Theistic Evolution and Miracles


(Steve Mitchell) #1

Hello,

I am not sure where I stand on the topic of evolution, but I do find the idea of Theistic Evolution very interesting. I was just introduced to the book Language Of God and am new to the forum.

I am curious about how TE impacts one’s belief in miracles. Would you say that most Christians who embrace TE also embrace the miracles described in scripture? (Parting of The Red Sea, Virgin Birth, Feeding of the 5000, Healings, etc.)


(Quinn) #2

It really depends on their personal theology and view on miracles and signs and wonders. As a person who grew up knowing that God can preform signs and wonders and becoming Charismatic I embrace the idea of miracles and see no conflict between them and EC. But that is just me and it may differ from person to person.


(Mitchell W McKain) #3

If anything, I think theistic evolutionists have a greater variety of opinions on many issues for many reasons… such as…

  1. There are more of them in more denominations.
  2. Frankly I think those who make up their own mind about issues rather than simply parroting what they have been told, are more likely to be theistic evolutionists, and that means they are more likely to make up their own mind on other issues also.
  3. Reconciliation of Christianity with science is an added dimension which also adds a greater variety of thinking on issues.

As for me… on the issue of miracles… It depends on how you define miracle.

  1. If you define miracle as God breaking the laws of nature which He created/established (for very very good reasons), then no I do not believe in miracles.
  2. If you define miracles as unexpected and beneficial involvement of God in our affairs then yes I do believe in miracles.

The miracles in scripture? Yes, but according to the second definition not the first.

Why?

It is not reasonable to think that God would break his own laws just to impress a bunch of ignorant people especially when it is abundantly clear that there is no need whatsoever to break the laws of nature in order to impress such people. Lets underline the two reasons here…

  1. The reasons do not warrant breaking the laws of nature created by God.
  2. God has no need to break the laws of nature to do the things He has done.

Consequences of this position:

So when if we investigate miracles do I think we are going to find scientific explanations? I do. And, I don’t think that means they are not miracles.

It means that miracles and the involvement of God in our lives is not quite so rare as is implied by those trying to find evidence of something without a scientific explanation.

The point of the miracles in scripture is not that these were violations of the laws of nature or the proof of supernatural powers but the fact that God is real and involved in our affairs. After all, Jesus said over and over that these miracles were not His doing but God’s doing, and Jesus said in John 14:12, “Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these.”

I am also reminded of all the times Jesus said an evil generation seeks a sign. For I think it is also a symptom of our sinfulness that we seek a breaking of the laws created by God.


(Randy) #4

Welcome! Great question! I don’t know the answer entirely–but Denis Lamoureux, @DOL, who coined the term evolutionary creationism, is, I think, Pentecostal. He’s on record as saying he experiences daily miracles, but is an evolutionary scientist who researches tooth development in fish (from scales) and has a PhD in evolutionary biology, theology, and also a DDS in dentistry. He could comment if he gets a chance. His books are helpful, too. (Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes, etc).


(Phil) #5

I have to admit this is an area I still puzzle about. While I fully accept the miracle of the resurrection and the miracles decribed in scripture, I have my doubts about modern day miracles except perhaps in very extraordinary circumstances where they speak to people in extraordinary ways. It seems odd that miracles are often only seen by those whose theology expects them. I differ from some family members in this, and to some extent the subject is as decisive as evolution.
After 37 years in medical practice, I have seen some extraordinary recoveries from serious illness, but nothing that I would say was divine intervention. Atheists and Wiccans have as many extraordinary recoveries as Christians. On the other hand, it is a miracle of sorts every time a scrape or scratch heals, depending on your point of view, and I often see the healing of superficial wounds as miraculous, though a miracle that may have required millions of years to manifest itself through the evolutionary process.
While we have had similar discussions, it is interesting to hear what others think, as I truly do to know.


(Shawn T Murphy) #6

This is the area that I find the most fascinating today for people to wholeheartedly pursue yo understand the wisdom of the restoration story, and the amount of effort that God and His Spiritual World puts into it. I have mentioned the researchers of Walther Hinz and Robert Sträuli in other posts. They and others have helped me to see the logic and reason in miracles of the OT and NT.

There are two types of miracles in the Bible - 1) God’s hand in clearing a path for His spiritual pioneers and 2) Jesus’ proof to His followers that He orly was the Son of God and not just another prophet.

The most interesting for me of the former are how God kept His people alive in the desert by supply them mana and how the people grew tired of this humble sustenance and moved away from God out of material desire (better food). Also, a favorite is how the angels of God came and killed the offspring Satan - the firstborn of Egypt who were a product of the practice of presenting the virgins to the temple when they came of age - raped by the temple priests.

The NT miracles by Jesus were to be so unique, that no one else should be able to demonstrate that Jesus has come again by repeating these miracles. He was able to see the possessing spirits and expel them with a word. He cured incurable afflictions and turned water into wine. Most of all, He was able to manifest Himself to His disciples after His physical death.


(Mitchell W McKain) #7

Do you just make this stuff up? Where are you getting this from. I am not finding anything anywhere to corroborate this.


(Shawn T Murphy) #8

The book is called “Vom Adam zu Moses” by Robert Sträuli. There are no theologians who seem willing to seriously investigate the wrongdoings of the priests and scribes.


(Mitchell W McKain) #9

I cannot verify that such a book even exists – which I find a bit strange. This tells me that if this book does exist then not only have I never heard of it but nobody has ever heard of it – not enough to talk about it on the internet… nobody except you, that is.

At least there is such a writer as Robert Sträuli and he wrote at least 3 books: " Origenes der Diamantene," “Salomo, die Königsquelle,” and “Paulus der Wiedergeborene Saul.” Though I cannot tell what kind of books these are… theology or fiction?

Another wild goose chase after a nonexistent book?


#10

I believe in miracles, though I think they are by definition rare and extraordinary works of God. My mother-in-law was instantaneously healed of 4 autoimmune diseases (one life-threatening) about 20 or so years ago. I think it’s fascinating that in the ancient world believers did not seem to distinguish between the natural and supernatural in the way that is common today. There was more of a view that God is always actively involved in governing the world through his acts of providence, not only when his actions supercede the laws of nature which he established. I have seen only 1 patient in my 15 years of medical practice that I would say was healed miraculously from biopsy-proven pancreatic cancer. More often God heals people through what we might deem “natural processes,” though this term could be misleading. As Tim Keller once said, I think most purported miracles are merely purported.


(Christy Hemphill) #11

I totally accept the reality of miracles. I think they are intended to be “signs” and they are more frequently given in cultures that look for them. (I work in cross-cultural missions where miracles are far less contested than in majority world technologically advanced societies.) Craig Keener documented a bunch of reported miracles from all around the world in his book Miracles.

“TE” is essentially a position on the reliability of consensus science. It isn’t a doctrinal position on a version of Christianity. Technically, you don’t even have to be a Christian to be a theistic evolutionist, you just have to acknowledge there is a God.

BioLogos as an organization (but not necessarily everyone on this open forum) affirms a specifically Christian version of theistic evolution. You can see the belief statement here.

We believe that God typically sustains the world using faithful, consistent processes that humans describe as “natural laws.” Yet we also affirm that God works outside of natural law in supernatural events, including the miracles described in Scripture. In both natural and supernatural ways, God continues to be directly involved in creation and in human history.


(Shawn T Murphy) #12

Dear Mitchell
Adam zu Moses was the fourth in the Series starting with Solomo, Paulus, and Origenes. I received a prepublication copy before Robert passed. His family have not published it yet. If you read German and my copy I can provide it.
Best wishes, Shawn


(Denis Lamoureux) #13

Hi,
Yes I attend a Pentecostal church, experience signs & wonders, believe the Bible is the Holy Spirit-inspired word of God (just finished my morning devotion in Scripture), and fully embrace biological evolution as God’s ordained, sustained, and intelligently designed process to create life (similar to our own creation in our mother’s womb–God creates through His natural processes).
Blessings,
Denis


(Wookin Panub) #14

I am not a theistic evolutionist, therefore take what I say with a grain of salt. They can and do accept them, but they are inconsistent in their thinking. They accept some miracles with no evidence, yet reject other miracle with no evidence. I find it to be a logical leap in allowing a super-naturalist view into a naturalistic realm. I can prove to people that “super naturalism” is a possibility, random processes, things are always changing, maybe the dead can come back to life, but then would it still be supernatural? I can even prove to people that there is a god. What I can’t prove to people is that Jesus is God.


(Phil) #15

I don’t disagree to some extent, yet would say that such is true with virtually everyone. When you watch some “faith healers” from various religions, including some Christian celebrities, I have no doubt that the “miracles” are fake or at least are miracles of perception rather than reality, as I suspect you also do. However, that does not preclude believing that some miracles are indeed real. No doubt faith requires the acceptance of things unseen, things that have limited or no evidence. Neither evolutionary creationists nor young earth creationists can be put in a box to conform to our own narrow expectations, though perhaps again we are all guilty of doing so at times.


(Wookin Panub) #16

Curious? Which miracle or miracles do YEC(s) not accept? Bear in mind, all miracles are supernatural events, but not all supernatural events are miracles


(Phil) #17

Obviously, the ones you would deny being miracles. Miracles claimed by fortune tellers and con-men. I was not limiting the statement to Biblical miracles. Of course, there is the gray area where some may feel some Biblical miracles may have a naturalistic explanation, while believing that God is responsible for nature and thus the primary cause, whereas others others may hold that the same event was God intervening in the natural order, but that becomes an argument about mechanism, not ultimate or primary cause, at least in most Christian circles.


(Wookin Panub) #18

I was taught that miracles (signs, powers and wonders) were to authenticate the message of the messenger-agents of revelation i.e. Moses etc… The “signs” were to signify that the Messiah was coming, and to affirm that Jesus (who did more miracles than anyone) was, indeed, the Christ.

I do not see miracles today as we did in the bible, because the prophecy of the coming Messiah was fulfilled.


(Christy Hemphill) #19

The prophesy had been fulfilled by the time of Acts 5:12, but the gospel was still accompanied by signs and wonders. The gospel is just as new in some places today as it was just after Pentecost.


(Wookin Panub) #20

Do not get me wrong. I believe that the miracles we see in scripture ceased with the apostles, because anyone today who claims to do miracles will have to be placed in the New Testament. But then again, I am a cessationist, not dogmatic though.