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The Teaching of Origins at an Australian Christian School
John Stear

The John Wycliffe Christian School, in the lower Blue Mountains, west of Penrith, NSW, has a particularly enlightened approach to the teaching of origins.

In an age when the United States education system is under threat from an increasingly
effective campaign which seeks to replace science teaching with creationist pseudo science, and Australia is experiencing an increase in the number of Christian schools teaching creationism as science, it is heartening to find a Christian school that is approaching the teaching of our origins in a responsible, scientific way and is encouraging other Christian schools to follow suit.

The John Wycliffe Christian School conducted a debate within the school community, which resulted in the preparation of a draft by their science faculty, whose co-ordinator, Dr Mitch O'Toole, has a PhD in geology. The draft was debated further and accepted by the school board. The board further resolved to "support its dissemination within the Christian School movement and beyond". Other Christian schools have already come on board and are using this policy as a template for their own, thus giving the lie to the oft repeated line that a "divide" exists between state schools that teach evolution and Christian schools that keep the One True Faith As Defined By Creationists.

The staff and students of the John Wycliffe Christian School are, strictly speaking, creationists. They believe that God created the Universe, and did so on purpose. The school is independent, parent controlled and non-denominational. What is very significant is that they have rejected the notion that Young Earth Creationism has any scientific merit.

Here are some extracts from the School's policy -

"Humans are both the finite and fallen. Our sinfulness makes it impossible for us to see the way things really are. Even if we were not fallen we would still be finite and therefore unable to fully comprehend the scope of creation. Science cannot determine the final truth of things because truth is unchanging and comes from the mind of God. The changing ideas which characterise the history of Science should therefore come as no surprise"

"The biblical account of origins is found in the first three chapters of Genesis with commentary through other parts of Scripture. The first three chapters of Genesis tell us that God made the universe, by speaking it into existence. It tells us that the components of the universe have separate existence and place, and that they are good. It tells us that God cares for what he made and that he made us from the same stuff as the rest of creation. It tells us that although we were created good we chose to turn away from God in desire for greater knowledge. Beyond these clear teachings there is great variation in the things that Christians believe about the meaning of these chapters. Various Christians at various times and in various places have understood these chapters differently. These chapters provide the framework within which much of the rest of Scripture must be understood, however a person's salvation rests on the atoning work of Christ rather than upon their opinion regarding origins."

"The Earth appears to be very old. The hills and valleys among which we live appear more than the work of a few scant millennia and the length of time involved in the deposition of such short sequences of rocks as those which make up the Sydney basin would seem to require a great many more years than can be obtained by working through Biblical genealogies. Much longer sequences, such as those exposed by the Grand Canyon in Arizona or glacial varve sets, make this point with even greater clarity. Some Christians (often described as 'young earth creationists') believe that certain dating procedures and catastrophic processes support the idea of a young earth.  However, the balance of physical evidence does not appear to support a young earth. We do not believe that scripture helps us to decide how old the earth is"

"Counting based on biblical genealogies leads to a figure of between 5,000 and 7,000 years while young earth creationists often talk in terms of 10,000 to 20,000 years.   This is a two to three fold expansion of time beyond that yielded by a literal interpretation.  Any time frame beyond the span derived literally from the pages of scripture must rest on considerations from beyond those pages. The consideration of extra-biblical factors renders any claim of exclusive scriptural status untenable. "

I highly recommend you go to the School's web site and read the full statement.  To do so, follow the link below.

The Teaching of Origins
Science KLA Position Statement

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