Although there are myriad creation stories in various world religions, the creation story from the Judeo-Christian Bible is the specific account on which the vast majority of evolution/creation debates center. For this reason, this will be the only creation account presented in this chapter. The Judeo-Christian Bible asserts in Chapters 1 and 2 of Genesis that the world was created by God in 6 days and that God rested on the 7th day. According to this account, the Creation can be summarized as follows (Morton, 1932):
* Day 1: Light, day, and night were created.
* Day 2: Sky and water were created.
* Day 3: Land, seas, and all types of plants were created.
* Day 4: Stars, sun, and moon were created.
* Day 5: All sea life and all birds were created.
* Day 6: All terrestrial animals and humans were created.
* Day 7: God rested from his work, since all was complete.
Contemporaneous and Modern Theological Interpretations of the Creation Story
Creationism must be carefully differentiated from a belief in the Judeo-Christian God as the creator of life and the universe because the majority of Judeo-Christians maintain a belief in a Creator God that is consistent with evolutionary theory. Nineteenth-century theological scholarship suggested that the Bible's creation story should not be taken as scientific or historical truth but instead interpreted as a figurative, mythical account, which has religious but not literal meaning. This type of biblical interpretation has been continued by most Christian groups today (Plimer, 1995). Many Christian denominations, for example, may perceive the “days” of the creation myth as being much longer periods of time, such as ages of the world, or take nothing more literal from the story than the idea that God created the world. As numerous theologians note, Christian writers as far back as St. Augustine in the 5th century have approached the creation with great imagination at God's creative powers and the methods by which he executed this Creation (Van Till, 1998). Evolution is, according to this line of belief and many modern theologians, a reasonable mechanism through which the Judeo-Christian God created and complexities life by setting this macro evolutionary process in motion. However, these mainstream Christian beliefs about the origins of life contrast with varied origination beliefs held by many Americans and a minority of other fundamentalists worldwide who are termed creationists.