Keller's Reason for God

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ChristianTrader

Puritan Board Graduate
Mason,

Would you agree that Darwinian evolution and theistic evolution (as they are commonly constructed) are scientifically indistinguishable?
I can't speak for Mason, but I don't know any theistic evolutionists (and I know many) that would agree that they are "scientifically indistinguishable." Otherwise, what's the point of differentiating yourself as a "theistic evolutionist?" You'd just be a Darwinian. I'm not sure those believing in theistic evolution are as ignorant as you think.

(And for the record and before I'm accused of anything, I believe in a 6 day creation.)
Then what is the scientific difference? The common view of YEC creationists is that Theistic evolutionists take all that regular darwinian science puts forward then stick God at the front of the process, and say "Done".

CT
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Just to note that I've met theistic evolutionists who would claim supernatural intervention as a means by which evolution progressed. Most of these would also maintain that Adam and Eve were entirely separate creations.

The issue is more one of how to reconcile the apparent age and progression of the earth (if the findings are unreliable, then modern nuclear physics--all of it--is most likely false) with the chronology found in the scriptures, particularly with Genesis 1 (the geneologies are fairly flexible, methinks).
 

Montanablue

Puritan Board Doctor
Mason,

Would you agree that Darwinian evolution and theistic evolution (as they are commonly constructed) are scientifically indistinguishable?
I can't speak for Mason, but I don't know any theistic evolutionists (and I know many) that would agree that they are "scientifically indistinguishable." Otherwise, what's the point of differentiating yourself as a "theistic evolutionist?" You'd just be a Darwinian. I'm not sure those believing in theistic evolution are as ignorant as you think.

(And for the record and before I'm accused of anything, I believe in a 6 day creation.)
Then what is the scientific difference? The common view of YEC creationists is that Theistic evolutionists take all that regular darwinian science puts forward then stick God at the front of the process, and say "Done".

CT
Since I'm not a theistic evolutionist and since I don't really care to spend my time arguing their case, I hope you'll pardon me for not responding to your query. To be honest, I would run the risk of misstating their case. I merely responded to the thread because I knew so many of my theistic evolutionist friends would be appalled at what was being put on them.

I can say that all of them see God as the master and designer of creation and reject a number of Darwin's assertions. But to try to expand on which assertions they reject etc would be foolish of me since I haven't studied the topic in-depth.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
sola-

Let me preface my remarks by saying that I am a totally diehard creationist and young earther, and I am so far to the fringe right that I would die at the stake for the doctrine of geocentricity, that the earth was created before the sun, and the sun (and universe) orbits it daily. I am not trying to defend BBW or Keller's doctrine.

That said, I just think people need to understand what they are up against. There are all sorts of discussions at the PB where posters refer to old dead theologians to defend their point. Keller studied at Westminster Seminary where Warfield is HIGHLY respected, with good reason. Tim is brilliant and I have it from the best source that they wanted Keller to go on the faculty and fill Jack Miller's place when Miller left, but TK felt called to the pastorate.

There are many people who appeal to BBW for theistic evolution, the same way the vast majority of cessationists would appeal to him to support their cessationism (I am a Sam Rutherford- Poythress type extraordinary providences continuist, to distinguish myself from modern charismatics, and I think Warfield is dead wrong on that also. But I digress).

Anyway, it is sad that BBW believed in the simple cell concept that underlies all of evolutionary theory. Today we know that the simple cell is actually as many as 3,000 complex factories inside one cell wall, and the math statistics for mutation evolution theory are ludicrous, apart obviously from divine intervention. I really think if the WestminsterTS/Reformed evolutionists studied the subject they might retract their position, but for now they have BBW and Hodge on their side. And you just can't dismiss BBW and Hodge lightly. So yeah, I still think Keller's position is unassailable, like trying to fight a person quoting Calvin or John Owen. You can disagree but you cannot dismiss their sources as unbiblical. BBW was firmly into inerrancy and infallibility and it is not a winnable fight right now if you ask me. Until the PCA, OPC, etc rule otherwise, it will remain a fully acceptable position, sorry to say.
I can't speak for the PCA, but the OPC has ruled theistic evolution to be out of accord with our standards and Scripture through a judicial case a few years back. So they have ruled against Warfield's particular view. :2cents:
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
A sample quote from the PCA position paper on creation in regards to theistic evolution:

6. The stress on the principle of analogy between God’s work and ours means that it has special creative events built into it, and hence while it favors some sort of intelligent design model for biology it is incompatible with theistic evolutionary schemes.
And another:

It is only right to note, however, that this description of “proper theistic evolution” is based on the metaphysic underlying the view. Popular usage of the term “theistic evolution” can be broader, and not entirely consistent: some apply the term to all brands of old-earth creationism; some apply it to versions of old-earth creationism that allow large-scale biological development (e.g. those that allow that all mammals share a common ancestor); some apply it to any view that allows common ancestry for all living things.

A kind of “theistic evolutionary” view that has important historical relevance for confessional Presbyterians is the one that allows that Adam’s body was the product of evolutionary development (second causes working alone under divine providence), and that his special creation involved the imparting of a rational soul to a highly-developed hominid. This view has been associated with James Woodrow and Benjamin Warfield (at least early in his career). We can supply a strong critique of such a construct from exegesis of Genesis 1—2, where, as John Murray observed (Collected Writings, 2:8), in Genesis 2:7 the man became an animate being by the in-breathing, and by implication was not one beforehand (for his body to have had animal ancestry, the man’s ancestors must have been animate beings). We may also critique the view from the anthropology involved: man is a body-soul nexus, and the body must have the capacities to support the expression of God’s image; such a body cannot be the product of second causes alone. Finally, we should note that this kind of “theistic evolution” is an unstable metaphysical hybrid: it tries to combine the naturalistic picture of the development of the capabilities necessary to support the human soul, with the supernaturalist acknowledgment of the divine origin of what distinguishes us from the animals. This combines elements from incompatible metaphysical positions.
[emphasis added]
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
Didn't the PCA report allow for teaching of a theological or literary framework view of Genesis 1, though?

It seems to me that as long as we can say that Adam and Eve didn't have/need navels, we're on fairly solid ground :lol:
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Patrick/PS...thanks, I didn't know that about the OPC.

Wayne....interesting.

I know that in my Presbytery (metro NY, with Keller) there are ordained guys with exceptions to the confession on the sabbath and a few other things. So I would imagine it is also fine to take exceptions to PCA position papers. I can't see that this creationism position will ever be required if the confessional sabbath position about recreation isn't. Just guessing.

One of my kids would agree with everything in a standard statement of faith but he became a theistic evolutionist at college. Drives me nuts when we get talking. He was a history major and took barely any science, and I took almost all botany/biology/geology, but he has lots of theologians on his side for all the old earth, day-age junk, as well as the divinely directed evolution, so it seems like a useless debate anymore.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
After reading the position paper on the framework view, it seems (to me) that Keller is in line with it.
 

Jon Peters

Puritan Board Sophomore
Mason,

Would you agree that Darwinian evolution and theistic evolution (as they are commonly constructed) are scientifically indistinguishable?
I can't speak for Mason, but I don't know any theistic evolutionists (and I know many) that would agree that they are "scientifically indistinguishable." Otherwise, what's the point of differentiating yourself as a "theistic evolutionist?" You'd just be a Darwinian. I'm not sure those believing in theistic evolution are as ignorant as you think.

(And for the record and before I'm accused of anything, I believe in a 6 day creation.)
Then what is the scientific difference? The common view of YEC creationists is that Theistic evolutionists take all that regular darwinian science puts forward then stick God at the front of the process, and say "Done".

CT
Why should YEC define the terms of the opposition? I suppose it's easier to refute when you narrow the terms of the debate. Or perhaps I misunderstand something.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
Mason,

Would you agree that Darwinian evolution and theistic evolution (as they are commonly constructed) are scientifically indistinguishable?
First of all, I want to apologize, Tom, for my earlier statement about you being in over your head. That was arrogant, judgmental, and rude - I hope you'll forgive my lack of charity.
I will.

To answer your question, I don't agree at all. Theistic evolutionists believe God intervenes and supernaturally orders evolution. Darwinian evolutionists reject the notion of God outright. Darwinians believe we evolved from organic molecules entirely through evolutionary mechanisms, while Theists believe we were created, although the extent of their belief in macro-evolution varies.
I agree they are different at a metaphysical level, but that was not my question. Are they physically (scientifically) distinguishable, and if so how?

As I understand things, theistic evolutionists believe that God providentially ordered creation to bring about what we see today. From the PCA Statement:
theistic evolution: belief that natural processes sustained by God’s ordinary providence are God’s means of bringing about life and humanity.
Hence, speciation becomes a "natural" process. However, the view is essentially deist in that God simply wound up the clock and had nothing else to do. The only supernatural act was the setting up of the initials conditions.

It is distinguished from, say, progressive creation which teaches that God directly/supernaturally intervened at certain points to create new species.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Dr. Sam Waldron did an excellent gracious but critical review. I think it is a beneficial read.

Midwest Center for Theological Studies: Owensboro, KY

First off Dr. Waldron has a lot of commendations for the book. He is very gracious in his look at Keller and the book. He also has some serious critique also.

Here is a small portion of his critique.

Keller’s main interest, it seems to me, is also stated on the same page 94 I have already cited a couple of times. He says, “The skeptical inquirer does not need to accept any one of these positions in order to embrace the Christian faith. Rather, he should concentrate on and weigh the central claims of Christianity. Only after drawing conclusions about the person of Christ, the resurrection, and the central tenets of the Christian message should one think through the various options with regard to creation and evolution.”

While Keller’s zeal for the gospel of Christ and the salvation of the sinner is commendable, this statement raises serious questions. Can we really present Christ apart from the backdrop of what the Bible teaches about creation? Is a Christ that is consistent with theistic evolution really the biblical Christ? If Christ is the last Adam, isn’t a non-literal reading of the first Adam destructive of the very identity and saving work of Christ? At some point the worldview against which the gospel is presented does begin to affect the gospel. I can as a creationist agree that someone should first accept Christ and only in light of that decide about the literary genre of Genesis 1. I can even understand why someone might say, first accept Christ, and then decide, for instance, what he teaches about the identity and role of women in the church. I really do not think we can say, or that it is beneficial to say, first decide for Christ, and then make up your mind about the biological evolution of the human race. The creation of the human race by God is the backdrop of the redemption of the human race by Christ. The two stand or fall together.

Another point at which I find Keller’s defense of the faith a little troubling is in Chapter Twelve, “The (True) Story of the Cross.” In this chapter Keller attempts, I think, to defend the concept of substitionary sacrifice to the unbeliever by illustrating it from human experience. He argues, first, that “Real Forgiveness Is Costly Suffering.” (187) Here Keller argues that to forgive means that in some sense we bear the cost of the person’s offense against us. He argues, second, “Real Love Is a Personal Exchange.” (193) That is to say, “In the real world of relationships it is impossible to love people with a problem or a need without in some sense sharing or even changing places with them. All real life-changing love involves some form of this kind of exchange.” (193)

Perhaps there is apologetic value in these kinds of illustrations of the substitionary sacrifice, but as clear accounts of what Christ did on the cross they fall far short of a clear account of substitionary curse-bearing. If I read them simply as illustrations, I find Keller’s observations interesting and perhaps helpful. If I read them as accurate explanations of the cross, I find them deficient. At best Keller’s illustrations are dim and finally inadequate human reflections of substitution.

Contributing to this fuzziness is Keller’s citation of N. T. Wright at a key point in this chapter (196). The real nature of Wright’s own theory of the atonement has been widely questioned. [Cf. John Piper’s discussion of Wright’s view of the atonement in The Future of Justification (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 46-53, for a very generous assessment of Wright which nonetheless underscores the uncertainty surrounding his view of the atonement.] Keller’s citation of Wright and his idea that the cross involves a reversal of the world’s values reminds me of non-violent theories of the cross coming out of the Anabaptist pacifist tradition.

We do, of course, have to remember that Keller is doing apologetics not writing systematics for Christians. Nevertheless, there is a slippery slope in apologetics by which our attempt to illustrate Christianity to unbelievers subtly becomes our whole understanding of Christianity. Did the Apologists in the 2nd and Origen in the 3rd century intend to teach subordinationism and finally create Arianism by adopting the logos speculation of Greek philosophy? No. But that is what happened when their partial illustrations were taken as whole explanations.
 

ColdSilverMoon

Puritan Board Senior
Mason,

Would you agree that Darwinian evolution and theistic evolution (as they are commonly constructed) are scientifically indistinguishable?
First of all, I want to apologize, Tom, for my earlier statement about you being in over your head. That was arrogant, judgmental, and rude - I hope you'll forgive my lack of charity.
I will.

To answer your question, I don't agree at all. Theistic evolutionists believe God intervenes and supernaturally orders evolution. Darwinian evolutionists reject the notion of God outright. Darwinians believe we evolved from organic molecules entirely through evolutionary mechanisms, while Theists believe we were created, although the extent of their belief in macro-evolution varies.
I agree they are different at a metaphysical level, but that was not my question. Are they physically (scientifically) distinguishable, and if so how?

As I understand things, theistic evolutionists believe that God providentially ordered creation to bring about what we see today. From the PCA Statement:
theistic evolution: belief that natural processes sustained by God’s ordinary providence are God’s means of bringing about life and humanity.
Hence, speciation becomes a "natural" process. However, the view is essentially deist in that God simply wound up the clock and had nothing else to do. The only supernatural act was the setting up of the initials conditions.

It is distinguished from, say, progressive creation which teaches that God directly/supernaturally intervened at certain points to create new species.
That's a major straw man. Not only is it inaccurate for many theistic evolutionists, but it doesn't fit with the definition you quoted. Some theistic evolutionists might take a deist approach, not certainly not all.

In terms of the scientific distinction, I'm not sure I understand your question. Evolution is evolution - I'm not sure how there can be a "scientific" difference...:scratch:
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Is a Christ that is consistent with theistic evolution really the biblical Christ? If Christ is the last Adam, isn’t a non-literal reading of the first Adam destructive of the very identity and saving work of Christ?

Actually no, although I don't agree with theistic evolution.

With creation, Adam is made from the dust of the ground directly.

With theistic evolution, the dust of the ground dissolves in the early pool of chemicals that turns into amino acids and comes together into the first cell and on to the worms and fish and finally the primates.

But in both interpretations,God makes that first Adam a living soul by giving him his human spirit. With Warfield/Hodge/Keller this IS a historic Adam, a first man with an eternal soul who sins. Everything before him in theistic evolution is just animal.

Please note that I am not trying to support this position, but there ARE many true believers who in other respects are Reformed and confessional who hold to it. To say they do not believe in the biblical Christ, in my opinion, is an accusation of heresy and is unjustifiable. They serve the same Jesus we serve.

Here is a nice little blurb on that primordial pool of scum and chemicals we all come from. The ATP molecule parts ( in all living things) had to all come together within about half an hour in a reducing environment. Right.

The Myth Of Chemical Evolution

Even small parts of the components of cells can be unimaginably complex. An example of this is the enzyme adenosine triphosphate synthase, found in all living cells including animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. The elucidation of the structure of ATP synthase won a 1997 Nobel Prize. Every cell contains hundreds of these miniature motors embedded in the surfaces of the mitochondria. Each is 200,000 times smaller than a pinhead. The motor forges a bond between ADP and phosphate to form ATP. The ATP couples with other processes in the cell requiring energy to reform ADP and phosphate. So energy is directed to contract muscles, beat the heart and drive thought processes in the brain, while the products are recycled. At the centre of ATP synthase is a tiny wheel that turns at about 100 revolutions per second and turns out three ATP molecules per rotation. Just to keep us thinking and walking, humans must recycle their own body weight of ATP each day. Each enzyme is composed of thirty-one separate proteins that in turn are made of thousands of precisely arranged amino acids. Take away any one of the 31 proteins and the motor is useless. It could not have evolved. And consider this: the genetic information and RNA plus proteins needed to construct the ATP synthase are in total even more irreducibly complex than the ATP synthase itself. (A car-making factory is more complex than a car.)
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Lynnie,

I think the point is that Christ as the son of Adam (or son of Man) must be the same as far as creation goes. Christ is the son of Adam and the Son of God. To diminish the first man as a created whole is to diminish the second one as a created person. I have heard some pretty weird interpretations of theistic evolution. I have also heard some compelling argumentation that the first chapter isn't poetic. But that is another topic. And one must take into account what a non-literal reading in the creation of Adam might render. The two Adams are closely connected and therefore what one thinks concerning the first effects the the second.

It is kind of like the Covenant of Works debate. If one doesn't understand the prelapsarian covenant (or believe in a CofW) his or her view will be skewed concerning the person and work of Christ. It doesn't necessarily mean they aren't saved though faith in Christ's atonement. But they will have a deficient understanding of the work of Christ. Thus the comparison and analogy, if one doesn't interpret the creation account in a literal sense then were can that lead him when he interprets other things that should be interpreted literally. It tends to lead down some dangerous roads in my estimation.

Just my humble opinion

BTW, what did you think of Dr. Waldron's assessment of Keller's chapter 12 and atonement. There is much more to the story than just his talk of creation. And I believe that is being neglected in our discussion.

Another point at which I find Keller’s defense of the faith a little troubling is in Chapter Twelve, “The (True) Story of the Cross.” In this chapter Keller attempts, I think, to defend the concept of substitionary sacrifice to the unbeliever by illustrating it from human experience. He argues, first, that “Real Forgiveness Is Costly Suffering.” (187) Here Keller argues that to forgive means that in some sense we bear the cost of the person’s offense against us. He argues, second, “Real Love Is a Personal Exchange.” (193) That is to say, “In the real world of relationships it is impossible to love people with a problem or a need without in some sense sharing or even changing places with them. All real life-changing love involves some form of this kind of exchange.” (193)

Perhaps there is apologetic value in these kinds of illustrations of the substitionary sacrifice, but as clear accounts of what Christ did on the cross they fall far short of a clear account of substitionary curse-bearing. If I read them simply as illustrations, I find Keller’s observations interesting and perhaps helpful. If I read them as accurate explanations of the cross, I find them deficient. At best Keller’s illustrations are dim and finally inadequate human reflections of substitution.

Contributing to this fuzziness is Keller’s citation of N. T. Wright at a key point in this chapter (196). The real nature of Wright’s own theory of the atonement has been widely questioned. [Cf. John Piper’s discussion of Wright’s view of the atonement in The Future of Justification (Wheaton: Crossway, 2007), 46-53, for a very generous assessment of Wright which nonetheless underscores the uncertainty surrounding his view of the atonement.] Keller’s citation of Wright and his idea that the cross involves a reversal of the world’s values reminds me of non-violent theories of the cross coming out of the Anabaptist pacifist tradition.
BTW, Dr. Waldron did have some kudos for the book. Don't forget that either.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
PC, I agree with you, you have to understand that I am a creationist and I think the points you just made are all correct and well articulated.

Having said this, when people use words like wondering if this is really the biblical Christ, I get jumpy. I mean, to preach another gospel or another Christ, well, let him be accursed. It is loaded language. We cannot use words like "not the biblical Christ" in my opinion here, but I might be wrong. As long as someone holds to a historical Adam who was the very first man with an eternal soul, I think we have to accept them as preaching the same Jesus we preach. Now the ones who hold to gradual evolution with no divine moment in time when God separates man from animals and gives him a soul, well, it is OK with me to call them heretics :). But that isn't Keller. To believe in a historical Adam is to believe in a historical Adam.

This [email protected] is all over the PCA by the way. Pray for us.

Re the atonement, I can't for one second think Keller has rejected belief in and preaching the penal satisfaction of God's wrath. I am in his presbytery and I just don't believe he teaches "dim and finally inadequate human reflections of substitution" in his ministry as a whole. I would have to see a great weight of evidence first, and even with that I do believe he would repent of any vagueness and go back to truth, and the presbytery would drag him in anyway if he seriously departed from orthodoxy.

To tell you the truth, I read a lot and I love theology and my hub went to WTS and he reads constantly and we talk a lot. But I started reading Reason for God and stopped part way through as I found it to be just plain uninteresting. And I can enjoy books other people find dry and boring, but I just couldn't see what the big deal was with that book. I love his preaching tapes, but the book just didn't do anything for me. Maybe I'm just not into apologetics?

When I got saved I was starving to think and understand. He is around smart, educated New Yorkers and I don't think anything needs to be watered down with poor examples if you ask me. Feed them the real thing. But hey, he is on the best seller list and leading multitudes to the Lord, and I am not, so what do I know.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
My point: Without intending to suggest that Keller will have the influence of Barth... In his book, I think Keller makes too many concessions. Too many of his arguments on too many subjects are based upon a syncretism of orthodox Christianity and early 21st Century American cultural and philosophical values. I'm positive that his concessions will make him more intellectually appealling to those who have imbibed from the well of worldly wisdom, but the lasting effects will not be a thoroughgoing robust biblical orthodoxy. They can't because his arguments and conclusions themselves aren't.
Is it "concessions" or attempting to build on "points of contact"? I agree, for example in the creation chapter, that he does concede too much to "science". But I also think that overall he is appealing to the good values of our current post-modern culture, and attempting to show that those good values (i.e. mutual respect, social justice, human dignity, etc.) cannot be consistently held unless you become a Christian. The post-modern worldview cannot logically account for them or even enforce them consistently. The Christian worldview is the only worldview which can account for those values with any logical or moral integrity.

Would you agree or disagree with that?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Lynnie,

I believe there might be a bit too much fuzziness in certain areas. And I believe that is the point Dr. Waldron is making. Though Pastor Keller might be effectual in doing some things right some of his stuff might have some poor renderings in times to come. And that is the point Dr. Waldron made in the last paragraph of the quote I sighted and will show here.

We do, of course, have to remember that Keller is doing apologetics not writing systematics for Christians. Nevertheless, there is a slippery slope in apologetics by which our attempt to illustrate Christianity to unbelievers subtly becomes our whole understanding of Christianity. Did the Apologists in the 2nd and Origen in the 3rd century intend to teach subordinationism and finally create Arianism by adopting the logos speculation of Greek philosophy? No. But that is what happened when their partial illustrations were taken as whole explanations
I bet you would enjoy the whole blog Lynnie. It is moslty gracious. I picked out a small part of the critical part since it was what you guys were discussing. Take a look at it. I think you will appreciate the spirit it was written in.

Midwest Center for Theological Studies: Owensboro, KY

Be Encouraged,
Randy
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
You are right, it is truly gracious. I love the very last paragraph quote.

I don't know why Keller didn't have nitpicky proofreaders ahead of time to catch the fuzziness. I would have given it to students at his alma mater and let them rip it apart before the final edit. Students are great at that! Better yet the PB :lol: Oh well. Thanks for the link!
 

caddy

Puritan Board Senior
I read the review, and I think we can be more gracious. The Reason for God does not intend to offer a complete apologetic system or to fully articulate God’s call. It merely addresses questions and concerns so today’s unbeliever might be ready to listen to the Scriptures and hear the gospel. This it does with a rare combination of respect for the unbeliever and insistence on the atonement. We can learn from this.

We've been reading it in men's Bible study. There are about 8 of us, and we all are in agreement he's not really Reformed. In chapter 6 he comes right out and says he thinks we go here through natural selection rather than being made as per Genesis. Several of the other men were disturbed by his tendency to be rather vague, as per NT Wright. None of us would read it again.
It probably was a poor choice for your men’s group unless they truly were more serious about understanding the unbeliever than they were about proving themselves theologically superior. The book is not perfect. I too have been frustrated that for a fuller explanation of the gospel you have to look elsewhere (maybe to Keller’s The Prodigal God). But it can be a powerful starting point in the evangelistic process.
"Prodigal God" is excellent In my humble opinion!
 

TimV

Puritanboard Botanist
It probably was a poor choice for your men’s group unless they truly were more serious about understanding the unbeliever than they were about proving themselves theologically superior.
They chose it in ignorance based on the recommendation by a person new to Reformed thinking (his dad is a pastor in a PCA and a fan of Keller), and came to the conclusion that Keller isn't Reformed. They were neither trying to understand the unbeliever (? weren't we all unbelievers at one time?) nor trying to prove that they are theologically superior. I was the only one familiar with Keller before reading the book (I was not involved in the choice of reading) and even I was shocked. I know he shows contempt of the PCA's constitution by refusing to incorporate the laying on of hands during the ordination of deacons to further erase gender distinctions, I knew he denies the Biblical flood, but I still was unprepared for his telling unbelievers that he thinks evolution is true. The true Reason for God seems to be someone who created the first amoeba and sort of guided things until a pair of apes could walk upright.
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
That's a major straw man. Not only is it inaccurate for many theistic evolutionists, but it doesn't fit with the definition you quoted. Some theistic evolutionists might take a deist approach, not certainly not all.
I’m sorry, but it is not a strawman for the majority view of theistic evolution. It is essentially deistic in its view of the mechanical nature of evolution. It is perfectly in keeping with the definition from the PCA Statement.
theistic evolution: belief that natural processes sustained by God’s ordinary providence are God’s means of bringing about life and humanity.
At the heart of theistic evolution is the notion that God created certain laws and principles (“natural processes”) and that by the “normal” application of these processes (“God’s ordinary providence”) every living thing evolved to the state we see today. Natural selection, macroevolution, speciation, are all the result of providential guiding of natural processes. Like a child being born and growing up to adulthood and on to death, it’s just ordinary providence.

In terms of the scientific distinction, I'm not sure I understand your question. Evolution is evolution - I'm not sure how there can be a "scientific" difference...:scratch:
That is my point. From a scientific standpoint there can be no distinction between how the Darwinian evolutionist approaches the data and how a theistic evolutionist approaches the data. The data itself tells the same story. The difference only comes about after imposing certain metaphysical views on the data.

Theistic evolution, like its Darwinian brother, says that the same natural processes that turned fish into birds also turned apes into humans. There was no “dusty Adam.” Basic evolution precludes such a notion.

You said:
We're getting off topic discussing our individual beliefs on evolution, but my position is that God created Adam and Eve from dust as it says in Genesis 2. I don't believe Adam and Eve evolved, though I do believe God used and continues to use evolutionary principles in His creation.

Genesis 1

So God created great sea creatures and every living thing that moves, with which the waters abounded, according to their kind, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (v. 21)

And God made the beast of the earth according to its kind, cattle according to its kind, and everything that creeps on the earth according to its kind. And God saw that it was good. (v. 25)

So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them. (v. 27)
So, is it your opinion that, naturalistically speaking, there is a different sort of “creation” happening in these three verses? It seems inconsistent with the definition of evolution to suggest they are radically different.
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
It probably was a poor choice for your men’s group unless they truly were more serious about understanding the unbeliever than they were about proving themselves theologically superior.
They chose it in ignorance based on the recommendation by a person new to Reformed thinking (his dad is a pastor in a PCA and a fan of Keller), and came to the conclusion that Keller isn't Reformed. They were neither trying to understand the unbeliever (? weren't we all unbelievers at one time?) nor trying to prove that they are theologically superior.
Trying to feel theologically superior is what I would have been doing, arrogant sinner than I am. Hence the comment. Sorry to accuse.
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
Old agers have to have a local flood. They hold to millions of years of gradual geologic change. For them, Mt Everest is too high to be covered with water thousands of years ago; even Mt Ararat is too high.

Young earthers believe in catastrophic events at God's initiative. God spoke and the mountains were raised up. A much flatter crust was destroyed when the fountains of the deep opened up during the flood, and deposited sedimentary layers of rock from water that was under great pressure and heat below the crust, saturated with minerals. The mountains rose up during this period of great upheavel, taking their soon to be fossilized fish and ferns up with them.

The thing about old earth and the local flood is that it isn't even necessary, not even for carbon dating. If people would just read some of the better books out there they'd realize how impossible the billions of year old moon and oceans and earth science really is. But they don't read creation science books, so they are trapped in deception. Sad. I think it is a subtle- or not so subtle- adoption of limited inerrancy, and the end point down the years for followers is liberalism.
 
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