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Theistic Evolution

QUESTION: What is theistic evolution?


Theistic evolution is the belief that life on earth began and developed as described by modern evolution theory, directed by God. Rather than random mutation producing change, theistic evolution claims that God guided the process of natural selection. In some religious circles, theistic evolution is an increasingly popular theory.

In the secular scientific community, however, support of theistic evolution is minimal. Because most scientists are atheistic, suggestions of God’s involvement in creation are usually dismissed. This dismissal is typically condescending and abrupt. Although denials of theistic evolution are less derogatory, the underlying message remains: science and God do not mix. This unfortunate attitude has stifled intelligent debate about the origins of life.

In addition to scientific detractors, many theologians debate scriptural support of theistic evolution. Some theistic evolutionists point to certain biblical stories, such as parables. Parables, however, are not literal events but stories teaching moral lessons. Theistic evolutionists also believe that the creation account of Genesis is figurative -- not literal. However, the language of Genesis is time-specific, and the rest of the book is not characterized by metaphorical descriptions.

The primary argument of theistic evolution is that science has “proven” certain facts about biology and the age of the universe. Therefore, religion ought to keep up with modern science. This argument is faulty because science has not, and cannot, agree on or accurately measure the age of the earth or the mechanics of evolution.

The supposed age of the earth has consistently grown older and older as scientists realize how complex life is. DNA and genetic discoveries have lessoned the likelihood of random evolution. Unanswered questions remain. To assume that these unproven theories are factual, simply because most scientists believe them, is to assume that the Bible is secondary to popular opinion.

Theistic evolution is actually a philosophy that dismisses biblical accounts in favor of scientific theories. It assumes that modern science must be correct and ought not be questioned. But are scientists infallible? Great minds of past scientists were sometimes mistaken. They claimed that the sun orbited the earth, heavier-than-air flight was impossible, and blood transfusions were dangerous. They were proven wrong. Likewise, modern scientists are capable of error. Giving them special treatment in an open debate of ideas is foolish.

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