The Fool and the Heretic

Todd Wood on his contribution to a collaborative book between a “young-earth creationist” and an “evolutionary creationist”.

The general sentiment of the book as described above seems to encapsulate the intended purpose of this forum.


Yes, I’ve been meaning to write about this.


From Paul Garner, quoted in Tood Wood’s blog post:

“I confess I do not believe the disagreement about origins is symmetrical. If theistic evolutionists (‘evolutionary creationists’) are wrong, they have messed up some really foundational theology – theology that underpins central New Testament teaching about Christ’s death and resurrection – and, in the light of eternity, that strikes me as a far more profound error than some messed up science interpretations if young-age creationists like me are wrong.”


My book unsettles his conclusions here substantially.


Would Garner agree? Would Wood agree? (That your book unsettles his conclusions.)

They haven’t read the book yet, so we can’t know for sure. We do know that others in their camp, who have previewed portions of it, do agree.

Are you saying that some YECs have changed their minds based on reading your book? Who?

YECs are not the only people important here, OECs are important too. Several YECs, nonetheless, have signaled openness to this. Some of their public statements are collated here: The OEC and YEC Reception of a Genealogical Adam.

Give it time though. Behind the scenes, privately, much more happening. November 2019 will be important, when the book comes out. I might even have some YECs endorsing it. Though, I suspect they will always be more willing to express private support. They face a lot of hostility from their community for aiding someone like me.


I take Garner as saying, in effect: My religions beliefs matter very much to me, but I have little interest in science.

Those of us who are deeply concerned with science won’t agree with Garner.


It is more complex than this. He is, instead, reasoning a bit like (though not the same) as Pascal’s Wager. I don’t actually disagree with him. If we had to choose between getting theology and science correct, the stakes in theology are higher. For this reason it would be better to make a mistake in science than in theology. Though, to be clear, I do not think we have to choose between the two.

I also agree with Garner in being concerned about the theological weakness that is seen among many TE and EC including the big organization in the mix. The good news is that there are better ways. Garner just has not been exposed to these better ways yet.


Indeed. Unfortunately, many professors I know who teach at Young Earth Creationist schools (or who work at institutions owned by traditionally YEC denominations) would face immediate termination (i.e., no delay until the end of the semester or their current employment contract) if even seriously suspected of sympathizing with the “wrong” camp on various origins-related issues. I’ve personally witnessed this many times during my career. (Furthermore, I’ve long been amazed at the number of colleagues who were annually conflicted about having to basically pledge allegiance to institutional doctrinal statements which are horrendously outdated and yet rigorously defended and preserved only because the founding documents of those institutions disallow any changes or even badly needed corrections.)


Not necessarily. That depends on the theology. If, for example, my theology is correct, it would be worse to get the science wrong. Equally, if there’s a God who lets you into heaven even if you failed to worship him, it’s worse to get the science wrong.


If we had to choose between getting theology and science correct, the stakes in theology are higher.

I would say it depends on what the theology is. If the theology is “Jesus died for my sins,” and “no one comes to the Father except through me,” we need to get that right. But if the theology is “God created the world in 144 hours,” that’s not a condition for salvation. I reject Todd Wood’s premise that rejecting a literal six day creation undermines belief in the New Testament teaching about Christ’s death and resurrection.