Thoughts on Theistic Evolution

Theistic Evolution

Theistic EvolutionOne of the most controversial topics among Christians is the role of evolution, if any, in the creation of humanity. I’m not referring to debates between Christians and non-Christians, but disagreements among people in the church. One of the issues is the concept of theistic evolution (also called evolutionary creationism).

I have read a lot in the area of evolution, theistic evolution, intelligent design and related topics. I must confess that I get frustrated with the conversation. Not only is there a lack of respect in the conversation, there is also a lack of clarity. What do we mean by evolution? What role did God have in it?

For example, those who hold to theistic evolution are strongly against intelligent design. Interestingly, they are more open to the argument from design on the cosmological level. This confuses me because if God used evolution to create humanity, why must that exclude any evidence of design?

This comes down to how we define evolution. For example, Michael Behe is a strong advocate for intelligent design. Behe believes in common ancestry, meaning that humans and other animals developed from other animals and animals that are much different now can trace their ancestors back to a common life form. That would seem to be a form of evolution since animals are, in Behe’s view, evolving from less developed animals.

But theistic evolutionists and intelligent design advocates would reject that as evolution. That is because evolution is much more than a belief in a tree of life that traces different species to a common ancestor. Evolution also includes the concept of random mutation. Behe, while holding to common ancestry, doesn’t believe the changes came about by random mutations. Behe believes that the changes are the results of God’s design.

What I would want to know from theistic evolutionists is what they see as God’s role. Is evolution something that can work all by itself, without any involvement from God? Is God necessary for human life to develop? In what way are we his creation? In what way is evolution theistic? Could it be possible for God to be active in the entire process of evolution, making sure things went the way he wanted?

This is not meant to be an attack on theistic evolution. I’m open to the idea that God could have used some form of evolution to create humanity. But so far, I’m not satisfied with the current form of the conversation.

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One thought on “Thoughts on Theistic Evolution

  1. Theistic evolution? While this is a new term for me the implication, if I understand it, would indicate that God created evolution. I may be wrong but I will continue with the understanding that this is my assumption. I believe that God created man and man created evolution. I would even go as far as to say that anyone that believes the Bible to be the infallible, inerrant word of God must come to the same conclusion. There are many who feel that it is perfectly reasonable to pick through to Bible and keep what they like and dismiss what they don’t like. Jefferson is a prime example. However, the black and white truth of the matter is simply that it is either all perfectly preserved (KJV) and true in it’s entirety or, conversely, it is just another book without any authority. I am so firmly planted in the former that it pains me even to type the latter. In my view, any doctrine, teaching, preaching or statement that doesn’t line up with the truth of scripture is quite frankly a deception. This is not an indictment, but, it is a very small step from dismissing the account of creation to dismissing the deity of Jesus Christ. Once that is lost there is no redemption, no hope, no good, no love, no morality.

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