Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique
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Author(s): J. P. Moreland, Stephen C. Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann K. Gauger, Wayne Grudem
Publication Date: 2017
Many prominent Christians insist that the church must yield to contemporary evolutionary theory and therefore modify traditional biblical ideas about the creation of life. They argue that God used—albeit in an undetectable way—evolutionary mechanisms to produce all forms of life. Featuring two dozen highly credentialed scientists, philosophers, and theologians from Europe and North America, this volume contests this proposal, documenting evidential, logical, and theological problems with theistic evolution—making it the most comprehensive critique of theistic evolution yet produced.
J. P. Moreland (PhD, University of Southern California) is distinguished professor of philosophy at Biola University. He is an author of, contributor to, or editor of over ninety books, including The Soul: How We Know It’s Real and Why It Matters.
Stephen Meyer (PhD, University of Cambridge) is the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center of Science and Culture. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times best-selling book Darwin’s Doubt.
Chris Shaw (PhD, Queen’s University, Belfast) is professor of drug discovery in the school of pharmacy at Queen’s University in Belfast. He is the author of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and the cofounder of a biomarker discovery company.
Ann Gauger (PhD, University of Washington) is director of science communication and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. She is also a senior research scientist at the Biologic Institute.
Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is a former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books.
“This volume fills a wide and expanding gap for Christians who continue to struggle with the relationship of evangelical Christianity to the claims of science. Specifically, for those who have rightly rejected the claims of unguided evolution, this book takes on the similar challenge of the possibility of theistic evolution. Scholarly, informative, well-researched, and well-argued, this will be the best place to begin to ferret out reasons for conflict among Christians who take science seriously. I highly recommend this resource.”
K. Scott Oliphint, Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology and Dean of Faculty, Westminster Theological Seminary
“Theistic evolution means different things to different people. This book carefully identifies, and thoroughly debunks, an insidious, all-too-commonly accepted sense of the phrase even among Christians: that there is no physical reason to suspect life was designed, and that evolution proceeded in the unguided, unplanned manner Darwin himself championed.”
Michael J. Behe, professor of biological sciences, Lehigh University; author, Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution
“Evangelicals are experiencing unprecedented pressure to make peace with the Darwinian theory of evolution, and increasing numbers are waving the white flag. The tragic irony is that evolutionary theory is more beleaguered than ever in the face of multiplying scientific challenges and growing dissent. Until now there has been no consolidated scholarly response to theistic evolution that combines scientific, philosophical, and theological critiques. I was excited to hear about this ambitious project, but the final book has exceeded my expectations. The editors have assembled an impressive cast of experts and the content is top-notch. Theistic evolutionists, and those swayed by their arguments, owe it to themselves to read and digest this compendium of essays. This book is timely and necessary—quite literally a godsend.”
James N. Anderson, Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte
“Repeating the error of medieval Christianity, theistic evolution absolutizes the words of finite, fallible humans and relativizes the Word of an infinite, infallible God. As this tremendous and timely collection thoroughly demonstrates, scientific stagnation, circular philosophy, and heterodox theology are the inevitable results. This is simply the best critique of theistic evolution available.”
Angus Menuge, Chair of Philosophy, Concordia University Wisconsin; President, Evangelical Philosophical Society; author, Agents Under Fire: Materialism and the Rationality of Science
“This significant book persuasively argues that theistic evolution fails as a theory—scientifically, philosophically, and biblically. And with its broad-ranging collection of essays, it mounts a very impressive case. Strongly recommended, both for those who seek to defend Christianity intelligently and for those who find Christianity implausible because of the claims of neo-Darwinism.”
Michael Reeves, president and professor of theology, Union School of Theology
“The theistic evolution solution to the creation-evolution controversy herein encounters a substantial, sustained, and trenchant critique. The team of scientific, philosophical, and theological scholars assembled by the editors have joined to confront the venerable theory with a stinging challenge that its adherents will have to answer if they value their scholarly integrity. This is necessary reading for those who wrestle with the great questions surrounding the origins of life.”
Peter A. Lillback, president, Westminster Theological Seminary
“This landmark achievement contains an amazing collection of chapters by a powerful group of fully qualified experts in molecular biology, mathematics, philosophy, and theology. The chapters are clear, detailed in addressing all aspects of theistic evolution, and of a tone in keeping with 1 Peter 3:15: ‘with gentleness and respect.’ I consider this a must-have book for any Christian who wants to be able to give compelling answers to others who believe in theistic evolution.”
Richard A. Carhart, professor emeritus of physics, University of Illinois at Chicago
“This book offers a much-needed, comprehensive critique of evolutionary creationism (theistic evolution), covering its scientific, philosophical, theological, and biblical deficiencies. It devotes much space in particular to the scientific side. This focus is needed because of the common, unwarranted assumption that Darwinism is doing well as measured by scientific evidence. Several articles, from different angles, show how much Darwinism depends on seeing all biological evidence through the lens of a prior commitment to faith in the philosophy of naturalism—particularly the ungrounded assumption that unguided natural forces must suffice as a complete account of origins.”
Vern S. Poythress, Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Westminster Theological Seminary
“‘In wisdom you have made them all,’ says the psalmist of God’s activities in nature (Ps. 104:24). But believers today, often blinded by modern science, fail to see that divine wisdom. This valuable volume challenges the assumptions of much scientific endeavor and proposes a fresh paradigm that is open to God’s involvement in nature. It deserves a wide and thoughtful readership.”
Gordon Wenham, Emeritus Professor of Old Testament, University of Gloucestershire, United Kingdom
“Few scholars even marginally knowledgeable regarding the nature of this debate could read objectively the lineup of scholars in this volume and not be impressed. Beyond the scholars’ academic credentials, the topics covered are both sophisticated and timely. For this reviewer, the experience caused me to respond time and again: ‘I want to start right there . . . or maybe there . . . wow—have to read that one first . . .’ The topic is not always an easy target, but after almost one thousand pages of critique across interdisciplinary lines, I do not think that it could be bettered. Kudos! Highly recommended.”
Gary R. Habermas, Distinguished Research Professor and Chair, Department of Philosophy, Liberty University
“As the debate over the origins of the universe, earth, and humans continues, and Christians grapple to understand the relationship between science and Scripture, evolution and creation, the voices in this book need to be heard. Scientific data need not be in opposition to what the Bible teaches about God and his world. The big questions about life are simply beyond the reach of ‘objective’ analysis. This volume critiques theologically and philosophically the flaws of positions that marginalize God from the process.”
James Hoffmeier, professor of Old Testament and ancient Near Eastern history and archaeology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Theistic Evolution is a carefully crafted, academically sophisticated interdisciplinary challenge to the attempt to wed Christian theism to any version of the Darwinian project. I am awed by its scope and by the magnificent success of its intentions. Whether your interest is in the scientific deficiencies, the philosophical failings, or the theological dangers of Darwinism hitched to theism, look no further than this thorough analysis. Theistic Evolution is simply the most comprehensive and convincing critique of the topic I’ve ever read—a singular resource for careful thinkers—replacing a dozen books on my shelf.”
Gregory Koukl, President, Stand to Reason; author, The Story of Reality and Tactics
“An increasing number of evangelicals are advocating theistic evolution as the best explanation of human origins, thereby denying the special creation of a historical Adam. Without taking any specific view as to the age to the earth, this important new book demonstrates that theistic evolution fails to take proper account of Genesis 1–3 as a historical narrative. Leading scholars from a variety of academic disciplines argue that theistic evolution is exegetically ill-founded, theologically damaging, scientifically implausible, and philosophically unjustifiable. Written with an irenic tone toward those it critiques, this book will help guard against false teaching in the church that undermines the gospel and will also provide apologetic help for confident evangelism in a secular world.”
John Stevens, National Director, The Fellowship of Independent Evangelical Churches
“With the ‘death of God’ and the ‘hermeneutics of suspicion’ having captured the academy decades ago, the apologetic discussion moved decisively to the nature and origin of human beings. With this volume, the editors and contributors to Theistic Evolution have given us an important and much-needed resource for the conversation currently taking place within evangelicalism. Comprehensive in its breadth, specific in its critique, and confidently nuanced in its tone, each chapter contributes to a thorough rebuttal of the idea that theistic evolution is compatible with either historic Christian faith, sound reasoning, or rigorous science. But while written by specialists, Theistic Evolution is remarkably approachable to the average reader. I highly recommend this volume to students, pastors, educators, and anyone else who cares deeply about the discussion of human origins. This is a major contribution to one of the most important debates of our time.”
Michael Lawrence, Senior Pastor, Hinson Baptist Church, Portland, Oregon; author, Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church
“Under the banner of ‘theistic evolution,’ a growing number of Christians maintain that God used evolution as his method for creation. This I believe to be the worst of all possibilities. It is one thing to believe in evolution; it is quite another to blame God for it. Indeed, theistic evolution is a contradiction in terms—like the phrase “flaming snowflakes.” God can no more direct an undirected process than he can create a square circle. Yet this is precisely what theistic evolution presupposes. Modern Christians too often buy high and sell low—just as neo-Darwinian evolutionism is fighting for its very life, it is being propped up by an irrational hypothesis. Theistic Evolution is the most thorough and incisive refutation of this dangerous presupposition. I strongly recommend this volume!”
Hank Hanegraaff, President, Christian Research Institute; Host, Bible Answer Manbroadcast
“This volume is the most comprehensive study on the relation between evolution and Christian faith I have discovered so far. While opening up fascinating firsthand insights into cutting-edge scientific results, at the same time the book treats the reader to a bird’s-eye view, asking the fundamental philosophical and theological questions and delving into the underlying worldview assumptions. It provides a very substantial contribution to the ever-ongoing dispute between naturalism and Christian faith in the areas of philosophy, theology, and the sciences.”
Alexander Fink, director, Institute for Faith and Sciences, Marburg, Germany
“Essentially, theistic evolution says Charles Darwin and Richard Dawkins got the science right, but that God is still somehow involved. Putting this view into the crosshairs, this book argues convincingly that the science of evolution is in fact wrong, and that any theistic gloss one puts on it is thus doubly wrong.”
William A. Dembski, former senior fellow, Discovery Institute; author, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology; The Design Revolution; and Intelligent Design Uncensored
“Theistic Evolution is a major contribution to the very lively debate of exactly how to understand the ‘data’ from God’s revelation of himself in his Word with the ‘data’ from his revelation of himself in his world. Previous contributions to this debate have generally focused on the data from either science or Scripture. Theistic Evolution benefits from its comprehensive analysis from theologians, philosophers, and scientists in the same book. Whatever are your current views, Theistic Evolution will provide analysis from some of the most prominent critics in this conversation that should be helpful to people on both sides of this debate.”
Walter Bradley, Former Professor of Mechanical Engineering, Baylor University
“The question of origins rarely fails to attract interest, not least because it is overloaded with worldview implications. For too long the increasingly shaky modern ‘Darwinian’ synthesis has been accommodated into theological thinking. This remarkable book exposes how scientifically and philosophically preposterous the notion of theistic evolution really is. An authoritative and vital contribution to the topic!”
David J. Galloway, president, Royal College of Physicians and Surgeons of Glasgow; honorary professor, College of Medical, Veterinary and Life Sciences, University of Glasgow