I remark here only having skimmed the article you link. I’m sure Biologos is referred to in many other places with far more hostile language yet. I think most regulars here are past being worried that somebody somewhere really hates what we’re doing and will throw all sorts of shade our way on any platform they can find. It’s just a fact of life. Some people feel quite strongly about all these issues. I wouldn’t keep losing sleep over that.
Interesting article, Richard. The ideas and problems he brings up are nothing new, but he does a good job of putting them together. I do tend to look at the problem a little differently. I tend to see evolution as true as the mechanism by which life grew into such diversity, though perhaps with a a little divine prodding to get it over the humps (does that make me a closet IDer?) and to deny that truth would change Christianity into a fantasy land religion, no different than any of the hundreds of world religions we see. In light of reality, if the Bible is also true, and Jesus is God, and God is true, then we have to come to an understanding of God that is perhaps different than before, but more true to those who are in that place. Again, God meets us, or accomadates us, where we are.
I don’t think it is that. I got the impression he just thinks that BioLogos does not go far enough. But, my impression is that Biologos does not try and promote a specific model or view, only a mission statement, and general accord. I will admit that sometimes I find the Biologos promoted material a little nontheistic, but I am not here to criticise the host of whom I am a guest.
I think that is where most of us are and it is only when we try and get specific that problems and contentions occur.
As I see it TOE does not “smell” of God in terms of its ethics and procedures and to claim some hidden influence is more wishful thinking than help. It becomes a loophole for not specifying.
Is a sound theological statement whether talking about evolution or not.
I also just skimmed it. I honestly feel that it’s just another case of an author who has a fundamentalistic concept of Christianity. He seems to think we are taking away value from the Bible if we accept evolution because it devalues humanity. I’ll read it all the way through later maybe.
But some of the opening statements are:
By accepting evolution it puts the belief of a soul at risk? No. Because a soul is a living body and a corpse is a dead body. Nothing special or supernatural about us any any more or less so than with animals. Genesis in the flood story references that animals are living creatures ( same word used for souls ) that has the breath of God just like is. The same word for spirit is the same word for breath and wind.
They mention that accepting evolution means that the doctrine of original sin is at risk…… no. Original sin does not require science to undermine it. It’s a catholic concept about all men being born guilty and predestined for eternal punishment in hell, including babies, unless we are baptized by a priest. I’m not catholic. I would never be catholic. I don’t believe babies go to purgatory and are tortured until brought to repentance or that anyone burns in fires forever and ever. We are all guilty of just the sins we commit.’entire threads have been dedicated to this already with differing opinions.
They mention accepting evolution through natural selection means we are not made in the image of God. Again…. Just a false narrative. The image of God is not about looks, but roles. The function of coruling the earth with God through maintaining it. There is nothing supernatural about it.
They mention that by accepting real evolution it undermines the Bible because it means we were not created as a focus. I agree. I don’t think God made us. I don’t think God guided evolution. I don’t think God caused meteorites to hit earth and fungi having a lower heat tolerance than most people’s core temps. I think we evolved just like everything else.
Though we don’t know for sure how abiogenesis worked. I think that we eventually will and it won’t require magic. I think a pre rna world was potentially dominated by things like PAHs and tna . I think that chemical processes resulted in replication which resulted in abiogenesis. We may never learn in my lifetime exactly how it happened but most likely eventually we will. I think once that gap is filled another gap will open. I think the gaps going backwards may nearly be limitless. That’s ok. If you want to find God in these gaps that’s fine. I don’t.
I think there is essentially 0 evidence for the supernatural including God. I’m ok with that. I don’t need evidence to be blindly confident in my faith and I don’t need others to understand why I can have faith in something I don’t have evidence for.
It is far more popular to claim that evolution poses a challenge to the idea of original sin than to give a coherent reason why it would. Sometimes it goes back to the misconception of evolution as Progress. As C. S. Lewis pointed out in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, just because things are headed somewhere does not tell us whether that is Progress or Going Bad. For that matter, it could be neither. Biological evolution does not say that we are steadily getting better in any moral sense, and anyone with a decent grasp of history and current events can figure out that humans are not showing any sign of generally getting morally better. The reality is that biological evolution implies that we have certain tendencies. These tendencies could be used for good or for bad. One might perhaps argue that evolution makes it more difficult to believe in original goodness of humanity, but that’s rarely what people say. At least two issues are entangled there. First is identifying what is evil. Often, people rely on sentimentality to say that any pain must be bad. But God has in fact created a world with predators and potential hazards; perhaps the six year old’s confidence that Tyrannosaurus is really cool is theologically more astute than claims that there could be no animal death before the Fall. Once at the zoo, I saw a group of monkeys settling down for an afternoon nap - all except one youngster who was out for entertainment. As soon as eyes were closing, he slipped out of Mom’s lap and crept along the branch, then yanked Dad’s tail and raced back to Mom’s lap.
This sort of behavior is unethical in humans, but does the monkey have the ethical awareness to know that? Secondly, although it is true that evolution (and everyday experience) suggests that humans are likely to be prone to sins of selfishness and abuse of sexuality, these tendencies can be directed either positively (appropriate attention to self-preservation) or harmfully.
Not being a fan of original SIn I have no problem with evolution or science denying it.And setting up the Bible as opposition tends to be unproductive as science has no obligation to accept the Bible precepts. having said that, the idea that God has anything to do with things comes from either the bible or just plain theism.
Ultimately it comes down to whether Evolution can do what is claimed without God. That has always been my argument (it can’t) but it tends to be taken as a critique of the scientific method or a “misunderstanding of evolution” rather than a critique of TOE and its conviction that one basic process can achieve so much.
(I do not wish to go there again now)
It may make you closer to accepting the reality of God’s providence in evolution and distinguishing the difference between the ‘VFB’ and the ‘VFA’, to use @St.Roymond’s convenient initialisms, not that you don’t already.
Richard, interesting and challenging article that I think is emphasizing what you have pointed out many times.
BioLogos advisor Denis Alexander cuts to the chase, drawing the line clearly: “We need to bring everything in our lives under the Lordship of Christ, and that includes our science.”
Okay then. And if science calls the very foundation of that lordship into question…what then?
It’s not that every form of religious faith is incompatible with evolution. It can be done, but it must be done honestly. Many progressive Christians have reconciled the difference by letting go of more literal elements such as Adam and Eve and original sin while holding on to the basics of their faith—that God exists, that he loves us, and that he wants us to love each other.
Some of these honest and thoughtful believers hold that God created life, started the ball rolling, then let evolution do its work. It was an experiment. He wasn’t aiming for us—he didn’t even know how it would come out. Go there ye faithful, and be glad, for it contradicts nothing we know. But recognize as these folks have that some beloved ideas will have to yield in the process, ideas like God’s omniscience and human specialness, and that a great many other assumptions must die with them.
Recognizing two, apparently incompatable thing as true is frustrating. And so much of the shrillness within the discussions only adds to it.
Maybe an analogy might help (I may have used this before?)
The evolution of the cosmos, our galaxy and our solar system gave us our special moon. It is special in multiple important ways, but one thing is fairly spectacular, and that is its diameter and distance from the earth, those parameters without which we would not have total solar eclipses. I do know I have mentioned before that near the time of the 2017 eclipse in the U.S., a secular astronomer said that was ‘magic’. Someone else has said that Earth’s unusual position with respect to the spiral arms in our galaxy and its remarkably clear view of the expanse of the cosmos makes it seem like the universe was intended to be discovered… from here. (There are some things that the anthropic principle does not necessarily address.)
So the evolution of the universe is analogous to biological evolution with respect to “a little divine prodding”. There is no way, by definition, that science can detect the where and the when, its timing and placing, that any prodding occurred. But we know from God’s M.O. in his providential interventions into the lives of his children that he does so. So we have the who (that should maybe capitalized) and the what, the Cause and the effect, but not the how, and we won’t, neither regarding the evolution of the spheres in the heavens nor the evolution of the biosphere.
He, like many others (including many YECers), thinks he is pulling on a foundation stone when he’s merely fiddling with the decor: the foundation of Christianity and indeed of the Bible is not some propositional truth, it is the Incarnation, from conception through birth through life to the Crucifixion, Resurrection, and Ascension. So I find his head-to-desk issue less than compelling.
This got me trying to remember the seven points of intervention my university friend came up with that would end up with humans. The critical points I could think of were the first cell, multicellularism, bilateral symmetry, spinal cord, warm-bloodedness, and bipedalism – only six, darn it.
That minimal amount of necessary intervention doesn’t invalidate evolution even though the article’s author seems to think that any intervention would do so.
The article was really good and honestly, this just looks like a defensive dismissal. Evolution really changes a lot. Evolution firmly calls into question Genesis 1 and us being the climax of creation made in God’s image. He also raised interesting points about souls if God decided to introduce them at some point. Some humans had them while others did not. It’s not insuperable by any means but it seams odd.
The portion you quoted is absolutely the most important from the article. This is not the image of God I think most Christian’s believe in or accept. A mature universe might be more attractive. I think many Christians would also have problems with death and natural disaster before the fall.
That is the only original sin there is and it’s part of God’s “good” creation which is another problem between evolution and Christian belief.
Conservatives clearly recognize all these problems and don’t accept the superficial harmonizations those of us convinced of evolution and basic Christian doctrine do.
Once we strip the specialness of humans out all that is left is a primitive tribe saying our god is stronger than your god. Some of us would rather reject evolution than lose the imago dei…
I would say hurricane Katrina was bad. I don’t care if a conservative quotes the Bible and says this will build perseverance and deepen faith and God world all things for the good of those who love him. It’s bad. It was horrible and I question the sanity and love of someone using a hurricane for this purpose. A flood that drowns children and destroys communities is a bad thing. It’s as evil as evil gets. If I can’t call that bad or evil then those terms mean nothing to me anymore. I prefer not to water them down in a failed attempt at theodicy.
The most rational argument is the appeal to heaven. Nothing we endure here compares to the promise that awaits…
Clearly he is not using soul in the same sense as you, so what’s your point?
I agree that God guiding it and fashioning things the way He wants is attractive. Maybe he wanted to move things in a different direction and nudged a rock in space 65 million years ago. Or maybe he planned this all in his divine preknowledge (or maybe not if we espouse the open view).
Even if God didn’t supernaturally intervene the whole process of evolution is God creating life to me. I don’t imagine the sun supernaturally rising but God is the ground of all being to me. Everything that happens is due to the will of God. Because nothing happens outside the will of God and all of reality is due to his care and providence.
We can believe the “universe” existed forever and it’s underlying laws that led to us are just brute, unexplainable facts. Or we can believe God existed forever, the material world was created and the laws and underling rules of the universe are due to His choosing.
The idea that God couldn’t see where evolution was going is one that is at least worth questioning.
The authors claim that there is no room for God or nothing for Him to do is silly. One cannot exclude subtle pushes amplifying things over time in the direction God wanted life to take in an open and free world.
Also as good as science is I think we overestimate our abilities. Science is a human construct and we only understand what we can see. We have no idea what the totality of reality might be. A mirror dimly lit.
Our moon is also special in providing oceanic tides – I’ve read more than one article stating that the tidal zone with the alternating exposure to air, then coverage by water, back and forth, was critical for evolution.
For that matter it’s special in its size, being large enough to contribute to the Earth’s stability on its axis.
I’ve encountered that thought before. At the moment it reminds me of an argument that the universe is just the right size to allow for at least one planet where carbon-based life could exist.
I have yet to encounter a convincing argument that these assertions are true. Evolution certainly doesn’t impact the messages of the two literary forms used in the first Creation account, nor for that matter the polemical nature of the account.