Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Adamant on Adam

Interesting post on the Christianity Today web site about the Bruce Waltke situation.

"Adamant on Adam"

Here is an excerpt from the article.
Tensions continue between Christian scholars and their institutions over how to present the findings of science while upholding theological convictions.

Westmont College biblical scholar Tremper Longman III was disinvited last year from further adjunct teaching at RTS due to questioning in a video whether Adam was a historical person. Biologist Richard Colling resigned last year from Olivet Nazarene University amid ongoing controversy over Random Designer, his 2004 book which was banned from Olivet classrooms for arguing that God is behind evolution.
I have to admit, I was kind of surprised to read about Dr. Longman questioning the historicity of Adam. I have always held him in pretty high regard, and I still do. But I am troubled by this trend.

Is there a tension over how to reconcile some of the details of creation with Scripture? Yes. I would be naive to think otherwise. But I'm still a long ways from adopting theistic evolution. I think it has problems biblically and scientifically.

I was also disappointed the article quoted Howard J. Van Till from Calvin College, but failed to mention that he has moved away from the Reformed tradition into "freethought," which is at best a rather ambiguous position on religion. (I have heard from two reputable sources that Van Till no longer even considers himself a Christian.) I think it's important for the article's author to state Van Till's current position, considering the article is citing him as an authoritative source representing mainstream Christianity.


Tim said...

"But I'm still a long ways from adopting theistic evolution. I think it has problems biblically and scientifically."

Such as?

I'd recommend Can an Evangelical Christian Accept Evolution?

Theology Mom said...

I'm very familiar with the standard arguments for theistic evolution. Simply stated, there is too much detail in the text that isn't compatible with common descent. I don't want to get into details here. I hope to write a journal article on this subject soon. As far as the scientific details go, I'd recommend the book, Who was Adam?

Virginia Peterson said...

Is there anything that gives good definitions for the varieties of theistic evolution? I know Greg Koukl says that "theistic" and "evolution" don't go together, since it's not evolution (defined as a naturalistic process) if God's involved. And if God is involved just to start things out to develop that way, then it's deistic, not theistic.

Theology Mom said...


This is a great question. I'm not familiar with any type of resource like this, but would be interested if you find one.


Mark said...

Theistic Evolution appears to me to be bad science. The science of evolution is built on the assumption that science cannot discuss or consider God; therefore, all data must be evaluated on a purely naturalistic basis. This process yields evolution and Theistic Evolution inserts God after the fact. But if God is real and is to be involved in the processes, then this fact needs to be considered before making conclusions, not just tacked on at the end. How might God be involved in these processes? Might the data be interpreted differently if there is another causal agent at work? All of the data needs to be reevaluated, we can't just leave God out while we make conclusions and then say God helped. If God does not exist, evolution is probably the best explanation yet offered. But if God does exist, as most believe, then the data needs to revisited completely; because, if there is a supernatural force at work and we restrict ourselves to natural explanations only, then we should expect to be wrong. If science cannot consider God then they should either be honest and admit that their views deny the existence of God, or admit their limitations if God does exist. Theistic Evolution tries to include God while limiting this supernatural being to natural tools for something as grand as the creation of life and the universe. While God is clearly fond of natural laws and processes, I don't think he can be restricted to them for such an endeavor.