The Challenge of Adam 7 (RJS)

I am currently reading a book by David N. Livingstone, Adam’s Ancestors: Race, Religion, and the Politics of Human Origins. David Livingstone is Professor of Geography and Intellectual History at Queen’s University, Belfast and this book reflects both of his interests. It is a readable, but thorough and academic, book looking at the history of the idea of pre-adamic or non-adamic humans in western Christian thinking from the early church (Origen, Gregory of Nyssa, and Augustine) through the middle ages, the explorations of the fifteenth and sixteenth century, the debates on racial supremacy, and on to the present day.

Chapter 6 of Adam’s Ancestors “Ancestors Evolution and the Birth of Adam” deals with the ways in which believers reconciled Adam and evolution in the late 19th century and the 20th century.  Several different views and thinkers are considered in the chapter – but I would like to highlight here only the writings of Benjamin Breckinridge Warfield on evolution and Adam. Warfield was a reformed theologian, professor of didactic and polemic theology at Princeton. He is widely viewed as the last of the conservative Princeton theologians. He viewed scripture as authoritative, inerrant, and inspired – and evolution as consistent with scripture and consistent with Calvin.

With respect to pre-adamite man as related by Livingstone:

In 1911 Warfield wrote an article for the Princeton Theological Review on the antiquity and unity of the human race. … On turning to pre-adamism, he made a number of telling observations that throw much light on his own treatment of the subject. To him polygenism was to be equated with the “co-Adamitism” of writers such as Paracelsus, and not with pre-adamism as was conventionally assumed. In his mind “co-Adamitism [was] the attribution of the descent of several chief racial types to separate original ancestors,” whereas “pre-Adamitism … concieves of man as a single species, descended from one stock, but represents Adam as not the root of this stock, but as one of its products.” (p. 159; He quotes Warfield from “On the Antiquity” 1-25, reprinted in Biblical and Theological Studies 256.)

Warfield “loathed polygenism in every shape and form, as well as the racial pride that typically went with it” (p. 159), but he also felt that a pre-adamism with humans before or alongside Adam was counter to Christian theology. Adam was the father of the entire human race.

How do these idea fit with an evolutionary creation?

Warfield considered another form of pre-adamism “...which looks upon Adam as the first real man rising in developed humanity above the low, beastlike conditions of his ancestors.” (p. 160)  Warfield considered Christianity, reformed theology, and the writings of Calvin,consistent with the idea that the human body may have evolved, but it became human in an act of immediate creation when it was given a soul.  When reviewing James Orr’s “God’s Image in Man” Warfield “allowed as a distinct possibility that the human body had been formed in emergent evolutionary fashion, “at a leap from brutish parents,” and then fitted with a “truly human soul.” (p. 160)

Conservative Catholic thinkers came to the same general solution to the problem posed by the scientific evidence for evolution and the theological conviction that mankind is special, created in the image of God. The creation of man was a process – not an act, but the break in the chain of evolution comes with the implantation of a human soul.

None of this is to claim a uniform move toward acceptance of any version of pre-adamism. There has been much resistance, from Catholic and Protestant thinkers and at times from the Church. But evolution itself is not inconsistent with Christian theology and need not lead away from an orthodox theology or even an Christian understanding of the nature of mankind.

How can we tell the story? Perhaps as a start: When the time was right God created a human in his image – from the “dust” of his developing creation. He saw that a man – in the image of God, required a helpmate, a spouse, and created him male and female. A major point of Genesis 2, and of Jesus’s reference to Genesis 2, is the sacredness of the marriage partnership. The story of Genesis 2-3 is a story of relationships not a story of creation ex nihilo.

What do you think? Is the special creation of man, male and female, in the image of God tied to the soul? Is the idea of soul a useful – or accurate concept?

If you wish to contact me directly you may do so at rjs4mail[at]att.net.

  • JHM

    Well, if we’re created in the image of God, and God is spirit, then would it then make sense that the image he created was something like a soul (non-physical)? I think it sort of makes sense that when God says “in our image” He’s not referring to our physical features. However, if we ditch the idea of a soul, what would “in our image” even mean?

  • http://mysticallimpet.blogspot.com Travis Greene

    JHM “if we ditch the idea of a soul, what would “in our image” even mean?”
    It might mean reason, morality, ethical judgment, creativity, wisdom, kindness, love, altruism, sacrifice…

  • dopderbeck

    Interesting. I think I want to separate the question of the “soul” from the more basic question of monogenism vs. polygenism for the moment. The “soul” might help us explain some things if we think a sort of “spiritual monogenism” is important.
    Warfield’s basic concern was the “unity” of humanity. This is an important Biblical theme: all humans are created in God’s image, and all humans are bound to sin. Swirling around Warfield were polygenetic theories of human origins that understood the “races” to be of greater or lesser worth and of greater or lesser accountability to God based on their different biological origins. He was correct, I think, to see such theories as theologically wrong.
    So, I think we do need to hold to the basic theological proposition of the unity of the human race. The question then becomes squaring this theological concept of unity with the scientific knowledge that our genes do not all derive from a single breeding pair. This is why I think it’s important to focus on the fact that the Biblical concept of anthropological unity is not about the modern science of genetics.

  • garver

    Does anyone know Warfield’s views on the relation of the human soul to the souls of animals and other living things?
    That’s to say, is Warfield more of a modern Cartesian about the soul, seeing it as a distinct substance from the body and the locus of those aspects of our humanity that distinguish us from lower lifeforms? Or is Warfield more pre-modernist about the soul, seeing it as the formal aspect of any living thing that, together with its body, constitutes a single psychosomatic (or hylomorphic) substance, though, in our case, both overlapping with and differentiating us from lower lifeforms?
    Also, does anyone know Warfield’s view on the question of traducianism? Traducianism is the notion that the immaterial aspect of our humanity (“the soul”) is passed along to us by a process of natural generation along with our bodies.

  • http://www.theproblemwithkevin.com kevin s.

    “This is why I think it’s important to focus on the fact that the Biblical concept of anthropological unity is not about the modern science of genetics.”
    Doesn’t the modern science of genetics inform, and even beget, any concept of anthropological unity? It is, by it’s nature, a means of reconciling biological information with (not necessarily biblical) social information.
    If we begin with the proposition that the bible faithfully (if fitfully) reproduces the social story of creation, and that the modern science of genetics faithfully replicates the origins of the human species, we must either reconcile the two, or dismiss one.

  • BKC

    It seems to me that the use of “soul” here is far from its biblical meaning. Please correct me if I’m wrong, but doesn’t soul = life in Hebrew? Not only mankind was given a soul (Gen 2.7) but so were all the animals (Gen 1.30). What is distinct about people in Genesis 1 is that they were created in “the image of God.” What that means exactly is up for discussion, but the idea that mankind has a soul and animals do not does not fit the text at all.
    Am I off base here?

  • JHM

    Travis (#2)
    Throw in personality and that starts sounding an awful lot like “soul” doesn’t it? That list looks a lot like a list of “what are the features/functions/capabilities of a soul?” I’m neither a philosopher nor a theologian so I could be way off, but that’s sort of how I think of it.

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    You said,
    “He [Warfield] viewed scripture as authoritative, inerrant, and inspired – and evolution as consistent with scripture and consistent with Calvin.”
    We need to be clear what kind of “evolution” we are talking about. James Orr rejected “Darwinism” but accepted “evolution.”
    Extended quote from Orr:

    In truth, no conception of evolution can be formed, compatible with all the facts of science, which does not take account, at least at certain great critical points, of the entrance of new factors into the process we call creation. 1. One such point is the transition from inorganic to organic existence — the entrance of the new power of life. It is hopeless to seek to account for life by purely mechanical and chemical agencies, and science has well-nigh given up the attempt. 2. A second point is in the transition from purely organic development to consciousness. A sensation is a mental fact different in kind from any merely organic change, and inexplicable by it. Here, accordingly, is a new rise, revealing previously unknown spiritual powers. 3. The third point is in the transition to rationality, personality, and moral life in man. This, as man’s capacity for self-conscious, self-directed, progressive life evinces, is something different from the purely animal consciousness, and marks the beginning of a new kingdom.. Here, again, the Bible and science are felt to be in harmony. Man is the last of God’s created works — the crown and explanation of the whole — and he is made in God’s image. To account for him, a special act of the Creator, constituting him what he is, must be presupposed. This creative act does not relate to the soul only, for higher spiritual powers could not be put into a merely animal brain. There must be a rise on the physical side as well, corresponding with the mental advance. In body, as in spirit, man comes from his Creator’s hand.
    If this new evolutionary conception is accepted, most of the difficulties which beset the Darwinian theory fall away. 1. For one thing, man need no longer be thought of as a slow development from the animal stage — an ascent through brutishness and savagery from an ape-like form. His origin may be as sudden as Genesis represents. 2. The need for assuming an enormous antiquity of man to allow for the slow development is no longer felt. And (3), the need of assuming man’s original condition to have been one of brutal passion and subjection to natural impulse disappears. Man may have come from his Creator’s hand in as morally pure a state, and as capable of sinless development, as Genesis and Paul affirm. This also is the most worthy view to take of man’s origin.

    http://www.xmission.com/~fidelis/volume1/chapter18/orr_3.php
    This is very little like the Biologos version of “theistic evolution.” There are strong hints of intelligent design.
    Did Warfield go into this kind of detail? Did he agree or disagree with Orr on this?

  • DRT

    “What do you think? Is the special creation of man, male and female, in the image of God tied to the soul? Is the idea of soul a useful – or accurate concept?”
    I have no problem accepting that God created man and I have no particular need to get more specific than the information we have. That is, that he created him out of the matter that is laying around in the world. I think the message is that there is nothing intrinsically better about man than the other stuff laying around (as far as make up is concerned).
    I believe the real issue in the creation story is not about how man was made but how was man made relative to the other animals around. This is where we get this whole concept that we have a soul and animals do not. I personally believe that all animals (including us) have souls, except that ours are able to sin (sort of The Fall) and that is what makes us human, not our creation.
    Dave

  • http://blog.beliefnet.com/idolchatter/2010/03/watch-trailer-the-buddha.html Dharmashaiva

    Along with co-Adamitism and pre-Adamitism, there is a third possibility: the species known to modern science as Homo sapiens pre-dates Adam, but Adam represents the “image and likeness of God”, now impressed within the scientifically defined Homo sapiens.

  • Travis Greene

    JHM @ 7,
    “Soul” may be a useful term for the sorts of things we’re describing. But it can carry lots of extrabiblical (which doesn’t necessarily mean unbiblical, although it might) connotations. The popular idea, for instance, that we are really little glowing balls of light or ghostly clouds, trapped in the shells of our bodies, is not what the writer of Genesis was talking about.
    We are in both continuity (made of the dust) and discontinuity (the image of God/breath of God) with animals and the rest of the created order. I don’t mind using “soul” or “spirit” for that part of us which is more than the sum or our parts. But I think we should avoid pretending we know too much about what exactly that means or how it functions. Some terms automatically put us into thought categories that make it hard to really see the text.
    Perhaps we should think of it like the Eucharist (about which, of course, there is lots of disagreement as well). The bread and wine is bread and wine. It is also, by declaration and act of God, the body and blood of Jesus. We are our bodies. We are also, by declaration and act of God, image bearers and truly living beings. Another analogy could perhaps be made to Scripture.
    The mechanisms and specifics of both Eucharist and humanity are mysteries, and worrying about either too much is distracting, divisive, and unmissional.

  • RJS

    pds,
    I don’t think that the issue here is intelligent design – on any level except the idea of soul or impartation of the image of God (whatever that means).
    We are not “merely animals.”
    James Orr wrote in the early 1900′s (he died in 1913) and advocated a position more nearly related to what we would call progressive creationism. But he also wrote in the absence of a great deal of the internal evidence that we have available today. Bernard Ramm in the 50′s also wrote in favor of a form of progressive creationism as the best explanation for the data then available.
    We must wrestle with the data available today – and this form of progressive creationism with man potentially later and not really related simply is no longer tenable as I see it. There is a relatedness, a history, embedded in the genetic record, that is hard to ignore.
    I don’t actually read our forefathers with the idea of final truth in their writings, be it Augustine, Calvin, or Orr and Warfield. Rather we gain insight into how to think through the relationship of our empirical understanding of the nature and history of the world with our understanding of God and his relationship with his creation as related in scripture. We rest in the power of the Spirit as we move forward.
    All this a long way to say that we evaluate “BioLogos” or evolutionary creation on the evidence – not on the citation of authority.

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    Warfield’s views of “Darwinism” from a paper by Peter Wallace:

    “The formal completeness of the logical theory
    of Darwinism is fairly matched, therefore, by its almost
    ludicrous actual incompetence for the work asked of it.”

    If you let the fossil record speak for itself, the same problems remain today, at least for the higher taxa.
    I posted an extended quotation here:
    http://thedesignspectrum.wordpress.com/2010/04/22/b-b-warfield-on-darwinian-evolution-ludicrous-actual-incompetence-for-the-work-asked-of-it/

  • pds

    RJS,
    I am quoting Orr and Warfield because you were highlighting Warfield’s writings and claiming “He viewed scripture as authoritative, inerrant, and inspired – and evolution as consistent with scripture and consistent with Calvin.”
    This is misleading unless you explain what they meant by “evolution.”

  • RJS

    pds,
    I don’t think that the conclusive evidence for evolution is in the fossil record – although no contrary information is found in the fossil record. The conclusive evidence is genetic and biochemical.
    But the real issue here is wrestling with the best available information. Warfield, writing in the era roughly 1890-1915 did not have the information available that we have today – on any significant level – to evaluate the mechanisms for evolution. Darwin also gave important insight – but not the final story. So Warfield is writing in his context and we evaluate his arguments within the constraint of that context. This is how we think about moving forward in our context.
    How do you define evolution and what do you see as the problem?

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    RJS #15,
    I don’t have a single definition for “evolution” because current English permits many different meanings. I try not to use that word alone, but rather use it with other words to clarify. I use “Darwinian evolution” to mean “universal common descent from a single ancestor by random variation and natural selection.” I think the evidence is mixed on what natural selection can accomplish, and Warfield did too. Behe thinks there are more reasons now to doubt the power of random variation and natural selection.
    I think the fossil evidence is the best evidence of what happened in the past, and poses big problems for Darwinian theory. I think the genetic and biochemical evidence is mixed.

  • Norm Voss

    I see in scriptures the idea that all men whether they were Jew or Gentile have a spirit nature which is either in tune with God through His Holy Spirit or it is a spirit of darkness. I don’t believe the scriptures infer much more than that as defining men’s existence. I think we in the western mindset like to extrapolate philosophical applications to this conversation that simply are not there in the Hebrew discussion. The scriptures aren’t speaking to biological means of determining the evolution of man’s consciousness and frankly it is not logical to expect they would considering their limitations. What they do a good job of focusing on is the ability or lack of to affect a form of Godliness to our spirit nature. Their narrative points to God’s Holy Spirit through Christ as the means to exact such a change of Spirit.
    Now IMO the development of men from animal instincts to high intelligence and conscious awareness must be a fascinating study for science and anthropologist and that realm is the one which might shed light on that subject. The Hebrews knew nothing of this and revealed nothing for us beyond the basic understanding that we are Spiritual beings in need of the right Spirit.

  • RJS

    pds,
    But now you have to define both “random” and “natural selection.”
    See – if you say that Darwin was wrong, I’ll agree with you. If you say that our current understanding is wrong – I’ll agree with that as well. But that is not the point. Darwin had some important insights, but knew, by our standards, almost nothing about biology, paleontology, biochemistry, chemistry, physics, or genetics. All of these play into the understanding of mechanism. Warfield, of course, was working in the context of his time.
    The puzzle is determination of mechanism from the available evidence. This is the scientific question that has people hard at work. Simply saying “mechanism A” alone is insufficient doesn’t undermine the theory.
    I will do a series on Behe’s book this summer. Then we can discuss his ideas.

  • James Hukari

    Scott,
    This e-mail doesn’t have much to do with this particular blog, but I was wondering if you could recommend a solid book on christian identity. I read your blog daily and have an M.Div. from Tyndale Theological Seminary. I also read theological writings weekly, so I would appreciate something substantial.
    It seems to be an area I have neglected in my readings, etc.
    Thanks a lot.
    Jim

  • John W Frye

    How does a YEC assess the Warfield quotes?

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    RJS,
    “See – if you say that Darwin was wrong, I’ll agree with you. If you say that our current understanding is wrong – I’ll agree with that as well.”
    Much agreement with your whole comment. If you and Biologos would say things like this more often, we could have a more fruitful discussion in the context of a broader middle ground.
    One of my main hopes is that we admit
    1. what we know
    2. how well we know it and
    3. what we don’t know,
    about each aspect of Darwinian theory.
    “Simply saying “mechanism A” alone is insufficient doesn’t undermine the theory. ”
    Well, it undermines that aspect of the theory.

  • RJS

    pds,
    But all of science is about undermining parts of theories, refining and testing them. With respect to evolution – we are just beginning to have any really firm, theoretically sound ideas of mechanism.
    With respect to the science and faith discussion – undermining a piece of a proposed mechanism in evolution gets us nowhere. And more to the point – undermining a part of a mechanism doesn’t bring a designer into the picture. This is part of the process of discovery.
    But as a Christian, and for logical reasons, I think a designer is behind everything we study and discover. We do not need the absence of “natural” mechanism to have evidence for a designer.

  • RJS

    John,
    Well – in an article on their site AIG blames the teaching of Warfield who “even accepted Darwinism” for starting Charles Templeton’s slide into unbelief.
    Warfield had no sympathy at all with YEC positions and considered antiquity to be no problem.

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    Not long ago I came across this interesting article by Scott Morschauser, The Image of God: The Ancient Near East Background of the Imago Dei. He writes:
    “In this regard, however, it should be pointed out that the phrases, “in the image of,” and “according to the likeness (of)” are attested frequently in extra-biblical writings from the Ancient Near East as idioms. In ancient Egyptian, for example, “in the image of” is a simple designation for “oneself;” while “according to the likeness of” expresses the notion of “completeness” or “totality,” e.g. “totally.” These phrases are used as adjunct or appositives to nouns, and emphasize the idea of “one’s own self.” Thus, the lexical arrangement—Proper Name + qualifier “in the image of PN”/ “according to the likeness of PN”—means, “an individual himself, completely (did something); or “someone—on their own —(did something).” The terminology is self-referential, and is used to convey the concept of sui generis, or uniqueness.”
    He goes on:
    “What would “God-in-the-image of God/God-according to his likeness” signify? On the one hand, it would merely be a formula for saying: “God himself, totally (or accordingly).” Yet, this would have great significance within the overall discussion of the imago Dei, since it would be an attempt by the biblical witness to stress that God had undertaken the creation of humankind in his complete and utter sovereignty: it is God alone, by his grace, that he made this adam.
    * Gen 1:26-27 would be stating that humans are not formed “into” or “as” “the divine image,” at all. Rather, this “image” and “likeness”25 is entirely self-referential, self-defined, and self-applied to God: divine being is not transferred to humanity in any manner at creation. There is no natural correspondence between humanity and its character, and God, other than the reality of God’s granting to Man the ability to exist and function as this creature before Him.
    * However, the formulation, “God, God’s self, totally created humanity” in no sense, is a denial of Man’s status within the created scheme. Male and female are brought into being for a specific purpose: to serve as bearers and holders of a sacral post, sharing in the benefits granted to them by their Suzerain. They are to live with, and by, the revelation that God alone is, and has declared Himself, to be this, their Sovereign Lord.
    * The Creation of Man by “God’s own self, totally,” is a biblical refutation of an idea then current in the ancient world, that human existence is an accident, or originated out of chaos. Gen.1:26-27, affirms that the formation of Man is the result of God’s own intentional and free act—not as an afterthought, compulsion, or forced necessity.” (4)

  • Norm Voss

    Michael,
    The ancient first century epistle of Barnabas which is a commentary of sorts explaining issues related to Christ had this to say about the “Image of God”.
    Basically to summarize, he is pointing out that Gen 1:26 is pointing prophetically to the Time of Christ at the removal of sins and that they are to be made a New Creation as if recreating men. It’s not speaking about mankind in general but those under the covenant King as your article points out. The Image of God according to this first century commentator is about Christ creating faithful covenant men in God’s Image.
    Barnabas 6:11
    Forasmuch then as He renewed us in the remission of sins, HE MADE US
    TO BE A NEW TYPE, so that we should have the soul of children, AS IF
    HE WERE RECREATING US.
    12For the scripture saith CONCERNING US, how HE SAITH TO THE SON; Let us make man after our image and after our likeness, and let them
    rule over the beasts of the earth and the fowls of the heaven and
    the fishes of the sea. And the Lord said when He saw the fair
    creation of us men; Increase and multiply and fill the earth.
    THESE WORDS REFER TO THE SON.

  • John W Frye

    RJS (#23),
    Thanks. I am curious because this is the first time that I’ve read of some of these revered (Reformed) saints aligning theology and science (evolution) and not freaking out about it.

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    Norm #25
    And this appears to me to be another case of the Early Church reading the O.T. back through the lens of Jesus’ Resurrection. I wonder how Second Temple Judaism understood this passage?
    And that brings up another interesting question I keep pondering. We frequently talk about “the fall” as separation from God. Yet I find it interesting that Gen 3 says nothing about a change in relationship between Adam and Eve and God, except that they were now ashamed and initially hid. It talks of corruption of their mission (care for the garden and exercise of dominion), of strife between Adam and Eve, and of expulsion from the garden and the tree of life. But continuing on into Genesis 4, the relationship between God and humanity appears to be the same. Only when we get to judgment of Cain do we see a separation.
    Again I wonder I how Second Temple Judaism understood these stories prior to the interpretive impact of Jesus’ ministry.

  • Your Name

    Michael,
    This was a Second Temple Judaism viewpoint IMO and that is the point. The dating of this writing puts it as one of the earliest pieces of Christian literature possibly circa 70AD if it’s examined carefully.
    The fall is best described by Paul in Romans 7 in which he says I once was alive but then the commandment/law came and I died (spiritually not physical). Paul is speaking somewhat euphemistically as Adam or Israel in the collective sense to describe the loss of Covenant life.
    The story of the Garden expulsion then typifies Covenant degradation. Adam’s labor produced thorns and thistles typifying the barrenness of a relationship based upon law and works. This brings us to Cain’s expulsion from the land in which his labor was even more futile as it produced nothing. In essence Cain should have starved and that is the object of the lesson as his banishment from God’s face and presence. This was a precursor of what happened to the apostate Jews during the time of the Messiah’s coming when they were banished from the covenant people and is why Cain is used as the poster child so often for their plight.
    All of this language in Genesis has more theological application than historical which would make sense if folks realized it was written from probably a late first Temple perspective and served a messianic purpose more than realized.

  • http://krusekronicle.typepad.com Michael W. Kruse

    #28
    Clearly the Second Temple overlapped the start of the Church. What I was specifically getting at was views held by Jews just as Jesus was being born and in the years leading up to this time. Barnabas was post-resurrection.
    I haven’t made a study of this but my understanding is that there were several views and I’m not sure how many really dovetailed with Paul’s explanation in Romans. Jesus life, death, and resurrection cast things in a new light.
    It is something I would like to learn more about.

  • http://ingles.homeunix.net/ Ray Ingles

    PDS – You quote Orr as saying, “This also is the most worthy view to take of man’s origin.”
    In “The Screwtape Letters”, C.S. Lewis’ devil praised such reasoning. “Believe this, not because it’s true, but for some other reason. That’s the game.”
    Even if he were right about all the rest (and his numbered points seem to be at great risk of committing Haldane’s Error), the ‘worthiness’ of a theory has no bearing on its truth. It can affect what we want to be true, but that often doesn’t line up with what’s actually true.

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    Ray,
    I don’t endorse Orr or Warfield. I am only saying we need to understand what they meant when they used the term “evolution.”
    RJS,
    I have read more of Warfield’s original writings. (I posted the full text of his review of Orr’s book.)
    http://thedesignspectrum.wordpress.com/2010/04/23/b-b-warfields-review-of-james-orrs-book/
    I think Livingstone misinterprets that line from the review. What do you think?
    I am more convinced than ever that when Warfield used the word “evolution,” it was not what we usually think of. It seems that what we would call “progressive creation,” he would consider a form of “evolution.”

  • RJS

    pds,
    First off – It is largely irrelevant to this post. Livingstone’s book is not on evolution it is on pre-adamism and polygenism vs. monogenism.
    Second – Warfield was interacting with the science of his day in ca. 1900, as was Bernard Ramm in the mid 1900′s. Even Darrel Falk, I think, if you listen to his talk (or probably read his book) would say that up until something like 20 years ago (give or take) it was possible to take something of a progressive creation view toward human origins. (See post here: http://blog.beliefnet.com/jesuscreed/2008/12/peace-with-science.html )
    The question for us today is not so much the exact details of any position taken in the past – but the reasoning behind the position.
    With respect to Warfield – He did not try to undermine or refute the scientific data as it stood. He integrated it into his understanding of God’s work in the world. As I understand it he did refute philosophical claims made on the basis of “science,” he stood firm against the racism and elitism emerging from polygenic views, and he stood firm for a special act of creation imparting a human soul.
    This is my stand – I go with the data, period. However it (life, humans, the universe, …) came about God did it. On the basis of the data it appears his mechanism was largely rational “natural” chemical and physical processes – but that is no big deal.

  • pds

    The Design Spectrum
    RJS
    I asked a simple question. If you don’t want to answer it, that’s ok.
    It is relevant, because I have seen several people (including Frank Beckwith) ridicule RTS and others on the ground that Warfield and Orr were “theistic evolutionists.” I don’t like ridicule, especially when it is based on ignorance.
    I see Warfield and Orr as being like ID folks. Deep respect for science, with a healthy skepticism when science makes claims not based on good data and logic.


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