Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Westminster Standards vs Theistic Evolution

Dr. William Schweitzer, adjunct professor at Greenville Presbyterian Seminary, has just published a worthwhile article, The Eight Elements of the Westminster Doctrine of Creation: Why They are Incompatible with Theistic Evolution [Puritan Reformed Journal 7 (2015): 256-268].

Briefly, Dr. Schweitzer contrasts the doctrine of creation as taught in the Westminster Standards with the teachings of theistic evolution. 

He notes that the Westminster Confession states:
(1) It pleased God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, (2) for themanifestation of the glory of His eternal power, wisdom, and goodness, (3) in the beginning, (5) to create, or make of nothing,(6) the world, and all things therein, whether visible or invisible,(7) in the space of six days, (8) and all very good. (WCF 4:1)
From this he distinguishes eight constituent elements of the confessional doctrine of creation: (1) the worker, (2) the purpose, (3) the time, (4) the means, (5) the material, (6) the extent, (7) the duration,and (8) the quality.  For each of these elements, he contrasts the truth taught in the Standards with the corresponding error in theistic evolution. 

The reader is encouraged to examine Dr. Schweitzer's analysis in detail. His results can be summarized:

Dr. Schweitzer concludes:
A closer look makes it all the more obvious that any resortto the involvement of evolutionary processes is flatly inconsistentwith Scripture and the orthodox Reformed tradition. In order touphold the glory of God and to protect Christ’s blood-bought sheep,churches and other institutions should call to account men who promotethis error.

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