I prefer to be known as a theistic evolutionist

If I understand correctly Biologos would prefer the term evolutionary science Christians. Evolusionism is regarded as the atheistic dogma that there is no need for God.

The term evolutionary science Christian is onlu used in Biologos. Most theologists writing on evolution, especially the Catholic ones, use the term theistic evolutionism and theistic evolutionists.

This is in line with the terms creationism, intelligent design evolutionism, atheistic evolutionism and agnostic evolutionism… I do not think that it will confuse people as the terms describe exactly what they mean. The term evolutionism is to vague to use instead of the above terms.

I would appreciate the insight of Christians interested in this topic

Albert Alberts

I think that whatever the term is won’t really matter. I see evolutionary creationism, evolutionary creationist, evolutionary theist, theistic evolutionists and so on. No matter what term you use, there will be others using different ones and anyone not familiar with the terms will have to have them explained anyways. There will be issues any word.

For when you hear the term , evolutionist, it’s almost always coming from a Christian. Atheists don’t go around saying I believe in atheistic evolution , or that they are evolutionist anymore than they say they are gravitists. Like I don’t say I believe in theistic gravity.

The terms are never that great.

But I personally have landed on just saying any of them. I use them all and then I almost always have to explain them all. As time goes I don’t use a coined phrase as much as just say, “ I am a Christian who believes in evolution and I believe that the Bible is 100% true, but not 100% literal and God has used both fiction and nonfiction writing styles to share his word with us.

Ive noticed when I say theistic evolution is sounds as if I’m talking about a subclass of evolutionary sciences. But the way I interpret science is about the same as a Buddhist would , a Muslim would, or a atheist would if we are all open to real science.

So ultimately I don’t think any term is better or worse than the next.

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Thanks for the response!
In answer to your question I am familiar with Darwins writings as well with the neo- Darwanistic literature

Welcome to the forum, Albert! Like Mi, I personally don’t make a whole lot of fuss over which term is used, and I think they’re generally interchangeable. The primary reason I tend to prefer “evolutionary creationism” has more to do with word nerdiness. In the term “theistic evolutionist,” “theistic” is just an adjective that describes “evolutionist.”
Whereas, in “evolutionary creationism,” “evolutionary” is the adjective while the noun, arguably the focal point of the term, is “creationism.” So I like how that term puts the focus on “creation” rather than “evolution.” Not that either one is right or wrong, but to me it’s an affirmation that creation is the focus, and I think it can help emphasize that young-earth creationism is not the only kind of creationism. That’s important to me, coming from a YEC background.

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BioLogos prefers the term “evolutionary creationist.”

Evolutionary science refers to science. Creationist refers to a Christian doctrine that holds God is the Creator of all that is seen and unseen.

The reason for preferring “evolutionary creationist” over “theistic evolutionist” is that no other scientific process gets qualified by “theistic.” (There is no theistic plate tectonics or theistic relativity) Christians who accept that God created via evolutionary processes are not proposing an alternate scientific theory that adds God. It’s regular evolutionary theory. Christians just believe that science describes the natural processes that God uses in the world, even if his action is undetectable to science. Using creationist instead of evolutionist places the emphasis on the Christian doctrine. As Laura explained, evolutionary becomes an adjective to describe the way God creates, instead of God being an adjective to describe how science works, as is the case with theistic evolution.

In reality, most people use the two terms, evolutionary creationist and theistic evolutionist interchangeably, for some people the distinctions are meaningful enough to prefer one over the other.

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Should I be a proponent of biological evolution, when expressing myself about I would probably call it theist biological evolution to make a distinction from the atheist concept of biological evolution based on belief on initiation by random generation and universal inclination of the environment towards evolution. Since I believe the increase in biological complexity observed when comparing the members of the chain of species was planned and programmed to occur as it occurred, I reserve the term ‘evolution’ to intellectual matters, such as when an individual studies and learns leading to his or her mental evolution. However any type of evolution is always the outcome of the range of possibilities set by the act of creation.

Welcome to the Forum.

My concern is some what different from yours, and I would appreciate your opinion.

As you know Dawkins says that evolution is random, unguided process. It seems to me that this is contrary to the Christian understanding that the universe was created by and through the Logos.

To me this does not mean that evolution cannot natural process, but just not a random, unguided process. What do you think?

Just don’t call me a Darwinist. That term is pretty much used only by those who are using it as a pejorative.
Here is a link to a YouTube I saw this morning by @marusso that does a great job of reviewing the subject:
https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=IX7hP167tpI&fbclid=IwAR0S-_WAkSRPGvRzMPDln5N_rjHBow-GGn8qLxPQDDT4pB935oG4OAO07uE

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I think you are ceding too much to atheism. There is nothing about biological evolution which is beholden to a godless perspective. The development of the branch of biology known as evolution neither requires nor supports an atheist worldview.

The core belief which Christians hold that God creates everything which we experience is not a scientific finding. I wonder if it counts as what some call a presupposition? If that is what you’re saying here, @Christy , I wonder what the best way would be to explain how theistic presuppositions should coexist with scientific theory?

I assume that would cash out as the difference between faith and rational deduction based on empirical observation?

Edited to say this could be moved or trashed as a tangent from the OP. Totally fine with me.

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MarkD, “evolutionary” biology evidence proves either (a) or (b) not both. (a) the atheist notion of a natural universe capable of self-generating the species by chance initiation. (b) Intelligent design as the source of the species.

I’d go with theistic materialist. There is nothing that requires God to interfere with evolution, design anything with no trace of design, create life as if He didn’t. But infinite existence, being from eternity has to be grounded and the ground may be purposeful, the only warrant being Jesus and/or Zen. After all these years that’s only just occurred to me: that apart from Jesus there is warrant for God who is not concerned at all about what we get up to at this primary level of existence, who doesn’t feel the need to show His hand at all.

[But, to follow the reasoning for evolutionary creationist, I’d extend that to eternal materialist creationist.]

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Another reason I don’t like “theistic evolutionist” is because I don’t really like “evolutionist.” It is a scientific theory and thus covered by the term scientist. It would be a bizarre as calling myself a relativist or a quantumist as if these were separate philosophies rather than various parts of the theoretical findings of science.

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The problem with the term “evolutionist” is that it is a shibboleth used by science deniers who don’t want to admit to being science deniers. It’s basically a code word that means “anything about science that I don’t like.” They’ll quite happily claim to be pro-science, but then whenever science comes up with something that they don’t like, they will simply describe it as “evolutionist” even if it has nothing to do with biological evolution. YECs are constantly talking about “evolutionist” models of how the Earth’s magnetic field works, or “evolutionist” analyses of the amount of salt in the oceans, for example.

Basically, it’s their way of making things up and inventing their own alternative reality.

On another note, I don’t like the word “creationist” either. It’s very often used to portray all Christians (or at least, all evangelical Christians) as young Earth anti-science radicals, when in reality there’s a much wider spectrum of views in the Church. Regardless of what you think of old Earth creationists and ID proponents, I don’t think it’s fair on them to caricature them as YECs when they aren’t.

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I sort of like the term “creationist” as Ken Ham does not when applied to evolution, so it must be good. :wink: However, I like what Russo said in the video referenced above, in that God is the God of the physical world as well as the spiritual world (with caveats to not take that as separating the two in different realms), and my descriptor of choice would be Integrative Christianity. It would be a bit vague perhaps as to what was being integrated, but would also be more devoid of baggage.
In the end, I think we are stuck with EC as a practical matter, and I actually think the somewhat controversial nature of the term is a good opening for discussion.

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@GarciaGonzalez,
It seems to me that if you look at natural history with 20/20 hindsight, you see a planet where the environment and the biology has been evolving step by step to create a self aware beings who could understand their universe and themselves. There is no evidence that this is a chance series of events.

Please do not insult my intelligence by telling me that evolution just appears to be rational or designed. That is like saying that our planet just appears to be old.

There is abundant evidence that indicates that God guided evolution by the way God transformed the earth from a dead chunk of iron and basalt to the living, diverse world of today.

Our world is not the result of accidents nor is it determined. It is the result of the interplay of our environment and the decisions, good and bad that humans make. This is our responsibility.

Roger, there are two choices: 1) evolution is the atheist side, the species emerged out of a natural universe that needed no creation to exist, 2) Intelligent design is the theist side, the species emerged out of indirect creation mainly because the universe is incapable of leading to species. What side are you on? I am on the theist side, there is no biological evolution only programmed biological development.

I don’t think you understand what the word “evolution” actually means.

In a biological context, evolution means change in biological populations over successive generations. Nothing more, nothing less. It says nothing at all about atheism, and nothing at all about whether God was involved or not.

The only people who want to make evolution out to be an “atheist” thing are people who want to stir up a fight between science and faith, usually because they are hostile to one or the other. But to insist that you have to choose either evolution or design is to completely misunderstand what the theory actually says.

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First of all, scientific evidence doesn’t really prove anything. It only establishes what is reasonable to believe. If the apple falls a thousand times then it does not prove but makes it very reasonable to believe that it will also fall if we do it one more time. Likewise the scientific evidence demonstrates that species do arise according to the laws of nature, but it cannot show any theistic or atheistic notions about the involvement or non-involvement of a supernatural being. But the notion of intelligent design is neither Biblical nor theologically/philosophically coherent let alone a valid scientific hypothesis. Theologically it is more in line with Satanism, Gnostic ideas of an evil Demiurge or Deist notion of a bumbling scientist deity – either liking the torture of little children with flawed genetics or is simply too inept to do it correctly. Thus it makes a whole lot more sense to go with the Biblical understanding of God as a shepherd who guides and helps living organisms in the choices they make rather than pretending to design or control as if we were just machines of an incompetent mechanic.

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Evolution is a random unguided process to science. That is how mutations work. But God does not violate his laws of nature to guide the process because that implies his laws of nature were poorly conceived. I like the model of John Russel where God would guide the quantum process and that would result in the correct mutation. Science is blind to quantum processes and operate in an area before the laws of nature. To us it looks random.
I also like the model of Jeff Kopersky where evolution is like billiard balls going in a random direction when struck by a another ball. You could assure that the right ball goes into the right pocket by picking it up and placing it in the right pocket. That would break the laws of nature. But God could tilt the table somewhat and achieve the same result. All the laws are still active and not broken. But Kopersky has a problem there in that it would introduce energy in the system thus breaking the law of Thermodynamics. The tilting of the table is blind to us.

Thanks for the wellcome, Laura!
I think you asked whether I know if Darwin used the term evolution. He actually did that only once towards the end of his book. The term evolution was started with Henry Lyell and championed by Herbert Spencer who also coined the term “survival of the fittest” Darwin preferred descent with modification

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