Why Theistic Evolution Is Not a Good Option
A book review from Creation Ministries International explains why evangelicals should not needlessly cave on evolution.
Increasing numbers of evangelicals, fearing the scientific establishment’s confidence about evolution, feel they have to make peace with Darwin. A new book to that effect by Applegate and Stump, How I Changed My Mind About Evolution, was reviewed in the Journal of Creation (CMI) by Keaton Halley, and posted recently at Creation Ministries International’s website.
How I Changed My Mind About Evolution is a regrettable, 200-page survey of theological abdication. Editors Applegate and Stump are both staff scientists at the Templeton-funded organization BioLogos, whose mission is to persuade people that microbes-to-man evolution is both true and compatible with Christianity (p. 16). This book is intended as a means toward that end, but it does not attempt to reach its goal by setting out a purely rational case that resolves the conflicts. Instead, it presents personal stories—twenty-five short testimonies from people who claim to have reconciled evolution and faith to their own satisfaction.
While How I Changed My Mind will likely be persuasive to some, it ultimately fails to show that theistic evolution is an acceptable option for Bible believers. The book’s attempts at reconciliation are inadequate, and there are several severe problems for theistic evolution which the book’s contributors largely ignore.
The arguments against Biblical creation in these testimonies take on some common themes that Halley addresses.
- “Bad arguments for young-earth creationism (YEC) turned me off”
- “All truth is God’s truth”
- “The scientific community operates in an open, objective, self-correcting manner”
- “We can’t take all of the Bible literally”
- “Genesis does not describe how God created”
- “God accommodated ancient Near Eastern (ANE) science”
- “YEC is a late theological innovation”
- “Conflict with evolution is primarily an American hang-up”
- “God is slow”
- “If you were convinced YEC was wrong, would you give up Jesus too?”
These are common talking points from BioLogos. Keaton Halley continues by discussing 4 serious challenges that theistic evolutionists ignore. He warns against being swayed by testimonials, personally engaging though they may be, because they persuade with emotion instead of with God’s word.
It is a serious concern that this book might persuade even more evangelicals to embrace evolution. Since these are well-crafted, engaging stories, it is easy to connect emotionally with the intelligent, and apparently genuine, people involved. Also, there are many kernels of truth sprinkled throughout. In the end, however, these personal testimonies are being used to teach error. Therefore, one should not read this book without also becoming familiar with the arguments for biblical creation. Once these testimonies are subjected to an informed cross-examination, the case for theistic evolution falls apart.
We recommend this book review. It’s short enough to read now. It provides concise answers to simplistic slogans that are being pushed on evangelicals, making them think they can have their Jesus and Darwin, too. Bible believers need to be equipped against the TE’s arguments before they hear them, so that they are not caught off-guard by statements that sound reasonable on the surface, but amount to half-truths or worse. Our readers know full well how shaky the grounds for evolution really are. Don’t sell your birthright for a pot of message that, though tasty, contains poisonous ideas.
Those who want to dig deeper into the subject of theistic evolution should consider a large recent book by that name: Theistic Evolution. We cannot endorse it without reservation, since it gives preference to old-earth interpretations, but it has very good sections on the scientific and theological problems with TE by a number of leading lights in the intelligent design movement and by some well-known Christian philosophers and theologians. Most of them would agree that TE is a very bad option for evangelicals. The scientific problems alone are enough to make Darwinism a complete non-starter. That’s an important step toward taking the Word of God seriously all the way from Genesis to Revelation, rather than relying on the flawed wisdom of people who weren’t there and don’t know everything.