One of the things I noticed when I began to pay attention to “creationist” writings is a profusion of references to “Creation” when capitalization wouldn’t normally be appropriate (beginning of a sentence, title of a book, etc.). I haven’t done a formal study on this; it’s just my impression that the usage is fairly common, especially in YEC circles. I have also occasionally seen this here on the BioLogos web site, but I think it is much less common and typically in the testimonials and comments, rather than the writing published by BioLogos staff.
I have a few thoughts about this topic, and I’m hoping others may find this worthy of some discussion. I also wonder if the BioLogos staff has discussed or formulated any editorial policy on how this will be handled in official BioLogos publications.
Let me first note that I did a quick search through some Bible translations, and I couldn’t find any that routinely capitalize the word “creation” as a proper noun.
I can think of two legitimate reasons why words are capitalized that may lead some to choose to capitalize “Creation”. One would be to encourage the reader to see creation as a work of art. So, in the manner with which we refer to Michelangelo’s David or Picasso’s Guernica, we refer to God’s Creation. I can see this as legitimate usage, though I’m not certain this is the thinking that compels the writers at AiG, for instance. But I can at least see some honor in this intent.
The other possibility I see gives me more concern. There is a widespread pattern, at least in Evangelical circles, to capitalize nouns and pronouns that refer to God. Again, it is worth noting that this practice has scant precedence among Bible translations, one notable exception being that many translations do capitalize references to the Creator (see, for example, 1 Peter 4:19). Though I think this usage often comes across as strained, I believe it typically springs from a genuine desire to honor God and can be rhetorically effective. So when Andy Crouch (one of my favorite thinkers and writers), refers to “a world that was declared good by its Maker every step along the way,” I don’t find the capitalization problematic, though I also don’t think it is necessary.
So, turning back to the usage of “Creation”, is it possible that some are doing so to reinforce the message, “and don’t forget that it is God who made it, okay, not some random, Godless, evolutionary process!” And is it possible that this usage encourages the reader—subtly perhaps—to conflate God and God’s creation? Perhaps not, but sometimes it comes across that way to me.
And if I’m onto something here, isn’t this a startling irony? Regardless of what we Christians believe the Bible does or doesn’t reveal about the details of God’s creative work, one message that should be clear to any responsible reader of the Bible is this: the creation is not God. This motif is woven through the Scriptures. The creation declares God’s glory. The creation reveals God’s grandeur and wisdom and beauty. But it is not God. It is not to be worshipped.
I want to be very careful to not assign motives to anyone, so please understand this is just conjecture on my part. But I wonder if a reference to Creation sometimes betrays a view of creation—or more pointedly one’s own doctrine of creation—that borders on idolatry. Might some of those who argue most strenuously against anything they see threatening the authority of the Bible be subconsciously subverting one of its most clear and consistent messages?