Theistic Evolution

I saw a Youtube video from some group of biologists who were responding to the documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. These people were apparently Christians who were also biologists, and their point was that there is no incompatability between Christianity and evolutionary biology. The point was that God can use natural causes, and direct evolution, so they hold to evolution without being in conflict with their Christian beliefs. This view is relatively common, and is often called Theistic Evolution. It says that God used evolution, and guided it along the way.

However, it shows poor science and poor theology. First, as we are told by definition, evolution is caused by random mutations. The whole point is that it is purposeless and happens by chance. The whole idea is that all mutations happen by chance, and some mutations turn out to be beneficial, while most turn out to be deterimental. By defintion, natural selection works by random, purposeless series of chance accidents. By injecting an intelligent guide, they have re-defined evolution. They have also put a curious twist to the argument:  If God works through mutations, why does He create a bunch of mutations that don’t work, so that He can get to a few that do? Taking the theistic evolutionary view reeks of compromise for the sake of convenience.

Second, theistic evolution is very poor theology. If a non-believer claims there is compatability between religion and evolution, then there’s no big deal, for non-believers aren’t supposed to know what they’re talking about in Christian theology. But when a Christian says this, it shows they haven’t thought through the implications of their belief system.

The book of Romans in the New Testament lays out a systematic description of Christian beliefs. In Romans 5, the Bible makes a comparison between Adam and Jesus. Adam is said to be a type for Jesus. In Adam sin entered the world, death through sin, plus judgement, condemnation, and separation from God. The reason Jesus died on the cross is to pay our debt to God and reconcile us to Him.  So what does this have to do with evolution?

If evolution is true, even theistic evolution, then we gradually evolved from goo to homo sapiens and there was no first man, no Adam. If there was no Adam, then there was no first sin.  Some theistic evolutionists might claim that God could have chosen one of the many slight variations of species that would have evolved along the way, then dubbed him Adam. Such a claim really doesn’t take into account the myriad upon myriad of gradual changes that would have had to have taken place to get from a one celled creature to modern human. Others are trying to say that Adam was a literary device, a figure of speech used to illustrate a point. These are both miserably poor viewpoints.

The whole point of Jesus coming to earth and dying on the cross was to reconcile us to God. If there was no Adam, are we to believe that there was no separation from God? No fall? The theistic evolutionist says that gradualism is true. They then have to say that the story of Adam was allegory or myth. They then have a dilemma.  They have to either say Adam is not real, but the fall and separation from God are real, which is inconsistent, or they have to say that the fall and separation from God are allegory or myth also, which is heretical. So the theisitic evolutionist must either have an inconsistent belief system, with parts real and parts unreal, or they call themselves Christian but they are heretical, and have invented some other religion and called it Christian.

So anyone that tries to reconcile gradualism with Christianity is expressing bad evolution and worse theology.

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About humblesmith

Christian Apologist & Philosopher
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4 Responses to Theistic Evolution

  1. Well said. Academically stated. And kindly spoken. I wish I could enunciate the facts as eloquently.

    For me, the debate is never ending. I have been in the fray for many decades. Maybe because I’m old, maybe because I tire of the same ponderous and irrational falsehoods and frauds being resubmitted as new evidnce, but I lack your grace – that is for sure.

    I will be bookmarking your article.

  2. The logical conflict you raise, that with evolution there is no Adam, and with no Adam there is no original sin, and with no original sin, there is no redemption, would be valid, except there is an alternate interpretation that removes the conflict.

    God created man in his own image. I believe you will agree that this statement has nothing to do with physical characteristics. God (prior to Jesus) never had a physical form. He was not made out of carbon and hydrogen. When God created man in his own image, it speaks of the spiritual creation, the soul, which sets us apart from animals.

    It is entirely possible that humans evolved as the scientists believe, and God created Adam by breathing life into him (which could be interpreted literally or as imbuing him with a soul, the first to do so).

    In this way, Adam would be the first man… with original sin, because unlike the animals and any creations that came before him, he had a soul.

    Secondly, while many Christians believe that God will intercede if you pray, few believe that because he can means he does in every instant. In other words, God sees all that happens, but there is no requirement that, if he were to cause a stone to fall, that he continue making it fall each second between it’s tipping and the ground. He created laws that carry out his will. A nudge will suffice.

    That does not say that, because gravity works, God is not allowed to drop a rock on our fool heads…

    Likewise, your statement that if evolution is random, then God can not use it. A logical misstatement. If evolution is random, God does not HAVE to use it, but as with the falling rock, he could intervene or tweak it as he desired. Or it could be that it was built to produce a certain result, while appearing random.

    Neither are out of the realm of ability for the Creator, and neither represent a failure in reconciling the idea of evolution and creation.

    • humblesmith says:

      In the post, I briefly mentioned that one option commonly held is God picking one of the myiad of gradual mutations and calling it Adam. This is similar to your explanation, which appears to be God breathing spiritual life into one of the gradations of human. It is difficult to see how spiritual life could be breathed in gradually over many generations, which would require many generations to be partially alive. What is partial life, or partial fellowship with God? So we are left with one of the millions of variations of human suddenly becomming spiritually alive, an idea that we bring to the text, not derrive from it. As I said in the post, this would allegorize Adam. If you also hold sin and the Fall to be real, not allegory or myth, then you have a hermeneutic that is part allegory and part literal, an inconsistency. Many hold this, as I said. I trust you hold to the orthodox position that our sin and separation from God are quite real.

      As to your second point, God can indeed work through natural processes. I did not say that God could not do this, I merely said that this would require God to work through a process of creating massive amounts of bad mutations in order to get a few good ones, a concept that is hard to reconcile with the Biblical picture of God being all wise and all powerful. Again, an inconsistency.

      I’ll leave it to the evolutionists to judge your view that the mutations are random and not random at the same time, but that is not how I understand they explain the process.

      Btw, more qualified men than I have questioned evolution. In my search box, search for “evolution” or see the following:

      http://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2014/02/02/ongoing-challenges-to-evolution/

      http://humblesmith.wordpress.com/2010/10/20/dissent-from-darwin/

  3. Susan says:

    Thank you. Your blog is a breath of fresh air.

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