Posted On January 6, 2015

Before getting into the thicket, let me briefly define my terms and say a few preliminary things about my concerns. First, by BioLogos I mean this particular project as an attempt to harmonize biological evolution and Christian faith. Second, while I believe that this attempt (however well-intentioned) is a threat to every form of Christian education, I am focusing on classical Christian education because that is where my labors have largely been. And third, nothing said here is intended to question the sincerity or niceness of any particular BioLogos brothers and sisters. I believe their vision is destructive, but if a destructive vision is being promulgated here by very nice people, it wouldn’t be the first time.

There are many places where I could launch this discussion, but I think I will start with the historicity of Adam and Eve.

“Genetic evidence shows that humans descended from a group of several thousand individuals who lived about 150,000 years ago. This conflicts with the traditional view that all humans descended from a single pair who lived about 10,000 years ago. While Genesis 2-3 speaks of the pair Adam and Eve, Genesis 4 refers to a larger population of humans interacting with Cain. One option is to view Adam and Eve as a historical pair living among many 10,000 years ago, chosen to represent the rest of humanity before God. Another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an allegory in which Adam and Eve symbolize the large group of ancestors who lived 150,000 years ago. Yet another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an “everyman” story, a parable of each person’s individual rejection of God. BioLogos does not take a particular view and encourages scholarly work on these questions.”

1. The first thing to notice is that while encouraging “scholarly work on these questions,” they are not subjecting their own options to any kind of rigorous or logical analysis. So genetic evidence shows that humans descended from a group of several thousand about 150,000 years ago? Now when walking upstream like this, one wonders why they stopped right where they decided to stop.

This is because we could also say that genetic evidence shows that humans descended from about a billion people 200 years ago. And when we greet the several thousand ancestors from 150,000 years ago one wonders (does one not?) whether they had parents, whether they had common ancestors. What possible reason could we have for tracing our human ancestry to its point of origin, but then stopping a few centuries short? I’ll bet with a little scholarly work on this question we could go upstream a little bit further. We might even get to meet our mother Eve and discover just how hairy her back was, and how good she was at picking nits from Adam’s scalp.

2. In attempting to reconcile evolutionary theory with biblical revelation, a false equivalence must first be assumed. Scripture is God’s perfect revelation to man, exquisitely designed for our capacities and condition. Evolutionary theory is not something we “know” in the same way. If someone were to say that their goal was to harmonize “Scripture” on the one hand, with phrenology on the other, we should stop them before the actual work of harmonizing begins. “You do know,” we should say, “that what we know about phrenology is not in the same category as what we know about the epistle to the Romans?” The same thing goes for Swedenborgian Ambien dreams.

If you appropriately assume the certainty of two bases of knowledge, then it is fully reasonable to seek to harmonize them. I am all for it, because all truth is God’s truth. I have no difficulty when someone seeks to harmonize the synoptic gospels with the fact a bowling ball dropped out of plane over the Pacific will fall at 9.8 meters per second squared. Harmonize away, and it won’t take long. But if you want to harmonize Scripture with your view that criminality is determined by bumps on the head with the Pauline view that it is caused by bumps on the heart, then there is an enormous problem. You are just assuming that you have equivalent truths that need harmonizing. But maybe you just have one glaring error that needs rejecting.

On this question, the Academy is a very large, self-authenticating plausibility structure, with the words Echo Chamber stenciled on the door. What you guys know in there is not the same thing as what we know out here. I do feel a need to harmonize what I know with what I know. I feel no need at all to harmonize what I know with what I don’t know.

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