Thanks Mervin. This is a good, and very astute, question. Certainly, many people for an range of reasons would say, yes. Though I think the Reformers might critique the questions underlying premise. Like you, I’m hesitant to say more. However, I’d be happy to PM you a few thoughts if you are interested?
Great story, Liam – thanks for sharing. I can identify with your initial excitement about YEC, and how appealing the zeal of AiG leaders and other personalities can be. And I like how you describe how becoming interested in God’s creation is what helped drive you toward embracing more of science. It can be freeing to engage with the evidence on its own terms, rather than approaching it as some kind of culture war that you must win at all costs.
So true. We took the boys to a huge aquarium recently. It was so nice to enjoy learning about and seeing all the animals without having to stop every five minutes to explain why all the information displays are incorrect. Our shared wonder was itself an act of worship.
I love that. I’ve enjoyed similar experiences with my kids, and look forward to more – and really, I think that’s part of my job as a parent, to teach them to bring their faith to any place where they interact with God’s creation. It doesn’t have to mean starting or winning an argument.
@LM77 – Nicely articulated! My much briefer account of my ‘conversion’, also this year, is here. You will note, of course, that we’re on the same page, since my choice of a label would be evolutionary providentialist.
It was not a terrible struggle, thankfully, but I do have to be circumspect to whom I make it known. Thankfully again, when I explained it to my wife and she accepted it, there was no trauma there, either.
Yes, I’m with you on providence and the chance element too. To misappropriate an Einstein quote, “God does not play dice”. I know some Christians, like the physicist Ard Louis have dealt with the chance element by saying that God front loaded all the information into the process so that it out worked exactly how he wanted it too. That is certainly possible, but that always seemed too open to criticisms of deism to me.
The benefit of the providence approach is that it situates God’s role in evolution within a historic Christian doctrine. Namely, that God guides, sustains, and directs the universe and its natural processes. That way when we talk about God’s direction of evolution we’re falling back on historic teaching as we explain some we see science.
Would I adopt the title evolutionary providentialist, though? Dunno. I like evolutionary creationist (as opposed to theistic evolution) because it, IMO, puts the emphasis in the right place - on a transcendent, all powerful creator God of scripture. The term Theistic evolutionist seems to put too much emphasis on evolution and not enough on theism, whilst leaving the theism undefined. I think Francis Collins has similar concerns - if I recall correctly. Evolutionary providentialist certainly puts a nice emphasis on a beautiful Christian affirmation about God, but I wonder how many Christians in the pew could tell us what the word means and why it matters. Let alone draw the connection to science they might already be skeptic (or hostile) towards. what do you think?
I guess no label is perfect and all are open to misunderstanding. I guess go with whichever think most accurately discovers God’s work, sits most comfortably with your own conscience, and enables you to have the most fruitful dialogues with those who see things differently (or the same).
As you may have noticed in my brief ‘conversion’ account, I have preternatural numbers of providential interactions with my Father. Fathers enjoy giving their children unsolicited gifts sometimes and delighting them with surprises (and maybe others, vicariously ). The mandarin duck is one such and the reason for my choice of my profile photo.
There’s a co-instants account involved of when I saw one in the wild on a gray and chilly day in November of ‘04, swimming in the weir pool of the disused Werdinsel mill on the Limmat River in Zürich, Switzerland… the timing of it was startling, my being then and where! (It wasn’t that green. )
Some aren’t exactly fun, if you saw my kidney account, but they are all good!
Of course the duck itself was startling(! ) – I had never seen one before, and it took me a little while online to identify it. Apparently there’s a small population in Switzerland, a whopping 10-20 pairs fifteen years later, according to this Swiss birdwatching site (okay, birdwaiting site, if you’re picky ).