Dr. Loren Haarsma on God-Guided Evolution!

Nowt wrong wi’ my device George!

And I can affirm all here.

All that is said rationally, theologically, liturgically, all tenets of belief.

Haarsma tends to my pole of the colour solid spectrum I suspect.

I have no problem with Evolutionary Creationism, however I would say that this phrase certainly indicates that God is guiding it. Darwin said that evolution is guided by Natural Selection in the Origin of Species. writing “natural selection is daily and hourly scrutinizing, throughout the world every variation, even the slightest; rejecting that which is bad, preserving and adding up all that is good, silently and insensibly working, whenever and wherever opportunity offers, at the improvement of organic being.” p. 163.

Therefore I would say that evolution is a guided process, so the only question is guided by whom? If believes that Nature controls the universe in a rational purposeful manner, then may be Nature guides evolution. Since Nature is at best a personified thing, Nature is not rational or meaningful. Only God Who created the universe and evolution can guide it in a rational and meaningful manner.

The Judeo-Christian tradition holds that humans are created in the Image of God. This means that God created humans with the ability to think and reason. The question which Darwin and Dawkins fail to address, arises then "How did evolution create an animal who can think and reason? My answer is this, since God, Who created the universe is a thinking and rational Being, the universe which God created reflects God’s ratio0nal character and this gives an evolutionary advantage to the species to whom God gave this gift.

God guides evolution in that God created the physical universe which gives rise to the biological universe, and in that God gives an evolutionary advantage to whose who best adapt to their environment. God makes possible evolution by creating the genes needed for Variati0on and change. God gives guidance to evolution by favoring those life forms which promote God’s plan. Evolutionary Creation is God-Guided Evolution.


Is English your native language. I don’t have a CLUE as to what you mean.

I clicked on the link you said it didn’t work. But it works for me. So, I think there is some sort of configuration issue - - which is common if someone is using the internet from outside of the USA.


You are quoting ME as writing the text below. I did not. I might have cited that sentence from someone else… but I am in fact the one who STARTED using the phrase God-Guided Evolution
with quite a bit of zeal.

quote=“gbrooks9, post:19, topic:42794”
So while I can affirm that “God-guided evolution,” I rarely say it. I’ll instead choose other phrases – probably a lot longer and less pithy, but harder to misunderstand.

'fraid so George. As she is spoke.


So… another example of the perfect English speaking ? …

Perhaps you are high?

Six foot when I wake up.


I often say, “God used evolution to create the species” or “God used the mechanisms of evolution to create.”

I’m not 100% happy with that verb, “used.” Some scholars who I respect don’t like it, and I understand their reasons. I still say it, because I haven’t thought of anything better to say that’s equally succinct.

To be use more theological terms, I might say, “God created and providentially sustains the natural mechanisms of evolution which he used to create the vast variety of life forms.”

Or I might clarify what I mean by also saying things like the following:
God uses the laws of nuclear physics and electromagnetism, and the random motion of particles in the sun, to keep the sun shining. God uses the laws of gravity and motion to keep planets in their orbits. God uses evaporation and condensation and atmospheric dynamics to send rain on the righteous and unrighteous. God uses worms to feed robins. God uses the laws of quantum mechanics and the random motion of molecules in the air to create a vast variety of beautiful and unique snowflakes. God uses the motion of continental plates to create high mountains and deep ocean trenches. God makes island ecosystems more diverse over time by using the mechanisms of evolution along with wind and ocean and birds to bring new life forms to the islands. God uses random mutation, natural selection, and all the other mechanisms of evolution to produce new and diverse species over time, and so that species can adapt to changing environments over time.

The point of giving so many examples is to encourage people to see “divine action” in biological evolution just the same way as they see (or at least, as they ought to see) divine action in every other part of the natural world.



Dr. H, I think I must agree with your usage! Though my typing fingers frequently have a life of their own (when typing oft-repeated phrases) … whenever my mind can intervene, I will be delighted to use this:

“God used evolution to create the species”.

… with the occasional spice that “God used the mechanisms of evolution to create…” can add to old school boilerplate! Thanks for taking the time out of your schedule.

Last thought: do you think we can get Dr. Behe to adopt any of these expressions? I am told on good authority that miracles do happen…

I think that part of the problem is with the wording of “God uses evolution” which makes it sound like evolution is an inanimate tool like a hammer and so everything that happens is all about how God uses that hammer. But evolution is not an inanimate tool any more than our use of evolutionary algorithms to solve problems or come up with new designs. It is a very animate process that produces its own solutions and designs.

So a better comparison would be with how we use democracy to govern our country or free market in our economy. It is not about control. Evolution is part of the process of life itself and all that evolutionary creationists are saying is that God is involved with the process the same way God is involved with our lives.


Okay… in your view, is Evolution any different from evaporation and condensation, which God uses to make thunder storms?

My view?: They aren’t any different.

I look forward to hear you dance your way around this…

Extremely different. It is the difference between life and inanimate objects. Evolution is not a mechanical process. It is really just the process of learning. And no, learning does not require a brain or consciousness. This has been demonstratively established with computer programs which can learn all by themselves how to play our hardest games better than we can ourselves without any input from us regarding how to play such games well. To be sure the computer programs are technically mechanical and have to simulate randomness but evolution is in the real world where randomness is fundamental because of quantum physics.

dance around what?

The facts are pretty clear and the way you prefer to see things is no obstacle whatsoever.


No… it’s not different at all, not in any important way. Conversation is over.

If I may, Loren, what action?

When I’m asked this question in an in-person conversation, I find that I can give a better answer if I first find out more about what the person asking the question thinks about divine action in other parts of the natural world. So I might ask questions like these: What do you think God is doing when robins hunt for worms to feed their young? What do you think God is doing to make the sun shine? What is God doing to make the rain fall where it falls? Do you think God controls where every single molecule goes on every snowflake, and if so, how? What is God doing when a child grows from a single fertilized cell to a newborn infant? People could give a variety of answers to those questions, and based on their answers, I can better answer them regarding what I think God is doing in biological evolution.

When I’m answering that question in writing (rather than an in-person conversation), I might write someting like the following list:
“God designed the fundamental laws and conditions of creation. God gave existence to creation. God sustains and concurs with the natural laws he created – natural laws which include both deterministic and random processes. God might have selected the outcomes of particular random events to guide natural history down particular paths. God can do miracles, and might have performed miracles at various points in natural history, although it is unwise to look at every gap in current scientific explanations as evidence of supernatural miracles. At some point in human history, God began to give special revelation to human beings in various ways.”
Each one of those sentences is worth paragraphs of clarification, but for that clarification, I’d ask you to check out some things I’ve already writen. I also highly recommend Robert Bishop’s essay at BioLogos on “Recovering the Doctrine of Creation”.


Thanks Loren! My binary concurrence.

Came across this poem this morning on the subject:


@LorenHaarsma, As you know BioLogos is about evolution and it contains the word Logos in its title which refers to Jesus as the Creator in the beginning of the Gospel of John.

On the other best known book of evolution of our time is The Selfish Gene by Richard Dawkins. The Selfish Gene claims that evolution is not guided by God in the form of Jesus Christ, but by the Selfish Gene.

In Chapter 10, Entitled You Scratch My Back, I Ride Yours. Dawkins outlines scenarios with three different types of players, suckers (apparently Christians, who live by “altruism” a phone world view which says that one must do what others what you to do, cheats, who take advantage of all and will ride your back if allowed, and grudgers who are generous to a limit and then aren’t.

Somehow this speculation becomes scientific evidence without any basis in ecological research while symbiosis which has much scientific support is denied and ignored, No doubt philosophical bias played a big role. Theologians bought into the model of the watchmaker, but we know that the universe was not designed and created like a watch. YEC insistence that the universe was created in 6 days does not help things.

Today humans can create a machine that can provide transportation, like a car and then another machine that can drive the car, called a computer. God created the physical universe through the physical laws of the universe, and though the chemical laws of the universe created life and through evolution created humanity, but it is through the ecological boundaries of the earth that humans are shaped. God used one natural process that God created to shape and control another natural process that God created. No One could do this but God, which might be a reason why some people do not want to accept this.

God did design the universe and the hallmark of God’s design is the everything in INTER-pendent. Everything is related to everything else. Everyone is related to everyone else. No body is really more important than anyone else, because everything and everyone is important.

You do have to respond to me now, just like you did not respond to my concerns before. I am theologian, not a scientist, like you. I do not have a Ph. D, so no one has to listen to what I say. I have written a book to explain and back up what I say, but no one wants to read it That okay. I know “my place.”

All I want to do is discus the facts, which I take to be the mission of BioLogos, not to put forward a particular view. Thank you for your attention.

I’m one of those people who don’t like saying “God used evolution to create humans.” My motivations, which are probably different from others, stem from my suspicion of too much realism in scientific theories. I don’t think Darwin “discovered” the theory of evolution as much as he “developed” it. Scientific theories are our making. Too be sure they have to explain some independently existing reality, but I don’t think it is quite right to say evolution itself is some independently existing tool that God had sitting on a shelf and said, “Hmm… I think I’ll use this tool to create humans.” Instead, I think it is more accurate to say, “Evolution is the best scientific description we have for how H. Sapiens came to be.” Then, of course, I also want to say, “God intentionally created human beings in his image” but I don’t take that to be a scientific statement.


j, I like the paradox.

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