Just a quick note regarding the creation evolution controversy in light of our November Table Talk.
One comment I often hear is that we shouldn’t worry so much about issues like origins. It is not that important apart from those who actually teach a related academic disciplines. Unfortunately, doctrine inevitably seems to be “all of a piece.” It does not live in isolated compartments, and particularly foundational doctrines regarding human origins seem to have a very long set of doctrinal ripples. In a blog post by John Byl (see link below), he traces one instance of this progression from two articles by Calvin College scholars. I offer a short summary here, but see his blog for the specifics of the progression:
- Evolutionary science is taken to be true.
- The historicity of Adam and Eve is denied (they become “literary figures”).
- The doctrine of biblical inerrancy is denied (because however one interprets Genesis 1-3, one cannot avoid the fact the Paul affirms Adam is a historical figure and clearly teaches this in passages like Romans 5).
- The fall is denied (hard to have a fall if you don’t have Adam and Eve).
- Original sin is set aside because there is no fall. (Sin is just a result of our evolutionary heritage that predisposes us to selfishness and sin.)
- Because our understanding of sin is reformulated, the doctrine of the substitutionary atonement is rejected and other theories of the atonement are embraced.
Furthermore, ideas have consequences, most of them unintended. It seems there is a long track record of evolution being a watershed issue for not just for Christian doctrine, but for many, many other issues including one’s perspective on human dignity, individual morality, and social engineering.
All this is to say that our upcoming Table Talk has importance for far more than just the issue of origins in the Biola doctrinal statement! It is a privilege to hear from someone who has thought through these issues as much as John Bloom has.
Some further reading on related topics:
- Tracing the “Evolution of Calvin College”—here is a helpful blog post by John Byl from Trinity Western, describing some recent events.
- Here is a link to the issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith which is mentioned in Byl’s blog post. This issue also includes a helpful counterpoint piece by John Collins on the importance of the historicity of Adam and Eve.
- Here’s a link to a blog post by Al Mohler, which continues some of the controversy we addressed last time in Table Talk. He also weighs in on the tendency of theistic evolution to NOT remain merely an issue of evolution, but to spread to other more central Christian doctrines.
This article belongs to the Christianity and Science series.