under-informed about a myriad of germane topics like uniformitarianism vs. catastrophism, and evolution vs. frequent or continuous creations.

Living the vagabond lives of itinerant-field-ecology-graduate-student-seekers-of-Christ gave my wife and me many opportunities to be queried about our views on evolution by the many well-meaning but concerned Christian greeters at churches we visited. We also realized, through the labor intensive work of collecting and analyzing field ecology data, that the scientific method was very effective at solving nature’s riddles. Nailing down my views on creation-evolution was put on hold, but my research in behavioral ecology kept me thinking about how the evidences for natural selection affirmed or contradicted my faith.

After graduate school, our work overseas with the Peace Corps provided us with first-hand encounters with frequent, miraculous interventions of God. These encounters reinforced my convictions about God’s immanence. Life was simple and rich, but not especially intellectual.

Later, during my seminary years, some of my professors were YEC; others were more comfortable with an ancient creation and some aspects of evolutionary theory. During this time, while beginning my teaching career as a biology faculty member, I was alarmed to find that my students in an upper division ecology course had no idea what natural selection was and lacked even the most rudimentary understandings of how to navigate the evolution-creation controversy. As I prepared instructional materials for this gap in our biology curriculum, I quickly found that my understanding of creation theories was superficial, and began more serious study.

During this time, I also sought ways to teach critical thinking and other skills related to methods of science. My students engaged ideas with gusto about which they had strong feelings. The evolution-creation controversy turned out to be an ideal topic for developing critical thinking skills in my students, and the development of appropriate instructional materials led to further examination of origins literature.

A re-examination of young earth creation flood geology models left me wanting a more integrative approach. Proponents of this view dismissed (seemingly out-of-hand) findings of radiometric dating and astronomy related to the age of the creation. OEC (progressive creation) models addressed many of my concerns (see Ramm[9] and Ross[10]), but I was and still am disappointed with their treatments of natural selection and macroevolution.

My choice for a PhD dissertation topic came down to either continuing my field work on frog communication or investigating the attitudes and beliefs of college students about evolution and creation. I chose the latter as more relevant to my work at a conservative Christian college. Near the end of my PhD research, I encountered the stereotypical “Two Worlds” approach to science and faith. That is, science and theology had nothing to say to each other. My proposition that the teaching of evolution (in nearly every setting) could benefit from a presentation of theories of faith-science integration encountered a lot of resistance. My point was not that “scientific creationism” (i.e., YEC) should be taught as a superior alternative to Darwinian evolution in the science classroom. Rather, we should point out that some elements of evolutionary propositions pose no challenge to Christian faith. Other elements are controversial. Complete disclosure of key knowledge claims of the different stakeholders should be made available to all students.[11]

Responses of my dissertation committee ranged from adamant opposition to mild support. After a successful dissertation defense, my committee required me to add a chapter on the philosophy of science. The new chapter that I submitted to my committee documented that eminent philosophers of science substantiated my contention that the demarcation problem remained unresolved. The committee then decided that I didn’t need to include this chapter after all. This experience mirrored in a microcosm our culture-wide creation-evolution encounters: opinion matters more than evidence.

Today I find evidences for an ancient universe finely tuned to support life (particularly humans), convincing. Although I am favorably impressed with the works of Intelligent Design theorists like Stephen Meyer, I share some of the concerns raised by ID critics.

Convinced by empirical evidence for natural selection, I see no scientific or theological warrant for species fixation. Recent findings in genetics (particularly epigenomics[12]) seriously challenge the claim by extreme Neo-Darwinists (proponents of the “modern synthesis”) that their natural selection model is the only mechanistic explanation for evolution. People should stop misrepresenting the fossil record in phlyogenetic trees; instead, these diagrams should indicate which nodes and branches are supported with fossil specimens and which are conjecture.

Although the EC position is largely consistent with scientific evidences, some proponents of this view have left me cold with their treatment of the Imago Dei and their minimization of the ongoing miraculous acts of God in the lives of humans and his creation.

I am repulsed by the shenanigans of polemicists on both sides of the debate about teaching evolution in U.S. high schools. Similarly, the graceless and mean-spirited rhetoric utilized by some YEC advocates as they challenge the other camps disturbs me, as does the conceit of some science experts who in the same breath dismiss supernatural explanatory options while promoting unsubstantiated ideas like panspermia.[13]

Few of us seem to make the effort to carefully evaluate our presuppositions or the evidences for our positions. Science, theology, and philosophy are uncertain enough that I feel I must hold rather loosely my origins position. I am not convinced that any one of the typical origins camps has it all right. However, as a Pentecostal Christian, I find God’s frequent, if not continuous, input in the creation expected. The place of humans in this created order is supreme, not because of biology or psychology, but because we alone bear the image of God.

The benefits of working with a collaborator like Steve Badger are varied and robust. We share a strong Pentecostal faith and an appreciation for the ability of science to answer questions about the physical realm. Steve’s aptitudes in chemistry, philosophy, and theology mesh well with mine in ecology and evolution. We have enough mutual respect to comfortably challenge each other’s knowledge claims (as iron sharpens iron, Proverbs 27:17, NIV). More importantly, we share an agenda that does not involve lobbying for a favorite creationist viewpoint or position. Instead, we present criticisms of and arguments for each camp, not to shirk conflict but to lower the emotional barriers that prevent people from objectively evaluating evidence. As a result, our origins talks in both academic and church settings have lacked the rancorous disputation commonly encountered.

Steve has convinced me that a person’s epistemological preferences, science-faith integrative approaches, and other presuppositions predispose (maybe predetermine) a person’s decision to affiliate with a particular origins camp (YEC, OEC, EC, DE, AE).


In Pursuit of Integration, the Sequel[14]


I have been a credentialed minister with the Assemblies of God for almost 30 years. I’ve earned a BS in biology, a PhD in chemistry, and an MA in biblical literature, in that order.

I grew up the youngest of five children in a conservative nonpentecostal Evangelical home. We had family devotions (reading of the Scripture and prayer) every night—unless we were at church. I don’t remember any conversations about biological evolution in our home (though there might have been some), but I’d read the Genesis creation account (GCA) several times during family devotions, and I almost certainly inherited my father’s literal interpretation.

In 1966 I completed my undergraduate education at a conservative Christian (nonpentecostal) college, but all of my biology professors were evolutionists who presented God as creator and the one who guided biological evolution (45-plus years ago!). As a college student, I didn’t really form a firm opinion about evolution or creation—except that God was the creator.

After successfully avoiding any controversy over creation-evolution during two years of teaching high school biology, I attended a state university in pursuit of a master’s degree in microbiology. Whenever creation-evolution came up, I would call myself a theistic evolutionist—but this was only to avoid a debate. I still had no firm opinion as I left the microbiology department (without a master’s degree) to pursue a PhD in chemistry (which I completed in 1973).

About a year and a half before finishing graduate school, I had profound soteriological and pneumatological experiences that transformed me into a Pentecostal. Shortly thereafter, a close friend directed me to the Assemblies of God.

After graduate school, I taught in the biology department at a state university for five years without ever having a debate with anyone about origins. If the topic arose, I’d call myself EC and allow others to debate the merits of their opinions. I really didn’t care. I just wasn’t interested in debating a question that I thought could not be answered with any certainty.

Later, following a stint as a senior pastor, I taught at Southwestern Assemblies of God College. The academic dean asked me to create a new course covering the interface between the natural sciences and Christian faith. Since this course would include the creation-evolution controversy, I spent some time in our library studying the issues. Most of the materials I found argued for a recent creation (6,000-8,000 years ago) and a reading of the GCA as historical narrative that is scientifically accurate (in terms of modern science). With my limited understanding of the issues, I tentatively accepted these arguments. I was naïve and ignorant (in the best sense of both words)—a situation most of us have been in at one time or another. So for a short time, I called myself a YEC—mostly because it was expedient, especially at my next place of ministry…

…Central Bible College. Two years later, as I completed a master’s degree at the Assemblies of God Theological Seminary (AGTS), the academic dean (of the Bible college) asked me to create and teach a new interdisciplinary course. We called it “Christian Faith and Natural Science.” This assignment required even more and deeper research—not only into the creation-science debate, but also into the broader science-faith interface and philosophy of science. This time I found books and articles that rebutted the so-called “scientific evidences for a recent creation.”

I read many articles in back issues of Perspectives on Science & Christian Faith, the journal of the American Scientific Affiliation. I read books that presented other positions on the age of creation and that questioned the approach to reading the GCA as scientifically accurate historical narrative. Gradually I came to wonder why God would communicate to ancient people using modern science. Surely this would only confuse them. I also realized that even if the GCA was written as narrative and as historical, that does not mean it should be read as historical narrative. Fiction can also be written as historical narrative and still communicate truth.[15]

Gradually I became agnostic about how or when God created (not agnostic about God’s existence or about God as creator). By agnostic, I mean that I was convinced that I did not know when God created or how God created—I also dogmatically denied that others knew—no matter what position they championed. Indeed, I think we cannot learn this from biblical studies or by the methods of the natural sciences.

For years I was a man without a camp. I summarize the reasons for my lack of a position like this:

Since I was convinced that the scientific evidence overwhelmingly pointed to an ancient creation, I could not embrace YEC. As I learned more about biblical studies, I also doubted that reading the GCA as scientifically accurate historical narrative was a legitimate hermeneutic.

On the other hand, even though I accepted an ancient creation, I found the scientific evidence for biological evolution unconvincing. While the theory seemed to meet the coherence test of truth, I was not convinced that it passed the correspondence theory of truth. To say it another way, I saw the evidence as consistent with the theory of biological evolution, but the evidence did not motivate me to embrace the theory of evolution as true.

That left me with a third theistic understanding: OEC. Suffice it to say that this model did not seem likely to me. I agreed with them on one point only: an ancient creation. They rejected macroevolution as false, and, while I didn’t embrace macroevolution, I was not convinced that it was false. And I found their idea of multiple creative acts of God being separated by millions of years as no more convincing than the evidence for macroevolution.

Then, in the fall of 2001, I began teaching at Evangel University (AG). Biology professor Mike Tenneson and I were already acquainted, and we quickly began discussing the issues we faced in teaching about creation-evolution at a Christian school. Once again I was faced with a steep learning curve. As we discussed and debated a variety of relevant issues, we provoked each other to continue reading pertinent literature, including works by scientists, by philosophers, and by theologians. At times one of us would play the devil’s advocate, just to have a foil against which the other could push. At times we were loud, other times reflective, but usually respectful.

We designed, tested, and administered an online survey to measure the opinions of our colleagues and students at other AG colleges about origins.[16] We wrote a booklet to be used in classes at Evangel University and other schools.[17] We gave presentations of our research to church groups, to university classes, at the Oxford Round Table,[18] at the Society for Pentecostal Studies,[19] at the annual meeting of the American Scientific Affiliation,[20] and at various meetings of AG professors. [21] We attended a symposium featuring some of the leading Christian apologists on origins.[22] At times we called and talked with the author of a thought-provoking book that we’d read.

In late 2007, AGTS asked me to teach a course on Genesis 1-11 and science. Then Amos Yong asked us to write a chapter to be considered for a book he was editing. [23] As we were finishing that, he asked us to write a chapter to be considered for another book.[24] Global University asked us to write a graduate reading course for their students. When the leaders of the Assemblies of God decided to revisit all of their position papers, the chair of the committee considering “The Doctrine of Creation” sat down and discussed the issues with us. All of these, combined with the results of our online origins survey, motivated us into another, even deeper cycle of research, discussion, and reflection.

At times we have been challenged to take a stand vis-à-vis evolutionary theory—challenged not only by Amos Yong, but also by students or colleagues. But how crucial is it for us to embrace a position? Might a scientist, philosopher, or theologian logically conclude that no position is worth embracing, at least yet?

All of the preceding background is foundational to understanding how my opinions regarding creation-evolution have changed over the years, and, more specifically, what I think today.

1.      I find the scientific evidence for an ancient universe convincing,[25] and find the Scriptures silent on this point. I think the zeal of the recent creationists far surpasses their “supporting evidences,” and I reject their epistemological presuppositions. More specifically, I think the date of creation cannot be determined by biblical studies in general or by a surface reading of the GCA in particular (e.g., the genealogies).

2.      In order to understand the GCA, we must understand the genre of the passage and recover the worldview of the people for whom this was originally intended. Several Old Testament scholars, including Dale Brueggemann,[26] Roger Cotton,[27] Robert Stallman,[28] Bruce Waltke,[29] and John Walton,[30] have convinced me that the GCA was not written using scientific language. For this reason, I do not interpret the GCA through a scientific lens.

3.      For years I thought that a concordist approach to the GCA was one of the better models.[31] But Denis Lamoureux and others recently helped me to tentatively decide that accommodation is a better approach to understanding the Old Testament in general, and to the GCA in particular.[32] In other words, we should not read the GCA expecting to learn anything “scientific” (at least in terms of modern empirical science).

4.      Macroevolutionary theory has more empirical support than I had been willing to admit. Specifically,

A.    Microevolution–even though I, and virtually everyone else who studies origins today, recognize that microevolution has been observed many times, I find the causal processes that we use to explain microevolution insufficient to explain macroevolution—regardless of how much time passes.

B.     Macroevolution- Because Darwin’s “Great Tree of Life” is based primarily on “historical science,” I find it less credible than speciation, which has a stronger empirical base. For example, animals that appear to have the same morphologies but are separated geographically may become unable to reproduce (allopatric speciation).

C.     Biochemistry–evidence continues to grow that is consistent with evolutionary theory. For example, these are often presented as supporting common descent:

1.      Cytochrome c (a protein requisite for cellular respiration) is found in virtually all aerobic organisms.

2.      Polymers of DNA and RNA are the molecules of inheritance and function very similarly in synthesizing proteins.

5.      Two problems prevent me from embracing EC:

A.    The first is primarily theological: I am unable to accept the image of God evolving in humans;[33] rather I think this requires divine intervention.

B.     The second is primarily philosophical: I think the methods of the empirical sciences are inadequate to answer the questions of historical science[34] (e.g., what (who) is responsible for the origin and variety of life on planet earth)? To summarize these ideas, historical science (e.g., paleontology) is still a part of science, but I think conclusions reached by historical science, especially those pertaining to speciation, should be held with less certainty than those of the empirical sciences.

6.      Two changes encourage me to be more engaged in the conversation vis-à-vis origins—both with Pentecostals and other Christians: (1) the recent revision of “The Doctrine of Creation,” the Assemblies of God position paper,[35] and, (2) the gradual change of opinions of AG adherents regarding the age of creation as indicated by the results of our online survey. The climate in the AG has become more conducive to rational discourse on origins.

7.      None of the three theistic creationist positions (YEC, OEC, and EC) should be used as a criterion for Christian orthodoxy.

All these years of study have moved me from one tentative conclusion to another. Even today I find myself moving toward a position, but not to a final conclusion. These seven points summarize my thinking today, but what will I think tomorrow? “Scientific attitudes” include the willingness to change a position when faced with new data (or new arguments).[36] Tenneson and I repeatedly remind each other of this.

I am a creationist who argues that we do not know how or when God created. I cannot imagine that God would deceive us by creating the physical realm to appear ancient if it were actually relatively young. Why would God have created life to appear to have developed by an evolutionary process if it didn’t?

Some recent creationists and some evolutionists share a similar problem: recent creationists claim that the Bible provides information that it does not provide; they are interpreting the sacred texts incorrectly when they use them to argue that the creation is recent and each and every life form was specially created. Some evolutionists claim that nature provides more information than it actually provides; they are interpreting the “natural texts” incorrectly when they conclude that evolutionary theory is so well established that it is beyond dispute.

Perhaps one of the most egregious offences that Christians commit as they debate creation-evolution is to accuse those who disagree with them of being outside the family of faith. Genuine, spiritual Christians can be found in each of the three theistic camps (YEC, OEC, and EC). The friend who gently led me to faith in Christ and mentored me spiritually was, and still is, an EC (with a PhD in biology).

In spite of my criticisms of these camps, and in light of several passages of Scripture,[37] I encourage all of us to consider how we treat people in various camps. YEC should not treat OEC or EC as less spiritual because they interpret the GCA differently. EC should not treat YEC as if they are cognitively impaired. We are all walking in the light that we have.

I have no doubt that the universe and life were designed by a superlatively intelligent God. While I would guess most Christians agree with some form of “intelligent design,” I’m not sure we all agree with everything that the proponents of “Intelligent Design” have said and done to convince others of their position.[38]

From my 25-plus years of studying the debate over creation-evolution, I’ve formed two observations:

1.      “In the origins debate, for every argument in favor of a position, there is an equal and opposite argument against that position or in favor of a competing position.”

2.      “Any new datum or argument that comes to light is immediately claimed by proponents of a position that this either proves or is consistent with their position.”

Regarding teaching origins (to Christians or nonchristians, in the church or in the academy), we still think the best approach is to start with epistemology, and then connect theories of knowing to the natural sciences and to Bible interpretation. Explain how the literary form of the passage (and/or book) should in part control meaning. Study to understand the worldview of the original recipients of sacred texts. And only then can we use all we’ve learned to attempt to understand the divine message.

Why has this debate lasted so long? In part, I think it is because many people think that most if not all of the observations that are used to support evolution can fit a special creation model equally well. Most Christians do not have enough information to form a dogmatic opinion about how or when God created. And, assuming they know God as creator, most people probably don’t need more information or a firmer opinion, since few Christians will find this issue crucial to their daily faith walk.




Anyone involved in the faith-science dialogue should find the preceding two personal narratives useful. Regardless of the theistic view embraced, Pentecostals should be able to articulate a reasoned view on origins, especially regarding the role of the Holy Spirit in creative processes. Identifying the foundational presuppositions and interpretive paradigms that inform our theology of origins is a necessary starting point for a critical evaluation of our position. We need to be willing to change our views when presented with new evidence that challenges our current understandings. Learning how other Pentecostals have attempted this is a good way to begin the journey of critical self-evaluation and should help us to form a more robust and coherent view.


[1] Steve Badger and Mike Tenneson, “Does the Spirit Create Through Evolutionary Processes? Pentecostals and Biological Evolution,” in James K. A. Smith and Amos Yong, eds., Science and the Spirit: A Pentecostal Engagement with the Sciences (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2010), 92-116.

[2] See Timothy Munyon, “The Creation of the Universe and Humankind,” in Stanley M. Horton, ed., Systematic Theology: A Pentecostal Perspective (Springfield, Mo.: Logion Press, 1994), 215-53.

[3] Mike Tenneson and Steve Badger, “Teaching Origins to Pentecostal Students,” in Amos Yong, ed., The Spirit Renews the Face of the Earth: Pentecostal Forays in Science and Theology of Creation (Eugene, Ore.: Pickwick Press, 2009), 210-31.

[4] Richard Bube, Putting It All Together Seven Patterns for Relating Science and the Christian Faith (Lanham, Md.: University Press of America, 1995).

[5] Validity: the instrument measures what it purports to measure. Reliability: a measure of internal consistency.

[6] Throughout this paper, we use the following abbreviations: YEC: young earth creation (scientific creationism); OEC: old earth creation (progressive creation); EC: evolutionary creation (theistic evolution); DE deistic evolution; and AE atheistic evolution.

[7] This section was written by Mike Tenneson, PhD.

[8] John C. Whitcomb, Jr., and Henry Morris, The Genesis Flood: The Biblical Record and Its Scientific Implications (Grand Rapids: Baker Books. 1961).

[9] Bernard Ramm, The Christian View of Science and Scripture (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans, 1954).

[10] Hugh Ross, The Creator and the Cosmos: How the Greatest Scientific Discoveries of the Century Reveal God (Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 2001).

[11] M. G. Tenneson, “The Development and Validation of a Scientific Attitudes and Attitudes toward Evolution and Creation Instrument for Christian College Biology Students” (Doctoral dissertation, University of Missouri, Columbia, 2001).

[12] Epigenomics: regulatory proteins have been shown to control gene expression, and these regulatory proteins may be influenced by environmental factors.

[13] Panspermia: the hypothesis that the earth was “seeded” by life (sentient or non-sentient) from space (notice this does not answer the question of the ultimate origin of life).

[14] This section was authored by Steve Badger, PhD.

[15] If you doubt this statement, consider the parables of Jesus. Also see V. Philips Long’s excellent illustrative essay at the beginning of The Art of Biblical History (Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1994), 17-26.

[16] Some of the results of our survey are summarized in Tenneson and Badger, “Teaching Origins to Pentecostal Students,” 227-31.

[17] Steve Badger and Mike Tenneson, Christian Perspectives on Origins, rev. and expanded (Springfield, Mo.: Evangel University, 2007), 34 pp. (available from the Evangel University bookstore).

[18] Steve Badger and Mike Tenneson, “Perspectives on Origins Held by Educators and Students at Eleven Pentecostal Colleges in America,” paper presented at the Oxford Round Table, Oxford University, Oxford, England, August 1, 2007.

[19] Steve Badger and Mike Tenneson, “Teaching Origins to Pentecostal College Students and Measuring the Beliefs of Pentecostal Students about Origins,” paper presented at the Society of Pentecostal Studies and Wesleyan Theological Society Joint Meeting, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, March 2008.

[20] Steve Badger and Mike Tenneson, “Pentecostal Responses to Macroevolution: A Historical Overview,” paper presented at the American Scientific Affiliation, Waco, Texas, August 1, 2009.

[21] Mike Tenneson and Steve Badger, “Origins Survey: Assemblies of God Higher Education,” Paper presented at the Assemblies of God Commission on Christian Higher Education Faculty Seminar, Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri, July 23, 2004; and “Pentecostals and Origins,” paper presented to The Alliance for Assemblies of God Higher Education Faculty Seminar, Evangel University, Springfield, Missouri, June 2009.

[22] “The Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science,” Austin, Texas, October 26–28, 2010. Speakers included, Hugh Ross, Daryl Falk, Stephen Meyer, Tremper Longman III, John Walton, C. John Collins, Walter Bradley, Doug Axe, Randy Isaac, Deborah Haarsma, Rob Coons, Walter Kaiser, Paul Nelson, Fazale Rana, Dennis Venema, and others.

[23] Tenneson and Badger, “Teaching Origins to Pentecostal Students,” 221-31.

[24] Badger and Tenneson, “Does the Spirit Create Through Evolutionary Processes?”

[25] Davis Young’s Christianity and the Age of the Earth (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982) is dated, but still good. Young’s The Bible, Rocks, and Time: Geological Evidence for the Age of the Earth (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2008), is more current. Hugh Ross’s Creation and Time (Colorado Springs, Colo.: NavPress, 1994), and David Snoke’s A Biblical Case for an Old Earth (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006), are both worth reading. For those who dismiss scientific dating methods as so undependable as to be worthless, I suggest a three-part series by Davis Young in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith [PSCF]: "How Old Is It? How Do We Know? A Review of Dating Methods—Part 1: Relative Dating, Absolute Dating, and Non-radiometric Dating" PSCF 58:4 (Dec 2006): 259-65; "How Old Is It? How Do We Know? A Review of Dating Methods—Part 2: Radiometric Dating: Mineral, Isochron and Concordia Methods," PSCF 59:1 (March 2007): 28-36; and "How Old Is It? How Do We Know? A Review of Dating Methods—Part 3: Thermochronometry, Cosmogenic Isotopes, and Theological Implications," PSCF 59:2 (June 2007): 136-42. Another excellent overview of dating is by Roger Weins’ “Radiometric Dating: A Christian Perspective,” available on the Internet at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/resources/wiens.html.

[26] An Assemblies of God Missionary Educator to Eurasia.

[27] Professor of Old Testament, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary, and personal friend.

[28] Professor of Bible and Hebrew, Northwest University (Assemblies of God), Kirkland, Washington, and personal friend.

[29] Bruce K. Waltke, “The Literary Genre of Genesis, Chapter One,” Crux 27 (December 1991): 2-10.

[30] John Walton, The Lost World of Genesis One: Ancient Cosmology and the Origins Debate
(Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2009).

[31] By concordism I mean that our interpretations of Scriptures must agree with (concord with) our contemporary scientific understandings.

[32] Denis Lamoureux, “Lessons from the Heavens: On Scripture, Science and Inerrancy,” Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 60:1 (March 2008): 5–15.

[33] We see the most important meaning of “created in God’s image” as indicating that humans are morally responsible to God for our actions. The other animals are not morally responsible for their actions.

[34] Empirical science is used to indicate those that are subject to repeated experimentation and verification by other researchers. Historical sciences indicates an attempt to reconstruct events that happened only once (or twice?) in the very distant past (e.g., the origin of life and the forces that produced the diversity of life).

[35] You can find and download “The Doctrine of Creation” at the Assemblies of God web site: http://ag.org/top/Beliefs/Position_Papers/pp_downloads/PP_The_Doctrine_of_Creation.pdf

[36] For example, I initially rejected endosymbiosis as groundless. Recently I’ve read some of the empirical support for this theory and would like to read more about it.

[37] For example, John 13:34-35; Romans 12:10; Philippians 2:3-5; 1 Peter 3:8; and 1 John 3:11, 23.

[38] We heard Darrel Falk, speaking at “The Vibrant Dance of Faith and Science” symposium in Austin, Texas, challenge us to distinguish “intelligent design” from “Intelligent Design” (note the use of lowercase and uppercase letters). We understood the former to refer to the idea that the physical realm and life have the appearance of design and the latter to refer to a movement that offers its theories as historical science that can be tested using “scientific methods.”


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