What are the best works summarizing modern Evolutionary Creationism?

Evolutionary Creationism is for me somewhat elusive idea, that is most often explained by sentence “faith and neodarwinian evolution don’t contradict each other”. I hope that this is reality, but I’m not satisfied by such general statement and troubled by many problems along the way. I watch quite a few materials on BioLogos side, and found many perspective on many different topics, but still can’t find clear, systematics and rigorious enough presentation of this idea. Can you help me and direct me to the main works on the topic.

I have some mathematical background, and when I think that expecting presentation of Evolutionary Creationism as precise and rigorous as book on number theory is just silly, I hope that some works striving at clarity and rigor exists.

Hi, Kamil - good to hear from you!

I think that some find “evolutionary creationism” elusive because they may be expecting that it must be different somehow, than, mainstream biological evolution; as if there needs to be something scientifically in it that distinguishes it from “ordinary” evolution. But no such scientific distinction exists (at least not compellingly demonstrated … ID proponents seems to have yet to even advance any positive thesis on this). So the phrase “evolutionary creationism” really is just a descriptor for those who have decided that accepting scientifically demonstrated realities is not threatening to their Christian faith. They don’t feel a need to try to deny or censor those realities through any sort of theological filter. We see them through our theological lens: our context for the world in its unfiltered entirety. But since we believe that all truth is God’s truth, we don’t think that any robust or healthy faith should be threatened by increased knowledge of God’s creation. So if you’re looking for any good summary of an evolutionary creationist’s scientific beliefs about the development of life, any good modern book about evolution will be informative. If you’re looking for what informs their theological context for everything (including science and reality) then the Bible and other robust Christian texts make fine reading for the diversity of opinions Christians share in.

But meanwhile, if you still want to read a Biologos perspective on the phrase “evolutionary creationism”, then here is an essay that may help shed light.

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For me the best books are not actually scientific on nature that harmonizes evolution and faith. There are tons of fantastic books and journals that show why science is trustworthy and why evolution happened.

In my opinion the best books are theological books focused on the contextual analysis of genesis 1-11 and other books in the Bible that help explain the patterns being set up, what it actually says in hebrew, and what types of literary devices are being used. Most of what I have read on this is blogs. But later on with more time I’ll try to find 3 or so books I’ve read on this subject thst I liked and share it here.

One good place is a podcast series though called , “ The Bible Project”’and their latest episode, Cain and his descendants “ help explains some of the hyperbolic techniques.

I don’t try to find pro scientific statements in the Bible. I find the evidence to show the genera of many texts don’t demand a literal reading opening it up to a different interpretation allowing it to be harmonized with reality.

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(Again,) oranges and chalk. Not even apples and cheese which actually go nicely together. If God exists then He is the instantiator of physical and transcendent reality, the ground of being, being that wouldn’t exist if He didn’t when He does, but exists if He doesn’t. Get that? The problem isn’t first how we - procrusteanly - reconcile nature to God by but the other way around.

Thank you for your answer. It never cross my mind that istituion founded by Francis Collins, who is still very involved with its working, can propose anything as evolution theory, other than standard neodarwinian approach. My problem is rather that I can’t divide my soul into two parts and life with such division. In one part I’m obeying God, but there is no evolution, in other there is evolution but no place of God. And combaining these two way of thinking is problem to me.

For men of my age, evolution theory is probably always linked to person of Richard Dawkins and his “God Delusion”, but his dislike for christianity is evident even in my edition of “Selfish gene”. I still have some problem with his account of antichristian arguments from neodarwinian theory. I read Alister McGrath “Dawkins God”, but this book predates “God Delusion”, so many important things are missing. Or at least my translation from English is that old.

But, this is not only Dawkins, but scientists such John Maynard Smith who procleimed that “Evolution and Bible can’t be true at the same time. Evolution is of course true, so I abonded christianity.” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p00545gl) and many more. To me such opinions are impossible to ignore, but biology is not my field, so I don’t know how to find answer to them.

It sounds like you could benefit most from people who deal with this conflict narrative and insist that there isn’t really any inherent contradiction between accepting the science and believing in God as creator and redeemer of creation.

I’m not sure about books, but the BioLogos website has these resources:

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What you mean by reconcile God to nature?

I think that is a common problem, and one I considered way back when looking at the issues in college days. My basic way of dealing with it was to realize that if evolution was true, and scripture was true, then my interpretation of one or both must be wrong. Evolution does not lend itself to much interpretation of basics (though the details may be varied), and as you look at the evidence, the conclusions follow. But scripture is interpreted in many ways and some cannot be integrated with evolution (literalism-historicalism) but some have no problem and conflict with evolutionary theory. Once you learn that there are ways to read scripture that do not conflict. then the two ways of thinking can be successfully integrated into a cohesive worldview.
The bigger problem that I have yet to successfully conquer, is the two or more ways of thinking that takes place within the church community. The struggle lately is not so much with evolution, but with the conspiracy mindset and anti-intellectualism as relates to the recent pandemic. When that mindset was mostly concerned with essential oils and cleaning supplies, it could be ignored and tolerated. Now that it is costing lives, the burden weighs on me.

Nature stands [alone]. There it is. It needs nothing. Lacks nothing. Never has. It’s always been. It does everything we sense. Including that. Us and our sensing. It is fully autonomous in being. If God exists, as warranted only by Christ orthogonal to nature, then He instantiates nature; it’s one of His two subroutines, trains of thought. The other is the transcendent. Supernature. Glory. Nature is unbelievable. And real. What manner of God instantiates, wills such creation? Not the vicious, inadequate, parochial, tiny[, literal] minded [enculturated, anthropomorphic, projected] one of religion used to bind and drag nature down. Nature lifts God up.

PS. In truth, pure and absolute, there is no conflict between science, nature (and by extension rationality, philosophy) and religion as long as religion keeps its nose out of science and fully accepts science’s nose in to it. Faith has nothing to lose from that.

PPS. What does obeying God mean? Doesn’t that include loving Him with your WHOLE mind?

There is a lot of food for thought from various Catholic perspectives. Several books by Ilia Delio focus on the work of the Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin who made an effort to reconcile Catholic faith with evolution. Much resisted in his own lifetime and now more honoured. TsC gave an account of not just about beginnings of creation but the divine intentions for the future of humanity focused in Christ as the Omega (ending).

I realise that Catholic theology may be less loved (if al all) by the more evangelical and protestant readership here, but it does remind us that theology in the light of evolution is not just about Genesis, its about the whole scope of history and future of the world.

If the only choice were Catholic and Protestant, give me Catholic. But it ain’t. Even so, Henri Nouwen, Richard Rohr, David Steindl-Rast and others are keepers. TdC not so much. At all. Orthogenesis beyond metaphor, beyond faith, is unfounded.

I mention TdC not because I agree with him in all respects but because as a young man he was the first I came across as someone who had been involved with science and faith and trying to bring the two together and getting away from fundamentalism.

I am actually Anglican but a big part of the Catholic writings I know is not just about the past but also about our essential calling now and to become what God intended and intends us to be. What kind of society are we making now? Are we still making societies based on primitive tribalism and selfish defence of what we want and need, or are we moving to something more universal in embrace, that will affect all of our lives and our politics?

Getting bogged down in arguments about Genesis and science can allow us to escape our current obligations to be reshaping the future that is to be Christlike

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Thank you for pointing this essay to me. I’m still read articles on BioLogos page, that are related to this problem, they are short but quite numerous. If this left some questions, I probably came back to this forum.

Hi there,

This is more denomination specific, but a good, well-researched book that came out last year: https://biologos.org/articles/preserving-orthodoxy-honoring-scientific-reality

I’ve always enjoyed this essay:

I think that sums up Evolutionary Creationism really well. Evolution is treated the same as all of the other well supported scientific theories that are used every day.

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I read this article on meterology and it made me wonder what Genesis actually said about God creating animals, and here is what I found…

Genesis 1:20 And God said, “Let the waters bring forth swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the firmament of the heavens.”

Genesis 1:24 And God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds.” And it was so.

Does this say what I think it is saying? Is God letting the earth and the waters do all the work in creating all these creatures? LOL

Seems to me the case is considerably stronger for all those meteorologists (rather than biologists) being nothing but a bunch of God-hating atheists (no offense T). LOL

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