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Christian Leaders Conference Focuses on Reality of Creation

Christian Leaders Conference Focuses on Reality of Creation

Weekly Portraits of Calvary Life

On February 8, Christian leaders and Calvary students gathered for a one-day conference focused on creation.  Dr. Baurain taught the first session, and Dr. Cone spoke on how to use the truth about creation in evangelism and discipleship.  Dr. Gromacki’s lesson on why believing in a literal Adam matters doubled as Chapel for the students.  After lunch, Dr. Dodds addressed the theological significance of creation.  Dr. Boyd taught the final session of the day.  He is the director of the Center for Interdisciplinary Creation Studies here at Calvary.  It is our prayer that all of the attendees came away with an understanding of the importance of the literal, six-day creation.

Sara Klaassen

Alumni Relations Coordinator

Upcoming Calvary Events

Music of Germany         Feb. 23

Feast & Fund Auction                                                           March 1

Hannah Lamb’s Senior Recital                                           March 1

Calvary Days              March 7-9

Newsies performances                                       March 7-10, 15-17

End of Cycle 4               March 8

Start of Cycle 5           March 11

Upcoming Men’s Basketball Games

February 14-16, MCCC Tournament at Home

Upcoming Women’s Basketball Games

February 15-16, MCCC Tournament at Home

Upcoming lux voces Performances

February 17, 10:00 a.m. at Elm Springs Baptist Church in Kingsville, MO

Celebrating God’s Blessing at the President’s Dinner

Celebrating God’s Blessing at the President’s Dinner

Weekly Portraits of Calvary Life

Last Thursday almost 200 people joined us for the annual President’s Dinner.  The theme for the evening was “Celebrating God’s Blessing!”  After dinner the program began with two songs by the Chorale.

The Calvary Chorale sang Kum Ba Yah.

Then we presented Hand in Hand Awards to Bill and Debi Keeney and Graham Union Church for their tremendous support of Calvary.

Bill Keeney (left) accepts the Hand in Hand Award from Randy Grimm.

Representatives of Graham Union Church

 

Dr. Cone announced two recent, huge blessings.  First, we have 401 students enrolled in classes right now!  Second, Calvary has been approved to offer a PhD in Bible and Theology launching in January 2019.  Following Dr. Cone we heard testimonies from three students as well as reports about God’s blessings in the Athletic Department, Colorado Innovation Center, and Kansas City campus buildings.

Student Tori Stahr gave a testimony.

The evening concluded with the first performance of Calvary’s new music group, lux voces.  We are thankful for each person who came to celebrate with us and for the students who served in various capacities throughout the event.

Sara Klaassen

Alumni Relations Coordinator

 

Upcoming Soccer Games

October 5, 4:00 p.m. at Haviland, KS vs. Barclay

October 11, 4:00 p.m. at Home vs. Union

October 16, 4:00 p.m. at Home vs. Kansas Christian

Upcoming Volleyball Games

October 5, 7:00 p.m. at Haviland, KS vs. Barclay

October 12, 6:00 p.m. at Home vs. Trinity Bible

October 16, 6:00 p.m. at Manhattan, KS vs. Manhattan Christian

Upcoming Calvary Events

CU Experience                        October 11-12

Fall Theatre Production:  All My Sons            October 11-14

Clay Shoot                               October 20

Cycle 3 begins                         October 22

Charles C. Ryrie Lecture Series          October 23-26

Theatre Arts Silent Auction     November 2

Out of Scarcity, Abundance – A Reflection on Mark 12:41-44

Out of Scarcity, Abundance – A Reflection on Mark 12:41-44

Out of Scarcity, Abundance

Dr. Joaquim Braga, PhD
Biblical Counseling Interim Department Chair

There are many reasons why Christianity doesn’t make sense to me. A righteous, all-good, all-powerful being that allows the existence of suffering and evil. A chosen nation, supposed to be a channel of spiritual blessings to all other nations, that is engrossed in worshiping a golden statue shortly after being miraculously delivered from the most powerful nation of the time. A Creator-King who is born as a helpless baby in a stable, literally in the middle of nowhere, destined to become the Redeemer and Savior of all. A divine kingdom supposed to change the world that is entrusted to twelve (make that eleven) unimpressive, mostly uneducated men with all sorts of spiritual blindness. An eternal being who experiences death for the sake of creatures who do not want to have anything to do with him in the first place. My list could go on and on.

I am making my way through the Gospel of Mark, and the other day I read a passage that reminded me, yet again, of how upside-down kingdom logic is when compared to the ways of this world.

“And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny.And he called his disciples to him and said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on’.” (Mark 12:41-44)

If you stop and think about it, there are several things about this passage that are upside-down. Take a closer look at who Jesus is using as an example of spiritual discernment and worship. This unlikely model that we are supposed to emulate has three fundamental things going against her according to society: she’s a woman, she’s a widow, and she’s poor! Both in Jesus’ times as well as in ours, these are traits that would encourage the elite to ignore and even despise this woman. Her gender makes her inferior and voiceless, her marital status makes her helpless and needy, while her poverty makes her empty-handed and devoid of anything good to offer.

(By the way, we could also assume this woman is also advanced in age since she’s a widow. But since she already has plenty going against her, let’s not add this one more thing to our list. We can safely say we have at least three significant strikes against her.)

Everything about this person screams of scarcity. Not enoughto give. Not enoughto matter. Not enoughto make an impact. Not enoughto be noticed. Not enoughto be special or significant. Not enoughto justify her existence.

And yet… Jesus draws our attention to this unlikely heroine of faith.

Jesus sees her. He notices her. He finds her example so moving that he draws the attention of the disciples to her, this unimpressive embodiment of scarcity who only had a few measly coins to give.

Yes. Christianity doesn’t make a whole lot of sense according to the ways of this world. And that, my friends, gives me great hope and consolation.

I am not that different from this poor middle-eastern widow who lived thousands of years ago. I constantly find myself caught between two equally undesirable places: feeling like too much(I’m a burden, carrying on myself too much guilt, too much shame, too many mistakes, too many flaws) while also feeling like not enough at the same time (not enough faith, not enough discipline, not enough commitment, not enough accomplishments… my list could go on and on). Let me tell you: feeling like too much and not enough all at once is a maddening way to exist.

Too much bad stuff and not enough good stuff. That’s how I often feel about myself when my spiritual gaze drifts off of Jesus, which it often tends to do.

And I’ll say one more time: AND YET!

And yet Jesus sees me. Jesus tells me that I don’t have to have an abundance of anything the world deems worthy in order to please him, in order to be noticed, in order to matter, in order to make a difference, in order to be loved. Jesus tells me that he took upon Himself on the cross both my abundance of bad stuff as well as my scarcity of good stuff.  Jesus tells me that in Him I am made anew. Jesus tells me that whatever little, unimpressive things I have to offer (ultimately myself) matters greatly to Him!

The truth is this: Whenever I give Jesus my two little coins from a place of trust and love, I put a smile on His face. And He looks at me and reminds me yet again: “Son, it’s not your two coins that I am after. It’s you that I want, scarcity and all.”

Christianity does not make a whole lot of sense.

And that’s good news.

Ministry Studies Department Hosting a trip to the Holy Land, June 9–22, 2019

Ministry Studies Department Hosting a trip to the Holy Land, June 9–22, 2019

Ministry Studies Department Hosting a trip to the Holy Land, June 9–22, 2019

Every pastor and Bible teacher should see first-hand the land of the Bible. It will help their teaching and preaching come alive! The Ministry Studies Department Chair, Dr. Mike Dodds, is encouraging Ministry Studies students, Bible/Theology students, and anyone interested in encouraging their relationship with Christ to join this tour this coming summer.

The tour will leave Kansas City on June 9, land in Jordan to see Petra and sites around the Dead Sea. Then the majority of the days involve a detailed exposure to the significant OT and NT sites in Israel. Calvary students may take an elective course for academic credit for the trip, and all interested individuals will benefit for this 14-day experience.

The tour price of $4,475 includes estimated round trip airfare from Kansas City including air taxes, 12 nights lodging at 4-Star hotels, expert biblical tour guides in Jordan & Israel, baggage handling, sightseeing, breakfast and dinner daily at the hotels, 1 lunch, border taxes, and Jordan visa. Additional costs beyond the above price include 11 lunches, tips to guides, drivers, and hotel staff (approximately $148), travel insurance (approximately $100), and passport ($145).

A completed reservation form and a $300 deposit are due by January 9, 2019. Final payment will be due April 9, 2019. Space is limited, so interested students and individuals should contact Dr. Mike Dodds at (816) 322-5152 (ext 1348).

Come Learn How To Facilitate Christian Growth In A Small Group Setting!

Come Learn How To Facilitate Christian Growth In A Small Group Setting!

 

“Christian community is the place where we keep the flame of hope alive among us and take it seriously so that it can grow and become stronger in us.” – Henri Nouwen

Relationships are essential to God’s very nature because He himself is a relational being who has always existed as a triune being with eternal interactions of love, intimacy, empowerment, and service between the Father, Son, and Spirit. It is no surprise, therefore, that relationships are also essential to the Christian life. Because we are created in the image of a triune, relational God, we simply cannot be healthy as Christians while living in isolation. Every aspect of the Christian journey involves others in the Body in some capacity, from our very conversion to our sanctification.

Just like the disciples grew in their relationship with Jesus in the context of their relationships with each other, we too are called to become conformed to the image of Christ by loving, serving, encouraging, admonishing, accepting, submitting, and forgiving one another—just to name a few!

Whether you are a Calvary student or someone from the community, consider enrolling in our upcoming Group Counseling intensive class, which will be offered September 27-29. This course may be taken for credit or personal enrichment. In this class, you will learn the Biblical foundation’s group counseling, as well as practical skills to lead small groups effectively.

To find out more about this and other seminary counseling courses, contact Dr. Joa Braga.

Is Biologos’s “Evolutionary Creation” A Biblical Position?

Is Biologos’s “Evolutionary Creation” A Biblical Position?

BioLogos’s Evolutionary Creation—New Theology with Old Roots

Mr. Thomas Crank – Pursuing Master of Arts in Bible and Theology

Charles Kingsley, priest at Eversley, Hampshire, wrote a letter to Charles Darwin in 1859, thanking him for a copy of On the Origin of Speciesand penning words that Darwin would later immortalize in the conclusion of the second edition of his book: “I have gradually learnt to see that it is just as noble a conception of Deity, to believe that he created primal forms capable of self development […] as to believe that He required a fresh act of intervention […]. I question whether the former be not the loftier thought.”[1]With these words, Kingsley set the precedent for the acceptance of Darwin’s theory as a theology for Biblical interpretation of creation. Since Kingsley’s time, the church has widely accepted theistic evolution, the belief that God used evolution to work “‘in and through’ nature,”[2]but was Kingsley right? Should the Biblical scholar “give up much that [they] have believed,”[3]as Kingsley did, using theistic evolution as the foundation for a Biblical worldview?

BioLogos,[4]a leading Christian ministry dedicated to harmonizing evolution and Biblical faith, would answer “yes” to this question—but with qualifiers: though it accepts evolution, BioLogos rejects the term “theistic evolution,” arguing for a new and better creation theology called evolutionary creation.[5]When BioLogos’s complete worldview is compared to the Biblical worldview, however, it is neither new nor better and is ultimately untenable.

BioLogos claims to hold to a Biblical worldview, viewing the Bible as the Christian’s inspired authority;[6]however, many of its claims seem to run counter to the Biblical worldview. Thus, a test is needed to measure BioLogos’s claims with Biblical truth. The dialogue between creation and evolution so often focuses on individual arguments for one specific issue (e.g. the age of the earth, the legitimacy of ape men, the Big Bang, etc.), but since ideas have consequences, these individual arguments fit within a larger worldview that, when fully assembled, reveal its guiding philosophy. For the Christian, this philosophy comes from Christ, rather than according to the “empty philosophy”[7]of the world. Since the Biblical worldview’s philosophy must come from Christ, the Bible should provide a coherent philosophy by which the Christian can build a complete worldview. If BioLogos’s worldview consistently follows the philosophy from Christ as measured against the truth in the Bible in each of the four categories of a worldview, then it is a Biblical position.

Comparing the Biblical and Evolutionary Creation Worldviews

Biblical Epistemology

The first key component of a worldview is epistemology, the study of knowledge. Knowledge comes from a source of authority, but that authority must be interpreted rightly. In the Biblical worldview, the source of authority is God who has revealed himself through creation,[8]the Bible,[9]and Jesus.[10]Wisdom starts with God; therefore, any knowledge of anything must start with God.[11]The Bible presupposes God’s existence, but creation reveals God’s glory, eternal power, and divine nature.[12]The Bible is the main source for understanding God because creation is limited.[13]The Apostle Paul teaches that scripture is God breathed[14]and sufficient for teaching within the church.[15]Lest this appear to be circular reasoning, God adorned human flesh and stepped into creation as a human, Jesus. Jesus affirmed creation as presented in Genesis,[16]and he is God’s word in these “last days.”[17]

In order to understand the Bible clearly, a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic is needed. When Paul writes that all Scripture is “profitable” and “adequate,”[18]he assumes it is sufficient. Not only is Scripture the source of authority[19]according to this passage, but it also provides insight into the interpretation method for the Bible. Paul assumes that Scripture can be rightly understood because it is “profitable,” which presupposes that it is an adequate vehicle for communicating knowledge. Furthermore, the way the Jesus and the New Testament writers interpret the Old Testament provides a clear model for interpreting the Bible.[20]They quote passages literally, only interpreting something figuratively when the text itself is figurative.[21]This method is consistent throughout scripture. As God speaks through Genesis, for example, his hearers respond to him as if they clearly understand his thoughts in a logical, literal manner.[22]

Evolutionary Creation’s Epistemology

BioLogos’s website professes that the “Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God.”[23]On the surface, God would seem to be Evoltionary Creation’s source of authority, just as in the Biblical worldview; however, further analysis shows that this is not the case. Denis Lamoureux, who coined the term “evolutionary creation,” writes that this view “fully embraces both the religious beliefs of Biblical Christianity and the scientific theories of cosmological, geological, and biological evolution.”[24]This statement combines the Biblical worldview with another completely different worldview. Other statements on BioLogos’s website confirm this duality.[25]Lamoureux makes the belief plainest when he says, “Evolutionary creation embraces the time-honored belief that divine revelation flows from two major sources—the Book of God’s Words and the Book of God’s Works. This position supports a complementary relationship between the scripture and science in understanding origins.”[26]He further explains that the Bible is incomplete without this “Book of God’s Works.”[27]A presupposition emerges in these statements. God is not the source of authority in evolutionary creation—evolutionary science is the primary source. In fact, Lamoureux praises evolutionary creation’s ability to reveal more of God over time as research develops.[28]

If evolutionary creation’s source of authority is the “Two Books” that reveal God, then the hermeneutic actually becomes a theological one by definition. If evolution is accepted as one of the primary means of understanding God, then this presupposition is used to interpret the Bible. Evolutionary creation’s hermeneutic, however, becomes even more complicated when researchers exercise it. In “Human Evolution in Theological Context,” for example, George Murphy says, “I want to take both scripture and science into account [when building a theology],” but then he argues that “God is concealed from direct observation,”[29]citing Isaiah 45:15[30]for support. His conclusion is that the “regularity of natural processes” allows humanity to understand the world “on its own terms.”[31]The Bible is rejected as the source of authority, as natural processes are much easier to understand.

The theological hermeneutic of evolutionary creation does not work alone, however. Evolutionary creationists also add a genre hermeneutic, arguing that Genesis 1–11 is “special type of literature,” a “unique genre,” set apart from the rest of Genesis.[32]

Biblical Metaphysics

Metaphysics describes what exists. It includes ontology, axiology, teleology, and eschatology. Ontology deals with what exists and how it exists. Biblical ontology defines God as the creator, creating the universe in six, literal, twenty-four-hour days.[33]It demonstrates that God works supernaturally through miracles, and it teaches that a spiritual realm exists.[34]Finally, it teaches that man was created in the image of God.[35]

Axiology studies values, answering questions such as, “What is good?” or “What is beauty?” The Bible teaches that all things come from God[36]and are defined by God[37]—this includes good and evil.

Teleology, another sub-discipline of metaphysics, studies the purpose and design of things that exist. Biblical ontology shows God’s creation of time, space, and matter and the time it took for this to happen. Teleology explains that God created personally and directly in creation.[38]It also teaches that creation was originally created “very good”[39]but is fallen through Adam’s sin.[40]Christ’s death and resurrection redeems those who believe.[41]Biblical teleology further teaches that man was created originally to rule over the world as God’s representative[42]and that all things were under his feet, but when he fell, his rule failed.[43]Christ now rules.[44]

In Biblical eschatology, the area of metaphysics that studies things to come, all things will ultimately bring glory to God.[45]Christ will reign on the earth, fulfilling his promise to Israel and completing his work as the second Adam.[46]Creation will be destroyed,[47]and a new one will be created.[48]

Evolutionary Creation’s Metaphysics

Evolutionary creation’s ontology teaches that God started creation billions of years ago.[49]God does, however, periodically use miracles to affect his creation.[50]Though atheistic evolution denies the spiritual realm, it does exist in evolutionary creation.[51]One interesting issue evolutionary creation has to deal with is man evolving through natural processes. This means that being created in the image of God is a questionable belief. Lamoureux says, “… humans evolved from pre-human ancestors, and over a period of time the Image of God and human sin were gradually and mysteriously manifested.”[52]This means a new model for understanding Adam and Eve is required. Denis Alexander explains this “homo divinus” model, describing how God breathing into Adam was actually God revealing himself to Neolithic farmers. Alexander says, “God in his grace chose a couple of Neolithic farmers in the Near East, or maybe a community of farmers, to whom he chose to reveal himself in a special way, calling them into fellowship with himself.”[53]

Axiology in evolutionary creation follows a somewhat Darwinian model. Evolutionary creationists do believe the Bible contains good eternal truths, depending on the culture.[54]Good and evil have come about naturally, however. Murphy says, “Biologically, we have selfish tendencies that result from natural selection. In addition, we are born and nurtured as members of a tribe estranged from God.”[55]Charles Darwin’s views were a little more extreme, but similar. In The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex, Darwin argues that emotions, and appreciation of beauty have been observed in animals; thus, morality, good, and evil came about naturally. Darwin says:

The taste for the beautiful … differs widely in the different races of man, and is not quite the same even in the different nations of the same race. Judging from the hideous ornaments, and the equally hideous music admired by most savages, it might be urged that their aesthetic faculty was not so highly developed as in certain animals, for instance, as in birds.[56]

According to Darwin, some people groups are considered less evolved because they have a lower appreciation for beauty than some birds. Darwin’s axiology is beauty comes from complexity. He makes a similar argument for morality, which will be picked up in the section on ethics. Suffice to say, good and evil, beauty and ugliness are all natural concepts under Darwinian evolution. The only difference between Darwinian evolution’s axiology and the evolutionary creationist is that the evolutionary creationist asserts God as the director of evolution.[57]

Teleology in the evolutionary creation model has God starting all the natural evolutionary mechanisms.[58]Evolutionary creation teaches that God “sustains the world”, “works outside of natural law in supernatural events”, and that “God continues to be directly involved in creation and in human history.”[59]It rejects materialism and scientism, keeping God in the picture, and it also reject deism, which claims that God started the universe and walked away.[60]Furthermore, it rejects that evolution is a “purposeless process”; instead, it is “God-ordained.”[61]Sin, death, and suffering are natural parts of the world, part of God’s design for evolution. Murphy explains:

… natural selection, the critical factor in evolution that Darwin and Wallace identified, means that some amount of selfish behavior in our ancestors would have been favored. There would have been deception, theft, sexual promiscuity, and violence, and those tendencies would have been passed on to us. Nor is this only theoretical: the behaviors of our closest surviving relatives among the great apes confirms this picture.[62]

Part of God’s purpose in evolutionary creation was to get genetic information to “be fruitful and multiply,” as it were, so he used “sin” to get this to happen. Murphy goes on to argue that it technically is not sin if God had not yet instituted a law. Murphy also points out that God created man as “very good,” not “perfect.”[63]God evolved humans with the purpose of growing in a relationship with him, Murphy continues. Redemption is simply God working to get humans back on course, the ultimate act being Christ on the cross.[64]Aside from this redemption, humans are one part of a complex creation controlled by God, not even fully unique.[65]As more highly-evolved forms, however, humans may have the purpose of stewardship over creation—building God’s kingdom on earth.[66]

As for eschatology, evolutionary creationists seem to borrow heavily from atheistic evolutionists. They rely on natural laws, which show the world is slowly decaying according to law of entropy, the universe eventually ending in heat death according to the same law—as Stephen Hawking put it, “The increase of disorder or entropy … [gives] direction to time.”[67]Evolutionary creationists also believe that humanity will continue to evolve and learn better ways to relate to God and creation.[68]Some overlap does exist between the Biblical worldview and that of evolutionary creation in a belief that Christ will return.[69]

Biblical Ethics

Ethics discusses how people ought to live. If good and evil exist, then what does good living look like? Man can do nothing good apart from God.[70]Only by believing in Christ can man come to God.[71]Then, through the Spirit, man can produce good fruit.[72]Ethics, then, directly connects to God and can only be lived rightly by the Spirit, who helps the believer do the will of God. When unbelievers do good things, they actually demonstrate God’s law written on their hearts,[73]a part of the image of God, but their works are still worthless in God’s sight because they do not come from Christ.[74]

Evolutionary Creation’s Ethics

Within evolutionary creation, ethics become dependent on time, culture, and interpretation. Biblical truths depend on culture, so different cultures will have different ethics.[75]Walking with God is a higher path that people should follow, but this path is possible only through Christ.[76]

Biblical Socio-Political

The final component of a worldview, socio-political, deals with how societies and governments should interact.Scripture teaches that God places the governing authorities in power.[77]Christians should be subject to them.[78]Christians should also love the church,[79]love their neighbors,[80]and serve in the community.[81]

Evolutionary Creation’s Socio-Political

Under evolutionary creation, society and politics are a part of evolution—a sort of symbiotic relationship.[82]God, however, is still sovereign over this process. Other parts of the socio-political are identical to the Biblical worldview because these are often the general truths that remain when genre hermeneutics dissect the Scriptures.

Summary of the Biblical and Evolutionary Creation Worldviews

The following chart provides a side-by-side comparison of the two worldviews. Notice how evolutionary creation contains some identical components within the categories of socio-political and ethics. The similarity is superficial because evolutionary creation is built on different presuppositions and starts with a different epistemology.

Biblical Worldview Evolutionary Creation
Epistemology
Source of Authority God, who revealed himself through creation, the Bible, and Christ. Science, which reveals more about God over time.
Interpretation Method Literal Grammatical Historical Hermeneutic applied to the Bible. “Two Books” (Creation and the Bible) interpreted through a Theology/Genre hermeneutic.
Metaphysics
Ontology God supernaturally created the universe in six literal twenty-four-hour days.

The spiritual and the miraculous exist.

God created man in his image.

God started creation billions of years ago.

God periodically uses miracles to affect his creation. The spiritual realm exists.

Man evolved through natural processes and the image of God mysteriously manifested.

Axiology All things come from God and are defined by God. The Bible contains good eternal truths, depending on the culture. Good and evil have come about naturally.
Teleology God created all things personally.

All creation was created “very good” but is fallen through Adam’s sin. Christ’s death and resurrection redeemed those who believe.

Man was created to rule over the world, but he failed. Christ reigns.

God started all the natural evolutionary mechanisms. God directs evolution’s path.

Sin, death, and suffering are natural parts of the world. Redemption is God working to get humans back on course, the ultimate act being Christ on the cross.

Humans are one part of a complex creation controlled by God, not even fully unique. As more highly-evolved forms, however, humans may have the purpose of stewardship over creation—building God’s kingdom on earth.

Eschatology All things will ultimately bring glory to God. Christ will reign on the earth. Creation will be destroyed and a new one will be created. The world will slowly decay according to law of entropy. The universe will eventually end in heat death according to the same law. Humanity will continue to evolve and learn better ways to relate to God and creation.

The Theology/Genre hermeneutic leads to a non-literal view of Revelation, which would see the theme of Revelation as good triumphing over evil.

Ethics Man can do nothing good apart from God. Only by believing in Christ can man come to God. Then, through the Spirit, man can produce good fruit. Humanity can experience God’s love and presence in his its life.

Biblical truths depend on culture, so different cultures will have different ethics. Culture defines morality.

Walking with God is a higher path that should be followed, and this is possible only through Christ.

Socio-Political God places the governing authorities in power. Christians should be subject to them. Christians should love the church, love their neighbors, and serve in the community. Society and politics are a part of evolution—a sort of symbiotic relationship. God, however, is sovereign over this process.

Christians should be subject to the government, should love the church, love their neighbors, and serve in the community.

 

Argument for the Biblical Worldview

Evolutionary creation ultimately fails to be a Biblical worldview due to an unbiblical source of authority and a problematic hermeneutic. Many other problems exist in the worldview,[83]but if a worldview’s epistemology is off track, the entire worldview is suspect. Thus, the argument in this paper focuses on problems with evolutionary creation’s core presuppositions, source of authority, and hermeneutic.

Evolutionary Creation’s Faulty Presuppositions

Evolutionary creation holds two major presuppositions that render it a faulty worldview. First, it presupposes that the Bible contains false science. Lamoureux says, “[The science in the Bible] is the science-of-the-day a few thousand years ago in the ancient Near East. And like most science over time, it is improved, if not completely replaced, with a better understanding of nature.”[84]Lamoureux goes on to argue that the word “earth” appears over 2,500 times in the Old Testament and over 250 times in the New Testament—and never is referred to as spherical or round. However, Psalm 19:4, Psalm 104:2, and Isaiah 40:22 compare the universe to a tent and the earth to the floor.[85]Lamoureux continues to point out various “phenomenological perspectives”[86]in the Bible, but the presuppositional error Lamoureux makes is plain enough in his first example. Lamoureux assumes a “phenomenological perspective.” His argument for how the world was understood by Hebrews is circumstantial, pulled by applying his study of Near Eastern culture back into the text. He says, “Figure 1 presents the world as conceived by ancient Near Eastern peoples [(a three-tiered universe)], including God’s chosen people, the Hebrews.”[87]Moreover, he applies his evolutionary theology to the text, assuming that ancient peoples were not as smart as modern humanity when much evidence to the contrary exists.[88]

A second faulty presupposition is that evolution itself can be compatible with the Bible. That is, of course, the mission of BioLogos, helping Christians understand that it iscompatible. The problem with this position, however, is that key figures in mainstream evolutionary science deny that the Bible and evolution are compatible. Atheist literature seems to see theistic evolution as a pseudoscience. One atheist blog, for example, calls theistic evolution “an orthodoxy that tells laypeople what to think, based on shallow science.”[89] Another atheist attempted to persuade an audience that theistic evolution was a hopeless endeavor, explaining that “Attempts to join evolution with God are futile.”[90]But the strongest critiques come from more recognizable names. Stephen Hawking, for example, in A Brief History of Timeoften wrestles with the idea of a creator starting the universe, but he hypothesizes that the universe is without border; thus, “What place, then, for a creator?”[91]Finally, Richard Dawkins said in a TV interview, “Evangelical Christians have sort of got it right in seeing evolution as an enemy … [theistic evolutionists] are deluded.”[92]

Evolutionary creation, therefore, is based on two faulty presuppositions: 1) the Bible contains false science and 2) Evolution is compatible with the Bible. These faulty presuppositions provide a shaky foundation for belief in evolutionary creation, but coupled with evolutionary creation’s unbiblical source of authority, the position is completely untenable.

Evolutionary Creation’s Unbiblical Source of Authority

Evolutionary creation claims to hold the Bible as authoritative, and to some extent this is true in action. Evolutionary creation makes the Bible one of two books of revelation, creation being the other, complementary one.[93]In practice, however, the Bible does not hold any authority for the evolutionary creationist; it is consistently reinterpreted in light of “The Book of God’s Works” (nature) rather than used to interpret nature. Lamoureux, for example, assumes the Bible is filled with scientific errors because he views “The Book of God’s Works” through an evolutionary theological hermeneutic. Lam makes a similar error when he uses the fact that archeology has discovered other ancient Near Eastern Creation myths as proof for a faulty Genesis creation account.[94]“The Book of God’s Works (creation as seen through evolution), then, becomes the more authoritative source of authority, which puts the whole position at odds with the Biblical worldview. It also opens up the Bible for constant reinterpretation because science is always changing and improving.[95]

Furthermore, holding to creation as the primary source of authority contradicts the Biblical worldview as outlined in scripture. God has revealed himself through creation, but Romans 1:20 provides a qualifier: “His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made …” Creation provides some revelation about God, but it is not a full revelation. Not only is creation limited, but wisdom starts with God,[96]not nature. Finally, the author of Hebrews says that God has spoken to man in these last days through his son,[97]not nature.

Evolutionary Creation’s Hermeneutic Creates More Problems Than It Solves

Evolutionary creation is built on two faulty presuppositions and contradicts scripture’s view of epistemology, but this unbiblical epistemology has deeper consequences. The evolutionary theological and genre hermeneutic brings unwritten creation narratives into the creation of man. Evolution needs man to evolve over millions of years. Evolutionary creationists have to add this history to the text with elaborate models.[98]Furthermore, seeing Genesis 1–11 as figurative creates a slippery slope—where does the text actually mean what it says?

The Biblical Worldview is Stronger

Evolutionary creation is not a new theory—it is theistic evolution with new clothes, but it makes the same fundamental mistakes that Charles Kingsley did in his letter to Darwin—denying the ultimate source of authority (God) and inserting the philosophy of man in its place. The Biblical worldview from a literal grammatical historical hermeneutic is far stronger, based on solid presuppositions and consistent with Biblical teaching.

Bibliography

Books

Darwin, Charles. The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. London: John Murray, 1871.

Darwin, Charles. On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or, the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life. London: J. Murray, 1859.

Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006.

Lamoureux, Denis. Evolutionary Creation: A Christian Approach to Evolution. Eugene: Wipf & Stock, 2008.

Witham, Larry.Where Darwin Meets the Bible: Creationists and Evolutionists in America. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002.

Hawking, Stephen, A Brief History of Time.(Bantam Books, 1998), Chapter nine.

Electronic Sources

“About Us.” biologos.org/about-us Accessed 8 April 2018.

Alexander, Denis, “How Does a BioLogos Model Need to Address the Theological Issues Associated with an Adam Who Was Not the Sole Genetic Progenitor of Humankind?” biologos.org/projects/scholar-essays Accessed 8 April, 2018.

“Common Questions” biologos.org/common-questions Accessed 8 April, 2018.

Conder, Howard. Interview with Richard Dawkins. Revelation TV Interview with Richard Dawkins. Revelation TV. 2011.

Klinghoffer, David. “Trouble in Paradise? At BioLogos Theistic Evolutionists Fall Out Amongst Themselves.” evolutionnews.org Accessed 8 April, 2018.

“Letter no. 2534.” https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2534 Accessed 16 April 2018.

Lam, Joseph. “The Biblical Creation in its Ancient Near Eastern Context.” biologos.org/projects/scholar-essays Accessed 8 April, 2018.

Lamoureux, Denis. “Evolutionary Creation: Beyond the Evolution vs. Creation Debate.” https://biologos.org/ resources/scholarly-articles/evolutionary-creation-a-christian-approach-to-evolution Accessed 8 April 2018.

Murphy, George L. “Human Evolution in Theological Context.” biologos.org/projects/scholar-essays Accessed 8 April 2018.

Wiseman, Jennifer. “Science as an Instrument of Worship: Can Recent Scientific Discovery Inform and Inspire Our Worship and Service?” biologos.org/files/modules/wiseman_white_paper.pdf Accessed 8 April, 2018.

Additional Resources in the BioLogos Debate

Cosner, Lita. “Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of BioLogos.” https://creation.com/biologos-evolutionary-syncretism Accessed 5 June, 2018.

“Evangelicals, Evolution, and the BioLogos Disaster.” Grace to You. https://www.gty.org/library/sermons-library/GTY136/evangelicals-evolution-and-the-biologos-disaster Accessed 8 April, 2018.

Fangrad, Richard. “BioLogos, theistic evolution and the Pelagian heresy.” https://creation.com/biologos-pelagian-heresy Accessed 5 June, 2018.

Institute for Creation Research. Search “biologos” http://www.icr.org/homepage/.

“The BioLogos Foundation.” Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_BioLogos_ Foundation Accessed 5 June, 2018. (See “Response”)

UpChurch, John. “The Danger of BioLogos: Blurring the Line Between Creation and Evolution.” https://answersingenesis.org/theistic-evolution/the-danger-of-biologos/ Accessed 8 April, 2018.

End Notes

[1]“Letter no. 2534.” https://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/letter/DCP-LETT-2534Accessed 16 April 2018.

[2]Witham, Larry. Where Darwin Meets the Bible: Creationists and Evolutionists in America(Oxford University Press, 2002), 47.

[3]“Letter no. 2534.”

[4]BioLogos is debated frequently in a number of Biblical creation groups, such as Creation Ministries International, Northwest Creation Network, and resources from John McArthur’s ministry, Grace to You. The Institute for Creation Research has also been active in writing against BioLogos, penning over a dozen articles warning against its errors. BioLogos was founded in 2007 by Dr. Francis Collins, who was then the director of the Human Genome Project. Former President Barack Obama later appointed Dr. Collins as head of the National Institutes of Health. BioLogos has thus had a weighty voice in influencing Christians in creation doctrine. In fact, they provide a wealth of resources for churches, youth groups, educators, and homeschoolers.

[5]Lamoureux, Denis. “Evolutionary Creation: Beyond the Evolution vs. Creation Debate,” https://biologos.org/ resources/scholarly-articles/evolutionary-creation-a-christian-approach-to-evolutionAccessed 8 April 2018.

[6]“About Us.” biologos.org/about-usAccessed 8 April 2018.

[7]Col 2:8. Unless otherwise noted, Scripture quotations in this study are taken from the NASB, © 1999 Zondervan.

[8]Ps 19:1, Rom 1:20

[9]2 Tim 3:16–17

[10]Heb 1:1–2

[11]Prov 1:7

[12]Ps 19:1, Rom 1:20

[13]Creation declares God’s glory (Ps 19:1) and invisible attributes, divine nature, and eternal power (Rom 1:20), but it does not explain, for example, how God has worked to redeem the world.

[14]2 Tim 3:16–17

[15]Ibid.

[16]Matt 19:4–6

[17]Heb 1:1–2. This passage also supports the Bible being God’s source of revelation, specifically supporting the Old Testament.

[18]2 Tim 3:16–17

[19]Source of authority for knowing God, who is the ultimate source of authority.

[20]Jesus answers the Pharisees with statements such as “Have you not read …?” (Examples include Matt 12:3, 5; Matt 19:4; and Mark 12:10, 26). In each case, Jesus assumes a clear, literal interpretation of the passage he quotes.

[21]Hebrews provides a good case study here. The writer of Hebrews begins his text by making an argument for the supremacy of Christ. He supports his argument with key quotations from a number of Old Testament passages. Each one is taken literally to directly and literally support his point. In chapter 2, he then turns his attention to a passage from Psalm 8:4­–6 where he points out that we do not literally see this passage fulfilled (Heb 2:8). In the very next verse, however, he still takes a literal interpretation by applying it to Christ who will literally fulfill the promise.

[22]In Gen 3:9, for example, God asks Adam, “Where are you?” to which Adam replies “I heard the sound of You in the garden, and I was afraid because I was naked; so I hid myself.” He could have interpreted God figuratively here: Where are you emotionally/spiritually?But he answers God’s literal question.

[23]biologos.org/about-us.

[24]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 1.

[25]“Common Questions” biologos.org/common-questionsAccessed 8 April, 2018: “We fully affirm that the Bible is the inspired and authoritative word of God. We alsoaccept the science of evolution as the best description for how God brought about the diversity of life on earth” (emphasis mine). Another statement says, “… both [are] means of God’s revelation of himself to us, they must work together towards an ultimate harmony.”

[26]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 9.

[27]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 10.

[28]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 2.

[29]Murphy, George L, “Human Evolution in Theological Context.” biologos.org/projects/scholar-essaysAccessed 8 April 2018.

[30]The passage is quoted in his article as follows: “Truly, you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior.”

[31]Murphy, “Human Evolution in Theological Context,” 1.

[32]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 3.

[33]Within the text itself, the following indicate literal, twenty-four-hour periods: 1) Day/night cycle established first (Gen 1:3–5), 2) Ordinal numbers given for each day, 3) The words “evening and morning” accompanying each day of creation.

[34]Eph 6:12

[35]Gen 1:26

[36]God created all things (Gen 1). Goodness comes from God (Gen 1, Rom 12:2, James 1:17). God created evil and the not good (Gen 2:18, Isa 45:7). God is the creator and sustainer of all things (Heb 1:3).

[37]God creates all the categories of matter, time and energy in Gen 1. He defines male and female. He gives commandments to his creation in Gen 1 and 2. His commandments given to Moses include the word shall, a word that implies a perfect standard, defined by God himself.

[38]God speaks and things are created and organized, but he forms man and breathes into him—much more personal.

[39]Gen 1:30

[40]Rom 5:12

[41]Rom 3:24, Eph 1:7–14, Eph 2:1–9

[42]Gen 1:26–33

[43]Heb 2:5–8

[44]Ibid.

[45]Rom 14:11. Here gentiles are called to glorify God by honoring Him as God, which they cannot do apart from Jesus because no one can come to the Father but through Jesus (John 14:6).

[46]Rom 5:12–21

[47]2 Pet 2:10–13

[48]Rev 22:21

[49]biologos.org/about-us

[50]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 1.

[51]biologos.org/common-questions

[52]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 1.

[53]Alexander, Denis, “How Does a BioLogos Model Need to Address the Theological Issues Associated with an Adam Who Was Not the Sole Genetic Progenitor of Humankind?” biologos.org/projects/scholar-essaysAccessed 8 April, 2018. 6.

[54]Lam, Joseph, “The Biblical Creation in its Ancient Near Eastern Context.” biologos.org/projects/scholar-essaysAccessed 8 April, 2018, 1. The evolutionary creationist has to treat truth somewhat relative because they take an evolutionary theology and a genre hermeneutic. Eternal truths become relative to time and culture, which makes them somewhat un-eternal.

[55]Murphy, “Human Evolution in Theological Context,” 4.

[56]Darwin, Charles, The Descent of Man, and Selection in Relation to Sex. (John Murray, 1871), 93.

[57]Which Darwin actually allows in the conclusion of Origin of Speciesand even in passing in The Descent of Manwhen he introduces the chapter on Mental Power within which lies the quoted material in this section.

[58]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 1. The author here actually uses the word teleological.

[59]biologos.org/about-us

[60]Ibid.

[61]Ibid.

[62]Murphy, “Human Evolution in Theological Context,” 3.

[63]Murphy, “Human Evolution in Theological Context,” 4.

[64]Murphy, “Human Evolution in Theological Context,” 1 and 7.

[65]Wiseman, Jennifer. “Science as an Instrument of Worship: Can Recent Scientific Discovery Inform and Inspire Our Worship and Service?” biologos.org/files/modules/wiseman_white_paper.pdfAccessed 8 April, 2018. 9.

[66]Wiseman, “Science as an Instrument of Worship,” 6.

[67]Hawking, Stephen, A Brief History of Time.(Bantam Books, 1998), Chapter nine.

[68]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 2.

[69]Wiseman, “Science as an Instrument of Worship,” 6.

[70]Isa 64:6

[71]John 14:6

[72]Rom 7:4

[73]Rom 2:15

[74]Isa 64:6 seen in light of John 14:6.

[75]This argument is constructed by synthesizing several articles that teach that Genesis 1–11 is best seen within the scientifically illiterate Near Eastern culture of early human history. These articles all use a genre hermeneutic to pull general truths from Genesis 1–11, rather than actual history and specific truths. The genre approach is too arbitrary if applied only to Genesis 1–11; it is easily and often used elsewhere, leading to a highly relative hermeneutic. Thus, different times, different cultures, and different interpretations will arrive at different general truths. Articles used: Alexander, “How Does a BioLogos Model Need to Address Adam?”; Lam, “The Biblical Creation in its Ancient Near Eastern Context”; Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation”; and Murphy, “Human Evolution in Theological Context”.

[76]Murphy, “Human Evolution in Theological Context,” 1–7.

[77]Rom 13:1–6

[78]Ibid.

[79]Rom 13:8–10

[80]Ibid.

[81]Gal 6:10

[82]  Dawkins, Richard. The God Delusion. (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2006). Chapter 6. Dawkins references Darwin often in this chapter, drawing from both Origins and Descent. His main point is that ethics and morality have evolved in like symbiosis in nature, which provides a working reason why family groups stay together for mutual benefit.

[83]See Bibliography for a list of additional sources that debate BioLogos and the theory of evolution itself.

[84]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 3.

[85]Ibid.

[86]Describing observations by appearance alone.

[87]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 4.

[88]One interesting resource on this subject can be accessed here: https://creation.com/m/how-smart-was-ancient-man-creation-magazine-live-3-03

[89]Klinghoffer, David. “Trouble in Paradise? At BioLogos Theistic Evolutionists Fall Out Amongst Themselves,” evolutionnews.orgAccessed 8 April, 2018.

[90]Witham, Larry. Where Darwin Meets the Bible: Creationists and Evolutionists in America(Oxford University Press, 2002). 5.

[91]Hawking, Stephen, A Brief History of Time, Chapter eight.

[92]Conder, Howard. Interview with Richard Dawkins. Revelation TV Interview with Richard Dawkins. Revelation TV. 2011.

[93]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 10.

[94]Lam, Joseph, “The Biblical Creation in its Ancient Near Eastern Context.” biologos.org/projects/scholar-essays,1. Lam says that because Genesis is not unique in creation myths, how can we trust it?

[95]Lamoureux, “Evolutionary Creation,” 2.

[96]Prov 1:7

[97]Heb 1:3

[98]See Alexander and Murphy.

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