Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Biologos, Evolution, and the Bible

PCA Pastor Rick Phillips has just posted an article Is Evolution Biblically Acceptable? the Question of Genesis 1.  He is reacting to the efforts by Biologos to promote the acceptance of evolution among evangelical Christians.

Biologos has received millions of dollars from the Templeton Foundation, and elsewhere, for this purpose (see the recent review in World magazine). Biologos is an organization run by Christians. Its Advisory Council includes Andy Crouch, the executive editor of Christianity Today. Among Biologos' fellows and advisors are professors from such Christian universities as Calvin College, Wheaton College, Regent College (Canada), Trinity Western University. These Christian universities, in their Statements of Faith, all profess to affirm the authority and inerrancy of the Bible. Is this consistent with their promotion of evolution?

It is thus pertinent to examine how the Bible does in fact impact evolution.

Pastor Phillips argues that evolution cannot simply be grafted onto evangelical Christian faith as an add-on, but requires a fundamental rethinking of doctrines pertaining to creation, humanity, sin, death, salvation, and ethics. It also undermines Biblical authority. Accepting evolution requires that Genesis 1 is teaching theology but not teaching history. However, Pastor Phillips shows that the genre of Genesis 1 is clearly that of historical prose narrative, not poetry. Although his article addresses only evolution, elsewhere Pastor Phillips relates how he came to discover the importance of upholding the Biblical doctrine of 6 day creation.

Further concerns about the promotion of evolution by Biologos are raised by Doug Wilson, pastor in the  Communion of Reformed Evangelical Churches (CREC), in his post 7 Reasons Why Biologos is a Threat to Classical Christian Education. Also of interest here is the interview with John MacArthur, Evangelicals, Evolution, and the Biologos Disaster.  

Finally, I refer you to an older post, Biologos, Theistic Evolution, and Misplaced Confidence, by Dr. Michael J. Kruger, President of Reformed Theological Seminary. He notes:
"What is stunning about all of this is the absolute, unequivocal, and almost religious certainty Biologos has about evolution. It is absolutely undisputed—it cannot be questioned. Ironically, at the same time, the meaning of the earliest chapters of Genesis is entirely uncertain, unclear, and very much in dispute. It could mean just about anything, we are told (except for straightforward history). "
Dr. Kruger concludes:
"Often lost in such discussions is the high theological price that must be paid to accommodate all the claims of modern science. If one adopts full-blown theistic evolution, then the idea of a historical Adam and Eve from which all humanity descends must be abandoned (Biologos expressly denies that all humanity descended from Adam and Eve). Such a belief, of course, destroys the doctrine of imputation as outlined in Romans 5. On the other hand, refusing to adopt theistic evolution also has a price. We would be mocked and ridiculed by the world. But, given the choice between these two prices—losing the doctrine of imputation or being mocked and ridiculed by the world—I will pay the latter. After all, the latter is true already."
In sum, as all these critics remark, the evolutionary quest of Biologos is one that is detrimental to Christian faith, and that, as such, should be sharply resisted.



Fettje said...

Dr Byl. Thank you so much for faithfully and steadfastly stand up for keeping us informed about all the attacks on God,s infallible Word.It is one of the most important message of our times.We pray that The Lord will continue to use your writing in this way and grant you and your family His richest blessings in the year 2015. With our love. The Viersens from Neerlandia.

john byl said...

To The Viersens

Thank you for your kind words. May the Lord grant you, too, a blessed Anno Domini 2015.

Jack Moesker said...

Wonderful article by Rev. Phillips! And thank you for all the links. Amazing discovery of huge reservoir of water under the earth's mantle at
which confirms the flood account and the incredible pressures required for fossil formation.....

Steve Drake said...

From the Rick Phillips article:

"First, though, does an historical Genesis 1 rule out evolution? The answer is Yes. Consider Genesis 1:21, which records that God created species by means of direct, special creation: "God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind." These "kinds" are species, which did not evolve from lower forms but were specially created by God."

While I agree with the tenor and points of Mr. Phillips article, most creation scientists would say that the "kinds" of Genesis 1 most likely relate to the 'family' classification and not the 'species' classification. It is these created "kinds" that had enough genetic diversity to adapt to the 'species' we see today.

Chris Schroeder said...

Related, see also this recent article by a fellow PCA minister Bill Schweitzer:
The Eight Elements of the Westminster Doctrine of Creation: Why They are Incompatible with Theistic Evolution

john byl said...

Hi Chris

Thanks for the link. The article you cite is certainly worthwhile; I have posted a summary of it.

AdoptedSon said...

John - thank you for your faithfulness in defending the basic foundations of our faith. I appreciated the Kruger quote greatly. For a Christian, it seems more logical to doubt man than God. If biology trumps Genesis, will it also trump the Epistles and Gospels?

Annie Kate said...

Very well put. Thank you.
My understanding is that BioLogos is seeking to convert Christians to evolution whereas the British Faraday Institute is aiming to show atheists that science points to a designer. So, although both believe in theistic evolution, their goals are different and they certainly emphasize different things.