iSoul In the beginning is reality

The creation paradigm

Simply put, an historical paradigm is a storyline of history. A storyline is a theme that similar stories have. Compare this with what Imré Lakatos called “research programmes”:

For Lakatos, what we think of as a ‘theory’ may actually be a succession of slightly different theories and experimental techniques developed over time, that share some common idea, or what Lakatos called their ‘hard core’. Lakatos called such changing collections ‘Research Programmes’. [Wikipedia]

An historical paradigm is similar except that it concerns history rather than science. Here the Creation Paradigm is presented as the common idea of histories and theories around the concept of special creation. The core propositions of the creation paradigm are as follows.

Propositions

There are two groups of propositions. A group of four propositions that may be called philosophical and a group of eight propositions that relate to history and science.

  1. Philosophical Creation

The reason why there is something rather than nothing is that God did it. What God did is called “create”. What God created is called “creation”, or “the universe”. This says nothing about how, when, or why God created. This includes that God sustains all creation.

  1. Ordered Creation

Creation is a work of God. All creation exhibits the handiwork of God in some way, although this may be obscured.

God is a God of order and creation is orderly. Even when creation appears disorderly, there is order beneath the surface. Every change in the creation has a cause. Intractable change may be understood stochastically but still is caused. There is no change that is completely random or uncaused.

Abstract or imaginary order such as we find in mathematics can be expected to be found in this ordered creation. It is appropriate to use concepts such as mathematics to understand creation. Other sources of imaginary order such as literature and the arts may be appropriate as well.

  1. Bounded Creation

This is the proposition that (a) there was a time zero, a beginning point, that (b) time is linear rather than cyclic, and that (c) there will be a final time point. Thus the universe is not infinite in extent, either temporally or spatially. Time and space are bounded. Time is like a line segment.

  1. History and Science

The subject of natural history is primarily history and secondarily natural science. Similarly, the subject of ancient history is primarily history and secondarily science. The actions and events of history have greater significance for origins than the laws and generalizations of science.

Science is not a gatekeeper of historical facts. If an action or event is sufficiently attested, then it must be accepted by science, whether or not it can be explained by science.

  1. Biblical Significance

The document known as the Bible is a uniquely significant historical document because of its accurate preservation of the history and experience of the Hebrew people and their forebears in ancient times. Events described in the Bible have been corroborated by ancient artifacts. The Bible also provides strong evidence in support of the other creation propositions.

Organizations such as Associates for Biblical Research document the Bible’s historical accuracy.

  1. Creation Week

This is the proposition about how long God took to fully create the universe. It asserts that the time it took is measured in days, specifically six days of activity and one day of rest. The term “day” here is understand to mean one rotation of the earth around its axis as measured from the earth’s frame of reference. This entails that the earth was created on the first day and allows that a day on the earth could have a different duration if measured elsewhere.

  1. Recent Creation

This is the proposition about the time that has transpired since the Creation Week. It is asserted that the time since creation is relatively recent, on the order of 10,000 years ago, that is, closer to 10,000 than to 1000 or 100,000 years ago. This contrasts with ideas that the time since creation is several orders of magnitude more, such as billions of years ago.

  1. Specific Creation

This is the proposition that organic life was created as multiple kinds rather than as a single kind of life. Historically, these kinds were called “species” but the term species has narrowed in meaning over time. A new term has recently been coined to indicate a created kind: “baramin”. The number and extent of the baramin are matters of active investigation (for example, by the Creation Biology Study Group).

  1. Human Creation

This is the proposition that human life was created as a special kind of life. The distinct character of human beings is described variously, such as “created in the image of God”, a living soul made of matter and spirit, or the steward of creation. This human difference is expected to be exhibited in the arts, the humanities, and the social sciences.

  1. Mature Creation

This is the proposition that the state of creation at the end of the Creation Week contained the earth, the moon, and stars fully created rather than in a primitive state, and organic life in a mature state rather than in an immature or primitive state.

  1. Consistent Typology

This is a proposition about the difference between the current state of creation and the state at the end of Creation Week. Changes in creation have occurred within a consistent typology. One state of creation may be very different from another state of creation but the kinds of entities are consistent. In particular, the different kinds of life remain distinct; they have not intermixed or hybridized.

  1. Major Catastrophes

Since the end of Creation Week there have been a small number of catastrophes that have produced worldwide changes in a short period of time. Specifically these include: (a) a universal catastrophe called the Fall, (b) a worldwide catastrophe called the Flood, and (c) a catastrophe affecting all humanity called the Confusion of Tongues. A description of these catastrophes is contained in historical sources, particularly the Bible, and in effects that are still observable today.

Conclusion

These are the core propositions of the Creation Paradigm. A history or theory that affirms or assumes some but not all of these propositions may be a partial creation paradigm but is not the full Creation Paradigm. At a minimum, a creation paradigm must affirm Philosophical Creation (the first 4 propositions).

One conclusion from these propositions is that understanding creation requires a two-fold methodology. This is because creation originates from the top down but much evidence about creation comes from the bottom up. So both bottom-up and top-down investigations are necessary to converge at the most accurate understanding. Also, inferences from both the past to the present and from the present to the past are necessary to converge at the most accurate temporal understanding. An integration of these approaches is needed rather than a single methodology.

October 2010

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