Over the last year there has been a flurry of statements by notable evangelical Old Testament scholars which are sympathetic to the idea of theistic evolution. Also emerging as a notable voice in this fray is BioLogos, an organization that says its faith commitments are as follows: “We believe that the Bible is the inspired Word of God. We also believe that evolution, properly understood, best describes God’s work of creation.” Here is a sampling of some of the things that are being said:
“Conservative Christians and New Atheists share naïve views of what the Bible “ought” to be, namely the notion that if the Bible is really the “Word of God,” it will provide accurate historical and scientific information….New Atheists point out that Genesis is wholly out of sync with scientific reality. This is true…[But] What if God likes telling stories? Why assume that fiction is a problem?” – Peter Enns, Professor of OT
“I think you could only insist on the idea that there is one historical Adam if you read Genesis 1 in a highly literalistic way…There are still open questions.” – Tremper Longman, Professor of OT
“If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult ” – Bruce Waltke, Professor of OT
On the other hand, notable social critic Archie Bunker adds his two cents:
“We didn’t crawl out from under no rocks. We didn’t have no tails. And we didn’t come from monkeys you atheist…meathead.”
– Archie Bunker
I realize that Archie Bunker is not a model of Christian grace and virtue. But he is a good reminder of something. When the Church tries too hard to impress the world, sometimes God will use the world to show the foolishness of the Church. After all, God has spoken out of the mouth of a donkey before…
May the Church remember what she is…not least of which is the mouthpiece of God in the world today. Because of that we can’t simply jettison certain aspects of biblical teaching just because it is uncomfortable or makes us appear foolish in the eyes of unbelievers. Naturalistic evolution is a major plank in the humanistic religion of many in our world today. So it is very tempting for evangelicals to try to find some “middle-of-the-road” view that would be acceptable in the eyes of the intellectual elites in our culture. Maybe Archie can help us to see an area that we are lacking fortitude today. May we be reminded that we need to have a willingness to speak clearly and truthfully and directly in a way that doesn’t feel the need to hide under the safety net of socially acceptable ideas. We must remember that in our life of faith there is a God-appointed place for becoming “a spectacle to the world, to angels, and to men. We are fools for Christ’s sake…” (1 Cor. 4:9b-10a).
For some recent resources on the debate over theistic evolution see the articles in the latest edition of the Southern Seminary Magazine which is entitled “Ex Nihilo,” which means “out of nothing.” Dr. Al Mohler says “Theistic evolution is a biblical and theological disaster,” and he and others explain and respond to the current debate.