A Leap of Truth: Evolutionary Creation and Genesis (RJS)

A couple of months ago Scot posted the trailer for a new documentary film coming out soon called “A Leap of Truth“. This film, by Ryan Pettey at Satellite Pictures, is designed to be a positive contribution to the discussion of science and faith, especially science and evangelical Christian faith. I have had the opportunity to view a couple of preliminary versions of the film, and it should be a great conversation starter.

The feature length film was produced in cooperation with BioLogos and few short topic driven clips are being featured on their blog as conversation starters. These are not available for embedding on other sites, at least not at this time – but you can view the clip on BioLogos and we can continue the conversation here. Transcripts of the clips are also available on the BioLogos posts.

The first clip, posted last week, looks at the idea of evolutionary creation and asks what this might mean for our understanding of God’s work in creation. The second clip, posted yesterday deals with the intent of the book of Genesis, especially the intent of Genesis One.

What is the essence of the Christian doctrine of creation? Where do you start?

In what way does Genesis teach creation?

Evolutionary Creation. The clip on evolutionary creation runs through a number of ideas about the nature of creation in the context of evolution. One of the broad themes is that God works in history and through process. This is true today, it is certainly true in human history. To accept the idea of evolutionary creation is to accept this as a continuation of the theme. God works and has worked in history through his “natural” processes.

Dr. Jeff Schloss (Biology professor at Westmont College) notes

The scriptures make it very plain that while God does marvels, miraculous marvels, he embeds these marvels in a historical process. … Well, why does God use history to achieve his purposes? Why not just have created everything right to begin with? And then, if it were made wrong at a point in time by Adam and Eve falling, why not just have Christ die right there in the Garden and have salvation? Why wait thousands of years for the revelation of Christ? And we don’t get to have the answer to that.

This isn’t to deny miraculous events – God has, does, and will interact with his creation and his creatures in specific direct ways. But there is time and process involved in creation. There is nothing inherently contradictory in the idea that God would create through the “natural” process of evolution including mutation and selection.

The Rev. Dr. John Polkinghorne develops the theme further in his comments.

The doctrine of creation isn’t about how things began, it’s about why things exist, what holds the world in being. The Christian belief is that it is the will of God that holds the world in being.

… That shows us that God is patient and subtle, that God is prepared to create through process, unfolding process, rather than through just divine magic decree. … And when you come to think about it…if the nature of God is love, as Christians believe, then I think that is the way you would expect the God of love to create, not through just brute power, but by the unfolding of fruitful potentiality.

Is it reasonable that God’s method of creation would be an unfolding process such as evolution?

In other words, does an evolutionary process uphold God’s character as revealed in the scriptures? If so, how? If not, why not?

The Book of Genesis The second clip is a natural continuation from the clip on evolutionary creation. If the scientific evidence is correct and if God created through process, in a manner analogous to his working in time and space after creation, then we have to ask what the creation narrative in Genesis, especially Gen 1, is intending to convey. The clip from A Leap of Truth on the book of Genesis brings together thoughts and insights by John Walton, NT Wright, Nancey Murphy, Pete Enns, and more. You can find the clip and the transcript on the BioLogos site. I will highlight just a few pieces here.

Any attempt to understand the creation narrative in Genesis, especially Gen 1, requires careful examination of the intent of the text. We can’t simply translate Hebrew into English and expect to understand the text. We must also translate its cultural context, the intent and understanding of the text to the original writers and readers some three thousand years ago. A major theme in the clip is that the story of creation in Genesis is not a story of how things began, but is much deeper, dealing with why things exist, their function and purpose.

Dr. John Walton: We have to approach Genesis 1 for what it is. It is an ancient document. It is not a document that was written to us—we believe the Bible was written for us like it is for everyone of all times and places because it is God’s Word—but it was not written to us. It was not written in our language. It was not written with our culture in mind or our culture in view.

…People come to Scripture thinking that they need to integrate it with science and so, they want to either read science out of the Bible or they want to read science into the Bible. That is not the way to do it because inevitably you end up making the text say things that it never meant to the ancient audience.

This theme is continued by Nancey Murphy and Pete Enns who comment on the nature of origins stories in the ancient Near East (ANE) and the relationship between these ANE stories and the account we have in the Genesis. The importance is not the details of ANE cosmology, biology, or even origins. Rather the importance is in the contrast and in the theological message of Genesis. Dr. Enns makes a direct connection to Israel.

It’s Israel’s declaration that Yahweh is worthy of worship. It is a potent and counter-intuitive theological statement in the ancient world where people say, ‘That is totally different from anything we have ever seen.’

John Walton and N. T. Wright make the connection between creation and temple. The earth is God’s dwelling place, his office, and in this he places his image.

N. T. Wright: it is actually about when the good Creator God made the world, he made heaven and earth as the space in which he himself was going to dwell and put in humans into that construct as a way of both reflecting his own love into the world and drawing out the praise and glory from the world, back to himself.

… This world was made to be God’s abode, God’s home, God’s dwelling place. He shared it with us, and now he wants to rescue it and redeem it.

What is the context of Genesis and how can we translate this context into a framework we can understand today?

Is it possible that we have misunderstood the intent of Genesis One for millenia because of a disconnect between Gentile Christian context and the original writers and audience?

The ANE creation myths and the idea of temple as the dwelling place of God are concepts that would have been in the air and in the water … taken for granted by the original audience.

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

If interested you can subscribe to a full text feed of my posts at Musings on Science and Theology.

  • http://evolutionarycreation.wordpress.com EC

    You ask, “Is it reasonable that God’s method of creation would be an unfolding process such as evolution?” I say yes. Revelation through Scripture was an unfolding process. Theology in general is an unfolding process. Even the way we learn and grow as humans is an unfolding process. God seems to like to use unfolding processes in whatever he does.

  • http://zetountes.blogspot.com Marcus

    Thanks for posting this RJS. A friend of mine and I were recently thinking together about what evolution reveals about the nature/character of God and really struggling to see what it does in fact reveal.

    I think Polkinghorne’s point about patience is a helpful one, but I’m not convinced that evolution displays God’s love. The idea present in his thought seems to be that love and force are at odds with each other, and I just don’t understand why that’s true. Brute power used beneficially is loving (see Jesus’ miracles for example).

  • rjs

    EC,

    I don’t like it when the argument for evolutionary creation starts with something like “aha, of course it had to be this way.” You didn’t say this, but sometimes people do make such an argument. There are touches of it in the video at times – but not much. It seems to me that evolutionary creation is not deduced from logical necessity, but a conclusion from the evidence. Nonetheless it is completely consistent with the unfolding process we see elsewhere in God’s actions in the world.

    God does seem to like to use unfolding process – and we see this in his interactions with Israel, culminating in the incarnation, continuing through now two millenia of his church. We must be involved in part of an unfolding process.

  • rjs

    Marcus,

    These are clips of Polkinghorne’s thinking – I think he would agree with you, although I’m not certain. I agree with you – but brute power in the miraculous is not the norm in God’s action in the world, it happens for specific reasons, and in relationship with his creatures.

  • Joe Canner

    “…does an evolutionary process uphold God’s character as revealed in the scriptures?”

    Yes, at least for those who lean towards a free will (Arminian?) view of the world. God allowed man the freedom to do good or evil and He has also allowed nature to unfold according to that same freedom. The former is often used to help understand the problem of (human-caused) evil in the world, and the latter helps understand natural evil (earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, etc.).

  • Fish

    Nature has free will?

  • Joe Canner

    Fish, I purposely avoided saying that because I don’t think nature has a will, per se. My point is that God has allowed nature to unfold, rather than impose his will upon it, in much the same way as he has allowed humans free will, rather than imposing his will upon us.

  • Amos Paul

    RJS,

    You say that the brute power of the miraculous is not the norm for how God works through his Creation, but I would certainly contend that the act of Creation itself is a particularly extreme exception to this notion. Whatever your ‘Scientific’ outlook on the history of the natural universe is, one must always arrive at the fundamental premise that no effect can arise without cause. Something must come from something. But does that mean that our seemingly finite Universe is actually an infinite thing that regresses without terminus and has no ultimate cause or explanation for anything at all?

    This is basically the Cosmological argument, that God’s nature satisfies the conundrum of how anything started in the first place as he is the un-caused cause of everything else. Theistic belief is that God’s magnificent Creationary power brought forth existence itself. This is an inherently radical action on His part and a belief about something that is intrinsically beyond the realm of finite human understanding.

    In that light, our ‘scientific’ debate is merely in *what state* did God bring forth existence into? After all, if He can bring it forth from absolutely nothing at all, there appears to be no particular limit at what condition he “must” have brought it forth into.

    While I am certainly no fundamental literalist, the Genesis account has God breathing Adam, the first human, into existence as a fully functioning adult male. It’s the classic question–what came first? The chicken or the egg? It seems that, in the case of God’s ex nihilo Creation… it could really go either way.

    But we know that fully functioning human adults do not just spontaneously occur. This is a scientific impossibility. We need no convincing on this account. There are biological models and processes that humans *must* go through to become fully functioning adults. That’s the rationally ordered universe that we believe God gave to us.

    But it’s as scientifically impossible for Adam to spontaneously exist impossible as ex nihilo is itself for all of Creation. As a Christian, I see literally no reason to presume that God *must* have created humanity and so forth as primitive molecular creatures that evolved up to their current state. I buy the fact that if God can Create ex nihilo, then God can create fully functioning UNIVERSES in their adult stages of life just as they are. There may very well be finite, scientific models that we can discover to forecast and understand how things develop and/or “must develop” through in a rationally ordered universe.

    Yet no matter how much we investigate the natural world, we always hit a wall in our understanding of the primordial history. None of this is possible from the get go without ex nihilo. Therefore, it’s perfectly rational for me and/or anyone to investigate physical models of the time it takes light to travel across the universe, the formation of stars and planetss, biological development of creatures, etc while yet STILL believing that God Created ALL of this in a perfect, adult stage of life. I don’t see that as any less possible than God having Created it all in some other, prior stage… indeed, we have no reason to presume one way or the other short of our beliefs about God’s nature and any revelation we might receive directly from Him.

  • rjs

    Amos,

    That comment is a bit long, containing several points – although they are all on topic and relevant. I only say this because it is easier to carry on a conversation in smaller chunks, and I may miss some of your points.

    In #3 I explicitly noted that it is a mistake to say that this is the way God must have done it – as though it were logically necessary. Nonetheless it certainly appears that this is the way that God did do it. Either his interaction in the process is so constant that we cannot distinguish it from “natural” cause, or his direct action was rather early in the creation process.

    The problem with a “mature creation” view is that it requires not simply a mature creation, but a creation with scars and history. This is not equivalent to God creating Adam with a navel, but God creating him with the remnant of a broken leg, scars from cuts that never happened, and so forth. Of course we don’t have Adam to examine – but we do have the human genome which contains these kinds of scars and signatures. It isn’t generic history is is specific history.

    Did God create in a fashion to leave a false history to confuse us and then give us Genesis 1-4 so we would know that he really did it differently? I think we misinterpret the purpose of Genesis if we assume “mature creation” – and this is the point that the biblical scholars and theologians in the second clip from A Leap of Truth are making.

  • Nate

    Thanks for this article and comments and giving latitude for other explanations. For myself thinking about creator, I would fall into the mature camp, based on the first/second Adam aspect of our theology, that through 1 man we are condemned and redeemed. I have also thought through this with the idea of our own creative stories in film and books. We create characters with a history and story before we are introduced to them. We jump in the story midstream, and do not question the validity of this kind of creation. We watch (far too many) pre-quels giving the characters history that we didn’t know previously.
    And yet with God’s creative act we have a different standard as if what he did is not fair.

    To your last point, is God’s creation of a “mature world” before it was introduced to us, and his subsequent revelation through Genesis 1-4 part of his self revelation, where he is patient and subtle, unfolding his will to confound the wisdom of the wise? Or is this my own attempt to be wise which in itself needs to be frustrated? Pray that for both of us, K?

  • http://evolutionarycreation.wordpress.com EC

    RJS #3 – I agree completely with you on this. This world is contingent, not necessary. So we can’t say that things “had” to be a certain way (we don’t know the mind of God). But we can say we’ve found a pattern and that leads us to think that God works in a particular way (inductive method). Then, if we see another example that seems to fit the pattern, then we can add that as weight to our argument that God did in fact work that way. But it’s only another thread to the tapestry of our belief (to use Ard Louis’s example).

  • AHH

    Amos @8 also mentioned the initial creation of the universe as a miraculous exception to God’s normal way of working, and I am sympathetic to viewing the “Big Bang” in that way.

    However, the logical necessity of that is not as airtight as typically assumed by those who employ the “Cosmological argument”. In particular:
    the fundamental premise that no effect can arise without cause
    is a premise in conflict (or at least significant tension) with current understanding of quantum mechanics, at least in terms of what people who use it typically mean by “cause” and “effect”.

    So to get back to RJS’s question:
    What is the essence of the Christian doctrine of creation? Where do you start?
    I would say it starts with the doctrine that all of material existence owes its being to God (not just any god or designer, but Yahweh).
    But I think we should not get too hung up on trying to identify particular miraculous gaps or otherwise find some signature of God in the process by which the creation has come into being.

  • http://thedesignspectrum.wordpress.com/ pds

    This was interesting:

    Dr. Jeff Schloss: “If you believe that every kind of living organism was supernaturally created by God, then, in one sense, every organism is unique, and the cheetah is the fastest organism, and the redwood tree is the largest organism, and they are all specially and supernaturally and distinctly created by God; they are all unique. If you believe in common descent and believe in evolutionary theory, then there is a sense in which no organisms are unique to the extent that they can be explained by the common mechanism of mutation and selection. When we look at human beings, human beings do things that, as of yet, are actually not adequately explainable by the common mechanism of genetic mutation and natural selection.”

  • dans

    Rjs #9. Did God create a mature universe with “scars” and and then give us Genesis 1-4 to tell us he did it differently….That question cuts both wa

  • rjs

    dans,

    It could cut both ways – but this is where I think the second clip is so useful and though provoking. The argument here is regarding the nature and intent of Genesis 1 and the discussion is carried on by biblical scholars and theologians (the only scientist is Ard Louis – and John Polkinghorne, but he is both a theologian and a scientist).

    You can argue that science forces biblical scholars to react and reconsider, but I think this is fair. Many (most) of them find a problem with the “standard” understanding of Genesis on textual, historical, cultural grounds independent of any scientific knowledge of origins.

  • Dans

    Oops. Hit submit by accident.

    Rjs #9. Did God create in a fashion to leave a false history to confuse us and then give us Genesis 1-4 so we would know that he really did it differently?

    That question cuts both ways. Did God reveal to humans in some fashion that we were formed from the dust without animal ancestry, that evil is the result of sin, and death is also the result of human rebellion, confirm this false “story” in the writings of a brilliant 1st century apostle who built a fair amount of theology on the link between the fall and death, but then rely on naturalists studying rock formations, physical characteristics and genetic markers to finally show us that it was all just a story?

    My question is, why is it that assumed that looking at it from one direction can’t be acceptable because it looks like God is misleading us, but to look at it the other way doesn’t also look like God is misleading us even more? Your solving one difficulty by ignoring a larger one.

    IF there is an apparent conflict between the book of God’s Word and the book of God’s works, then from either direction, the appearance of God misleading us remains. And I am far more troubled at the prospect of God misleading in very specific language in the New Testament than God supposedly misleading us in the inferences made about events in the distant past from complex physical data.

  • Dans

    Focusing on “the nature and intent of Genesis 1″ would be fine, if it were not for the Genealogies and Paul’s extensive soteriology built on Adam and the fall. Adam is not incidental to Paul’s argument – Adam is foundational to it. The conflict remains. If God created via evolution, then God misled us greatly in Romans, Corinthians, etc., if inspiration means anything.

  • rjs

    Dans,

    The genealogies are a literary form connecting back to a Jewish history including, in Luke, the cultural context of Genesis. To stake anything on these is, I think, to misunderstand the form. The inconsistencies between Matthew and Luke are my first line of argument here. Some need to reconcile them because of an assumption of what they must be – I think it is better to let them by their form, including the inconsistencies, tell us what they are.

    The (apparent?) reliance of the soteriology of Paul on the existence of Adam as a unique individual is a much larger and more significant question. I don’t think God misled us here, but I do think that we misinterpret or more often overinterpret.

  • Patrick

    After finishing Professor Walton’s book on Genesis 1, I found it compelling. The philology alone made the case for me. Adding in the neighboring cultures also saw creation as functional was helpful.

    I wonder about evolution not because it may not fit here, it may indeed fit if Genesis 2 concerning Adam was “functionally made” instead of “materially made” as Walton’s shows and if it is fact based, I have no problem with it ( raised a fundy literalist , too).

    What I wonder about is the actual science. Moreso physical evidence I can see (I am not educated well), fossils, skeletons,etc.

    At Church Sunday, I was discussing these issues and a friend who is educated and who does not think evolution can explain these things asked this:

    “If that idea is valid, why is Lucy such a rarity and we have tons of examples of dinosaurs, tyrannosaurus Rex,etc?

    “Shouldn’t it be the other way around, Lucy’s should be numerous X 100,000″? Any educated folks comment here on this?

    BTW, Professor Walton believes Adam and Eve are historic people, he just doesn’t believe Genesis is teaching us about their initial material creation is all.

    I asked him and he just said, “that still leaves us with lots of questions”.

    The book of Jubilees and I think Enoch saw Adam as the first Hebrew believer, not the first human being. Maybe that explains a lot to us?

    Luke added this, Jesus is “the son of Adam, the son of God”.

    That lineage of Luke’s appears to be heavily influenced by a priestly lineage out of Jubilees. I am beginning to believe Adam and Eve are the ancient Hebraic way to tell their neighbors about God working through the Hebrew people to show the “nations” Yahweh.

  • http://www.myc.com/teacher/EDiGiacomoH Elizabeth Hageness

    I hope no Westmont dollars are going into this discussion. Really & truly, if we chase two rabbits, they both get away. Many rabbits on this page, seems to me. Just sayin’.

  • http://thedesignspectrum.wordpress.com/ pds

    I assume that the funding for the film came out of the $2 million that Biologos got from Templeton to promote evolution to evangelicals.

    http://www.templeton.org/what-we-fund/grants/the-language-of-god-biologos-website-and-workshop

    Why so much money targeting evangelicals when Templeton is not an evangelical organization? Does anyone know the details about the funding?

  • AHH

    Patrick @19 quotes an allegedly educated friend:
    If that idea is valid, why is Lucy such a rarity and we have tons of examples of dinosaurs, tyrannosaurus Rex,etc?
    Shouldn’t it be the other way around, Lucy’s should be numerous X 100,000?

    We should not let this drag us off topic, but maybe a quick reply is appropriate (I can’t even imagine where this person got a X100,000 estimate).
    Paleontology is not my area of science, but some obvious things come to mind (others could probably add more):
    1) We don’t have “tons” of dinosaur fossils. The Wikipedia entry says More than 30 specimens of Tyrannosaurus rex have been identified, some of which are nearly complete skeletons. That’s in the same ballpark as the number of fossils of Lucy’s species (which I can’t immediately find a number for).
    2) Dinosaurs were dominant for tens of millions of years, over much of the planet. Lucy’s species seems to have been around for about 1 million years, in a region of Africa.
    3) As a result of #2, very many times more dinosaurs lived than members of Lucy’s species, giving them many more opportunities to be fossilized.
    Now, dinosaurs lived about 20 times as long ago, and fossils don’t last forever, so the fraction of fossilized Lucys still findable today would be more than the fraction of fossilized dinosaurs. But if (I’m just guessing these numbers) a million dinosaurs were fossilized, and 0.1% of those fossils are still around, and a thousand Lucys were fossilized and 10% of those fossils are still around, that would be 1000 dinosaurs and 100 Lucys.
    In summary, nothing surprising about the relative abundance of these in the fossil record.

  • AHH

    pds @21 asks:
    Why so much money targeting evangelicals when Templeton is not an evangelical organization?

    This is pretty similar to the question:
    Why does the Discovery Institute spend so much money targeting evangelicals when the DI is not an evangelical (or even a Christian) organization?

    In both cases, I think the organization has an agenda (for Templeton, promoting harmony of faith with modern science; for Discovery, a culture-war battle against what it sees as domination of science and society by naturalistic ideas), and they are trying to advance their agenda with a large and influential demographic
    Which both have a right to do — much as I abhor many of the DI’s positions and tactics I see nothing wrong with the general principle of them promoting their ideas among evangelicals.

  • DanS

    AHH #23. Hmm. Templeton/Biologos is all about “harmony” and Discovery is all about “culture war”. Thanks. Now I understand things very clearly. How could I have not seen that before. Thanks for moving the conversation forward.

  • rjs

    DanS,

    Read what AHH wrote in that comment. You’ve intentionally given it an unfair twist.

    DI makes no bones about the fact that they are fighting a culture war. Read the book by Dembski and Witt – Intelligent Design Uncensored (one chapter makes this explicit), or for that matter read their website and news letters.

    If you want to give it a twist more to your liking you could claim Templeton/Biologos is about syncretism while DI is fighting the battle to defend orthodoxy … I don’t think this is a fair assessment, but it certainly seems to be the impression of many.

  • JRL

    “Is it reasonable that God’s method of creation would be an unfolding process such as evolution? In other words, does an evolutionary process uphold God’s character as revealed in the scriptures? If so, how? If not, why not?”

    Just to throw this out there to see if there’s any response or feedback – I was reading a Moltmann essay which mentioned Francis Bacon’s hope of science enabling man to reclaim his dominion over the earth, which was granted to him in Genesis 1-2. Of course, Genesis 3 and The Fall stripped that dominion, cursing the ground, turning the earth against man. Surely, Bacon overestimated the reach of science. This is the fallen world in which we still live, where the earth is seemingly set against man, who can be wiped clean from the face of the earth by a tsunami or swallowed up into it by an earthquake. Death is everywhere.

    Just reading through the Genesis account, the whole world is given to man in the beginning, commanded to subdue it as ambassadors of the Creator; creation sustains man, he doesn’t have to lift a finger to farm for food – he can eat from any tree in the garden except one, and we know the rest of the story.

    Here’s my belated point: I don’t think that the evolutionary process necessarily has to be considered as re-terming ‘creation’. And, therefore doesn’t need to uphold God’s character or reveal anything about God per se. Maybe, the evolutionary process is an effect of The Fall and not part of creation at all. I mean, it’s a bit of a misnomer to even think of the evolutionary process as a specific rule or law. It’s just the observed sum of a total number of chance events, living, dying, accidents and a lot of time. It’s a brutal universe, not just earth. And at the moment, we are subject to it rather than rulers over it. And, that brutality has shaped our world, not ‘created’ it.

    Even if Adam & Eve and The Fall are ‘real’, historical events, the effects of The Fall don’t necessarily have to be subsequent on the timeline – Indeed, aren’t the effects of Jesus’ death and resurrection retroactive as well?

  • Patrick

    AHH,

    That answers the question to my satisfaction, thanks.

    JRL,

    Retroactive and subsequent maybe? That would make good logic if the view that Adam was really the first “Israel/Jew” as opposed to the “first human” were valid.

    Remembering what Israel means, “one who struggles with Yahweh and prevailed via Yahweh”. Maybe previous people didn’t struggle? Just tons of questions.

  • http://thedesignspectrum.wordpress.com/ pds

    ##23-25,

    I think DanS is quoting AHH accurately and I don’t see him putting a twist on it.

    The DI very much believes that it is promoting harmony between faith and science. Biologos is very much engaged in the culture wars. For example, I would say that Biologos engages in more personal attacks than the DI:

    http://thedesignspectrum.wordpress.com/2010/11/13/biologos-takes-the-position-that-michael-behe-is-highly-incompetent-in-his-professional-field/

    http://thedesignspectrum.wordpress.com/2010/10/30/karl-giberson-accuses-michael-behe-of-knowing-dishonesty/

    But AHH raises a good point. The difference I see is that, as a general matter, only the Evangelicals or Orthodox Christians in the DI are addressing the evangelical church. Templeton is not evangelical, and their overall mission is very different than that of many evangelicals.

    I just think full disclosure is important. $2 million can buy a lot of influence. Christians should be aware of this.

  • rjs

    pds,

    If you want to argue that BioLogos is also engaged in culture war (and that I am) I am more than willing to listen to the argument. But to argue that DI is not – especially when they explicitly say that they are – that is simply ridiculous.

  • AHH

    pds writes:
    But AHH raises a good point. The difference I see is that, as a general matter, only the Evangelicals or Orthodox Christians in the DI are addressing the evangelical church. Templeton is not evangelical, and their overall mission is very different than that of many evangelicals.

    There is at least one major exception with regard to the DI, which is Jonathan Wells, the Moonie who is their main biologist. Wells often aims at Evangelicals, for example helping the fundamentalist side in the Kansas school board controversy and his infamous book Icons of Evolution was marketed to Christian bookstores. He has also spoken at churches; I recall one case (I think in Kansas) when the invitation was withdrawn when church leadership learned Wells was a Moonie.
    There is also the Roman Catholic Michael Behe who is not “Evangelical or Orthodox” although I don’t question his (lower-case o) orthodoxy.

    The Templeton Foundation, on the other hand, has become more evangelical. Sir John Templeton was nominally Christian but into exploring various spiritualities, so at one time pds’ characterization would have been pretty accurate. But now John Jr. is in charge, and he is an evangelical Christian. I also know the guy who is running their “Scientists in Congregations” grant program, and I’d consider him an Evangelical.

    So, not that the point of this thread was to compare the two outfits, I think we can say that both the Templeton Foundation and the Discovery Institute are mixtures of Evangelicals and “others”, and both mixtures are trying to influence US Evangelicals.

  • http://thedesignspectrum.wordpress.com/ pds

    RJS #29,

    I don’t see anyone here arguing that about the DI.

    AHH #30,

    I should have put orthodox with a small “o” I guess. You make some fair points.

    My guess is that Wells sticks to science if he speaks at churches.

    Biologos mixes Tim Keller with Howard Van Til in its “Biologos” category of leading figures:

    http://biologos.org/resources/leading-figures

    I find that rather strange.

  • Jrobert

    1. God Himself wrote Romans 5 and Genesis 1-3 through Paul and Moses respectivelyl.
    2. God cannot err.
    3. God says, through Paul, that death came into the world through one man’s (Adam’s) sin.
    4. Evolution requires death (natural selection, survival of the fittest), before Man is said to have arrived on the scene – millions or billions of years of death.
    5. The law of non-contradiction says that two opposing statements cannot both be true. Either evolution is true, and death was in the world before Man, or the Bible is true, and one man’s sin brought death into the world.
    REMEMBER:
    If you espouse the view that Paul is in error, you have called God Himself a liar, since God breathed His Word out through the pen of the Apostle Paul.


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