What is “Evolutionary Creation”? Let Denis Lamoureux Tell You (he wrote the book)

What is “Evolutionary Creation”? Let Denis Lamoureux Tell You (he wrote the book) April 15, 2013

Today’s post is more a 12 minute guest slide show (link below) by Denis Lamoureux, associate professor of science and religion at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta (full bio here).

I asked him if he would consider explaining the content of his book I Love Jesus & I Accept Evolution, which is a great introduction to his view of origins called “evolutionary creation,” a term he will explain in this series, and which he prefers to the more common “theistic evolution.” (The idea is letting the right noun dominate the phrase.) Lamoureux covers chapters 1 and 2 today and I will get the other chapters up very soon

Lamoureux holds three earned doctoral degrees—dentistry, theology, and biology–which uniquely qualifies him to speak to the issue of human origins and Christian faith. He gets the science, he gets the hermeneutics, and he articulates both clearly for non-specialists.

A couple of introductory comments about the 12 minute Powerpoint. First, he says some very nice things about me at the beginning, which I attribute to a brain frozen from the long Canadian winter and a truncated hockey season. Second, as I just mentioned, Lamoureux is Canadian, so keep your ears open for an “aboot” or the like. Third, as you’ll see, Lamoureux is no fan of the Intelligent Design movement. Fourth, for those of you who are beyond the beginner’s stage, you can read his much thicker book Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution.

To view this presentation, which is on Lamoureux’s web page at the University of Alberta, click here.

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  • Frederick

    These post are rather old, but I need
    to engage Denis Lamoureux as there may not be another way as I was
    lend his book and ask to comment on / question it. The Book I love Jesus and I
    accept evolution is a ‘oxymoron’ and presents nothing new then what
    Richard Dawkins or Charles Darwin have stated. But as now I got more
    respect for Richard Dawkins since understanding what a theistic
    evolutionist is, or supposed to be, is rather confusing. An
    interesting comment by Muzi Cindi about original sin from our
    ancestors ( before Adam) and Denis Lamoureux to explain it! So he
    wants to rewrite history, this hot potato is non existent, but Denis
    Lamoureux can do it, as he’s again trying to find a way to supersede
    God’s perfect Word. Another reason why I’d sympathize with Richard
    Dawkins and why he has a confused about what so called Christians
    believe. So original sin didn’t come from Adam (Gen. 3:6) then where
    exactly did it? But this unlikely to be answered as Denis Lamoureux
    only answers the easy questions as in evidence for his evolution of
    the chimpanzees or apes, the missing link to Adam. So being a so
    called theist evolutionist you can have Charles Darwin and God’s Holy
    Word as one? Or your evolutionist doctrines supersede His Word the
    Holy Bible? My is simply the Holy Bible doesn’t need evolution, The
    Holy Bible is a historical document that will out live anything else.
    It would be interesting, not excepted that Denis Lamoureux can
    respond to this so therefore I can forward his comments or
    explanations to his friends that lent me his book. Sincerely &
    thankyou. – Frederick

    • ratamacue0

      Check out Dennis’ web lectures:

      I haven’t read this book, but I watched some of the lectures, which seemed to explain things well. If you’re committed to seeking the truth above the literalist reading of the Bible you’re accustomed to, I think you should find Dennis’ arguments at least challenging–or perhaps even reasonable.

      • Frederick

        Good day ‘ratamacue0’ is that your
        first name?

        However, if you haven’t read Denis
        Lamoureux book how do you know whats in it, and your promoting it?
        Yes you’ve watched his lectures as it not the same as reading a book.
        Well your very correct, I’m a literalist in all of God’s divine Word,
        also is the Holy Bible and nothing less. Which truth, your truth or
        God’s truth? Oh yes the truth according to Denis Lamoureux? I prefer
        God’s truth why would I consider any other truth to prove science!
        Besides a Pontus Pilate once asked about truth in John 18:28-49 or
        Please take no offence, but as I stated in my earlier comment, I’m
        searching for a response from Mr. Lamoureux personally If you wish
        you can reply to me again please do so. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom, And the
        knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.- Proverbs 9:10

        Many Blessings, – Frederick

  • I just noticed this response, so sorry for replying so late. You say that atheists “believe that the Bible has no value if it describes concepts that just are not true.” What an ironically untrue statement. If atheists think that the “Bible has no value”, why are there atheists in biblical studies?

    It’s a gross mischaracterization to say that all atheists think the “Bible has no value”. They may not believe it to be inspired, but that is a different matter altogether.

    • Nancy R.

      Good point, Beau, there are indeed many non-believers who appreciate what the Bible reveals about the beliefs and practices of the people of the ancient near east. Stephen Jay Gould was notable in this regard, of course.

      My point is directed a bit more towards Christians who take an all-or-nothing view to biblical truth – and there are atheists, like Richard Dawkins, who encourage this approach. I’m sorry, I don’t have the quote at hand, but I did read that Dawkins claimed that only young-earth creationists were reading the Bible honestly, as opposed to Christians like myself, who accept that some stories in the Bible are myth – to be taken seriously, but not literally.

      I do have atheist friends who disparage the Bible as a whole because it contains stories that a reasonable person would not accept as literally true, or laws that no one would dream of following today. And this approach can be damaging to people of faith. I read of one well-known Christian apologist who almost lost his faith because he found an apparent error in the Bible – the number of years of the reign of one of Israel’s kings was reported differently in two books. He was only able to retain his faith after he somehow did the math to his satisfaction.

      • I just have to wonder if a person whose “faith” is “damaged” by factual errors in the Bible, has a faith worth keeping in the first place. That’s the sort of faith that does damage to society (young earth creationists campaigning to change science curriculum comes to mind- though there are certainly other examples). Damaging that sort of faith, doesn’t strike me as a problem.

        • Nancy R.

          Young earth creationism (and excessive biblical literalism as a whole) is indeed a weak sort of faith that requires all sorts of absurd props to hold it up – as I’ve discovered in discussions with people who HAVE to believe that people and dinosaurs co-existed, despite a complete absence of an evidence that this is true.

          • I agree.

            Liberal Christians often say that Richard Dawkins’ arguments against God only address a fundamentalist version of God. My response is to say – Great! Then Richard Dawkins clearly won’t be convincing any liberal Christians to become nonbelievers, so you have nothing to fear from him.

            And if Richard Dawkins’ convinces a fundamentalist to become a nonbeliever, there shouldn’t be a problem, to a liberal Christian since this clearly isn’t the same version of God that liberal Christians worship. In fact, I would argue that a liberal Christian making rational arguments will have an easier task evangelizing a nonbeliever than fundamentalist.

            By convincing the fundamentalist to think rationally- we’ve done half your work for you!

            You’re welcome.

  • Leo

    This is VERY late, but I just noticed your response and thought I would give you an answer.

    Craig and Plantinga are in the minority of philosophers who argue what is called “the philosophy of religion”. Most philosophy professors are nonbelievers.

    But even among believing philosophers, you won’t find many who would actually argue (as Craig does) that the decimation of the Amalekites in the Old Testament was justified. Most theologians and philosophers of religion I read would simply say that the Bible is not inerrant and sometimes reflects the tribal ethnocentricism of ancient Hebrews. They would say that the overarching themes of the Bible point toward a creator, but that some biblical records (such as genocides) clearly reflect the morality of man rather than God.

    I think that’s pretty close to what Peter Enns would say about this aspect of Craig’s argumentation. Possibly Dr. Lamoureux as well.

  • Bev, this is a year late, but I just realized I never responded to you. If all you think of Dawkins is that he is a proponent of “extreme reductionism”, then I don’t think you can be very familiar with his work, some of the most awe-inspiring views of the universe and the biology of life that I have ever read. And when you say “To focus on what they say when provoked is to miss a lot of important stuff”, that sounds like a criticism you should level at Professor Lamoureux, not me. It’s Professor Lamoureuex who seems to be unusually incensed by even the mention of Dawkins.

    Dawkins, of course, is a more universally renowned scholar than Lamoureux can ever hope to be. It’s a shame how easily Lamoureux’s professional jealousy can be aroused.