Introduction: Letter from Trinity Western University attesting that the Statement below does in fact represent their official view
January 11, 2010.
Dear Mr. Peachey,
Alumni Relations forwarded your inquiry to me regarding the current status of TWU's "Statement on Creation." This document has appeared in various campus publications and continues to represent the University's position. Because the TWU website is under revision the "Statement" is not currently accessible online, however, I have attached a copy for your reference.
Trinity Western University
Statement on Creation, the Bible, Science, and Our Response
Trinity Western University is an educational community of Christians sharing common beliefs, values, and goals. Our biblically Christian world and life view includes faith in God as the Creator, Redeemer, and Restorer of all things. Trinity Western University's statement of faith declares:
We believe the Scriptures, both Old and New Testaments, to be the inspired Word of God, without error in the original writings, the complete revelation of His will for the salvation of men and women, and the Divine and final authority for all Christian faith and life.
On Scripture and Science
Scripture is true in all it affirms, and therefore we believe that God's creative acts are trustworthily recorded in the biblical account and necessary for our understanding of His redemptive purposes. Scripture affirms that God created the universe, but it does not do so in scientific language nor does it fully disclose God's methods in creation. The Christian scientific endeavor presupposes that the universe exists, that it is to some degree knowable through human rationality and the methods of the natural sciences, and that it evidences in itself an intelligent design that reveals something of the "invisible qualities" of its Designer (Rom. 1).
A doctrine of divine creation based on Scripture is the first element of a Christian worldview. It asserts that:
- one God exists as an intelligent, transcendent, holy loving Spirit; a God who existed prior to the coming into existence of the material cosmos. God the Creator is totally other than and essentially distinct from His creation. God's Word is the creative means by which everything has come into existence.
- the created order is the result of God's purposeful design and actions as described in the six creative days (Hebrew: "yom") of Genesis 1 and as such cannot be explained solely with reference to time, chance, self-generating processes and/or natural laws.
- continuance of the universe now and at all times is also the work of God's Word. God is intimately involved in maintaining and upholding His creation. Indeed, all created reality holds together through God's sustaining power (Psalm 33:9 and 104:27-30; Hebrews 1:3; Colossians 1:17).
- God made His creation to be good and at the end of the creation narrative He concludes that it was "very good" (Genesis 1:31).
- the purpose of all creation is to praise God (Psalm 148:7-13). Every element in creation is for the praise of God and praises God in a way appropriate to its created nature, in some cases merely by its existence. Humans may now render such praise acceptably only through a relationship with God that has been restored by faith in His Son and through both articulate communication and obedient life style and stewardship (Romans 12:1-2).
On the Creation of Human Beings and Their Fall Into Sin
Divine creation of human beings is a cornerstone of biblical truth. It is essential to understanding the redeeming work of Christ and for our belief in human dignity. The Bible clearly affirms that:
- the first human beings, Adam and Eve, were the culmination of God's distinct creative acts. They were created in His "image" (Genesis 1:26-27), a characteristic that distinguishes human beings from all other creatures and bestows on them unique significance and value in the eyes of the Creator.
- the first human beings fell into sin through a historical act of disobedience to God (Genesis 3). This disobedience brought death to humanity (Romans 5:12) and has also affected the creation in significant ways. Nonetheless, much evidence of the original goodness remains.
- even today, in our fallen condition, God intends humanity to manage, tend, and care for His earth according to His purposes (Genesis 1:28 and 2:15). God opposes all abuse and exploitation of His creation.
Evolution in its simplest form is merely a designation for observable changes over time in the realities and functions of the cosmos and especially of life forms. But it becomes a religious/philosophical theory contrary to the biblical worldview when it is tied to the worldview assumptions of modern naturalism. TWU rejects the following views as both non-biblical and going beyond legitimate science:
- evolutionism that asserts that all entities and phenomena have been brought into existence by chance.
- interpretive frameworks that fail to account for both the distinct creative acts of God described in Genesis 1:1 to 2:25 and God's superintending, direct, and immediate involvement in the entire process of creation.
- the consequences of the religious perspective of evolutionism, namely that there are no universal created laws or moral absolutes.
- the view that the material world or "nature" is autonomous, that the cosmos is eternal and progressively evolving by some self-generating process.
- the notion that progress whether human or otherwise is inevitable. Neither Scripture nor science validate the inevitability of progress in the cosmos apart from the redemptive activity of God.
On Integrative Models
All current models for correlating the biblical details with scientific data about creation involve assumptions that make them to some degree theoretical and tentative. These models do not have the same status as Divine revelation and are therefore open to ongoing critique and research. The TWU community believes that:
- a biblical view of creation does not constrain legitimate scientific inquiry and research because we accept two sources of information: biblical revelation and natural revelation.
- biblical and natural revelation, though different, are never to be conceived of as in conflict with each other because God is the source of both. Apparent discrepancies should result in deferring conclusions in favor of a careful and humble reexamination of the presuppositions, theories, and interpretations that led to the disagreement.
- differing positions must be subject to ongoing honest evaluation and scrutiny, and respectful debate within the framework of a biblical Christian worldview.
On Some Areas of Difference
We recognize that faithfulness to a high view of Scripture does not produce conformity to any specific interpretation or position on the following aspects of a creationist position. Therefore members of the TWU community may differ on:
- the timetable for creation in Genesis 1 and whether God's whole collection of creative acts occurred over a shorter or longer-term span of time.
- young or old earth.
- the extent of limited changes in life forms over time (e.g. speciation).
Our Response to These Truths
Because we believe so strongly in the biblical teaching about creation, our campus community strives to:
- adore God in response to the immensity, complexity, and majestic beauty of His creation.
- proclaim and respect the goodness of creation by viewing it as a sacred trust deserving care, protection, and wise and responsible use and enjoyment.
- affirm that every person is unique, bearing the image of God, and therefore imbued with dignity and worthy of being treated with respect and love.
- respect the intrinsic value of each species as a created work of God, without value judgments on its worth or usefulness to humankind.
Even as we affirm our own convictions, we strive to maintain an attitude of respect and charity towards others who may hold other views of these matters.