Friday, May 25, 2012

Biologos, Tim Keller, and the Weakening of the Faith

The Biologos Newsletter blandly reads:

  • In March 20–22, 2012, noted evangelical pastor Dr. Timothy Keller hosted the [Theology of Celebration] meetings at the Harvard Club in New York City…Given data that was presented at the meeting—which convincingly showed that almost half of America’s protestant pastors hold or strongly lean toward a belief in a universe less than 10,000 years old—there was a deep concern for the church not only in America, but also worldwide. This time, leading evangelical Christians left with not so much a statement as an urgent desire to bring about change. The church of the coming decades cannot divorce itself from matters about which there is scientific certainty. 
Although Biologos is devoted to selling theistic evolution to the church, there is no mention of theistic evolution, just their lamentation that “almost half of America’s protestant pastors hold or strongly lean toward a belief in a universe less than 10,000 years old.”

I must confess that I don’t know what the conference discussed. However, it is noteworthy that their statement only mentions the “10,000 years.” Usually, if the theistic evolutionist wants to make the creationist – the YEC variety – look ridiculous, they’ll say something like, “You don’t believe that do you? If you do, that means that you are rejecting all the findings of science.”

They take this tact because it’s far harder to prove Darwinism, especially when the fossil record is unwilling to comply with this ideology. However, if you can demean the YEC with the 10,000-year-bit, you weaken your opponent and make him vulnerable to the more ambitious claims of Darwinism.

Whether this position is scientifically accurate or not is one thing. However, their mission to rid the church of a belief that seems to be Biblical is another. Why is this their mission? Does YEC undermine belief in the Bible, our understanding of Biblical Theology or our determination to live the Christian life?

I don’t see how! However, it clearly undermines our standing in the eyes of our peers and the university. Perhaps this is their main concern.

Ironically, it is theistic evolution (TE) that undermines our faith in the Bible and our understanding of it.  

In order to support their claims, TEs usually maintain that the Bible isn’t a science textbook. Indeed! However, what they really mean is that the Bible doesn’t teach authoritatively about the physical/historical world, just the spiritual, and the fact that the Bible contains physical errors shouldn’t affect its spiritual truths. Of course, if they can prove this, then they have removed any possible contradiction between evolution – the physical - and the Bible, the spiritual.

However, this formulation is entirely unbiblical for many reasons:

  1. Theology rests upon history – the physical world. The theology of the Fall rests upon the theology of creation – that it was all “very good” and we screwed it up. Evolution would have it that it was a bloody survival-of-the-fittest mess from the very beginning.
Perhaps the clearest example is the Cross. We can’t have a theology of the Cross without a physical history of the Cross. Consequently, the physical and the spiritual cannot be separated as the TE suggests.

  1. If Adam’s genealogy isn’t historical and Adam isn’t historical, then the genealogy that leads to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob cannot be historical either.
  1. The New Testament often quotes the OT as historical and derives its theological lessons from the fact that God had done certain things in the context of history. For instance, Peter cites the worldwide flood to prove that God will judge (2 Peter 2, 3). However, if the flood is just a myth, as the TEs propose, then the theology based upon the “myth” must also remain dubious. If God actually didn’t judge in the past, we shouldn’t expect Him to judge in the future.
These are just a few of the problems that TEs encounter. In response, they usually claim that, “We have to be humble (and uncertain) about our interpretations.” This means “confused.” If there is joy in believing, TE has undermined it.

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