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Gordon, Houston Baptist University, USA; Email | [email protected] | Gordon, B. Scandal of the Evangelical Mind: A Biblical and Scientific Critique of Young-Earth Creationism. The intellectual tension resulting from what the Jewish-American novelist Chaim Potok called a "core-to-core cultural confrontation" between historic Judeo-Christian orthodoxy and the "umbrella culture" of secular modernity is commonplace and virtually unavoidable in the modern West (Walden 2001, 2013).
When historically orthodox faith and a traditional understanding of the Bible come into contact with modern science and historical scholarship, at least three avenues of response to the inevitable tension are possible.
There is a third way, and that is to recognize the full intellectual power of modern science and historical scholarship, yet to remain within the faith community and affirm not just the comfort and value of its traditions, but the intellectual defensibility and truth of its core beliefs by way of critical engagement with —the "in-between person"—who has a foot in both cultures and recognizes that there is truth in each of them.
First, young-earth creationists believe that faithful interpretation of Scripture requires the six days of creation and the seventh day of rest in the first chapter of respectively—that the earth itself be about six thousand years old, Secondly, they believe that faithful interpretation of Scripture requires Adam and Eve to be literal historical persons who were the unique ancestors of the entire human race.
Furthermore, when Adam and Eve fell into sin, they introduced not just spiritual death, but of creation—which is to say, there was no death in the whole of creation prior to the fall of man.
In the terminology of the evangelical Christian intellectual, it is the path taken by those who wish to redeem the culture of the mind through the of faith and scholarship (Marsden 1998).
It is a perilous and intensely personal intellectual journey that seeks a path between the Scylla of rejecting the inspiration and normative authority of Scripture and the Charybdis of a naive and inflexible fundamentalism, a journey fraught with opposition from anti-intellectual traditionalists yet still largely subject to the disdain of the secular academic community.