creationevolution-p18kdraduqhm51ks313at1ncn1vl0.jpgPeople will invest a great deal of energy arguing about things that really don’t matter all that much. Whether the topic is a matter of preference or the differences between individual opinions really doesn’t matter; these debates can rage on for years The creationism vs. evolution is one such debate.

First, I will not reveal where my personal feelings fall in this debate. To do so would distract from the main point. Whether people believe in evolution or creationism, they remain perfectly capable of thinking critically and engaging in the scientific world. If my position affects my ability to make a point on this topic, then I’m already wrong and you need read no further.

First, let’s step back and look at the debate itself. The general premise is rather simple. As scientific understanding has progressed, especially since Charles Darwin published his “On the Origin of Species” in 1859, it has grown increasingly irreconcilable with the traditional understanding of the creation story found in Genesis.

Genesis, when read literally, says the world was created in six days (with a seventh day of rest). Most importantly, human beings were created as distinct from the other animals in the image of God. Based on the biblical account, some Christian thinkers have estimated the world can only be 6,000-10,000 years old, owing to Adam’s lineage from the time of creation through the biblical characters who lived at a time when the year was more certain.

By contrast, many modern scientists say that the world as it is today is merely one stage in a long chain of ongoing events and changes. Stars, planets and other bodies form and develop over periods stretching billions of years. Thus, according to the United States Geological Society website, the Earth formed more than 4 billion years ago. Life as it exists today began with simple single-cell organisms and evolved over many millions of years into the diversity of life we see today, including human beings.

Now, there are multiple perspectives people come from in this debate. Generally, scientists fear that people who are willing to believe the Bible against scientifically proven data aren’t truly capable of thinking critically. They also seem to think that children raised to believe the creation story of the Bible over the scientific model will make poor future scientists.

On the other side, people of faith often hold the Bible to be infallible and that questioning the creation narrative amounts to doubting the truth of Scripture itself. Even those who wouldn’t take it so far believe thusly simply because they take it on faith in the same way they take Christ’s sacrifice for them.

Creationists aren’t a threat to the practice of science. Regardless of how many facts can be gathered, scientific observations of the distant past will remain, by definition, speculative. We were simply not there.

The science of the origins of life and the planet have very little to do with the positive work and discoveries associated with science every day. Whether it’s developing new technology, discovering cures for various ailments or studying the stars, creationists have proven just as effective as evolutionists when given the chance.

For example, Raymond Vahan Damadian, a medical practitioner, managed to invent the first MRI machine even though he was a creationist.

Knowing that creationists are just as capable of studying and making advances in scientific fields, it is disheartening to see not only all the time wasted on a frivolous debate, but all the otherwise bright minds discriminated against and discouraged from pursuing science.

Having been raised in a more traditional Christian home, I have more experience with the faith perspective, but that does not make it simpler. The questions surrounding the infallibility of Scripture are serious, but ultimately don’t apply to this issue.

It’s similar to the scientific question. Whether or not the Genesis story happened literally as described does not change where Scripture goes nor does it change our task of representing the Kingdom of Christ on Earth today. We do live by faith, and I think part of that involves trusting God with these peripheral questions.

Do I mean you shouldn’t hold your own opinion on how the world began? Absolutely not. I have my own opinion on the topic, and I’m open to discussing it with anyone who asks. Nor do I mean that either side should stand down and stop defending its opinion.

I only mean to give this entire debate some much-needed perspective. Dialogue is always good, but it’s important to remember what’s at stake in any discussion. And in this one, there really isn’t all that much at stake, and certainly not enough to warrant all the drama.