The (only) Dutch evangelical university of applied sciences has asked me to come and give a lecture for two groups of ~50 and ~35 Christian college students of ~18yo, specifically addressing the topic of creation and evolution. It will be next week, and the lecture will last 1.5 hours (I’ll be giving the same lecture twice, i.e., once for both groups). I would really like to make the most of it, to make it optimally useful for these students. Most of them will be going to “secular” universities after this college programme.
Imagine the lecture on Creation and evolution you wish you had heard when you were 18yo. What would that look like? I’m very curious to hear your thoughts! I’ll outline the plan I have currently, would be very happy to hear your suggestions. As you can see, I’ll be pressed for time, so I will often only be able to give an incomplete “bird-flight” overview of these topics.
Lecture plan (90 minutes)
Introduction, defining the terms
Every Christian believes in Creation.
It leaves open the question of “how.”
First of all a scientific theory.
Explain the basics of evolution.
Possible answer on the question of "how."
In principle not an ideology, but can be abused for that.
Part 1. Describing the different positions among Christians.
- Young-earth Creationism
- Old-earth Creationism
- Evolutionary Creationism
Shortly summarize these positions in terms of:
- View of Genesis (literal-historical or, e.g., framework view, ANE audience)
- Redemption history ( circular or upwards) and death before the fall (yes or no)
- Age of the earth / universe (young or old)
- Flood (global or local) and origin of the sediments (sudden or slow)
- Creation of mankind (separate creation or common descent) and its progenitors (only Noach; only Adam; or entire population)
- View on speciation (special creation plus hyper-evolution; progressive creation; or evolution)
Part 2. Exploring a few arguments from the Bible
The length of the days in Genesis 1
YEC: 7x24 hours
OEC: Long periods
EC: Meant as literal days only within the narration.
The order of the days in Genesis 1
YEC/OEC: order is understood in a literal-historical way, science has to agree.
EC: order is understood in support of the framework hypothesis (e.g., John Walton).
Adam and evolution
YEC/OEC: Adam as the sole progenitor of mankind
EC: Adam taken as representative of a group (one possible position)
Part 3. Exploring a few arguments from science
Travel time of light
Describing the observations: size of the universe, speed of light.
YEC: Some attempts have been made, but this issue remains to be difficult to deal with. Appeal to “miraculous intervention”.
OEC/EC : Old universe, old earth
Describing the observations: organisms organized in layers, increasing complexity
YEC: All animals died in the flood and sorted in that way.
OEC: Species were “replaced” by direct intervention with others over the course of history.
EC: Fossil layers show speciation over the course of history.
Describing the observations: genetic variation can be used to produce a tree of life, this tree agrees with fossil layers.
YEC: “Kinds” packed with genetic variation + hyperevolution
OEC: Genetic variation / tree is directly created in a stepwise way
EC: Genetic variation is evidence of large human ancestral population size, genetic tree is evidence of common descent.
Fossils of hominids
Describing the observations: gradual transition in ancestral species between apes and humans.
YEC/OEC: All fossils are either fully ape, or fully human (show the chart of @Joel_Duff ).
EC: Graduality supports the evolutionary view.
Any thought or suggestions are welcome!