andrew muzychuk

Leadership, family, theology and world events

The Problems with Theistic Evolution

TEFor some Christians, Theistic Evolution has become an acceptable model to harmonize their beliefs and the theory of evolution. Yet, they are refusing to see that it creates even more theological and logical contradictions. For the sake of the easy (short) reading I won’t be discussing each point in depth, but I will just provide one or two arguments.

What is Theistic Evolution?

Francis Collins, well-known proponent of TE (theistic evolution) describes it as the position that “evolution is real, but that it was set in motion by God”, and “Theistic evolution, which accepts that evolution occurred as biologists describe it, but under the direction of God”.

Their opponents from Natural Evolution rightly pointing out that TE is not scientific theory, but a range of views about how to relate science to religious beliefs. Translation: it is the attempt to change the interpretation of the Bible to fit the modern day view of the world.

There are different variation of beliefs with TE, and different arguments, so consequently some of my answers might not be applicable to someone’s belief.

I noticed that to make their case TE usually makes several appeals.


The appeal to popularity

TE believers like to point out the fact that only 2% of scientists in the US believe in creation, but either missing or being dishonest not mentioning that only 8% of scientists in the US believe in evolution guided by some Supreme Being. So, not all of them even believe in TE. While the majority, 87%, embrace evolution due to natural processes without any involvement of Supreme Being. (2009 Pew Research)

As far as general public, over a period of 30 years there was no change among those who believe in creation, but a growth of 6% of natural evolutionists and small drop of 6% among theistic evolutionists (Gallup Poll, 2012)

The bottom line is, even if the amount of 8% of TE scientists vs. 2% of creationists is appealing to you, what will happen when (if) their number will dwindle to 2%. Will you change your minds again?

Same thing is with TE evangelical’s appeal to the wide acceptance of evolution among mainstream Christianity. Yes, 51% of mainline Protestants believe in evolution vs. 23% of evangelicals, as it is true that 55% mainline Protestants support gay marriage, vs. 29% of evangelicals. So, my question to TE evangelicals is, why don’t you accept homosexuality on basis of popularity too?

Needless to mentioned that mainstream Protestants are on a sharp decline.

I think the appeal to popularity is always the weakest point.

Appeal to Church’s Fathers

TE proponents are often citing Origen and St. Augustine’s allegorical view of first few chapters of Genesis. Again, it is either dishonesty or ignorance. The truth is that an interpretation of Genesis by church’s father varies.

Beliefs by Church Fathers:

Origen of Alexandria -allegorical

St. Augustine kind of -allegorical, but believed in creation

Theophilus of Antioch- literal interpretation

St. Basil (c. 330-379) -literal interpretation

Ambrose (c. 339-397 AD) – literal interpretation

Thomas Aquinas- literal interpretation

Victorinus- literal interpretation

Beliefs by reformation leaders:

Martin Luther – literal interpretation

John Calvin – literal interpretation

While it is beneficial to take into account the church’s fathers views on different issues, the final verdict comes from the Bible itself. Early church’s leaders writing are not equal to the Bible.

Appeal to the argument of “creation as a stumbling block” for unbelievers

True to be told, for unbelievers accounts of creation, flood, Red sea parting, virgin Mary giving birth, Jesus’ resurrection, or Philip moved by the Spirit from one place to another, and especially resurrection of Jesus are equally unrealistic. So, following this logic if you want to “help” them to come to Christ, then you must remove all the miracles from the Bible. But I guess, what will be left off, and what kind of God you have to offer then?

Appeal to Science

To debate some of the arguments you have to have a deep knowledge of the particular subject. I would also assume, that there are might be some evidence that we simply cannot explain. Yet, some arguments are really illogical.

For instance, one of the TE’s proofs is supposedly the predatory animals. They argue, why would these animals have sharp teeth or venom if they used to eat grass. So, let me clear something here. The same people who believe that humans evolved from bacteria don’t believe that animals evolved within its family to start eating meat? Is it logical to believe in macro evolution and dismiss micro evolution?

And what about a bear being both predatory and eating berries?

Appeal to Theology

Yet my biggest issue is how people adapt the Bible to their life experience or today’s knowledge. It is all about authority of the Bible. We all have moments that either our life experience or our knowledge seems to contradict the Bible. In those circumstances some still choose to hold to the Word of God as the ultimate authority, and either seeing changes in their lives or are living with the notion that God is God, and there is something that I don’t understand right now. Yet others are adapting the Bible to their experience and knowledge. Completely different issues: evolution, personal tragedy, or gay orientation have been resolved using both of those approaches: adapting our understanding of the Bible to our experience or trusting God despite that we don’t understand something.

What causes someone to change someone else’s view on Genesis? If people can be completely honest it is not a verse in the Bible that you stumble upon, but it is an intellectual experience.

In order to adapt TE view, people are saying that several chapters of Genesis are allegory or myth. But, if we assume that first 15 (or 11) chapters of Genesis are a myth, then we run into a lot of theological and logical problems:

Why should it mention, “there was evening and there was morning” if it is not a literal day?

Why to tie the direct command of the law of working only 6 days, to creation (or evolution) that took place over billions of years?

If the flood was just a local event then why did Noah have to build an ark, and why couldn’t the birds fly away? It destroys the whole moral of the story.

If death, diseases, and killing was going on both among animals and men before Adam and Eve’s fall, then God’s assessment of His creation “Very good” is laughable.

If God hardwired them like this, then a sin wasn’t a choice, but biological characteristics.

Why should it mention age of different people if it is a myth?

Why does Gospel give a genealogy if it is a myth? Genealogy and age are always considered to be historical accounts.

Jesus was about thirty years old when he began his work. He was the son of Joseph son of … son of Enos, son of Seth, son of Adam, son of God. (Luke 3:23-38)

Why did Jesus teach and give practical application about marriage from an account of a fictional Adam and Eve?

Why would Paul directly link fictional Adam and the Fall and, by that very fact, to Christ’s redemption?

Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death came through sin, and so death spread to all because all have sinned. Romans 5:12

Starting at v.12 he continues to the end of chapter 5, saying several times something like “when through one man (meaning Adam), so more through one man Jesus.”

But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. Romans 5:15

And again, same thought in his letter to church in Corinth.

 For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead.  For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:21-22)

Tim Keller stated plainly: “If you don’t believe what he [Paul] believes about Adam [historical Adam], you are denying the core of Paul’s teaching.”

Also in 1 Timothy 2:13-14 he speaks about Adam & Eve as historical figures again.

Why do we have suffering?

Creationists believe that it is the result of the fall of man. But if TE believe it is a myth, and God created everything like this, then God is responsible for the suffering in the animal kingdom, and at least, for the suffering of people that come from natural events, diseases, and animals.

Even Natural Evolutionists are pointing out to the obvious. Why would Almighty use evolution, it is not practical:

“Evolution is an immensely slow, wasteful, pitiless, and cruel process—hardly the most elegant process of creation open to a goal-oriented, omnipotent, and benevolent God. If humanity is the final goal of creation, what is the point of the 3.5 billion years since the origin of life, or the 13.7 billion years since the Big Bang? What is the point of this immense amount of time if human beings and their world are the pinnacle of the Almighty’s creation?”

It all comes down to the authority of the Scripture and how you see God. If God is Almighty that He can create the world in 6 seconds, and not just 6 days. And if Bible is ultimate authority we won’t change our literal interpretation to an allegorical one just because we cannot explain something in biology. Of course if the Bible is not that for us, then we can move our debate to just philosophical and scientific discussion.


One comment on “The Problems with Theistic Evolution

  1. Anna Waldherr
    May 5, 2014

    Excellent! Love the logic.

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This entry was posted on February 10, 2014 by in appologetic, Christian Living, Church's leadership, theology and tagged , , , .
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