Can a creationist be an evolutionist?


(Phil) #1

Of course the answer is yes, though we can get bogged down in definitions. AIG is up to their usual divisive rhetoric with an article released today titled in the other direction as "Can an evolutionist be a creationist?"

The article is written by Bodie Hodge, an engineer by training and trade, but touches on theology, linguistics, and evolutionary biology. His article is certainly consistent with past AIG positions, but seems more offensive than usual in tone.
In one statement, he states that Collins and presumably all evolutionary creationists have more in common with Bill Nye, and presumably all atheists, than with creationists in general. That seems a rather harsh division, and unbecoming of a fellow member in the body of Christ. That point is further pressed when he states,“Clearly, Bill Nye is an evolutionist, and Ken Ham is a creationist—with two opposing religions” thus equating evolutionists with non-Christians.
Clearly the goal of the article is to claim the exclusive use of the term creationist, and attempt to label all who support evolutionary thought as outside the confines of Christian thought.
In some ways, perhaps this type of article should be ignored and not be given any attention, much as you would send a misbehaving child to his room, but I am unable to sit by and be quietly maligned by such twisted commentary.
While tempting to speculate on motivation, that conversation would soon fall outside the guidelines for gracious dialogue we have here, so perhaps we should steer clear of why they are making such statements, and focus on how those statements are in error.


#2

Which is why I believe DI used the title Theistic Evolution for their book instead of EC which they are aware is preferred.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #3

LOL. All I could think of was, for someone who starts off condemning “wrangling about words,” he sure does a whole lot of wrangling about words!

After all, we use the plain meaning of the term creationist — God created life’s diversity using evolution. So he’s the one trying to “wrangle” it out of our grip.

Meanwhile he’s decided to go ahead and redefine the Big Bang as “astronomical evolution.” Ha! [smh]


(Wookin Panub) #4

Hmmmm…Creationists believe everything that was created in the beginning was in an instant; fully grown. Evolutionists believe that it started out of nothing, formed over millions and billions of years. That doesn’t sound the same to me.


#5

They might as well say that if Christians play golf like Bill Nye likes to do then those Christians have more in common with atheists than with other non-golf playing Christians.

I think we could graciously suggest that AiG is afraid that Christians will drift away from the church if they accept evolution which is why they try to shy Christians away from the scientific theory.


(Phil) #6

Not the creationists I know, whether they be young earth, old earth, progressive, ID, or evolutionary.

Not the evolutionary creationists I know. Those I know believe in John 1 as well as Genesis, and the other creation texts in the Bible.

Look, I know this is somewhat pointless, and probably should not even respond to such false characterizations, but perhaps someday you will look back and reflect on your statements, so feel they at least need to be addressed.


#7

AiG leans towards creatio ex nihilo (creation from nothing), not evolutionists. The theory of evolution states that all life shares a common ancestor and changed over time. That would be something from something.


(Laura) #8

“The only difference he had to an atheistic evolutionist would be that somehow God initiated the process.”

That would be a deist. Speaking of getting our terms right. sigh


(Wookin Panub) #9

You just proved my point. The missing equation between creationist and evolutionist, is God. Creationist have a beginning. Evolutionist don’t. Ergo, not the same


(Phil) #10

True. And I have a great deal in common with you in how I view science and perhaps football, but when the topic is religious belief, it is deceptive to switch reference points in the conversation. Certainly, you can make a case that Ham has more in common with Islamic conservatives than Christian evolutionary creationists on the subject of creation, but that too would be irrelevant to meaningful conversation.


#11

That’s where it gets a bit dicey. Not that I am a big fan of citing dictionaries as authorities, but this is the definition from Dictionary.com

“the doctrine that matter and all things were created, substantially as they now exist, by an omnipotent Creator, and not gradually evolved or developed.”

I think it would be worthwhile to acknowledge that “creationists” are widely understood to be in opposition to accepting evolution.


#12

There are many evolutionists on this website who believe in God and think that God is part of the process, so that isn’t accurate.

Also, evolution does have a beginning, and that beginning is the first life that evolved into all the life we see now.


(Wookin Panub) #13

I wasn’t referring to theistic evolutionists but the theory of evolution. Keeps God out. That is the point of evolution. Charles Darwin said, “As soon you realize that one species could evolve into another, the whole structure wobbles and collapses…” There can be only 2 origins of life theories; 1) Creation 2) Evolution. As far as life coming from non-life? Suspect at best.


#14

"It can hardly be supposed that a false theory would explain, in so satisfactory a manner as does the theory of natural selection, the several large classes of facts above specified. It has recently been objected that this is an unsafe method of arguing; but it is a method used in judging of the common events of life, and has often been used by the greatest natural philosophers … I see no good reason why the views given in this volume should shock the religious feelings of any one. It is satisfactory, as showing how transient such impressions are, to remember that the greatest discovery ever made by man, namely, the law of the attraction of gravity, was also attacked by Leibnitz, “as subversive of natural, and inferentially of revealed, religion.” A celebrated author and divine has written to me that “he has gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of the Deity to believe that He created a few original forms capable of self-development into other and needful forms, as to believe that He required a fresh act of creation to supply the voids caused by the action of His laws.”— Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species (1859)

Do you also reject the theory of gravity because it doesn’t explicitly mention God?

Another good article here at Biologos that you should check out is Atheistic Meteorology or Divine Rain?.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #15

Why you gotta go confusing my cherished beliefs with facts, man?

Oxford says,

“A person who believes that the universe and living organisms originate from specific acts of divine creation, as in the biblical account.”

I suppose this again would be hard to reconcile with an evolutionary perspective where every act of reproduction and every death is a moment when God shapes creation. Yes, these are still specific acts, but that starts to stretch things a bit.

Webster has,

“a doctrine or theory holding that matter, the various forms of life, and the world were created by God out of nothing and usually in the way described in Genesis”

This could include us, but I suppose it’s admittedly a minority reading.

So this is where I hunker down and claim a gigantic dictionary-writing conspiracy theory. Shall I call it “the lamestream dictionary writers”?


#16

If it makes you feel any better, dictionaries are supposed to describe how words are used, not prescribe how they should be used. This is why “figuratively” is now a possible definition of “literally”, because people use the word to mean figuratively even though it meant just the opposite for centuries. Therefore, it is entirely possible that the efforts of Biologos can influence what the dictionaries say about the word “creationism” in the future.


(Wookin Panub) #17

I read that last week. Charles Darwin is a fascinating chap who was clearly double minded. First and foremost by keeping God out, because, the only way he could see science as being objective was to keep God out. The problem with Darwin is that he didn’t know the true, triune God. Evolution does not in any way reflect God’s true character and nature. Creationists see UNNATURAL things in nature, conclude that God did not intend and attribute to the fall of creation. Evolutionists see such things and deem it as the NATURAL order of things.


#18

Not all Christians agree with you. More importantly, the most important Christian creeds (e.g. Nicene creed) don’t require Christians to share your opinions.

You are also pitting science and religion against one another. If the scientific evidence demonstrates that life evolved, then where does that leave you? The Roman Catholic Church faced the same problem during Galileo’s time:

“First, . . . to want to affirm that in reality the sun is at the center of the world and only turns on itself without moving from east to west, and the earth . . . revolves with great speed about the sun . . . is a very dangerous thing, likely not only to irritate all scholastic philosophers and theologians, but also to harm the Holy Faith by rendering Holy Scripture false.”–Cardinal Bellarmine, 1615


(Wookin Panub) #19

I never made the claim that theistic evolutionists were not Christians. Theistic evolution is not a primary issue of salvation. One could believe in evolution and be a born again believer.

I am not pitting science against religion, as (1) I do not recognize evolution as science and (2) I am pitting evolution against the authority of scripture. There is zero scientific evidence to demonstrate that life evolved. Such “evidence” is merely a presupposition in which no human being has ever observed it occurring. It is true that Galileo was a black mark in Christendom, but that event was not as simplistic you make it out to be. The Catholic church was more so holding onto tradition (scientific advances i.e. Osiander, Copernicus, Kepler etc…). Galileo was the one who took the debate into the theological arena; using scripture, for which the church responded in kind. Furthermore. Galileo’s scientific view in no way affected the word of God in the manner that evolution does. Accept evolution and you will have to throw away the entire book of Genesis, since Genesis 1-11 ties in either directly or indirectly every doctrine of the Christian tenets. What is sin? why is there sin? why is sin punished? why is Jesus called the last Adam? why did Jesus have to die? and the list goes on.


(Andrew M. Wolfe) #20

Grateful to hear this from you, WP. I’m thankful that you take this position.