Guest editor’s introduction : understanding creationism in Korea
Park, Hyung Wook
Date of Issue2018
School of Humanities
Creationism is a system of belief in god’s creation of the world, including humans and other living organisms. Many religions of the world have their own versions of creationism. Yet historians have tracked down the historical origin of its modern form, associated with a resolute denial of evolutionism, in early twentieth century American Christian fundamentalism. Experiencing the threats of the First World War, labor unrest, communism, and higher criticism in theology, many American Protestants found their enemy in the lack of real Christian faith, for which Darwinism was primarily responsible. To them, Charles Darwin (1809–1882) claimed that the world was just a product of chance, and that humans came from monkeys. They thus tried to remove evolution from school textbooks by revising state laws on education. An early and highly notorious case of this attempt was the Scopes Trial of 1925, in which John T. Scopes, a high school teacher, was tried in court for teaching evolution in a Tennessee public school.1 As the historian of science Ronald L. Numbers has shown, however, American fundamentalists in the 1920s did not completely reject evolution.2 Even William Jennings Bryan (1860–1925), a prosecution attorney in the trial, did not say that the Biblical account of the world’s creation in six days was literally true. Perhaps God’s creation took place over a long period of time, which might be even millions of years, which Darwin thought was necessary for evolution to unfold.
International Journal of Korean History
© 2018 The Author(s) (published by [Center for Korean History]). This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License.