Introduction

This question, “Is Darwinism compatible with Christianity?” is a very hot topic these days and is vigorously debated, and I would like to add my opinion to the mix.

This is mainly aimed at other Christians, but I would like those who don’t believe to read on as well.  What will follow is a logical progression in the form of a dialogue.

The Main Issue

To answer this question, I would like to hit on the major point that strikes at the heart of the matter: the compatibility of Neo-Darwinism (Darwinism, hereafter) and all that it entails with…the Resurrection of Jesus.

The Resurrection of Jesus?  What does that have to do with evolution?  Shouldn’t we be talking about Genesis?

While discussing interpretations of Genesis may have its place, one of the non-negotiables of Christianity (and the prime one among those) is the Resurrection of Jesus.  If you lose that one historical event, then as Paul said, “Your faith is futile…we are of all people most to be pitied” (1 Corinthians 15:17, 19).  The Resurrection of Jesus is what vindicated His teaching, and without that one event, all of what He said and did has no basis.  Apart from this event, Christianity becomes nothing more than a bunch of sentimental, touchy-feel-good nonsense.  It would be time to click our heels three times and return back to reality!

OK.  But again, how does that relate to evolution?

Both special creation and the Resurrection have this in common: they are both miracles.

Yeah, so?  Why can’t the first be false, and the second be true?

Conceptually, that can be the case.  However, the major reason why most biologists deny special creation is because of what they consider to be a foundational issue when doing science: methodological naturalism.  Methodological naturalism…

“…requires that hypotheses be explained and tested only by reference to natural causes and events. Explanations of observable effects are considered to be practical and useful only when they hypothesize natural causes (i.e., specific mechanisms, not indeterminate miracles).” (source)

This means that any naturalistic explanation of an event should be preferred over any supernatural one.

Yes…and how does that relate to the Resurrection?  How do *scientific* hypotheses under the influence of methodological naturalism affect the *historical* event of the Resurrection?  Shouldn’t these be separate categories?

No, because evolutionary biology along with paleontology are *historical* sciences.  They deal with events in the past just as historians do.  They differ in degree, not in kind.  Indeed, would it shock you to know that most historians use the exact same methodological naturalism as do scientists?

What happens when methodological naturalism is applied to the historical claim of the Resurrection of Jesus?  Read on.

But first, let’s take a couple statements from the preeminent theistic evolutionist, Francis Collins, on methodological naturalism:

“A word of caution is needed when inserting specific divine action by God in this or any other area where scientific understanding is currently lacking.  From solar eclipses in olden times to the movement of the planets in the Middle Ages, to the origins of life today, this “God of the gaps” approach has all too often done a disservice to religion (and by implication, to God, if that’s possible).  Faith that places God in the gaps of current understanding about the natural world may be headed for crisis if advances in science subsequently fill those gaps.  Faced with incomplete understanding about the natural world, believers should be cautious about invoking the divine in areas of current mystery, lest they build an unnecessary theological argument that is doomed to later destruction.  There are good reasons to believe in God, including the existence of mathematical principles and order in creation.  They are positive reasons, based on knowledge, rather than default assumptions based on (a temporary) lack of knowledge.  In summary, while the question of the origin of life is a fascinating one, and the inability of modern science to develop a statistically probable mechanism is intriguing, this is not the place for a thoughtful person to wager his faith.”  (Collins 2006: p.93)

“ID is a “God of the gaps” theory, inserting a supposition of the need for supernatural intervention in places that its proponents claim science cannot explain.  Various cultures have traditionally tried to ascribe to God various natural phenomena that the science of the day had been unable to sort out – whether a solar eclipse or the beauty of a flower.  But those theories have a dismal history.  Advances in science ultimately fill in those gaps, to the dismay of those who had attached their faith to them.  Ultimately a “God of the gaps” religion runs a huge risk of simply discrediting faith.  We must not repeat this mistake in the current era.  Intelligent Design fits into this discouraging tradition, and faces the same ultimate demise.” (Collins 2006: p.193)

That is indeed the standard reason why most biologists reject special creation.  Now, let’s apply *this very same standard* to the Resurrection of Jesus by a hypothetical historian who happens to be a deist.  I will transform Francis Collins’s quotes above to fit the situation, and I have used brackets and bold lettering for the words I have replaced:

A word of caution is needed when inserting specific divine action by God in [the origin of Christianity] or any other area where [historical] understanding is currently lacking.  From solar eclipses in olden times to the movement of the planets in the Middle Ages, to the [the origin of Christianity] today, this “God of the gaps” approach has all too often done a disservice to [belief in God] (and by implication, to God, if that’s possible).  Faith that places God in the gaps of current understanding about the [historical record] may be headed for crisis if advances in [historiography] subsequently fill those gaps.  Faced with incomplete understanding about the [history of that specific time and place], believers should be cautious about invoking the divine in areas of current mystery, lest they build an unnecessary theological argument that is doomed to later destruction.  There are good reasons to believe in God, including the existence of mathematical principles and order in creation.  They are positive reasons, based on knowledge, rather than default assumptions based on (a temporary) lack of knowledge.  In summary, while the question of the [the origin of Christianity] is a fascinating one, and the inability of modern [historiography] to develop a [likely historical explanation] is intriguing, this is not the place for a thoughtful person to wager his faith.

[The Resurrection of Jesus] is a “God of the gaps” theory, inserting a supposition of the need for supernatural intervention in places that its proponents claim [historiography] cannot explain.  Various cultures have traditionally tried to ascribe to God various [historical] phenomena that the [understanding] of the day had been unable to sort out – whether a solar eclipse or the beauty of a flower.  But those theories have a dismal history.  Advances in [the historical record] ultimately fill in those gaps, to the dismay of those who had attached their faith to them.  Ultimately a “God of the gaps” religion runs a huge risk of simply discrediting faith.  We must not repeat this mistake in the current era.  [The Resurrection of Jesus] fits into this discouraging tradition, and faces the same ultimate demise.

Did you see how easy that was?  The same standard of method that eliminates the miracle of special creation from the outset also eliminates the Resurrection of Jesus from the outset.  Indeed, several atheists and theological liberals have written books putting forth this very point, and one of the Jesus Seminar’s members, Robert Funk, used this as the starting point for rejecting the Jesus of the gospels outright.  Just like I showed above, he linked special creation with the Resurrection of Jesus:

“The contemporary religious controversy, epitomized in the Scopes trial and the continuing clamor for creationism as a viable alternative to the theory of evolution, turns on whether the worldview reflected in the Bible can be carried forward into this scientific age and retained as an article of faith.  Jesus figures prominently in this debate.  The Christ of creed and dogma, who had been firmly in place in the Middle Ages, can no longer command the assent of those who have seen the heavens through Galileo’s telescope.  The old deities and demons were swept from the skies by that remarkable glass.  Copernicus, Kepler, and Galileo have dismantled the mythological abodes of the gods and Satan, and bequeathed us secular heavens.

The profound change in astronomy was a part of the rise of experimental science, which sought to put all knowledge to the test of close and repeated observation.  At the same time and as part of the same impulse, the advent of historical reason meant distinguishing the factual from the fictional in accounts of the past.  For biblical interpretation that distinction required scholars to probe the relation between faith and history.  In this boiling cauldron the quest of the historical Jesus was conceived.

Historical knowledge became an indispensable part of the modern world’s basic ‘reality toolkit.’  Apart from this instrument, the modern inquirer could not learn the difference between an imagined world and ‘the real world’ of human experience.  To know the truth about Jesus, the real Jesus, one had to find the Jesus of history.  The refuge offered by cloistered precincts of faith gradually became a battered and beleaguered position.  In the wake of the Enlightenment, the dawn of the Age of Reason, in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, biblical scholars rose to the challenge and launched a tumultuous search for the Jesus behind the Christian façade of the Christ.” (Funk, Hoover, et al. 1996: p.2)

Funk, here, is just dripping with condescension, but he can very well be mistaken as an evolutionary biologist.

Just as with the origin of life issue in which it has been pointed out there are major chemical and probabilistic mountains that simply cannot be scaled with time, matter, and chance, so also a naturalistic explanation for the origin of Christianity faces massive hurdles.

However, as those condescending evolutionary biologists and secular historians (such as Robert Funk above) would so lecture, no matter how improbable naturalistic explanations for the origin of life and of the origin of Christianity are, methodological naturalism states that we should always prefer any naturalistic theory over a supernatural one.  This attitude has frustrated many a creationist and ID proponent, but it has also frustrated those historians who argue for the reality of the Resurrection of Jesus.  Take C.S. Lewis’s statement for example:

“The ordinary procedure of the modern historian, even if he admits the possibility of miracle, is to admit no particular instance of it until every possibility of ‘natural’ explanation has been tried and failed.  That is, he will accept the most improbable ‘natural’ explanations rather than say that a miracle occurred.  Collective hallucination, hypnotism of unconsenting spectators, widespread instantaneous conspiracy in lying by persons not otherwise known to be liars and not likely to gain by the lie – all these are known to be very improbable events: so improbable that, except for the special purpose of excluding a miracle, they are never suggested.  But they are preferred to the admission of a miracle.” (Lewis 2001: p.160)

No, these two miracles in Scripture are linked, and they rise and fall together.  (See the post below this one for a rebuttal of the dogmatic use of methodological naturalism.)

Collins’ Arguments for God

Having established that issue, let’s take a look at how Collins’s own methodological naturalism combined with his Darwinism affect his arguments for God’s existence.

Collins’s Experiences and the Moral Argument:

“In my early teens I had had occasional moments of the experience of longing for something outside myself, often associated with the beauty of nature or a particularly profound musical experience.” (Collins 2006: p.15)

“What struck me profoundly about my bedside conversations with these good North Carolina people was the spiritual aspect of what many of them were going through.  I witnessed numerous cases of individuals whose faith provided them with a strong reassurance of ultimate peace, be it in this world or the next, despite terrible suffering that in most instances they had done nothing to bring on themselves.  If faith was a psychological crutch, I concluded, it must be a powerful one.” (Collins 2006: p.20)

“I can recall clearly some of those moments [of joy] in my own life, where this poignant sense of longing, falling somewhere between pleasure and grief, caught me by surprise and caused me to wonder from whence came such strong emotion, and how might such an experience be recovered.” (Collins: p.35)

“More recently, for a scientist who occasionally is given the remarkable privilege of discovering something not previously known to man, there is a special kind of joy associated with such flashes of insight.  Having perceived a glimmer of scientific truth, I find at once both a sense of satisfaction and a longing to understand some even greater Truth.  In such a moment, science becomes more than a process of discovery.  It transports the scientist into an experience that defies a completely naturalistic explanation.” (Collins 2006: p.36, emphasis mine)

Response:

But because he has already dogmatically accepted Darwinism, he has undercut any argument that this ‘experience’ might have been pointing to him being made in God’s image.  If Darwinism is true, then the reason why he had these experiences was because of some ‘God-gene’ or some other genetic factor which came about by natural selection in one of our human ancestors and thus provides for survival-value (i.e. fitness), not truth-value.  Here’s a standard evolutionary explanation:

“The positive health effects of religious beliefs may be the result of the healthy habits that religions encourage, such as limiting smoking or alcoholic intake.  However, the effects may also be due to the fact that spiritual beliefs foster many of the stress-reducing attitudes and beliefs…optimism; a sense of control, commitment, and challenge; empathy, forgiveness, and altruism.  Religious beliefs also reduce stress by providing a sense of meaning and purpose, placing stressors in perspective, and producing a calming effect that counters stress.  Dr. Herbert Benson of Harvard Medical School believes that religious beliefs and prayer may be health enhancing because they elicit the relaxation response.  In fact, he believes that the tendency for humans to engage in religious beliefs and prayer may be encoded in our physiology for that evolutionary reason.” (Jacobs 1998: p.179)

Thus, by accepting Darwinism, Collins has shot himself in the foot.

Collins recognizes that his Darwinism might undercut his arguments for theism, and so he tries to deal with the evolutionary arguments when addressing the ‘Moral Law’ argument.  I will quote him at length:

“Agape, or selfless altruism, presents a major challenge for the evolutionist. It is quite frankly a scandal to reductionist reasoning.  It cannot be accounted for by the drive of individual selfish genes to perpetuate themselves. Quite the contrary: it may lead humans to make sacrifices that lead to great personal suffering, injury, or death, without any evidence of benefit.  And yet, if we carefully examine that inner voice we sometimes call conscience, the motivation to practice this kind of love exists within all of us, despite our frequent efforts to ignore it.

Sociobiologists such as E.O. Wilson have attempted to explain this behavior in terms of some indirect reproductive benefits to the practitioner of altruism, but the arguments quickly run into trouble. One proposal is that repeated altruistic behavior of the individual is recognized as a positive attribute in mate selection.  But this hypothesis is in direct conflict with observations in nonhuman primates that often reveal just the opposite – such as the practice of infanticide by a newly dominant male monkey, in order to clear the way for his own future offspring.  Another argument is that there are indirect reciprocal benefits from altruism that have provided advantages to the practitioner over evolutionary time; but this explanation cannot account for human motivation to practice small acts of conscience that no one else knows about.  A third argument is that altruistic behavior by members of a group provides benefits to the whole group.  Examples are offered of ant colonies, where sterile workers toil incessantly to create an environment where their mothers can have more children.  But this kind of “ant altruism” is readily explained in evolutionary terms by the fact that the genes motivating the sterile worker ants are exactly the same ones that will be passed on by their mother to the siblings they are helping to create.  That unusually direct DNA connection does not apply to more complex populations, where evolutionists now agree almost universally that selection operates on the individual, not on the population.  The hardwired behavior of the worker ant is thus fundamentally different from the inner voice that causes me to feel compelled to jump into the river to try to save a drowning stranger, even if I’m not a good swimmer and may myself die in the effort.  Furthermore, for the evolutionary argument about group benefits of altruism to hold, it would seem to require an opposite response, namely, hostility to individuals outside the group.  Oskar Schindler’s and Mother Teresa’s agape belies this kind of thinking.  Shockingly, the Moral Law will ask me to save the drowning man even if he is an enemy.” (Collins: pp.27-28, emphasis mine)

“Nothing I had learned from science could explain that experience.  Nothing about the evolutionary explanations for human behavior could account for why it seemed so right for this privileged white man to be standing at the bedside of this young African farmer, each of them receiving something exceptional.  This was what C.S. Lewis calls agape.  It is the love that seeks no recompense.  It is an affront to materialism and naturalism. And it is the sweetest joy that one can experience.” (Collins 2006: p.217, emphasis mine)

Of course, this would be a great argument against the evolutionary ‘just-so’ stories…if Collins didn’t already subscribe to the dogmatic form of methodological naturalism.  He states that the Moral Law “cannot be accounted for by the drive of individual selfish genes to perpetuate themselves.”  However, by the standards that he would later lay out in his book (pp.93, 193; see the two quotes in the first section of this post), this is a ‘God-of-the-gaps’ argument.  By his own standard, Collins should correct himself and say that the **current** theories cannot explain the Moral Law, but there might be **future** discoveries leading to other theories that could explain this Moral Law in a naturalistic fashion.  Here’s what Collins’s corrector would say:

A word of caution is needed when inserting specific divine action by God in [the area of the origin of altruism] or any other area where scientific understanding is currently lacking.  From solar eclipses in olden times to the movement of the planets in the Middle Ages, to the [origin of altruism] today, this “God of the gaps” approach has all too often done a disservice to religion (and by implication, to God, if that’s possible).  Faith that places God in the gaps of current understanding about [origin of altruism] may be headed for crisis if advances in science subsequently fill those gaps.  Faced with incomplete understanding about the natural world, believers should be cautious about invoking the divine in areas of current mystery, lest they build an unnecessary theological argument that is doomed to later destruction…In summary, while the question of the [origin of altruism] is a fascinating one, and the inability of modern science to develop [an evolutionary] mechanism is intriguing, this is not the place for a thoughtful person to wager his faith.

[The Moral Argument] is a “God of the gaps” theory, inserting a supposition of the need for supernatural intervention in places that its proponents claim science cannot explain.  Various cultures have traditionally tried to ascribe to God various natural phenomena that the science of the day had been unable to sort out – whether a solar eclipse or the beauty of a flower.  But those theories have a dismal history.  Advances in science ultimately fill in those gaps, to the dismay of those who had attached their faith to them.  Ultimately a “God of the gaps” religion runs a huge risk of simply discrediting faith.  We must not repeat this mistake in the current era.  [The Moral Argument] fits into this discouraging tradition, and faces the same ultimate demise.

Collins’s Fine-Tuning Argument:

“There is at least one singular, exceedingly improbable, and profound event in history that scientists of nearly all disciplines agree is not understood and will never be understood, and for which the laws of nature fall completely short of providing an explanation.” (Collins 2006: p.54, emphasis mine)

“The chance that all of these constants would take on the values necessary to result in a stable universe capable of sustaining complex life forms is almost infinitesimal.  And yet those are exactly the parameters that we observe.  In sum, our universe is wildly improbable.” (Collins 2006: p.74, emphasis mine)

“Hawking, quoted by Ian Barbour, writes, ‘The odds against a universe like ours emerging out of something like the Big Bang are enormous.  I think there are clearly religious implications.’” (Collins 2006: p.75, emphasis mine)

“In trying to judge between [the multiverse scenario] and [the Divine origin of the universe scenario], a particular parable by philosopher John Leslie comes to mind.  In this parable, an individual faces a firing squad, and fifty expert marksmen aim their rifles to carry out the deed.  The order is given, the shots ring out, and yet somehow all of the bullets miss and the condemned individual walks away unscathed.  How could such a remarkable event be explained?  Leslie suggests there are two possible alternatives, which correspond to our options 1 and 3.  In the first place, there may have been thousands of executions being carried out in that same day, and even the best marksmen will occasionally miss.  So the odds just happen to be in favor of this one individual, and all fifty of the marksmen fail to hit the target.  The other option is that something more directed is going on, and the apparent poor aim of the fifty experts was actually intentional.  Which seems more plausible?” (Collins 2006: p.77)

“One must leave open the door to the possibility that future investigation in theoretical physics will demonstrate that some of the fifteen physical constants that so far are simply determined by experimental observation may be limited in their potential numerical value by something more profound, but such a revelation is not currently on the horizon. Furthermore, as with other arguments in this chapter and those that precede and follow it, no scientific observation can reach the level of absolute proof of the existence of God.  But for those willing to consider a theistic perspective, the Anthropic Principle certainly provides an interesting argument in favor of a Creator.” (Collins 2006: p.78)

Response:

Again, this Fine-Tuning argument which argues from the ‘Anthropic Principle’ (i.e. the laws of physics and chemistry are just right to allow for the possibility [but not probability] of life) is a very good teleological argument that has been made by ID theorists in the area of cosmology.  But yet again, this is defeated by his own methodological naturalism.  By his own standards, his methodological naturalism eliminates Divine action from consideration a priori, and any naturalistic explanation, no matter how bad the ‘odds’ are, will be a ‘better’ explanation!:

A word of caution is needed when inserting specific divine action by God in [the Anthropic Principle] or any other area where scientific understanding is currently lacking.  From solar eclipses in olden times to the movement of the planets in the Middle Ages, to [the Anthropic Principle] today, this “God of the gaps” approach has all too often done a disservice to religion (and by implication, to God, if that’s possible).  Faith that places God in the gaps of current understanding about the [the Anthropic Principle] may be headed for crisis if advances in science subsequently fill those gaps.  Faced with incomplete understanding about the [the Anthropic Principle], believers should be cautious about invoking the divine in areas of current mystery, lest they build an unnecessary theological argument that is doomed to later destruction.…In summary, while the question of [the Anthropic Principle] is a fascinating one, and the inability of modern science to develop a statistically probable mechanism is intriguing, this is not the place for a thoughtful person to wager his faith.

[The Fine-Tuning argument] is a “God of the gaps” theory, inserting a supposition of the need for supernatural intervention in places that its proponents claim science cannot explain.  Various cultures have traditionally tried to ascribe to God various natural phenomena that the science of the day had been unable to sort out – whether a solar eclipse or the beauty of a flower.  But those theories have a dismal history.  Advances in science ultimately fill in those gaps, to the dismay of those who had attached their faith to them.  Ultimately a “God of the gaps” religion runs a huge risk of simply discrediting faith.  We must not repeat this mistake in the current era.  [The Fine-Tuning argument] fits into this discouraging tradition, and faces the same ultimate demise.

Now, of course, he hinted at this in the last quote of his above (Collins 2006: p.78), but he rightly (in my opinion) states that a naturalistic explanation is still not likely and that this remains a good argument.  Why didn’t he treat ID’s argument on the origin of life that way?  How absolutely double-minded!

Nevertheless, his staunch commitment to the dogmatic form of methodological naturalism ends up defeating all of his arguments for God’s existence.

You see, once you enter the event horizon of the black hole of methodological naturalism and Darwinism, there is no possibility of escape.  Methodological naturalism is nothing more than a Trojan Horse for metaphysical naturalism.  For this reason, theistic evolution is an unstable half-way point.  There is a reason why so many who become Theistic Evolutionists eventually become atheists.  (See the post below this one for a rebuttal of the dogmatic use of methodological naturalism.)

Darwinist…and Not Quite Orthodox Elsewhere

We are often told by the media and non-religious promoters of Darwinism such as Eugenie Scott and the late Stephen J. Gould that there are many orthodox Christians that are also Darwinists.  …  But are they?  Apart from their Darwinism, let’s take a look at the orthodoxy of some of the most used examples of such ‘orthodox’ Christians and orthodox Darwinians:

Theodosius Dobzhansky

He was the Darwinist who (in)famously said, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in light of evolution,” but according to many Darwinism promoters, he was also a devout member of the Eastern Orthodox Church.

It is true that he considered himself to be a communicant of the Eastern Orthodox Church, but he also held some…idiosyncratic views:

“Dobzhansky was a religious man, although he apparently rejected fundamental beliefs of traditional religion, such as the existence of a personal God and of life beyond physical death. His religiosity was grounded on the conviction that there is meaning in the universe. He saw that meaning in the fact that evolution has produced the stupendous diversity of the living world and has progressed from primitive forms of life to mankind. Dobzhansky held that, in man, biological evolution has transcended itself into the realm of self-awareness and culture. He believed that somehow mankind would eventually evolve into higher levels of harmony and creativity. He was a metaphysical optimist.” (source)

Dobzhansky was actually a theosophist, a flaming heretic!

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

This man, a Roman Catholic priest of the Society of Jesuits, introduced Darwinism to the Roman Catholic Church along with his…*other* teachings:

“Instead of a fixed, unchanging deposit of faith, de Chardin teaches that human beings are continually evolving in their spiritual understanding: ‘For hundreds of centuries (up to yesterday, one might say) men have lived as children, without understanding the mystery of their birth or the secret of the obscure urges which sometimes reach them in great waves from the deep places of the world.’  For de Chardin, it was only from this point, understanding humanity’s evolutionary origins, that humanity could truly grow up and shed its childish notions.  The words ‘up until yesterday’ refer to the advent of Charles Darwin and his theory of evolution.  The ‘obscure urges…from the deep places of the world’ have their origins not in the mystical beckoning of God, but rather in the primordial soup from which de Chardin believes we emerged.” (Whelton 2006: p.25)

“De Chardin’s was an influence that destroyed the faith of many Roman Catholics…With his invented words (such as Noosphere, Christogenesis, pleromization, cosmogenesis, and dozens more) de Chardin explained Christianity as part of the evolutionary process – not as a fixed deposit of faith, but rather as a system that was evolving into greater complexity and higher levels of consciousness.  The end goal of this process of evolution is the immersing of humanity as a collective mind and heart in what he called the ‘Omega Point’ (Christ).  Man is in a constant state of ‘becoming,’ in which our simpler, immature understandings of reality must constantly give way to more mature, sophisticated perceptions made possible be an ever-expanding consciousness.” (Whelton 2006: pp.26-27, emphasis his)

“He writes that original sin ‘represents a survival of obsolete static views into our now evolutionary way of thinking.  Fundamentally, in fact, the idea of Fall is no more than an attempt to explain evil in a fixed universe.’  For de Chardin, evil and original sin are nothing more than growing pains within an evolving cosmic process.” (Whelton 2006: p.28)

De Chardin’s ideas influenced the bishops and theologians who would later appear at the Second Vatican Council.  As a result of that council, the Roman Catholic Church began a liberalizing process which has now nearly gutted that denomination of membership in the West.

Kenneth R. Miller

Dr. Miller, who professes to be an orthodox Catholic and an orthodox Darwinian, actually holds to a form of process theology:

“Miller envisions an ‘at risk’ deity.  According to Miller, God does not control the evolutionary process, nor can he even predict just where it will lead.  This should not be difficult for Christians to grasp, for, according to Miller, ‘Christians know that chance plays an undeniable role in history.’  In fact, Miller considers the idea that history is not directed by God rather uncontroversial and obvious.  Replay the ‘tape of history,’ Miller tells us, and ‘the twentieth century could easily have been very different – the next century more different still.’” (Hunter 2001: p.170)

“The evolutionary history of life is full of undirected events, but God can still use it.  Miller believes that the evolutionary process eventually gave ‘the Creator exactly what He was looking for.’  God may not know where the world is headed, but he can watch and wait for the right events to come along.” (Hunter 2001: p.170-171)

“‘The freedom to act and choose enjoyed by each individual in the Western religious tradition,’ states Miller, ‘requires that God allow the future of His creation to be left open.’” (Hunter 2001: p.171)

See also here.

Howard Van Till

Van Till, retired professor of physics at Calvin College and a big proponent of Theistic Evolution in Protestant circles, sees “little or no evidence for God in creation” (source).  Recently, he has denied the creedal Christianity of his youth (including inerrancy), and now considers himself to be a “free-thinker” (source).  He has also associated himself with open-theists (source).  It is not clear whether he has become an open theist or not, but given his hatred of his former Calvinism (see the previous link), I would not doubt it.

Denis Lamoureux

In his book arguing for Theistic Evolution, Lamoureux actually ends up denying the infallibility and authority of Scripture, denies the historicity of Adam and Eve, and, taking the latter to its logical conclusion, the doctrine of Original Sin.  (See James Anderson’s review.)

Karl Giberson

Giberson believes that portions of Old Testament history such as the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11) are ‘fanciful’ and that the orthodox doctrine of hell is a ‘secondary doctrine’ from which ‘thoughtful believers’ distance themselves.  He also rejects the historicity of Adam and Eve.

Gregory Boyd

Dr. Boyd is a major proponent of Open Theism, denies penal substitutionary atonement, and now denies the historicity of Adam and Eve.

Peter Enns

Dr. Enns, once an Old Testament professor at Westminster Theological Seminary, got kicked out of that seminary when he denied the historic formulation of inerrancy.  Once out, he revealed that he no longer believes in a historical Adam and Eve (see this refutation of Enns’s post) and believes that most of the books of Moses began to be written after the Babylonian exile (ca. 6th century B.C.) in lock-step with higher-criticism.

Francis Collins

Francis Collins, the leader of the pack of Theistic Evolutionists, leaves open the suggestion (and implies that he accepts the notion) that Adam and Eve were not historical individuals (Collins 2006: pp.206-210).

Second, Collins is something of a post-modernist:

“I do not mean by telling this story to evangelize or proselytize.  Each person must carry out his or her own search for spiritual truth.  If God is real, He will assist.  Far too much has been said by Christians about exclusive club they inhabit.  Tolerance is a virtue; intolerance is a vice.  I find it deeply disturbing when believers in one faith tradition dismiss the spiritual experiences of others.  Regrettably, Christians seem particular prone to do this.  Personally, I have found much to learn from and admire in other spiritual traditions, though I have found the special revelation of God’s nature in Jesus Christ to be an essential component of my own faith.” (Collins 2006: p.225)

“Through my own search, Christianity has provided for me that special ring of eternal truth.  But you must conduct your own search.” (Collins 2006: p.227)

Notice how he defines tolerance in post-modern terms (i.e. the belief that everyone’s beliefs are equally valid and truthful for that person no matter how much they contradict others’ beliefs) rather than its historic definition (i.e. the belief that one should not force someone by physical or societal pressures to accept or reject certain beliefs).  Sorry, Dr. Collins, but the belief that something is “your truth but not mine” is *your* truth, *not* mine.  “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God?” (James 4:4)

Third, Francis Collins is also pro-choice (i.e. pro-abortion):

“The reason I went into this field was to figure out how to treat illnesses, rather than try to stop such individuals from even being born. But, of course, in our current society, people are in a circumstance of being able to take advantage of those technologies. And we have decided as a society that that choice needs to be defended.” (source)

“It is difficult to say you can’t abort, but for overall cultural mores, you run into problems,” Dr. Collins said. “It’s the classic slippery slope. You have a gray scale going from diseases like Tay-Sachs disease that cause death in early childhood all the way to the other end of the spectrum with abortions for sex selection, which most people would say is a misuse of technology. In between is a gray zone. Where do you draw the line?” (source)

Lastly, he has strongly associated himself with open-theists (source; though it is unclear whether he has become one).

N.T. Wright

While Wright is most certainly a fellow brother in the faith and an ally when it comes to Christianity’s origins, he still holds to several standard critical views of certain books of the Bible, and consequently, he denies the inerrancy of Scripture.  More importantly, he is the main proponent in Evangelical circles of the New Perspective on Paul.

Ernest C. Lucas

While I have not read his views on most doctrinal issues, I do know that he holds to the higher-critical view of Daniel in his commentary on that book.

Tremper Longman III

First and foremost, Dr. Longman denies the historicity of Adam and Eve.  Second, as he outlines in his Introduction to the Old Testament and his commentaries, Dr. Longman holds to many higher-critical views of certain books of the Bible, especially his view on Ecclesiastes which is both nauseating and appalling (see here for another review).

Bruce Waltke

Dr. Waltke is perhaps the most orthodox out of them all (if one does not consider the present issue) but still holds to a great many standard higher-critical views of certain books of the Bible (as he outlines in his An Old Testament Theology).  To his credit, he stands firm on the historicity of Adam and Eve and affirms inerrancy.

The American Scientific Association

In the latest survey of its members, the ASA, comprised of mostly theistic evolutionists, published the following results:

  • 6% believe in the multiverse hypothesis.
  • Over 60% believe that “Biologically, Homo Sapiens evolved through natural processes from ancestral forms in common with primates.”
  • 27% believe that “consciousness and self-awareness emerged in hominids through natural processes.”
  • 27% believe that “Human behaviors, like kindness, care for children, competition, or desire for revenge, developed through evolutionary processes with natural causes.”
  • 11% deny that a historical Adam and Eve existed.

I am not saying that Darwinism is the cause of their unorthodoxy or that one is necessarily going to be unorthodox in other areas if they believe in Darwinism.  However, I find it very curious that the unorthodox are attracted to Darwinism and/or Darwinists are attracted to unorthodoxy.

Bibliography

Francis Collins, The Language of God (New York: Free Press, 2006).

Robert W. Funk, Roy W. Hoover, and The Jesus Seminar, The Five Gospels: What Did Jesus Really Say? (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1996).

Cornelius G. Hunter, Darwin’s God: Evolution and the Problem of Evil (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2001).

Gregg D. Jacobs, Say Good Night to Insomnia (New York: Holt Paperbacks, 1998).

C.S. Lewis, Miracles (New York: HarperCollins, 2001).

Michael Whelton, Popes and Patriarchs: An Orthodox Perspective on Roman Catholic Claims (Ben Lomond, Ca: Conciliar Press, 2006).

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