Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Thank God for Evolution

Check out this webpage with a free book (I thought that bit would get your attention).

The fascinating sounding book in question, Michael Dowd's Thank God for Evolution!, has been endorsed by a whole bunch of Nobel Laureates and could have an important effect. So I'm sure he won't mind me stating that I think he looks, in his web picture, a bit like a Groundhog. Don't tell me you don't see it too.


At 4/01/2008 11:33 PM, Anonymous Edward T. Babinski said...

Google: Christian Evolutionist Resources

At 4/01/2008 11:50 PM, Anonymous Edward T. Babinski said...

Christians and evolution.

I suppose most commentators at this blog wish the Christian world would get their house in order concerning just how symbolic the Genesis account is, instead of spreading creationism round the world, even importing "creation science" into Islamic countries.

Prof. Richard Colling, a long time biology professor at Olivet Nazarene University, and author of the book, Random Designer, got into hot water with his church because he's pro-evolution:


See also...

Documents Related to the Evolution Trial of Dr. Terry M. Gray in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church (OPC):


And this blog post:

"Would your Church allow you to Publicly Support Evolution?"


I also have a personal email from someone in a geology dept. of a large Christian university (whose church's denominational view is young-earth creationist) who says every geologist he works with in that department is an old-earther and pro-evolutionist but none of them can come out of the closet for fear of losing their jobs and creating immense controversy.

Patrick Henry College, which has many students who work in government positions as aids in Washington, D.C. (see the book, God's Harvard about the school) was denied accreditation because it requires all teachers to believe and teach seven-day creationism.

Wheaton College, an Evangelical institution, dismissed anthropology professor Alex Bolyanatz, and based on statements made by Wheaton heads it seems to have had to do with the fact Bolyanatz refused to incorporate Genesis into his biology class. He viewed Genesis as strictly a religious myth, and could find no point of accommodation between the Genesis story and the history of life on earth. So Wheaton, which still receives support from old-earth creationists, dismissed him without stating explicitly that that was the case. I know that John Walton in Wheaton's O.T. Dept. wrote the NIV Application commentary on Genesis and admitted the flat earth assumptions of the story, and the mythic nature of the creation account when viewed in light of similar accounts throughout the ancient near east, but at least he threw a sop to his college's position, and added some paragraphs that stated that maybe there was some history in the "creation of Adam" story directly from the earth. Bolyanatz threw no such sop in his classes.


Do Professors Lose Academic Freedom by Signing Statements of Faith? Critics say the oaths at some religious colleges are intellectually confining


Another Christian working as a biology professor wrote me to say:

"My guess is we have about 5000+ 'theistic evolutionists' of various stripes teaching science at the 100-odd schools of the 'Council on Christian Colleges and Universities'--but most of us keep our heads down--hoping to 'pass' as 'real' Christians (in lieu of our fellow brethrens' suspicions to the contrary)."

--David L Wilcox, Ph.D. in Population Genetics, prof. at Eastern College, author of God and Evolution (2004), and contributor to Perspectives on an Evolving Creation, (William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003).

At 4/02/2008 12:50 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Robinson said...


i wish you hadn't shown me that.. at first i thought cool! Then i read his blog, he isn't a Christian who believes in evolution, he is a unitarian that believes in evolution. Worse he is a self help guru that talks about God and believes in Evolution. i am going to download the book, but i am willing to bet that Jesus is going to be a rather pale and pointless moral figure, a la Kant, rather than anything resembling the awesome cosmic saviour he is.

as punishment i think you should write the counter work... 'the supremacy of Jesus Christ in a theistic-evoltionary universe' i look forward to reading it :)

At 4/02/2008 1:20 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Robinson said...

yup i was right!

from p176
The picture of Jesus we find in the early Christian scriptures can be a model for all of us, no matter what our particular faith tradition or philosophy.
There we read about the life and teachings of one who saw and
honored God in all things, boldly lived his truth, loved more broadly and deeply than his contemporaries, nonviolently challenged the stagnant institutions of his day, and took responsibility for his world. And here, too, we see that one person can change the course of history.

or even better on p178

we detect in Christ Jesus the superhuman capacity to
incarnate the ideals of humility, authenticity, responsibility, and service. The good news of the Jesus story is that when these possibilities are brought fully into the world, even in the life of just one individual, those around him or her will be transformed, and the stories they in turn tell will transform others, continuing to work miracles in the lives of any who aspire to be “Christ-centered” for generations to come.

and again on 178

one would be hard pressed to find anywhere in the world’s
mythic-religious literature a better example of generous service, or a superior
instance of someone devoted to a higher purpose, than that of a
simple carpenter doing his best to catalyze human transformation by
way of self-sacrificial love.

wow, i love it when i'm right!

At 4/02/2008 1:23 AM, Anonymous Jonathan Robinson said...

sorry, for a third post, but i nearly choked on my morning tea when i read this...

No matter your religion or philosophy, making a commitment to grow in deep integrity will offer you much the same experience as those who have repented of their sins and asked Jesus to be their personal Lord and Savior. p180

Anyone here hear the ghost of Schliermacher singing love songs to this evo-evangelist? "Much the same experience" KISS MY ARSE

At 4/02/2008 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First of all...nothing is for free. After gaining your information before you download this new age book of intellectual language that says "you are god" sh.., you will pay the price for allowing them to obtain your personal information.

Secondly, why is it Chris that you so need evolution to be a part of your faith? What holds you captive in needing it to justify life as we know it? Why is it so hard to believe the Genesis account? I really would like to know. It baffles me!

At 4/02/2008 1:23 PM, Anonymous Hendrik said...

I didn't read this book. But I see many scientific problems in evolution.
If God can create the world through evolution he can also do it in 6 days as he wrote it.
An interesting film you can find here, even when it is a kind of sarcastic:

A scientific interesting book is:
In Six days: Why 50 scientists choose to believe in Creation

At 4/02/2008 4:15 PM, Anonymous Looney said...

The Israelites had Yahweh and Baal. The modernists have Jesus and Darwin.

The consequences to not believing in Darwin are also quite severe. Frequently more severe than not believing that Jesus is the son of God.

At 4/02/2008 10:43 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Edward, thanks again for your advice on the nose front.

"Do Professors Lose Academic Freedom by Signing Statements of Faith? Critics say the oaths at some religious colleges are intellectually confining"

Surely some are. I would answer "yes" to that question in many cases - though not all.

I've been laughing about your comments all day!! Good call!

Hi Anon,
“Secondly, why is it Chris that you so need evolution to be a part of your faith? What holds you captive in needing it to justify life as we know it? Why is it so hard to believe the Genesis account? I really would like to know. It baffles me!”

I DO believe the Genesis account, why do you think I don’t? It baffles me!

Great to hear from you buddy! – thanks for the links.

I hear what you are saying.

At 4/03/2008 3:59 AM, Anonymous Cliff Martin said...

Hendrick writes about a book with a subtitle, Why 50 scientists choose to believe in Creation. I haven't read the book, but I'd be interested in the answer to this question ...

Was even one of those 50 won over to Creationism by scientific evidence? Or did all of them settle upon Creationism because they were predisposed to that conclusion based upon a prior belief that a fundamentalist/literalist view of Genesis was essential to their Christianity.

Every Creationist I've ever read or heard about came to his conclusion based upon theology, not science. Science speaks with one clear and convincing voice. Evolution was, and is, the remarkable and fascinating idea of our amazing Creator!

At 4/03/2008 5:42 AM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

The book is by Berryite (I'm a Berryite of sorts, that is Thomas Berry whom I have a lot of respect for) but I'd have to read the book to see how he works with Berry. I've not heard good things about this book though (quite the contrary), but not the kinds of concerns paroikos has. I liked the emphasis on story telling on their resource site though.

I don't need a literal reading of Genesis for my faith. In fact my faith is quite fine without it. I dislike how creationists make science their servant and never take it as a valid and equal mode of knowing. That frustrates me because it impoverishes their contribution.

But fortunately there are others who are doing a much better job hanging on to the tensions.

At 4/03/2008 6:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Chris, You've mentioned before that you believe in evolution rather than creation as in the Genesis account...unless I read you wrong somehow and you were saying something that was suppose to not be taken literally.

For those of us who believe in creation...we have no problem with science...but we do have problems with those who think scientist are right because they think they've figured something out. Really...science beliefs changes everyday and they are just as bad as theologians who think they've figured it all out.

At 4/03/2008 4:01 PM, Anonymous Hendrik said...

@ Cliff,
you're right, some of the writers became Christians before they became scientists (most of them don't write how they became Christians). In this way it is legitimate to say that they are not neutral. But not all of them. Dr. James S. Allan for example was an evolutionist for 40 Years before he became a Christian. (I'm not through the book yet.)

Fact is, that you need a basic outlook for evolution or creationism. The problem is, that you can not prove one of them. Both is a question of faith. And both, creationism and evolution still gives many questions. Evolution is not as proved as the media show. But if both has no evidence, it is easier for me to believe Gods own word.
I can convince no one but can say for me that evolution has too many difficult questions to believe it.

At 4/04/2008 3:25 PM, Anonymous Steven Carr said...

'I don't need a literal reading of Genesis for my faith.'

In the beginning, God created the Heavens and the Earth.

I doubt if a single person thinks the above was ever even meant to be taken literally.

At 4/05/2008 12:33 PM, Anonymous Chris Tilling said...

Hi Anon,
"Chris, You've mentioned before that you believe in evolution rather than creation as in the Genesis account"

I believe Gen 1-2 is inspired by God, I believe it is Holy Scripture, as much as anything else. However, I think the accounts are historical parable (and perhaps poetry), and to believe them, for me, does not entail taking them literally. I believe them for sure, but not as scientific accounts.

"For those of us who believe in creation"

So do I! I believe God created the heavens and the earth.

"Really...science beliefs changes everyday and they are just as bad as theologians who think they've figured it all out."

I hear you, but it is because of science that we can have this conversation.

All the best,

At 4/06/2008 5:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Chris. I just wonder what God's point would be to make it poetry or a parable. Seems that God uses time, days, years, etc., to show and declare His purpose for things...especially for mankind.

At 4/09/2008 5:17 PM, Anonymous One of Freedom said...

Hey Anonymous.

The scriptures use a variety of literary genres precisely because God is not adequately named by any one of them. If we were to have such a direct and clear representation then we would have one gospel not four. But we need all four to get the picture God desires. This is how God respects human agency in the creation of the Bible and also how God remains more than we could ever pin down in a single text, dogma, tradition or doctrine.

You might ejoy a reading of Paul Ricoeurs Rule of Metaphor or his excellent work with Andre LaCocque Thinking Biblically.

At 4/11/2008 9:45 PM, Anonymous Antonio Jerez said...

I think it is quite telling that not a single one of the scientists who endorsed the preachers mixing of theology and evolution is has a degree in biology or paleontology. It is hardly a coincidence that an overwhelming majority of evolution scientists don´t think the god factor is needed to explain evolution.


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