Thursday, August 30, 2012

BioLogos & Core Theistic Evolution Tenants

Ted Davis:
(1) The Bible is NOT a reliable source of scientific knowledge about the origin of the earth and the universe, including living things—because it was never intended to teach us about science.
This reflects not only modern scientific knowledge, but also (more importantly) modern biblical scholarship. Peter Enns and some other evangelical scholars have recently stressed this point, initiating a firestorm in the evangelical academic community that, so far, has confirmed my view that evangelicals in general are just not ready to deal with this, even though it is consistent with the classical notion of accommodation. My own comments about the magnitude of the problem, written before the firestorm started, can be found here.

(2) The Bible IS a reliable source of knowledge about God and spiritual things.
Remember the quip that Galileo attributed to Cesare, Cardinal Baronio, “The intention of the Holy Ghost is to teach us how one goes to heaven, not how heaven goes.” (We discussed this earlier in the series). Evolution was not an issue in Galileo’s day, but this platitude is frequently quoted by advocates of TE—and often without proper attribution to Baronio. Commonality obviously lies in the attitude, not the topic. Many critics of TE are willing to adopt Galileo’s approach when it comes to the Solar System, but not when it comes to evolution: they are anxious to keep Galileo out of the garden of Eden.

(3) Scientific evidence is irrelevant to the Bible—it is simply not a science book.
See above. This needs to be stated separately, since some believers look to science for “proof” of the Bible, just as some unbelievers look to science for “disproof.” Proponents of TE stress that science and the Bible aren’t like apples and oranges; rather, they are more like apples and rocks: you can hold one in each hand without tension, but they have very little in common. We wouldn’t look for God in the phone book, or in an automobile repair manual. Don’t look for science in the Bible. In principle, scientific theories neither support nor threaten the Bible.

(4) The creation story in Genesis 1 is a confession of faith in the true creator, intended to refute pantheism and polytheism, not to tell us how God actually created the world.
This is meant to echo what we said about the Framework View. It is not necessarily true that all TEs accept the Framework View or something like it, but many do. Most would probably say that the Bible is not contradicted by any specific scientific theory of biological diversity—unless that theory oversteps its philosophical boundaries and functions as a kind of religion, what Conrad Hyers called “dinosaur religion.”

(5) The Bible tells us THAT God created, not how God created
Again, this sounds like the Framework View—or, at least, it should. Belief in God the creator is consistent with science, and even supported by some aspects of science; but, it is not a substitute for scientific explanations.
For my part, I see too many similarities between ANE literature and Genesis 1-11 to consider it a historical account, though there may be historical truths involved. However, I think Ted gets close to the heart of the issue, and it not about how one takes the authority of the Bible, how one interprets it.

If one is attempting to stay true to the text, this includes the implication of genre and literary devices within the genre. To extrapolate principles is necessary, but to take every detail literally seems to go beyond the natural scope of the text.

Plus, a TE doesn't deny God created the earth. Imagine for a moment, that creation is linked with itself, and itself reflects the glory of God. In my own eyes, if I share DNA with creatures from the past, that shows me how God not only brought me/us forth, but that we share a special bond with creation. That creation is intrinsically linked.

But, I'm just musing right now. For me, point 5 is the better point; one that I made when I was a staunch OEC.

For the entire article, click HERE.

--Nick

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