Origins and Models

Mapping how a variety of scholars, scientists and theorists understand the universe’s and our origins is needed, so I am happy to recommend Gerald Rau’s Mapping the Origins Debate: Six Models of the Beginning of Everything as a good place to get the big picture.

Rau’s aim here is not to sketch all the nuances; instead, his approach is to provide six models.

Conceptual models provide idealized types in an effort to provide explanations.

Where are you?

I will today provide a big-idea sketch of Rau’s six models, which are sifted through these ideas:

theology, teleology, intervention, geneaology, cosmology, and process.

There is plenty of discussion for each category and model, and I suspect this book will be an exceptional source for adult study groups and Christian college classes. I think pastors would benefit from this book, too.

Naturalistic Evolution:
Theology: no supernatural.
Teleology: no purpose.
Intervention: no intervention.
Geneaology: common descent.
Cosmology: old universe.
Process: spontaneous natural processes only.

Nonteleological Evolution:
Theology: Creator
Teleology: no purpose
Intervention:no intervention
Geneaology: common descent
Cosmology: old universe
Process: conditions necessary for life established at creation.

Planned Evolution
Theology: Creator
Teleology: purpose
Intervention: no intervention
Geneaology: common descent
Cosmology: old universe
Process: perfect creation naturally fulfills God’s purposes.

Directed Evolution
Theology: Creator
Teleology: purpose
Intervention: intervention
Geneaology: common descent
Cosmology: old universe
Process: changes in universe and life subtly directed over time.

Old-Earth Creation:
Theology: Creator
Teleology: purpose
Intervention: intervention
Geneaology: de novo creation
Cosmology: old universe
Process: major body plans created over millions of years.

Youth-Earth Creation:
Theology: Creator
Teleology: purpose
Intervention: intervention
Geneaology: de novo creation
Cosmology: recent creation
Process:each ‘kind’ created in one week, within the last 10,000 years.

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://thereforeiambic.blogspot.com Elena Johnston

    I appreciate the way you lay out the different positions in such an orderly way. It brings a lot of clarity (and hopefully more charity!) to these debates.

  • Charlie Clauss

    The lens of “intervention” is problematic. I don’t see how it can be independent of “Theology.” The case of a non-intervening Creator defines intervention in an artificial way, i.e. intervention is action after the initial act of creation. But this is a deeply theological statement about the nature of the Creator.

    What I find very ironic is that both skeptics and fundamentalists assume the same relationship between Creator and Creation (ultimately embedded in a mechanistic spatial metaphor). The one claims intervention is a key component and the other belittles the very idea of intervention.

    I think we must first spell out the relationship of Creator to Creation as a necessary in the taxonomy.

  • http://www.krusekronicle.com Michael W. Kruse

    Directed evolution probably fits best for me.

  • http://ruminski7327@comcast.net TJR

    It seems like Planned Evolution is the same as Theistic Evolution/Evolutionary Creation. And that Directed Evolution is just another way of describing ID theory. I’d go with Planned Evolution. If the plan is from God it won’t need further intervention.

  • Kenny Johnson

    @TJR,

    I think Directed can include ID proponents like Michael Behe, but could also include non ID people who believe evolution was directed but that such direction is not detectable.

    Likewise, ID can include YECs.


CLOSE | X

HIDE | X