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Beautiful Monster — Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique Is Here!

Paul Nelson

theistic evolution

The Beautiful Monster, Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique, is here! It’s beautiful because it’s the best single collection of chapters on evolution, intelligent design, theology, and the philosophy of science, that I know. I’ve got one chapter as solo author, and two as co-author. It’s a MONSTER because it’s 1007 pages, which means you’ll probably still be reading it when the Chicago Cubs are in the World Series again.

Here’s the Table of Contents with Abstracts:

THEISTIC EVOLUTION: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique

Ed. by J.P. Moreland, Stephen Meyer, Christopher Shaw, Ann Gauger, Wayne Grudem

Foreword by Steve Fuller

Scientific and Philosophical Introduction: Defining Theistic Evolution
Stephen C. Meyer

Biblical and Theological Introduction: The Incompatibility of Theistic Evolution with the Biblical Account of Creation and with Important Christian Doctrines
Wayne Grudem

SECTION I: THE SCIENTIFIC CRITIQUE OF THEISTIC EVOLUTION

Section I, Part 1: The Failure of Neo-Darwinism

1. Three Good Reasons for People of Faith to Reject Darwin’s Explanation of Life
Douglas D. Axe

People of faith should reject the call to affirm the Darwinian explanation of life and should instead affirm the traditional understanding of divine creative action, which defies reduction to natural causes. There are three good reasons for this: (1) Acceptance of Darwinism carries a substantial apologetic cost. Specifically, if Darwin was right that life can be explained by accidental physical causes, then we must forfeit the claim that all humans are confronted by God’s existence when we behold the wonders of the living world. (2) All accidental explanations of life, whether Darwinian or not, are demonstrably implausible. (3) The common justifications for accommodating Darwin’s theory within the framework of traditional faith are confused.

2. Neo-Darwinism and the Origin of Biological Form and Information
Stephen C. Meyer

According to textbook neo-Darwinian theory, new genetic information arises first as random mutations occur in the DNA of existing organisms. When mutations arise that confer a survival advantage on the organisms that possess them, the resulting genetic changes are passed on by natural selection to the next generation. As such changes accumulate, the features of a population begin to change over time. Nevertheless, natural selection can only “select” what random mutations first produce. And for the evolutionary process to produce new forms of life, random mutations must first have produced new genetic information for building novel proteins. Since the late 1960s, however, mathematicians and molecular biologists have argued that producing new functional genes (new genetic information) and proteins via a random mutational search is improbable in the extreme. Nevertheless, until recently it was impossible to precisely quantify the magnitude of this problem and, thus, to assess the plausibility of a random search for novel proteins among all the possible amino acid sequences. Recent experiments on proteins performed by Douglas Axe and others, however, have shown in a precise quantitative way that functional genetic sequences (and their corresponding proteins) are indeed too rare to be accounted for by the neo-Darwinian mechanism of natural selection sifting through random genetic mutations. The “space” or number of possible arrangements are simply too vast, and the available time to search by undirected mutation too short for there to have been a realistic chance of producing even one new gene or protein by undirected mutation and selection in the time allowed for most evolutionary transitions. This chapter develops this argument, and other closely related arguments, against the creative power of the main evolutionary mechanism and responds to the most prominent objections to these arguments.

3. Evolution: A Story without a Mechanism
Matti Leisola

At best, science is a search for truth about nature — how it functions and changes. At worst, it is a search for only naturalistic explanations for life’s history. Is biology best explained by randomness or by a regulating intelligence? Can science prove one of the options to this philosophical question wrong? Several lines of experimental evidence show that novel functional genes and proteins cannot be formed de novo by chance processes. But can novel functional genes, proteins, or novel organisms be produced from existing ones by random methods? Individual genes, proteins, and microorganisms are easy to manipulate; they can be produced in large quantities and changed to the extreme in a laboratory— much more than could ever be happening in nature. Thus the laboratory experiments using random evolutionary methods are intelligently designed to study the limits of what randomness can do in biology— not what actually can happen in real life. The results of such experiments give a definite answer: there are narrow limits to the changes that random processes can achieve. They can never convert one gene to a basically different gene, one protein structure to a different structure, nor one microorganism to a different one. Thus evolution is a story without a mechanism, and adding the word “theistic” to it adds nothing to its explanatory power.

4. Are Present Proposals on Chemical Evolutionary Mechanisms Accurately Pointing toward First Life?
James M. Tour

Abiogenesis is the prebiotic process wherein life, such as a cell, arises from nonliving materials such as simple organic compounds. Long before evolution can even begin, the origin of first life, that first cell, would have to come from some simpler nonliving molecules. On Earth, the essential molecules for life as we know it are carbohydrates (also called sugars or saccharides), nucleic acids, lipids, and proteins (polymers of amino acids). Described is the process by which organic synthesis is performed, and the considerations that are generally required to synthesize a complex system where many molecular parts come together to operate concertedly. This will be demonstrated in the synthesis of nanomachines. Then considered will be some proposals that others have espoused for the synthesis of carbohydrates and carbohydrate-bearing nucleotide bases, from a prebiotic milieu. Briefly mentioned will be the obstacles to the much more difficult task of having the molecular building blocks assemble into a functional system. Not considered are scientifically unknown entities that have been proposed to have seeded life on Earth, such as a design agent or panspermia. An opinion will be rendered showing that the strongest evidence against the proposals of current prebiotic research is the researchers’ own data. The current proposals can retard the field from discovering the scientific solutions since they seem to be directing researchers down paths of futility.

5. Digital Evolution: Predictions of Design
Winston Ewert

Computer simulations of evolution are often invoked in defense of the abilities of Darwinian evolution. A number of well-known simulations are discussed, showing how they follow the predictions of intelligent design in requiring teleological fine-tuning in order to work. This and other predictions of intelligent design have been confirmed by simulations, whereas Darwinian evolution offers no predictions about computer simulation and is thus unfalsifiable.

6. The Difference It Doesn’t Make: Why the “Front-End Loaded” Concept of Design Fails to Explain the Origin of Biological Information
Stephen C. Meyer

Insofar as theistic evolution has been formulated with enough specificity to qualify as an alternative to neo-Darwinism as a scientific model, theistic evolutionists have typically affirmed that God created the universe and designed the laws of nature (including their finely tuned features). But having done so, they think that the origin of life and the origin of new forms of life can be explained by “secondary causes,” which they equate with the laws of nature and evolutionary mechanisms such as natural selection and random mutation. Thus, their view either entails the claim that the initial conditions of matter at the beginning of the universe and the fine-tuned laws and constants of physics contained all the information necessary to produce life, or it entails the view that the random mutation and natural selection (or some similarly materialistic mechanism) added significant amounts of new information into the biosphere since the Big Bang. The problems with the latter view are shown in chapters 2 and 8; this chapter demonstrates scientifically that the former view cannot be correct either, despite the claims of certain theistic evolutionists who argue for a “front-end loaded” concept of design that they call “teleological evolution.” In this view, the information necessary to produce life was present from the beginning of the universe. This chapter contends that this “front-end loaded” concept of design is scientifically inadequate because it fails to recognize that the laws of nature do not describe information-generating processes.

7. Why DNA Mutations Cannot Accomplish What Neo-Darwinism Requires
Jonathan Wells

According to neo-Darwinism, evolution takes place because of the natural selection of slight, successive variations. Some of those variations may arise through the reshuffling of existing DNA sequences, but for continuing evolution, neo-Darwinism requires that existing DNA sequences mutate into new sequences. This assumes that DNA contains a program for embryo development: DNA makes RNA makes protein makes us. Mutations in the program could then produce novel anatomical structures, and natural selection could preserve favorable ones and eliminate unfavorable ones. But DNA sequences do not even fully specify RNAs, much less proteins. And the three-dimensional arrangement of proteins in a cell requires spatial information that precedes their synthesis and is specified independently of DNA. Therefore, DNA does not contain a program for embryo development, and mutations in DNA cannot provide the raw materials for anatomical evolution.

8. Theistic Evolution and the Extended Evolutionary Synthesis: Does It Work?
Stephen C. Meyer, Ann K. Gauger, and Paul A. Nelson

For nearly two decades, many evolutionary biologists have been working to formulate new theories of evolution, in part because of the recognition that neo-Darwinian mechanisms cannot explain the origin of living things. These new ideas supposedly have more creative power than mutation and natural selection alone. This chapter will examine these new evolutionary theories and mechanisms and will show that the so-called “extended synthesis” has also not succeeded because it does not account for the origin of biological form and information. The “extended synthesis” leaves unanswered many of the same problems as neo-Darwinism and raises the same question to theistic evolutionists. Why insist on synthesizing Christian theology, or a biblical understanding of creation, with a scientifically failing theory of origins?

9. Evidence from Embryology Challenges Evolutionary Theory
Sheena Tyler

How does an egg develop into the distinctive body form of an elephant, as opposed to a grasshopper or a kangaroo? It remains a mystery to this day how these body forms are generated. This is a major problem for evolutionists, because their claim that the various forms of life arose by changes in a common developmental program depends on knowledge of this elusive program. This chapter will demonstrate how embryological processes exhibit the hallmarks of intelligent design rather than the tinkering of blind, random mutations required by evolutionary theory. It will also illuminate evidences from embryology that point to distinct types of life, which exhibit fundamental differences in design between them, rather than a continuous gradation of forms tracing back to a primitive common ancestor.

Section I, Part 2: The Case against Universal Common Descent and for a Unique Human Origin

10. The Fossil Record and Universal Common Ancestry
Günter Bechly and Stephen C. Meyer

This chapter is the first of three examining the strength of the case for universal common descent, the second (historical) part of contemporary evolutionary theory and the part of evolutionary theory that theistic evolutionists most commonly defend. We begin in this chapter by examining the logical structure of the argument for universal common descent. Taking that structure into account, we then assess what the fossil record can tell us about whether all forms of life do, or do not, share a common ancestor. Theistic evolutionists often claim that the alleged common ancestry of all forms of life is a “fact”— even as they may acknowledge doubts about the creative power of the neo-Darwinian mechanism. Nevertheless, we have become skeptical about universal common descent. In this chapter, we explain why using the fossil evidence to illustrate how a scientifically informed person might reasonably come to doubt the arguments for universal common descent (or universal common ancestry). After first describing the aspects of the fossil evidence that the theory of universal common descent explains well, we then examine other aspects of the fossil record that the theory does not explain as well— or at all. We especially highlight the many discontinuous or abrupt appearances of new forms of life in the fossil record— a pattern that contradicts the continuous branching tree pattern of biological history postulated by proponents of universal common descent.

11. Universal Common Descent: A Comprehensive Critique
Casey Luskin

Some theistic evolutionists will occasionally acknowledge problems with the mechanism of mutation and natural selection, but almost all theistic evolutionists claim that the historical part of Darwinian theory— universal common descent— is beyond dispute. Since Darwin’s time, the theory of universal common descent has rested upon a number of independent lines of evidence and argument: biogeography, fossils, anatomical homology, and embryological similarity. In recent decades, molecular homology has been added to that list. This chapter will show that each of these separate lines of evidence is equivocal at best and that, instead, many new lines of evidence cast serious doubt upon the supposed “congruence” of these lines of evidence, challenging the case for universal common descent.

12. Five Questions Everyone Should Ask about Common Descent
Paul A. Nelson

According to the theory of universal common descent (UCD), all organisms on Earth have descended by modification from a common ancestor, dubbed the “last universal common ancestor” (LUCA). Within the past twenty years, however, a growing number of evolutionary biologists have expressed doubts that LUCA ever existed. Their skepticism of LUCA and hence of UCD rests on an important rule of biological inference known as the principle of continuity. The principle of continuity holds that every step in any evolutionary pathway must be biologically possible. This principle actually challenges UCD, or the tree of life, not only at its base but throughout its branches as well. Five key questions should be asked of any hypothesis of common descent, to make sure that the hypothesis answers the demands of the principle of continuity, and also to examine the larger context within which UCD lives as a biological and historical theory. UCD should not be maintained as an axiom, but should be vulnerable to evidential challenges, like any other scientific theory.

13. The Battle over Human Origins (Introduction to Chapters 14–16)
Ann K. Gauger

The origin of humanity— where we came from—is an issue with many ramifications. It impacts our self-understanding in multiple ways. Did we evolve from a common ancestor shared with chimps, or might we have a unique origin? Mainstream science says that it is incontrovertible that we are the product of evolution. Is it therefore necessary to adapt our understanding of Scripture, or might the science be overstated? This short chapter, along with chapters 14–16, will argue that the question of our origin is far from settled, and that there are scientific arguments to be made in favor of a unique origin for humanity. There is no need to change traditional scriptural interpretations based on inconclusive science.

14. Missing Transitions: Human Origins and the Fossil Record
Casey Luskin

The standard evolutionary view of human origins—generally accepted by theistic evolutionists—holds that our species, Homo sapiens, evolved from ape-like species through apparently unguided evolutionary processes like natural selection and random mutation. Theistic evolutionists and other evolutionary scientists often claim the fossil evidence for this Darwinian evolution of humans from ape-like creatures is incontrovertible. But their viewpoint is not supported by the fossil evidence. Hominin fossils generally fall into one of two groups: ape-like species and human-like species, with a large, unbridged gap between them. Virtually the entire hominin fossil record is marked by fragmented fossils, especially the early hominins, which do not document precursors to humans. Around 3 to 4 million years ago, the australopithecines appear, but they were generally ape-like and also appear in an abrupt manner. When our genus Homo appears, it also does so in an abrupt fashion, without clear evidence of a transition from previous ape-like hominins. Major members of Homo are very similar to modern humans, and their differences amount to small-scale microevolutionary changes. The archaeological record shows an “explosion” of human creativity about thirty to forty thousand years ago. Despite the claims of evolutionary paleoanthropologists and the media hype surrounding many hominin fossils, the fragmented hominin fossil record does not document the evolution of humans from ape-like precursors, and the appearance of humans in the fossil record is anything but a gradual Darwinian evolutionary process. Theistic evolutionists should appreciate that Christians who doubt standard evolutionary accounts of human origins hold legitimate views that are backed by scientific evidence.

15. Evidence for Human Uniqueness
Ann K. Gauger, Ola Hössjer, and Colin R. Reeves

Scientists claim that our extreme genetic similarity with chimps (on the order of 98.7 percent identity) indicates we share common ancestry. This statement neglects several facts. First, our genetic differences are larger than that number represents. Common estimates of similarity are based on comparisons of the single nucleotide changes only, while other kinds of genetic differences are disregarded. In addition, noncoding regions of DNA— long thought to be nonfunctional “junk” – contain many kinds of genetic regulatory elements, some of which are species-specific. These species-specific regulatory elements make up a very small proportion of the total count of differences, but have a significant effect on how our genome works. For example, many of these regulatory elements are known to affect gene expression in the brain. Taken together, these species-specific genetic differences contribute to our anatomical and physiological differences with chimps. In addition, there is not enough evolutionary time for all these coordinated changes to have happened by the mutation/selection process. Thus the evidences for common ancestry put forward by various scientists are not as solid as they might seem. The more we learn about our human genome, the more it seems to be brilliantly and uniquely designed.

16. An Alternative Population Genetics Model
Ola Hössjer, Ann K. Gauger, and Colin R. Reeves

What can be said about human history from DNA variation among us today? Population genetics is used in academia to infer that we share a common ancestry with apes; that most of our human ancestors emigrated from Africa fifty thousand years ago; that they possibly had some mixing with Neanderthals, Denisovans, and other archaic populations; and that the early Homo population was never smaller than a few thousand individuals. It uses mathematical principles for how the genetic composition of a population changes over time through mutation, natural selection, genetic drift, and other forces of change. In this chapter we investigate the assumptions about this theory and conclude that it is full of gaps and weaknesses. We argue that a unique origin model, where humanity arose from one single couple, seems to explain data at least as well, if not better. We finally propose an alternative simulation approach that could be used in order to validate such a model. The use of the term “first couple” will undoubtedly raise the issue of Adam and Eve in the reader’s mind. We the authors each have our own views on the reading of Genesis. Our goal here is to show that the argument against a historical Adam and Eve made by some scientists is not justified by the scientific evidence, and that there is a real possibility of a founding first pair.

17. Pressure to Conform Leads to Bias in Science
Christopher Shaw

Science has become all-pervasive in modern society and is regarded by many as the means to solve all of our major problems. For many, science has become a new religion, endowed with an infallibility extending even to answering the fundamental questions about our origins and the purpose of our existence—questions that once were the subject matter of philosophers and religious scholars. As a consequence of this new role, the scientific process has been increasingly departing from its objective basis to one of crass subjectivity, with regular highly speculative claims being made by renowned scientists in the popular media and even in the scientific press. Phrases such as “I/We believe that . . . ” have become common among some scientists, particularly in the fields of evolutionary biology and cosmology. The “high priests” of this new religion— we’ll call it “scientism”— are the worst offenders, and many have achieved international celebrity status. But there is also a largely unknown dark side to this new religion: control of the freedom of thought. As acknowledged by the majority of scientists, the allocation of research funding and the peer-review system of scientific publication are both seriously flawed and serve to maintain the status quo within the establishment by filtering out perceived intellectual heretics. New thoughts, ideas, and insights are often viewed with suspicion and require evaluation not only of their worth but also, increasingly, of their potential to challenge widely accepted dogma. Indeed, this has been an almost universal experience in the early careers of most Nobel laureates in the sciences. New recruits to the system must obey the rules if they wish to obtain training positions, tenure, and career progression.

SECTION II: THE PHILOSOPHICAL CRITIQUE OF THEISTIC EVOLUTION

18. Why Science Needs Philosophy
J. P. Moreland

We shall explore two philosophical theses from philosopher George Bealer that illuminate ways in which philosophy is relevant to science, especially to the debate about theistic evolution versus intelligent design: (1) The autonomy of philosophy: Among the central questions of philosophy that can be answered by one standard theoretical means or another, most can in principle be answered by philosophical investigation and argument without relying substantively on the sciences. (2) The authority of philosophy: Insofar as science and philosophy purport to answer the same central philosophical questions, in most cases the support that science could in principle provide for those answers is not as strong as that which philosophy could in principle provide for its answers. So, should there be conflicts, the authority of philosophy in most cases can be greater in principle. (See below for attribution.) The “autonomy of philosophy” refers to areas of philosophical investigation that lie completely outside the competence of science. The “authority of philosophy” refers to areas which both science and philosophy investigate, where the philosophical factors carry more weight than and trump those of science. I list key examples of both that are relevant to setting the intellectual context for debating the relative merits of theistic evolution versus intelligent design.

19. Should Theistic Evolution Depend on Methodological Naturalism?
Stephen C. Meyer and Paul A. Nelson

Nearly all theistic evolutionists say that some naturalistic process will eventually explain the origin of novel forms of life. They do so because they accept a philosophical rule known as methodological naturalism. Methodological naturalism asserts that, to qualify as scientific, a theory must explain by strictly physical or material—that is, non-intelligent or non-purposive—causes. This chapter shows that, as a supposedly neutral rule for how science should function, methodological naturalism fails. Nor can one rely on “demarcation criteria” devised to define science normatively. These criteria, which purport to distinguish science from pseudoscience or religion, die by a thousand counterexamples. The history of science includes many theories violating one or another allegedly necessary demarcation criterion (such as observability, explanation by natural law, or falsifiability), yet such theories have figured centrally in the development of their respective sciences. Moreover, demarcation criteria cannot justify methodological naturalism itself. Naturalistic evolutionary theories and competing theories of intelligent design or creation either equivalently satisfy demarcation criteria, or fail to do so. The truth about the history of life on Earth cannot be decided by philosophical definitions. Given that no sound justification exists for holding methodological naturalism as a science-defining rule, Christians should not use it as a reason for adopting theistic evolution, or excluding other theories.

20. How to Lose a Battleship: Why Methodological Naturalism Sinks Theistic Evolution
Stephen Dilley

Theistic evolutionists should reject methodological naturalism. Among other reasons, methodological naturalism prohibits both (1) the use of theology-laden claims within scientific discourse and (2) scientific engagement with so-called “nonscientific” theories, like creationism and intelligent design. And yet, key scientific arguments for evolutionary theory— from the Origin to the present — either rely on theology-laden claims or engage creationist (or intelligent design) theories in a scientific manner. Under methodological naturalism, however, this dynamic is not acceptable. Accordingly, if theistic evolutionists accept methodological naturalism, they forfeit significant justification for their favored theory. Insofar as theistic evolutionists wish to retain this justification, they ought to set methodological naturalism aside.

21. How Theistic Evolution Kicks Christianity Out of the Plausibility Structure and Robs Christians of Confidence that the Bible Is a Source of Knowledge
J. P. Moreland

We can have knowledge (that is, justified true belief) of a wide range of things: logic, mathematics, the truth of Christianity, various biblical doctrines, ethical truths, and so forth. While important, science is only one of the many ways humans know things. However, given the widespread scientism— the view that the hard sciences are the only or the vastly superior way to know things, especially in comparison to theology and ethics— in our culture, theistic evolutionists reinforce this view by constantly revising biblical teachings and interpretations because science says so. Thus, by adopting this unbiblical epistemological outlook, theistic evolutionists weaken the rational authority of biblical teaching among Christians and non-Christians. As a result, the Bible is no longer regarded by many as a genuine source of knowledge, and fewer and fewer people take the Bible seriously. In this way, perhaps unintentionally, those who adopt theistic evolution marginalize Christian truth claims in the church and the public square.

22. How to Think about God’s Action in the World
C. John Collins

Christians have traditionally thought of God’s works of “providence” as including what we call “natural” and “supernatural,” and both are equally “God’s action.” They have also thought that at least some of the supernatural actions are in principle discernible as special by humans. This provides a robust tool for reading the Bible, for living wisely, and for doing science. A fully evolutionary perspective that seeks to be traditionally Christian affirms that God “acts” through the “natural” events of the evolutionary process, and still allows for “miracles” outside this process, such as the death of the Egyptian firstborn. However, whatever processes of descent with modification God might have used, its “natural” functioning is not enough to account for the origin of the world, of life, and of human reason— nor does recognizing this involve us in a “God-of-the-gaps” fallacy. In fact, for good critical thinking, we should be careful both about appealing to miracle to cover our ignorance and about excluding, before we even begin our study, the possibility of extra help from outside the natural process.

23. Theistic Evolution and the Problem of Natural Evil
Garrett J. DeWeese

“Natural evil” refers to the pain and suffering caused by natural processes, in contrast to “moral evil,” the wicked acts of morally responsible persons. The amount of suffering due to natural causes seems to show that the existence of an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibenevolent God is impossible, or at least highly improbable. Thus, until recently, Christian theologians, philosophers, and apologists had thought it was important to show that God was not directly responsible for the suffering and death caused by natural evil. However, conservative Christians who have embraced theistic evolution have not thought it necessary to “insulate” God from direct responsibility for natural evil. If natural evil is of necessity a part of evolutionary history, and if evolution is the process instituted by God, then it follows that God is the direct cause of natural evil—it is part of his plan. We will see, however, that opponents of theistic evolution have much better explanations of natural evil—explanations that do not make God the direct cause of the resultant pain and death.

24. Bringing Home the Bacon: The Interaction of Science and Scripture Today
Colin R. Reeves

Recent years have seen several examples where apparent scientific “truth” has been used to cast doubt on traditional biblical doctrines. Principally, this has concerned the reinterpretation of the early chapters of Genesis in order to question the need for a historical Adam, and for a fall that entailed physical death. This chapter addresses not so much the biblical evidence for these doctrines, which has been forcefully defended elsewhere, but the underlying methodology of those who question them. Their approach can be traced back to Francis Bacon’s works of the early seventeenth century, which argued that God has spoken in “Two Books,” where the “book of nature” (for which, today, read science) is the key to interpreting the Bible. It is commonly asserted that (contrary to writers such as Richard Dawkins) there is no conflict between science and Scripture: these two books are “complementary” and not opposed to each other. In this chapter we shall see that, like Bacon, those who promote this view most assiduously do not in fact so regard the interaction between
science and the Bible. “Science” (that is, science assumed to be an autonomous source of truth) in practice always trumps Scripture. This has consequences, not only for particular doctrines such as the fall or the atonement, but for a whole way of doing theology. The Bible is no longer inerrant, authoritative, sufficient, or even perspicuous. The “scientific” approach to biblical interpretation really follows closely the lines of classical liberalism. Thus, there is indeed a conflict between “Science” and Scripture, a conflict that is dangerous not only for theology but also for true science itself.

25. The Origin of Moral Conscience: Theistic Evolution versus Intelligent Design
Tapio Puolimatka

Theistic evolutionists generally agree that Darwinian evolution is not able to establish the origin of actual moral obligations. All that the evolutionary story can possibly do is to explain how we acquired moral beliefs and emotions. The problem for theistic evolutionists is, however, that current evolutionary accounts fail even in the latter task: they fail to explain the origin of moral conscience. The human capacity to discern moral truths cannot be reduced to a product of the kind of combinatorial processes that are available to a Darwinian account of evolution. Although theistic evolutionists assume that the idea of moral conscience as an expression of God’s design for humans is fully compatible with various naturalistic explanations of the origin of moral conscience, they fail to specify a natural process that could plausibly do the job. In this respect theistic evolutionism amounts to little more than the statement that they do not see a logical problem in assuming that God could have used a natural process.

26. Darwin in the Dock: C. S. Lewis on Evolution
John G. West

Few twentieth-century writers are as beloved by modern Christians as C. S. Lewis. In recent years, there has been considerable discussion about the views of Lewis on evolution, with some claiming that he is best described as a proponent of theistic evolution. This chapter, drawing on Lewis’s public and private writings, shows that Lewis in fact expressed deep and growing concerns about major aspects of modern evolutionary theory. Lewis did not object in principle to the evolutionary idea of common descent, but he sharply limited its application in a way that mainstream proponents of evolution would find unacceptable. More importantly, Lewis was a thoroughgoing skeptic of the creative power of unguided Darwinian natural selection, and he sharply criticized the application of what he called “evolutionism” to morality and society. Finally, Lewis validated raising questions about Darwinian evolution by showing how science itself depends on many nonscientific assumptions.

SECTION III: THE BIBLICAL AND THEOLOGICAL CRITIQUE OF THEISTIC EVOLUTION

27. Theistic Evolution Undermines Twelve Creation Events and Several Crucial Christian Doctrines
Wayne Grudem

This chapter provides an overview of the issues raised by theistic evolution in relationship to the truthfulness of the Bible and several historic Christian doctrines. First, it enumerates twelve specific affirmations about the origin of human beings and other living creatures that are held by the most prominent advocates of theistic evolution today. It then seeks to show that these affirmations are in direct conflict with multiple passages of Scripture, including passages not only from the Old Testament but also from ten books in the New Testament. It concludes that belief in theistic evolution is inconsistent with belief in the truthfulness of the Bible. In addition, it shows how theistic evolution undermines eleven significant Christian doctrines. (This chapter relies heavily on the detailed exegetical work of John Currid and Guy Waters in chapters 28 and 29.)

28. Theistic Evolution Is Incompatible with the Teachings of the Old Testament
John D. Currid

This chapter explores ways in which theistic evolution is incompatible with the teachings of the Old Testament. It closely examines Genesis 1–3 and responds to the five most common alternative explanations proposed by advocates of theistic evolution: (1) the “functional model” of Genesis 1–3; (2) the view that Genesis 1–3 is “myth”; (3) the view that Genesis 1–3 should be understood as “figurative and theological literature”; (4) the “sequential scheme” interpretation, which argues that the events of Genesis 2 occurred long after Genesis 1; and (5) the “etiology as methodology” interpretation, which claims that Genesis 1–3 was written not as factual history but as an explanation for certain features that we see in the world (though the explanation need not record actual historical events). Multiple features in the text of Genesis 1–3 show these alternative explanations to be unpersuasive.

29. Theistic Evolution Is Incompatible with the Teachings of the New Testament
Guy Prentiss Waters

This chapter claims that theistic evolution is incompatible with the teachings of the New Testament. It surveys the passages in the New Testament that address Adam and Eve (as reported in Genesis 1–3) and also passages that reflect on the period of history covered in Genesis 4–11. It shows that the New Testament writers regarded the entirety of Genesis 1–11 in fully historical terms. The chapter also gives closer attention to two of the most extended New Testament expositions of Adam: 1 Corinthians 15:20–22, 44–49; and Romans 5:12–21. Paul understands Adam to be as historical a figure as Jesus of Nazareth, and the biological parent of the entire human race. He also attributes the entrance of sin and death into the human race to the first sin of Adam, and shows that Adam’s one sin is imputed to his natural posterity. The chapter finally shows the ways in which leading proponents of theistic evolution depart from the New Testament writers’ testimony to Adam and Eve, thereby calling into question the historical underpinnings of the gospel.

30. Theistic Evolution Is Incompatible with Historical Christian Doctrine
Gregg R. Allison

Church leaders have historically been called upon to embrace and guard the orthodox position of the church on creation. This chapter develops the specific components of sound doctrine in the area of creation. It articulates the church’s historical perspective and demonstrates how theistic evolution is incompatible with the consensus viewpoint. It briefly discusses the views of several more recent evangelical writers.

31. Additional Note: B. B. Warfield Did Not Endorse Theistic Evolution as It Is Understood Today
Fred G. Zaspel

This chapter quotes extensively from published and unpublished writings of Princeton theologian B. B. Warfield on creation and evolution, demonstrating that Warfield did not endorse theistic evolution as it is understood and advocated today.

Photo credit: Paul Nelson.