Creation,  Evolution,  Philosophy of Science,  Science

AiG vs. BioLogos pt2: Dr Venema (BioLogos)

Dennis Venema

I am sitting waiting for part 2. Some comments on what I’ve heard so far: So far the talks have not focused on Adam. Instead, we have heard arguments for the thesis that the similarities of traits across species do not show common ancestry and that they do. Neither argument is conclusive since both arguments conclude from that the data does not disconfirm the respective theories. Conclusions are thin.

Design was a feature of Dr Jeanson’s talk – all the data is compatible with design. But this is true even if evolution is true. The data would not be radically different given either evolution or young earth. This might be a fairly predictable conclusion given the data presented by Dr Jeanson, but interestingly, the data presented by Dr Venema is similar – none of if shows evolution over young earth. So, nothing of what we have heard so far is conclusive for either side of the debate.

Okay, Dr Venema is on. Here are my notes:

In the transition from geocentricity to heliocentricity the confrontation was both theoretical and theological. Both must be dealt with though observation and exegesis. Some (John Edwards, for example) asserted that if heliocentricity is true, then the Bible is false. Luther said that we should deny heliocentricism at all costs.

How did Christians reconcile Copernicus’ ideas with the Bible?

One way is to think of the Bible speaking phenomenologically about the sun. The sun rising is merely how things appear not how things actually are. The original audience would understand this but not a reference to the movement of the earth.

So, we did it with Heliocentrism, why not with evolution?

Evolution suggests that humans evolved from an older species and we did so not from two humans but a population of humans, about 10,000. This appears to conflict with the biblical account.

The main analogy is language. Just as language changes over time, so do species. Populations move away and adapt. This analogy helps us to understand how genetic mutations can be traced. Incomplete lineage sorting shows us that we retain some mutations from the Gorilla and not from the Chimpanzee. This is like the similarities between Canadian English and British English and similarities between Canadian English and American English. Just as we can see that American, Canadian, and British English all share a common source, we can see the commonality among primates and human beings.

A Christian approach should take this evidence seriously and take it as seriously as we take our interpretation of scripture. Both disciplines are fallible. When we have strong scientific evidence we should re-examine our interpretation of scripture.

For more evidence from Dr Venema see here

A thought: God accommodates his descriptions of the planet’s movements because we would understand them better. For example, the Bible talks about the sun rising even though it does not rise because it looks like it. But what would motivate God changing the description of creation so much to what we have in Genesis. Surely, evolution would not have been too outside comprehension, no more so than the six day version he gave us.

Assistant Professor of Philosophy and History of Ideas at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern.