I have gone on the record suggesting that Christians should concede theistic evolution. Admittedly, this is more a strategic turn than a biblical imperative. Neither the exact “length” of creation days nor the specific mechanism used to bring about organic life are considered fundamental to the faith. Nevertheless, conceding some form of theistic evolution is not without danger.
Case in point: The BioLogos Forum.
The stated goal of BioLogos is to “explore, promote and celebrate the integration of science and Christian faith.” Yet the longer I have followed BioLogos, the more skeptical I have become about the type of “Christian faith” it claims to be defending.
In Science Trumps the Bible? — An Amazingly Candid (and Disastrous) Argument Al Mohler quotes Carl Gilberson, a physicist and scholar who is part of the BioLogos Team:
… In The God Delusion Dawkins eloquently skewers the tyrannical anthropomorphic deity of the Old Testament—the God that supposedly commanded the Jews to go on genocidal rampages and who occasionally went on his own rampages, flooding the planet or raining fire and brimstone on wicked cities. But who believes in this deity any more, besides those same fundamentalists who think the earth is 10,000 years old? Modern theology has moved past this view of God. (emphasis mine)
If Gilberson is representative of BioLogos’ goal to integrate science and the Christian faith, it is particularly interesting to note the type of faith Gilberson is NOT defending. It is comprised of “fundamentalists who think the earth is 1o,ooo years old” and who cling to belief in a “tyrannical anthropomorphic deity” who goes on “genocidal rampages.” Thankfully, in Gilberson’s words, “[m]odern theology has moved past this view of God.” This “modern theology” is the “Christian faith” BioLogos apparently seeks to represent.
Translation: If science and the Christian faith are to be integrated, believers must leave behind archaic theological models (i.e., traditional evangelicalism).
Gliberson thus concludes:
… I am happy to concede that science does indeed trump religious truth about the natural world.
Science and Scripture have often been portrayed as antithetical, a charge that’s often overblown by religious skeptics. I applaud BioLogos’ efforts to harmonize Science and the Bible, and bring some academic respectability to the creation debate. Nevertheless, I can’t help but see in Gilberson’s statement an equally dangerous predicament.
If we concede that science trumps religious truth, then aren’t we elevating science to the level of religious truth? In other words, we subjugate our theology to current scientific consensus. Take the case of miracles. Since science can’t prove the existence of miracles, and the “natural world” doesn’t validate them, we are forced to construct a Jesus who doesn’t perform them. If science trumps religious truth about the natural world, science becomes the arbiter of virtually all truth, save the mystical or nonsensical (read: unverifiable) kind. And since the Bible is full of miracles, science can gut it with impunity.
Furthermore, if we concede that science trumps “religious truth about the natural world,” we undermine the Bible’s authority to speak ANY truth. Of course, the Bible is not a science book. But if Scripture was blatantly wrong about “the natural world,” this would be a serious blow to claims of divinity. (I mean, if the Bible asserted that the earth was positioned atop a huge tortoise or that the moon was made of cheese, I’d have a hard time believing its assertions about much else.) If the Bible is wrong about HOW man got here, then how can it be RIGHT about anything else? If the Bible can’t be trusted regarding “the natural world,” how can it be trusted about anything else?
All that to say, I’m afraid that BioLogos, in their effort to integrate science and the Christian faith, have in fact jettisoned historic Christianity in favor of something more malleable. Yet, in the end, trumping “modern theology” isn’t really that hard.