Theistic Evolution Apologetics

By: Jim Virkler; ©2011

The BioLogos Foundation was organized by Dr. Francis S. Collins several years after publication of his successful 2006 book The Language of God. Collins was the director of the National Human Genome Research Institute until 2008. The Institute helped sequence the human genome, a great stride in providing biotechnologists with the tools to develop new medical applications. President Obama appointed Collins director of the National Institute of Health (NIH). He resigned as president of BioLogos Foundation to assume the NIH position in 2009. Dr. Darrel Falk then assumed the presidency.

Dr. Collins has perhaps now become more famous for promoting theistic evolution–the idea that modern man has come into existence by naturalistic processes–and stating that such beliefs are totally compatible with a belief in God and with scripture as God’s revelation. Most Catholics and mainline Protestants believe in theistic evolution. The target group for Collins’ efforts is evangelical Christians who have a personal conflict with the issue and who may feel cultural pressures to believe in evolution–the position of a large segment of the professional science community and almost everyone in biological sciences.

Collins’ account of his conversion to Christianity, his path to faith in God, and God’s coming to earth in the person of Jesus Christ seems to conform with traditional orthodox Christian faith. He speaks of his surrender to Christ. He believes in “Christ dying in the place of us who deserve God’s judgment for our wrongdoings.” Collins writes “Christ paid the ultimate price to free us from the bondage of sin.” The scientist states the crucifixion and resurrection provide a remedy for “…self-will, in order to be reborn as a new creation.”

But the ideas of creationism and intelligent design (ID) in the natural world are not persuasive for Collins. He acknowledges the Big Bang is entirely compatible with…“the Judeo-Christian tradition, the opening words of Genesis (‘In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.’)” Collins acknowledges the Big Bang event with a certain ambiguity. One of his six stated premises upon which theistic evolution rests reads, “Despite massive improbabilities, the properties of the universe appear to have been precisely tuned for life.” A curious passage reads, “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.”

The last quotation seems to reveal an interesting reservation theistic evolutionists may hold concerning not only Genesis 1:1, but also the remaining verses of Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. They explicitly state God created the heavens and the earth, a succession of living creatures, and finally, man. The ancient bara is the strongest of several Hebrew words translated “create” in our English versions. It could mean to produce something out of nothing. At the very least, scripture uses the term to mean the fashioning of something “new, fresh, good, perfect, and pristine,” as one commentator stated. Bara always signals the actions of God. Theistic evolutionists, taking their cue from secular, non-theistic evolutionists, lean toward a naturalistic explanation for every observable event with respect in the natural world. This is the hallmark of methodological naturalism driving the practices and presuppositions of the scientific community, and it is the hallmark of evolutionary scientists. The book jacket for The Language of God declares “For Collins, science does not conflict with the Bible, science enhances it.” What kind of science does Collins refer to? Defenders of theistic evolution refer to evolutionary science which is saturated with naturalistic presuppositions.

One of the theistic evolutionist plenary speakers at the October, 2010 Vibrant Dance of Science and Faith Symposium in Austin, TX stated there is a naturalistic answer for the Cambrian explosion (a geologically sudden, stunning proliferation of new animal phyla about 540 mya) and that theistic evolutionists are still searching for a naturalistic answer to the sudden appearance of bio-chemically complex life on Planet Earth 3.8 bya. I have read with interest the naturalistic explanations for the Cambrian explosion. Those accounts do not make a persuasive case. There exists far less hope for a naturalistic event sequence explaining life’s initial appearance. Even for naturalistic scientists this issue is a mystery. Dr. Collins writes, “…the precise mechanism of the origin of life on earth remains unknown…”

Genesis 1-2 appears to pose a more credible mechanism: “God created.”

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