Evolutionary Creationists should distance themselves more clearly from deism

And, @Jonathan_Burke, the folks who say this - - that we are indistinquishable from Deists - - are almost certainly intentionally dissembling. The difference between those who believe in a clockwork God and those who believe God interacts with his faithful in Real Time (through prayer, miracles and the like) is pretty apparent.

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Yes, Joshua @Swamidass, I would also appreciate your input. As I see it, the fundamental attractiveness of religion is the belief that I, an apparently insignificant product of billions of years of evolution, am actually important in the eyes of my Creator. Pope John Paul II advised his Catholic flock that they could accept the evidence that evolution (as presently understood) was responsible for the production of our physical nature from earlier life forms, IF we continued to believe modern humans had a spiritual nature that originated through other means. The 'co-discoverer of evolution, Alfred Wallace certainly thought so. And now the recent evidence for The Great Leap Forward, the abrupt appearance of modern humans from the Homo sapiens species apparently without a significant genetic change, strongly suggests that something unusual–something as yet unexplained by science–may have occurred some 40K years ago that does make us special.

Joshua, do you think the GLF may be real, even though there is no biological evidence for it yet? I believe that it is at least possible that some epigenetic mechanism will eventually be found (involving histone demethylation??) that allows the brain circuitry that results from an individual’s experience to be passed on to his/her progeny; i.e. a type of Lamarkian evolution.

Of course this is largely speculation at present. The TE/EC leaders do not have much of any science to refer to, Eddie. But let’s assume that such evidence IS found, that does NOT mean there is no alternative but Deistic aloofness.

Having made the best logical argument that I can muster, I must admit it will not carry much weight to the average person–UNLESS he/she already has a Faith based on Jesus’ assurance that we can call on our Creator as Abba, Dad. Or has had personal experiences in their lives (as I have had) that reinforce the absurd belief that we matter to Him.
Al Leo

Jon, I think we need to start compiling a book of your best punchlines. This could be in the top 10.

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@Jon_Garvey, @Eddie

Hi Eddie,

You may have you opinions as to what, “front-loaded” evolution that some EC/TEs promote may sound like to you, but it certainly is not deism (or semi-deism that Jon Garvey mentioned). This is what Denis Lamoureux was quoted here 2 days ago in the interview on his new book:

“Throughout the book I am adamantly opposed to the God-of-the-gaps and the idea that God tinkers about in nature by adding missing parts or modifying others. From my perspective, our Creator has the unfathomable foresight and strength to create a self-assembling world, culminating with the evolution of men and women who bear the Image of God.”

Is that quote deism? Would you call Denis a deist? I’ve written on this before and I’ll say it again, anyone who believes in the resurrected messiah and the authority of the bible necessarily cannot be a deist. Further, the fact that believers like myself and Dr. Lamoureux don’t need to have God, “creating” a cell or DNA molecule billions of years ago doesn’t make our views, “deism”. We still believe that God intervened miraculously for the salvation of humanity. It’s just that we see the majestic of the creator MORE powerfully when considering that he DIDN’T have to tinker in nature to evolve man from the time of the Big Bang. Interestingly, Richard Dawkins agrees. About a God who created a universe that would naturally evolve to man, he said such a God cannot exist, partly since that God would have to be, “intelligent…beyond all imagining”.

I’ll agree that some American Evangelicals may get lost in the details on that, but most of them probably still don’t except biological evolution at all so I’m not sure what the value is of their views on, "naturalist’ evolution.

Question for you, Eddie. Would the idea that the cosmos evolved with no, “tinkering” from God, including the location of the earth, be considered, “deism” to you? Just wondering. :slight_smile:

Richard

How is God enacting his will upon rain or upon a sperm contradicted by reality? I don’t like Eddie’s phrasing (“subtly steers” doesn’t sit right with me, even though I have a very strong sense of providence), or necessarily his charge the Biologos (or individual TE/EC) state these things publicly but I can’t see how they’re bad theology–scripture is pretty clear that God’s ends are achieved and he intends certain people and things.

I agree that most TE/EC aren’t deists in the proper sense, and the Biologos statement of faith is clear on that (though I may quibble with natural/supernatural phrasing).

Anyway, I think that the statements (when distilled from their phrasing, perhaps) that Eddie gave are fine theology. I’m wary to say ‘I think God interacts through quantum events’ or things like that because it’s weird.

But if you’re just taking issue with the phrasing, then disregard what I’m saying here–we probably see more or less eye-to-eye. If you’re disagreeing with the concept (that God intends things), then I think that is bad theology.

He is exactly who tells me this. Hopefully he can chime in (Paging @TedDavis!) and clarify.

[quote=“Swamidass, post:11, topic:18370”] theistic evolutionists at the time of the Scopes Trial denied the bodily Resurrection. They denied God’s direct action in this world, and this logically led them here.
[/quote]

So yes, [quote=“Chris_Falter, post:18, topic:18370”]
Harvard botanist Asa Gray (the first Darwinian in America), geologists George Frederick Wright (who later changed his mind and wrote against evolution in The Fundamentals) and James Dwight Dana, theologians James McCosh and Augustus Hopkins Strong, and even an author of the Princeton doctrine of inerrancy, theologian Benjamin B. Warfield.
[/quote]
…all favored evolution in the animal Kingdom. However, most denied the common descent of man (the evolution of man), and in this sense were not “theistic evolution”. BB Warfield and Williams Jennings Bryan are great examples of this. One one sense (because they accepted animal evolution) they are theistic evolutionists, but I think the reality is that they held a middle ground position between (say) BioLogos and Reasons to Believe; evolution for everything but man, then special creation.

Of course, many of the people in the quote are not from the time of the Scopes Trial (e.g. Asa Gray). And some of them, I’m sure did affirm the Ressurection.

According to @TedDavis (and he can correct me here) the known theistic evolutionists that accepted common descent of man at the time of the scopes trial (the 1920’s) all denied the physical Resurrection. This is important, because the Scopes Trial is a watershed moment in our history with outsized cultural impact. It is intertwined with the rise of the “Social Gospel” the reaction it spawns: the articulation of the Five Fundamentals and the rise of Fundamentalism.

Of course, Fundamentalism radicalizes from here. At first, old earth evolutionism (excluding the common descent of man) is included, but that gets pushed out by the 1950s. Mainline Christianity also diverges from here too, taking often taking less orthodox theological positions. There is a segregative “bundling” of ideas happening here, which is in in full flower now in Fundamentalist Churches.

So when do we see individuals and groups arise again that affirm all of evolution (including the common descent of man) AND the Resurrection? I’m not really sure, and maybe @TedDavis can help. There does not seem to be many people I can identify till the 1980’s. And many theistic evolutionists do not explicitly identify their position on the Resurrection, so it is hard to tell. And as a movement, it is probably the 1980s and 1990s that the ASA starts to tilt theistic evolution. And then of course is the big shift: Francis Collins and the rise of BioLogos.

Regardless, the rise of Resurrection and providence affirming evolutionists appears to be very new. Within-our-lifetimes new. Most people in the debate still operate with the framing of Inherit the Wind and The Scopes Trial.

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I see no relevance of Jon’s statement (which was not, by the way, framed by Jon as a criticism of my current postings) to what I was saying. I was not championing front-loading or asking any EC leader to endorse it. If you think I was asking for ECs to endorse front-loading, you misread my post. I wasn’t asking ECs to endorse any particular way of relating God to evolution – and in any case the one example I gave – which I stressed was just an example – was of a position that is close to the opposite of front-loading!

No, I’m asking nothing of the sort. You must be basing your reply on something you are reading into my posts, rather than on what I actually wrote.

I did not say that “BioLogos” should say either of those things. First of all, I have been bending over backwards in these recent posts not to speak of “BioLogos” but to speak of EC/TE leaders, not all of whom are affiliated with BioLogos. And second, I made very clear to George in a parenthetical statement (which you apparently missed or did not read closely) that the example I was giving was just an example and not something that I was pushing for. There are other explanations an EC might give. I put no limit on such explanations. I simply suggested that each individual EC state his or her own notion of how God is involved with evolution. I said that, as a matter of public relations, that would do more good for EC with the conservative evangelicals than the usual policy, which is (a) to be as vague and evasive as possible regarding how God is involved while (b) indirectly conveying the impression of a God who sets up an autonomous process and then lets nature run on its own.

I’m simply being practical. Conservative evangelicals do not trust EC, and do not trust EC leaders. They are not convinced that EC leaders hold to an adequately Christian idea of God. All that is necessary to dispel this suspicion is for EC leaders to be more transparent. If they choose not to be transparent, they will have to live with the consequences – the conservative evangelicals will continue to distrust them, and will not come over. I’m not making a theological statement here at all, but – as I explained to George twice – a sociological statement about how conservative evangelicals think (something I know well, having dealt with them for 50 years now).

You cannot possibly have read my posts here, or my posts on Hump of the Camel (which agree with Jon’s statement above), if you think that my view is that God is “otherwise aloof and uninvolved.” Nor will you find many conservative evangelicals who hold to such a view. So I have no idea who your target is with this remark.

I never asked George, and have never asked anyone here or anywhere else, for “proof.” Not scientific proof, or philosophical proof, or any other kind of proof. I have asked ECs to articulate their own individual and personal conceptions, their own tentative (and revisable) ideas about God’s involvement in evolution. I have asked them to say how they see God as working in the evolutionary process. This is not an unreasonable question to ask of the leaders of a movement which claims to be making a bold and daring effort to harmonize Bios and Logos – biology and theology. Especially when some of those leaders have been writing books about the subject, and making countless public appearances about the subject, for 20 years or more. Does anyone believe these leaders have not even a tentative personal notion about how God is involved in evolution? No one in the conservative evangelical camp will swallow that.

Brad, you are attacking a view of God as “aloof and uninvolved.” So am I. So is Jon. Yet you persist in putting me (and other ID proponents) into the box of those who see God as “aloof and uninvolved in nature” except for special miraculous events. The point is that the conservative evangelicals think that it is ECs who hold the view that God is “aloof and uninvolved in nature” except for miraculous events. They see ECs as allowing that God did indeed “intervene” in the case of Christ and his miracles, but has held himself aloof from natural processes in all other cases, including the case of creation. I know this is true because I talk to these people daily, and this is what they think EC affirms.

And so far, what ECs – at least on BioLogos – have done to dispel this suspicion is to repeat, over and over again “We’re not Deists; we do think that God is (somehow) involved.” That’s simply inadequate, if you want to persuade the conservative evangelicals. If saying you are not Deists 1,000 times has not worked, what makes you think that saying “We’re not Deists” 1,001 times will work? Can you not see that that EC must say more about how they see God as involved in evolution, if the hope to persuade the conservative evangelicals?

I have said many times that I am not expecting BioLogos as an institution to take a “party line” on how God is involved. I have said many times that what needs to be heard is individual EC leaders, speaking only for themselves, not for BioLogos or for EC in general, giving their own personal (and tentative, revisable, etc.) views on how God is related to the evolutionary process. I have said many times that if more EC leaders would do this, there would be more openness to evolution from conservative evangelicals. And I have been saying this for years, in many venues. And the result? No EC leader has taken my advice (except those EC leaders who were already doing so on their own initiative, e.g., Robert Russell), and the conservative evangelicals are still largely resistant. What if, 8 to 10 years ago when I started giving this advice, EC leaders had one by one been more forthcoming about how they see God as involved in evolution? We can’t know, of course, because with very few exceptions they have refused to do so. But I firmly believe that at least some of the answers the EC leaders would have given would have found partial favor from conservative evangelicals. EC leaders have been shooting their own cause in the foot by their silence and evasion.

I’m trying to do EC a favor by showing it how to win more converts, more quickly. But you and others here often seem to resent the advice. Fine, I’ll stop giving it. But it remains good advice, even if EC leaders don’t heed it. They can keep spinning their tires on the ice, if they wish. But spinning your tires on the ice will never get you out of your driveway.

Thank you for the suggestion. I have done just that of course. And I regularly explain my position here and when I interact with people. http://peacefulscience.org/

The Church goers I deal with immediately understand what I am saying. Most of the seminary and science professors I deal with immediately understand me too. The problem is with people in the origins debate that are trying to pursue agendas that benefit from misrepresenting me. They mighty struggle to understand. They struggle to remember. I talk about my theology of God’s action and providence all the time, but am continually misrepresented and asked to restate my position by ID and YEC advocates.

This is such a consistent pattern, that I am convinced its root is not in the subtle nuances of my communication. I’m always up for being a better communicator, and I will adjust and improve whenever I can, but this does not seem to be the stumbling block.

But there is a more important point here. Underlying this is the presumption that somehow evolution is a categorically different challenge to God’s action and providence than anything else. This is false. Evolution is no more a challenge to providence than free will, sin, human authority, germ theory and embryology.

For those of us that believe in God’s providence. We believe all things are governed by God’s sovereignty. Therefore, we think God is involved in all these things…

  1. The knitting of myself in my mother’s womb (see Psalms)
  2. The rise and fall of the Roman Empire (see Romans 13:1)`
  3. The election of Obama (and of Trump). (see Romans 13:1)
  4. And the specific borders between countries: e.g. between US/Mexico or Netherlands/Belgium (see Acts 17). http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/28/world/europe/belgium-netherlands-land-dispute.html
  5. The injury inflicted on me by the sins of my family (see the Genesis story of Joseph)

So, I know from Scripture that God is “acting” and “directing” in all these cases somehow. I’m convinced of this because I trust Scripture and believe it to be true.

However, in all these cases, the precise nature and existence of God’s action is hidden. Far beyond merely non-obvious, the details are entirely inaccessible to human inquiry. We cannot discern by any means the exact mechanism or way by which God is acting. His ways are beyond our comprehension here. In fact, pressing to hard to provide an answer carries real risk. In politics, it might make us claim God’s endorsement of a flawed candidate. It might make us validate the abusive acts of family members. It might make us claim a “just war” to reinstate borders. It might lead us down a fruitless search for a physical mechanism of God’s action in embryology (anyone see an analogy here?).

Theologically, there are two reasons this hiddenness makes sense in our faith. The first reason is the Cross. The second reason is Revelationism.

God is hidden in the Cross. It is not just that God is hidden in #1-5 and evolution, it is also that He is hidden in the cross. We see the machinations of the herodians, pharisees, and Sanhedrin. We see the volatility of the crowd, the betrayal and cowardice of his disciples. We see the wavering injustice of Pliate. The entire world collaborates to murder Jesus. He dies in insignificance, like a common criminal. Or so it seems. God is at work, but we cannot see it in any way at this point. Even knowing the end of the story, what was the detailed audit of God’s action in this conspiracy of men to accomplish the purpose of His Son on this earth? We do not know. He is hidden. Yet He is there, accomplishing His purposes. We have complete certainty of these even without being able to give a precise account of God’s action. If this is true for the Cross, why is not true in everything? In the Cross, we are thrust headlong into God’s hiddenness. Unless He reveal His ways to us, we cannot rightly see them. There is no way around this, not even by science.

Note: @George Murphy calls this the Cruciform pattern: http://biologos.org/blogs/archive/surveying-george-murphy’s-theology-of-the-cross, and this is a helpful read.

The Christian God is known by His self-revelation. This is a fundamental doctrine too. If God, by nature, is Hidden. How do we come to understand His ways? The fundamental teaching of our faith is that we cannot reach God on our own. He must reveal Himself to us. In these last days, He reveals Himself in Jesus and in Scripture. Through Scripture, we can come to certainty about God’s action in the world, but only to the extent that God reveals His action.

These two reasons: hiddenness and revelation undermine entirely any hope of delineating God’s action beyond what He reveals to us in scripture. We can certainly build models of God’s action. Theologically, however, I do not think we can adjudicate them.

My conclusion is settled agnosticism. Because of Scripture I know that God acts. My creative mind can enumerate possible models for His action. And I also recognize there are probably good and yet unknown models. So, I know that God’s action in evolution is not a logical impossibility.

However, in evolution God does not tell me in Scripture which of these models is correct. Therefore, there is no way to adjudicate which one is correct. So I am an agnostic. About God’s action in evolution, there is not much more to say with confidence.

Some insist for more. Not just people here but many in the ID movement. God does not give us this. We have to ask why this is so important for us to know, when it is not important enough for God to reveal to us. What makes evolution so unique that we must have an accounting of God’s action? God does not even provide this for Jesus on the Cross. What has distorted our view so much that this rises to such prominence?

There is a pattern at play for some. I do not presume this applies to everyone with these concerns. However, the pattern often looks like idolatry.

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Not quite. I could offer a few examples of TEs from the 1920s who accepted the bodily Resurrection. An example is biologist Henry Higgins Lane of Kansas University. However, he wasn’t a very prominent biologist, relative to people like his mentor, Edwin Grant Conklin of Princeton, or Charles Davenport, or Henry Fairfield Osborn–to name just three big names of that time. Likewise on the theological side, Shailer Mathews of Chicago and Harry Emerson Fosdick of Manhattan did not believe in the Resurrection. The leaders of the modernist wing of Protestantism accepted TE without the Resurrection. The Fundamentalists rejected evolution–they certainly rejected human evolution and most of them also saw evolution as a bad word and “theistic evolution” as a fatal compromise with biblical truth that would quite literally lead to atheism almost inevitably.

That’s the analysis I’ve offered in various places.

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This is the best answer I’ve seen to the issue yet. There’s nothing here I could have a major problem with. I’ve never had an issue with the eyes of faith seeing things (and Paul’s exposition in Romans 1), especially since we do it with things in our daily lives and in history. Was Judas Iscariot being chosen as a disciple merely good luck, or random? Or was it for a purpose? Was my friend cured of cancer through sheer coincidence, or was it God’s grace? Were certain mutations ontologically random, and luckily they contributed to the way we are now, or were they ordained by God?

All of these things can be seen either way, but for those with eyes to see things as God’s will, they are blessings and out workings of his glorious plan. I don’t feel the need for plausible mechanisms to say that however God created, however he governs history, however he governs my life, he does all these things in accordance with his plan and through many mysterious ways. And most people I know who deny evolution on grounds of faith, would probably say they deny it for reasons other than “the leaders of EC/TC don’t have a good model for God working in evolution, or if they do, they won’t state it”. They deny it for (perceived) inconsistencies with Scripture and because its most vocal proponents (Dawkins, Coyne) are anti-theists.

I hope I’m adding helpfully (or at least accordingly) to your already great post, Joshua. Feel free to correct me if I’m not.

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Well that is good news that there was at least few.

So I suppose I should temper it a bit and say that, “In the 1920’s most of the well known theistic evolutionists on both the Biology and Theological side denied the Resurrection.”

Now another question for @TedDavis, what happened to those “BioLogos” TE’s over the last 100 years? Where did they go organizationally and denominationally? What about Theodosius Dobzhansky, did he accept the Resurrection? I’m very curious about this forgotten tribe. Our tribe. Where were they exiled?

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You win the internet today!

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A very clear and helpful discussion, imo. So much so that I used the “bookmark” feature here for the very first time so I could come back and reference it later. (@BradKramer, in my book this is a Dispatches from the Forum contender!) Thank you!

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“When God wants a specific sperm to reach the egg, he subtly ‘steers’ that sperm to the target.” “Should BioLogos say that?”

Of course-- this is called God of the Gonads. Makes you wonder why so many sperm are released at one time since only one (or a few) are on a mission from God.

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Hear! Hear! I applaud and express my hope the @BradKramer will post in in Dispatches from the Forum!

@Richard_Wright1

Good questions, Richard.

Everyone in these discussions is using “Deist” loosely, rather than with historical accuracy. Historically, most (I won’t say all, because I believe there were some exceptions) Deists believed that God created the world and set it running, and then didn’t act further after that – hence, no miracles, no special revelation, etc. If you want to see a classic exposition of Deism in this vein, you can read a late example in Paine’s Age of Reason.

However, if we set aside the historical usage, and try to fathom how IDers, YECs, and ECs seem to be using “Deism” in these discussions, it seems to be something like this. “Deism” means something like: God set up the universe to run on its own, and doesn’t intervene in it, except in a few special cases related to Israel and the early Church. And regarding Creation, “Deism” has been modified from the original sense (because Paine and earlier Deists supposed that God created the world and life by special divine actions) to a sense incorporating modern “evolutionary” thinking – cosmic evolution, chemical evolution of life, organic evolution of species. So a modern “Deist” would put the end of God’s “active” phase earlier than a classical Deist. For the classical Deist, God’s “active” phase didn’t end until the creation of man; for a modern “evolutionized” Deist, God’s “active” phase ended after he compacted the matter/energy which burst forth in the Big Bang. He could “retire” after that.

When we bicker here about which side is more guilty of “Deism” (IDers and YECs thinking the ECs are closest to Deism, ECs charging that IDers and YECs actually incorporate Deistic thinking in their criticism of evolution), what is really at issue is whether God in Creation (not in Biblical miracles concerning Jesus, Moses, etc., but in Creation) performed any special divine actions, or whether he simply established a universe of natural laws so that lawlike and/or stochastic processes could do all the creating (of galaxies, stars, planets, atmospheres, life, species, and man) on their own, by repeated trial and error. The ID and YEC people note that most EC people have a visible preference (I stress preference, since EC people allow that God could have been actively and directly involved in special ways in creation) for scenarios which do not involve special actions of God, and for a universe that is “fully gifted” (Van Till’s phrase, I believe) and basically runs itself, from the first moment of the Big Bang on. And the ID and YEC critics of EC call such a view of creation “Deistic” – which as I said is historically confusing, but one can adjust to the sense if one keeps in mind that the basic notion behind Deism is that God is aloof from natural processes. He established their existence but does not need to do anything (beyond a vague “sustaining of the laws of nature”) for the details of the world to emerge.

Conservative evangelicals are not comfortable with this notion of “Creation” – it strikes them that God is aloof in such a model, sort of like a Board of Directors of a corporation which (as happens in some cases) lets the President/CEO run everything and just nods approval of the President’s action. They think this makes God into a very wimpy and ineffectual Chairman of the Board. So when they say that EC is “Deistic” in tones of disapproval, it is this that they have in mind.

It is harder to see the consistency in EC charges that ID and YEC are “Deistic” in their view of God and nature. After all, the same ECs who charge ID and YEC with making God too aloof from nature (as if nature runs like a machine unless God does a miracle), on other occasions charge ID and YEC with endorsing a meddling, intervening, miracle-doing God – a “God of the gaps” who is an embarrassment to good Christian theology. So ID and YEC folks can’t win for trying. When they speak of natural laws normally being followed, they are accused of being Deistic, and when they speak of nature as being actively altered by God they are accused of God of the Gaps. There is nothing they can say about God that won’t be wrong, from the EC point of view. And the EC critique seems to be playing two sides against the middle, alternately endorsing and scorning special divine involvement as the polemical needs require.

Back to Deism. The problem, as you can see, is that “Deism” is being used polemically, as a “weapon word”, by all camps. “That’s Deism, not Christianity!” is a charge of reproach. Maybe all sides should eschew using the term as a weapon. That might clarify matters, allowing everyone to talk about the substance (how God interacts with nature) and not get hung up on labels (which are not being used with precision by any of the camps anyway).

You can see that everyone is attacking a purely mechanical view of nature, and attributing to the other camps that view of nature. OK, so let’s ask: Does anyone in any of the camps actually hold to a purely mechanical view of nature? If so, which specific individuals have championed such a view? Ham? Behe? Venema? If anyone does champion that view, let us read the writings of that person and offer a critique. But if no one is championing that view, then why are we constantly accusing each other of holding it?

And if the mechanical view of nature is not a good one, what view of nature should we hold? And what views of God’s relationship to nature – and in particular to the evolutionary process, are out there? Can we get people from all camps to specify how they see God as involved in evolution? We are not asking for “proof” here or for an account of God’s involvement that is “scientific” (“science” being another word, like “Deism”, that is used as a club in these debates); we are merely asking how various individuals conceive of God as acting (or not acting) in the evolutionary process. We’re asking for a relaxed discussion in which people can advance their tentative ideas. But few are willing to advance those ideas.

Denis Lamoureux, whom you mention, is one of the clearest ECs on the question how God is involved. At the opposite end of the spectrum, Robert Russell is also very clear. Lamoureux (who as you rightly point out is not a Deist in the original sense, since he accepts revelation, historical miracles and even present-day miracles) goes along with the “fully gifted” approach wherein God sets up everything at the beginning and doesn’t “intervene” in Creation again; Russell sees God as constantly dipping his fingers in to manipulate nature, but at such a subtle level that his action is invisible to scientific investigation, and looks like “random” action to us. Russell’s God is the ultimate tinkerer, albeit an invisible tinkerer; Lamoureux’s God never tinkers. Both of these views of God and evolution are clear and internally coherent. Both are compatible with God’s complete determination of all evolutionary outcomes. (And on that point would not offend conservative evangelicals, who are big on God’s sovereignty.) But there are dozens of major EC leaders, and to my knowledge, only these two have offered such clear, accessible accounts of how they see God as being involved in evolution. Most other EC leaders (to my knowledge) have steadfastly refused to side with either of these accounts or to give any alternative account of their own. Even when told that no one will hold them to their account, that they can revise it later, they still will not speak or write about this subject. Very odd. But it’s their business. My point has been that if they won’t speak, they will be taken (by conservative evangelicals) as champions of the “aloof” God. And further, since many of them seem to believe that evolutionary outcomes are not uniquely determined by any particular starting point, but have a wandering and uncertain character, they will be taken as champions of a God who is not only aloof from natural laws, but isn’t even in control of all evolutionary outcomes, and will be accused of “Open Theism.” I don’t think anyone has made that charge against either Lamoureux or Russell. Charges can’t be made against someone who is so clear that the charges are obviously false. But charges can easily be made against those whose positions are vague or who seem to be evading any statement of their personal view. So in my view, the best way of preventing people from making all kinds of false charges, and imputing to you views about God and evolution that you don’t hold, is to make a clean breast of things and state which views about God and evolution you do hold. But it’s clear that only a handful of EC leaders see things my way on this point. They apparently regard the dangers of letting the public know their views as greater than the dangers of misinterpretation of their silence.

I think the route taken by Lamoureux and Russell is the more useful and constructive one. I wish all ECs would take it. But I can only advise, not compel, anyone to part with his or her private thoughts.

Theological statements can become difficult for both laymen and scholars, and history has shown us that if we do not exercise due care, such difficulties can grow into huge controversies and differences that separate Christians for centuries.

BioLogos has taken on a very difficult task, made more so by phrases such as “God acts (or works) through evolution”, and this task is made almost intractable by using analogies such as how rain falls, something about gravity, and other very odd comparisons.

The workings of God are either described in scripture, and on this we can have productive discussions (although differences can appear), or we look to science as how we as humans understand God’s creation. The latter is a vast enterprise that is imbued with human error - it is theologically inappropriate to equate human understanding with its limitations with how “God works”.

Miracles (sometimes described as supernatural) are unique events that are described as grounded on faith and the grace of God. Science seeks to investigate objects, and accepts its limitations.[quote=“BradKramer, post:19, topic:18370”]
certain propositions which must simultaneously be true without a total explanation of how they exactly they are true.
[/quote]

So how is the statement “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” fall short from being totally true?

This post was flagged by the community and is temporarily hidden.

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Who said anything about it not being totally true?

Here’s what Brad said:

The issue is that “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth” is not totally explainable, no one is claiming it isn’t true.

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You seem to always assume that people have working hypotheses that they are reluctant to share, even though I have witnessed more than several people tell you in no uncertain terms that they just don’t know and they are fine with that. Believe it or not, some people sleep fine at night with unsolved mysteries and no “working hypotheses.” There are plenty of aspects of theology where I am personally quite content to say, “it’s beyond me.” You keep insisting this is about “transparency,” but it seems to me you are just projecting your own needs and priorities on other people and not ever listening to what they actually say.

But not everyone sees this issue as an intellectual problem or something that demands a position.

I have been reading your arguments about this for a while now, and I still feel no compulsion at all to resolve “the problem.” How exactly God creates with evolution wouldn’t even make my top ten list.

You aren’t asking for rough outlines though, you are asking for specific, detailed speculation.

But at what point do you tell yourself, tough beans, I guess I’ll have to live with disappointment because the questions I want answered are not answered definitively by science or revelation? Is there a point? Or would you honestly prefer some creative speculation or guesswork or hunch that ties things up neatly for you? Even if it is grounded in neither science nor Scripture?

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