BioLogos has received a good deal of press in recent weeks. The series Southern Baptist Voices has been an impetus for much of this press. One of the primary reasons for this series is a belief, deep and sincere, that we are brothers and sisters in Christ first – not opponents or enemies to be shouted down and vilified. This means that we must engage in serious and respectful conversations. A number of sources have reported on the story – a positive story about Christians for a change. You can find the Washington Post story here: Evangelical scientists debate evolution online with Southern Baptist seminary professors
Public discussion of evolution often turns into a nasty debate between young-earth creationists on one side and atheists who believe science disproves the existence of God on the other. But it doesn’t have to be that way.
Witness the gracious dialogue taking place between Southern Baptist seminary professors and evangelical scientists on the BioLogos website.
And the Christian Post story here by Lillian Kwon: Evangelicals Debate Theistic Evolution, Historical Adam:
Evangelical Christians have launched a civil debate on their opposing views on evolution and its compatibility with Scripture. Rather than a “tit-for-tat” exchange, they sought to start something more “charitable” and “respectful” in the science and faith discussion.
The online debate – or what The BioLogos Foundation is calling a “charitable dialogue” – began earlier this year when Southern Baptist scholars were given the opportunity to express some of their concerns to BioLogos regarding the organization’s approach to Scripture, interpretation of the first book of Genesis and the status of Adam, among other things.
The dialogue here is refreshing – and addresses a number of key issues. It does not, and cannot, answer all the questions to the satisfaction of all, but it can help to build understanding and refine the way that the discussion takes place.
But wait, there is more …
In another development Tim Stafford has written a cover article for the July/August issue of Christianity Today: A Tale of Two Scientists: What Really Happened ‘In the Beginning’. This article highlights the stories of Darrel Falk, President of BioLogos and Professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University and Todd Wood, a young earth creationist and Professor of Biology at Bryan College. Todd takes the position that he does because he believes that it is what the Bible clearly teaches, but he also, as far as I am aware, is truthful and straightforward in his handling of the scientific data. He is looking for evidence to prove that he is right. Dennis Venema (another Christian Biology Professor) highlighted some of Wood’s ideas in a post on BioLogos back a year and a half ago: A Tale of Three Creationists, Part 1.
From Stafford’s article, first Wood:
Wood remained fully committed to a six-day creation—he says he never doubted it for a minute—because he saw no other way to read the Bible. But that didn’t keep him from recognizing that evolution had powerful attestation.
“I want to redeem science,” Wood says. “I don’t want to refute science.” Many creationists focus on apologetics, which needs convincing answers. Wood wants to do science, which is more invested in asking the right questions. Wood believes that the questions he poses based on his reading of Genesis will lead to greater illumination.
In Coming to Peace with Science, Falk lays out the evidence for an ancient earth and the gradual development of its creatures over millions of years. He speaks of the message of Genesis—indeed, the whole of Scripture—as a testimony to God’s goodness and his plan to save the world. However, “I expect that many persons in our churches will read this book and put it down still believing in sudden creation. From my perspective, that will be fine. My prayer is that each person who reads it will respect that one should be able to be accepted as an equal partner in Christ’s body even if he or she believes that God created gradually.”
One of the most interesting incidents related in the article is an encounter between Dr. James Dobson and Dr. Falk as the content of Dr. Falk’s book was becoming known. Dr. Dobson is a Point Loma graduate and does not hold a young earth view, preferring, I believe, an old earth progressive creation position. After some indirect exchanges Dr. Falk was invited to meet with Dr. Dobson and “[t]o Falk’s great relief, the meeting went well, ending in a cordial agreement to disagree.“
Dr. Wood and Dr. Falk are excellent choices to highlight the paths Christians take and the reasons for those paths. As with the series on Southern Baptist Voices, we will only begin to make headway in the church and beyond the walls of the church when we move past the culture war and truly try to listen and understand.
Take a look at the whole article and lets start a discussion here.
Which approach makes the most sense to you?
What problems do you see with the approach taken by Dr. Falk? by Dr. Wood?
How should Christians approach these issues?
If you wish to contact me directly, you may do so at rjs4mail[at]att.net.