5 Common Objections to Evolutionary Creationism

(system) #1
More and more people are learning about the BioLogos alternatives, but among Evangelicals, several key objections often hold them back from adopting evolutionary creationism.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/5-common-objections-to-evolutionary-creationism

(Brad Kramer) #2

Thanks for reading. There’s a lot of topics covered here, so staying on-topic will be challenging. Please interact specifically with the article and ask focused questions, rather than simply offering broad comments. I’m happy to respond to thoughtful, on-topic comments and questions.

(George Brooks) #3

I’m one of those types who appreciates a little bit of a “tease” to get me to go to the link for details … For those like me, here are the 5 common objections listed. You’ll just have to go to the article to see the fascinating details!

1] A plain reading of the Bible doesn’t allow for it.

2] Evolution makes it difficult to understand Adam, the Fall, and sin (and thus the work of Christ).

3] Micro-Evolution is fine, but Macro-Evolution is just an unproven, unscientific theory.

4] Creation bears the marks of Intelligent Design, not blind, purposeless evolution.

5] Evolution is driven by a secular, worldly agenda.

This is my favorite one: 4] Creation bears the marks of Intelligent Design, not blind, purposeless evolution.

It’s been my ongoing position that this is PRECISELY compatible with the BioLogos mission anyway. I don’t believe BioLogos benefits from arguing for an Evolutionary scenario DEVOID of God’s guidance. So, I’ll have to read that section to see whether this is being characterized as “false” … or characterized as an objection that doesn’t apply to BioLogos goals.

Thoughts @BradKramer ?


NOTE: I just read your treatment of #4 (first) … I like it!!! Very nicely done!

(Dcscccc) #4

about the micro vs macro. the whale example isnt scientific because we cant test it. we can arrange in hierarchy cars and trucks. for example: a car–>jeep–>truck. but we all know that they not evolved from each other. even if they have a self replicating system or dna.

(Patrick ) #5

Good job Brad. Very nicely explained. Does the folks you talk to recognize that the Catholic Church and most mainline Protestant denominations see no problem with the scientific explanations of the Big Bang and the history of life on earth? Is the group you are talking with growing in numbers or getting smaller over time as Millennials get close to 30 as is shown in surveys like Pew?

(George Brooks) #6


Why, then, are Hippotomas and Whales unusually similar genetically speaking? Why wouldn’t a whale genetics be more similar to FISH genetics?


(Dcscccc) #7

`because they both mammals? its funny because even scientists cant agree who is the closest to the whale:


(George Brooks) #8

Ahhh… I should have seen that answer coming! :smiley:


(Patrick ) #9

Here is something more up to date.


> "…but we fully understand that for conservative Evangelicals, this is a long-term proposition. -"
Don’t you think this is a bit of hubris? At least how it sounds like to me.

" For instance, we asked whether the reverse order of creation in Genesis 2 is meant to be read as plainly as Genesis 1, - "

The reverse order is an ill-founded conclusion, so this is a leading question, something like, when did you stop beating your wife?

For those who struggled to understand how “the Fall” could make sense in light of evolution, I attempted to show how the goodness of Creation does not mean that it was an exact replica of Heaven at any point -

Overstating creation as necessarily a replica of Heaven disqualifies the remark, Brad. It is not the creation as a replica of heaven that is the issue, which I have not heard people generally state. It is only whether there was sin in the world, and a curse of death, disease, deception, murder, and demanding work to cause sweat of man’s brow, before man’s fall into sin.

> Whale evolution, in particular, is a great go-to example of an “impossible” transition being accomplished through small changes over a long time span. - See more at: http://biologos.org/blogs/brad-kramer-the-evolving-evangelical/5-common-objections-to-evolutionary-creationism#sthash.uDpnufVX.dpuf

Anything can be theorized, and anything can have nice imaginary diagrams, including whale evolution. But theorizing is not the same as proving it. A drawn picture of an alien does not mean that aliens exist. So this impossible transition could not be accomplished by drawing nice pictures about it.

*But yet nobody feels the need to hypothesize about when and how God “intervenes” to accomplish this, on a biological level - *

Perhaps there is not a lot of hypothesizing going on. But people who believe that God controls things, knows that God allowed Satan to test Job. God could have prevented it. In the same way, God allows certain mutations to take place, whether in the mother or the unborn baby. Sometimes certain genetic effects are carried over, and sometimes they are not. God could prevent it, by not permitting particular mutations, and by selecting the genetic inheritance for the particular baby. In a global or universe situation, God allowed certain reactions and prevented others, even though they might have been theoretically possible. So God permitted dinosaurs to go extinct, even though he seems to have used natural means to do so; those natural means could have been changed, so that dinosaurs did not go extinct.

"*evolution is first and foremost a “secular”, “worldly” belief system and not a scientific theory backed by mountains of real evidence. - "

Evolution as a theory backed by mountains of evidence (real or perceived or misperceived), would not have the faith assumptions attached to it that it does. While many scientists perceive that it is an anomalous theory, ambivalent to world views, yet in my experience, this is not at all true. It is indeed a theory driven by a world view, and driven in order to support a world view. This is true no matter how much syncretization is done to amalgamate it with a Christian perspective.

This colors the way that evidence is interpreted, ie. the imaginary whale evolution, the imaginary hominid transitions, the assumed (incorrectly) slow gradual depostion of sediment, the absence of fossils when the species is still known to exist, the postulation of transitional animals or species in the same absence of fossils, etc.

There is much evidence, and much of it does not back or support the evolutionary theory.

(Denish Sebastian) #11

I believe the second objection is the one that lacks a good response yet. Especially considering what Paul is saying in Romans 5. Peter Enns style Paul was a man of his day kind of response won’t find any wider acceptance among evangelical community. We need a better response than that.

I was hoping something substantial and constructive from Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight joint book project sponsored by Biologos Evolution & Christian Faith grant. It looks like nothing is going to happen on that project in the near future. I saw his ECF Conference video, other than that do you have any news on that book project? @BradKramer

(Christy Hemphill) #12

In case it’s unclear @dcscccc You are Charlie Brown in this metaphor. :smile:

And why don’t we give the self-replicating machines argument one more try. It just might work this time…


When I began to realize that evolution was inescapably true, the angst of leaving the fundamentalist beliefs of my family and church were very real. Luckily I was also becoming open to other branches of Christianity than just my own, and it was immensely helpful to read Christian authors whose reasoning felt at least somewhat familiar.

I didn’t know about NT Wright and Tim Keller at the time; by now I know of many others. Do you have a list of prominent theologians, authors, pastors, etc that have publicly acknowledged their evolutionary creationist views?

(Brad Kramer) #14

I agree. We’ve never once argued that evolution is DEVOID of God’s guidance, only that defining this “guidance” is tricky and deserves careful thought before making rash pronouncements. (Cue @eddie’s response in 5…4…3…2…1…).

You are correct—Cars do not self-replicate and do not have DNA. But cars and whales are different. Whale evolution is a great example of how a scientific hypothesis about evolution can be tested and verified by multiple lines of evidence. Visit the link in my article for more on that.

I agree that maybe that was overstated. I was just trying to say that this is a long-term conversation. We don’t expect that any evangelical position on origins will have a mass exodus over to our position.

The point I was trying to make here is not that Genesis 1 and 2 are related in this way or that, but that none of the interpretive options are “plain” or “simple”. I fully acknowledge that there are plausible ways to make Genesis 1 and 2 a part of the same seamless narrative, but I reject the idea that these interpretations fall neatly out of the text. They involve a lot of assumptions and some level of interpretive acrobatics. This doesn’t mean that these are automatically bad interpretations (that’s a different conversation), but they shouldn’t pretend to be the obvious meaning of the text. That’s the challenge I was giving people at ETS.

I keep this graphic handy for these sorts of conversations:

The graphic (done by Answers in Genesis) strongly implies that the state of the world at the bookends of the Biblical story is perfect in a heavenly sense. I think you’re nitpicking here. I understand you disagree with BioLogos about death before the Fall, and that’s fine. I respect that.

I don’t disagree with any of this. I’m not sure what point you’re trying to make. On the subject of whale evolution, scientists have been doing much more than drawing nice pictures. There’s a lot of assumptions in your words here which are common among Evangelicals (including myself, at one point), which BioLogos is trying to challenge—particularly the idea that evolutionary evidence is nothing but nice pictures of impossible transitions.

I’m not sure I understand what you’re saying here. Which “faith assumptions” are you referring to? It seems there’s a bit of a circular argument here. You seem to be saying that evolution can’t be true because there’s no real evidence, but even if there was real evidence, it can’t be true because it’s driven by an atheistic worldview (but even if it isn’t driven by a worldview, then there’s still not enough evidence, and so on…). Shouldn’t a scientific theory be measured on how well it explains the data? Now, if you don’t think science can reliably tell us anything about past reality, then that’s a different conversation, for sure. But I don’t think that’s what you’re saying.

Hi @DenishCS! Welcome to the Forum. I agree that the Adam issue is very hard for Evangelicals, particularly as it involves Paul and his cultural limitations. Perhaps another way to talk about Paul and Adam is to say that evolutionary science has appropriately adjusted what sorts of expectations we can bring to Paul’s text. Paul is drawing on cultural understandings of human origins to make certain points, but those points are still intact if Adam is not the first human.

We’ll announce the book when we get definitive word from the publishers. The process of getting a book from idea to published copy is long and slow. I’m looking forward to it as well!

Hi @ablitz! Thanks so much for joining the Forum! I resonate with your experience of finding comfort in Christian authors who could articulate a new point of view.

The trouble with providing a list of evolutionary creationists, past and present, is that EC is a new-ish term that people have defined differently over time. But if you limit it to a general acceptance of the idea that God could have created in a gradual, evolutionary way, a short list would include B.B. Warfield, James Orr, Billy Graham, C.S. Lewis, Richard Mouw, Bruce Waltke, John Ortberg, Phillip Yancey, and of course Keller and Wright. There are plenty of Christians in Catholic and Mainline traditions that fit the EC definition, but BioLogos is more focused on the evangelical Protestant conversation. You can search any one of those names on our website for more.

(Brad Kramer) #15

Yes, but conservative Evangelicals usually posture themselves as distinct (and even in opposition) to those groups, so pointing out that they accept evolution doesn’t win any points with them.

Evangelicals are losing young people, just like every religious group. Interestingly, though, Mainline churches lose kids because of science at higher rates than evangelicals, even though they accept consensus science. So there’s more to the conversation that just what science you accept.

(Patrick ) #16

I think it is sad that their are groups of Evangelicals who don’t see the harm that they are causing to their own children and family members by holding on to YEC. It creates mistrust within families that could break families apart. You can have Faith in anything you chose as well as accept that people and dinosaurs didn’t coexist.


Does that mean you are Lucy?

(Dcscccc) #19

hi brad.

i already read those papers. we can say the same about cars- if its true that trucks evolved from cars- we should find a missing link. and we indeed find this link (jeep). prof venema also claimed that whales cant smell. but he was wrong about that:


he also claimed that whale have “hind legs”. again- not true at all:


(Dcscccc) #20

hey christy. i explained why this argument hold water. actually there is such a machine:



As you admit that science is not your first field, you are probably not aware of all the assumptions made among evolutionists when they draw their nice pictures of whale evolution… assumptions which are common among evolutionists. And your own assumptions as well, thinking that evolutionary evidence is nothing but nice pictures of impossible transitions (is what non-evolutionists are thinking…). I never said that pictures were evidence, and I never said that evidence was nothing but pictures. My point was that pictures do not prove that the evidence is valid or properly interpreted, or that another explanation for the evidence might not be better, or that there is sufficient evidence to do anything other than make a conjecture. A picture can be drawn without evidence as well as with it. The assumptions for whale evolution are based on faith, and in that context, the evidence is interpreted. A sea cow or manatee looks a bit like a hippo, if you take a photo from the right angle, and ergo! it must be (scientific term is - likely related hierarchically) an ancestor or descendant or cousin.

Again, going from the specific to broad vague generalities only demonstrates the irrationality of evolutionary approaches. “anything about past reality…”? Obviously, scientific investigation can sometimes tells us something about some past events. Generalizing about this in this way is the same problem in drawing a conclusion in the other direction, that we see a bit of genetic change or selective population adaptation, and then conclude that it must be happening in a grand scheme everywhere, and nothing is exempt from it. This is purely faulty reasoning, unscientific, and becomes a faith position unwarranted by the evidence.

I never said that evidence can’t be true because its driven by an atheistic world view. However, it is nevertheless true, that an atheistic world view drives this particular approach to the evidence. It’s like the police officer who shoots the black man who runs from him while another not shooting the same man who runs from him. Same evidence, same person running, but different interpretations. The same difference of world view impacts what evidence is searched for, and what the range of possibilities are assumed to be.

The evolutionist is surprised at how long dinosaur dna survives, dino blood cells, collagen and stretchy tissue lasts. The scientist assumes based on credible experience and experiments that dna cannot survive for 60 million years, and so must be much younger. They both look at the same thing, and see the same evidence. Can you tell me that world view does not impact interpretation? of course it does, and this example alone is a perfect example.