(AgapePress) - Vatican astronomer Guy Consolmagno recently told The Scotsman newspaper that believing God created the universe is a form of superstitious paganism, akin to the idea of "nature gods" that pagans believed were responsible for natural phenomena such as thunder and lightning. However, a leading creation scientist says the papal astronomer's contention that Six-Day Creationists are practicing paganism is "absolutely absurd."
Ken Ham, president of the apologetics ministry Answers in Genesis, contends that Consolmagno misunderstands the meaning of the word "science" as applied to the past and the present, just as many in contemporary culture do. "There's a big difference between observational science and historical science," Ham says, "and unfortunately today what's happened is that the secular scientists who have taken over the public educational system have basically arbitrarily defined science as naturalism."
In other words, secular scientists have arbitrarily defined science in such a way that one cannot use God to explain anything with regard to the universe, the creation scientist asserts. "And so God is 'out there' somewhere," he says, "and at the very best you can be a deist or something like that."
But paganism is the opposite of Christianity, Ham points out, noting that in Acts 17 the Apostle Paul preached against the paganism of the Greeks. Clearly, the Answers in Genesis spokesman notes, Consolmagno is confused when he makes comments comparing Christian creationists with pagans. "He doesn't understand that those of us who believe in six-day creation are taking the revelation that God has given us in His Word," Ham says, "and we're saying that explains what happened in the past so we can understand the present."
Answers in Genesis bases its work on the premise that scientific "facts" do not speak for themselves, but must be interpreted. That is, the competing theories of evolution and creation are not based on separate sets of evidence but are derived from the same evidence -- i.e., observable phenomena, the fossil record, animal biology, et cetera -- but the different conclusions about origins result from the different ways people interpret what they study.
Ham describes the Bible as the "history book of the universe," and he contends that scripture provides a reliable, eyewitness account of the beginning of all things, which can be trusted to reveal the truth in all areas it touches on. Therefore, he asserts, scientists are able to use the Bible to help them make sense of the world, the origins of the universe and life, and the natural history and age of the Earth.
When properly understood, the "evidence" confirms the biblical account, the head of Answers in Genesis says. "We can interpret the evidence in the present in relation to the past," he explains, "and so we can connect our origins to the present world."
The only explanation for Guy Consolmagno's "ridiculous" comments, Ham says, is that the Vatican astronomer must be unaware of the distinction between observational science and historical science. Nevertheless, the biblical apologeticist insists, what the six-day creationists at Answers in Genesis do is not based on superstition or paganism but on scientific inquiry that is informed by God's revealed Word in the Bible.
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