Whereas scholarly study of Creationism usually places it in the context of religion and the history or philosophy of science, The Creationist Debate, here revised and completely updated in its second edition, has been written in the conviction that creationism is ultimately about the status of the Bible in the modern world. Creationism as a modern ideology exists in order to defend the authority of the Bible as a repository of transhistorical truth from the challenges of any and all historical sciences. It belongs to and is inseparable from Protestant Fundamentalists' desire to resubject the modern world to the authority of the inerrant Bible. Intelligent Design creationism, to the extent that it distinguishes itself from reactionary biblicism, is a program advocating a supernaturalist, providentialist understanding of the world. Accordingly, The Creationist Debate situates Creationism and Intelligent Design in relation to the rise, from the early modern period onwards, of historical thinking in various scientific and scholarly disciplines (including theories of the earth, chronology, civil history, geology, biblical criticism, paleontology, evolutionary biology, and anthropology) in their complex relationship to the status of the Bible as an historical authority. It argues that the debate over Creationism is at bottom a debate over how to interpret the biblical text rather than over how to interpret the world.
Arthur McCalla is Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy/Religious Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University, Halifax, Canada.