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How Should BioLogos Respond to Dr. Albert Mohler’s Critique: Karl’s Response

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July 6, 2010 Tags: Christian Unity
How Should BioLogos Respond to Dr. Albert Mohler’s Critique: Karl’s Response

Today's entry was written by Karl Giberson. You can read more about what we believe here.

Today's blog follows Dr. Falk's previous post about Albert Mohler's recent critique of the BioLogos Foundation. Dr. Mohler's speech is available here, and a transcript is also available.

Dear Dr. Mohler:

I watched your presentation on the importance of Young Earth Creationism with great interest and some questions occurred to me. My most general question would have to be whether this really matters as much as you say. It seems to me that you are making a theological mountain out of an exegetical molehill, but I suspect we should just agree to disagree about that. So let me frame some specific questions and perhaps you can help me appreciate where you are coming from.

Here are the questions I have for you, which are expanded in the links:

1.You say that General Revelation cannot trump Special Revelation. Of course, the word “trump” is metaphorical here, and “special” and “general” are loaded terms, but I am taking you to mean that we should not let information from outside the Bible change our minds about what is inside the Bible. The example in your talk would suggest that information from geological records, radioactive dating, cosmic expansion and so on—all of which suggests that the universe is billions of years old—should not persuade us to set aside the natural reading of Genesis which suggests that the earth is young. Is this a fair statement of your position?

2. You say that Darwin left on his expedition on the Beagle to “prove the theory of evolution.” You say he had his theory of evolution before he went on the Beagle and that he was seeking evidence to support it as he traveled about the globe. I would be interested in knowing where you got this idea. Darwin kept copious notes, a diary, and wrote many letters in the course of his long public life. From this vast set of insights into his thinking biographers have been able to unfold his thinking at every turn, and we have a clear picture of how, when, and in response to what, he developed the theory of evolution. What we know with certainty is that he was a Christian who believed in Creation when he boarded the beagle. He even wrote “I did not doubt the literal truth of anything in the Bible” to describe his view when he boarded the Beagle. Far from having a theory of evolution, he was a devotee of William Paley and the design argument. Yet you say exactly the opposite. Can you give some sources for your unusual historical claim?

3. You speak of the apparent age of the universe as a logical necessity and I fully agree with you, up to a point. Certainly, if we were to wander into the Garden of Eden two weeks after the creation was completed, we would see two adults who looked at least 18 years old. But there are many other indicators of age that don’t lend themselves to this sort of explanation. Why would God create radioactive elements in the proportions to suggest the earth is 5 billion years old? Why would God create stars with half of their nuclear fuel already used up? Why would God pepper the heavens with debris that looks exactly like it came from stars that exploded billions of years ago? Why would God create continents that look exactly like they were joined millions of year ago?

For further discussion, see also Pete Enns's response to Dr. Mohler's speech.

Dr. Karl Giberson is a physicist, scholar, and author specializing in the creation-evolution debate. He has published hundreds of articles, reviews and essays for Web sites and journals including Salon.com, Books & Culture, and the Huffington Post. Dr. Giberson has written or co-written ten books, including Saving Darwin, The Language of Science & Faith, and The Anointed: Evangelical Truth in a Secular Age. He is currently a faculty member at Stonehill College in Easton, Massachusetts, where he serves as the Scholar-in-Residence in science and religion.

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Kyle D - #49164

January 26th 2011

I think that what’s missed here, in a discussion of something like whether Biblical passages need to be taken literally, is recognizing what ideas and beliefs are being drawn from both the Bible and from evolution. It’s obvious that Christians regardless of whether they view the Bible literally or not, draw quite a lot of their ideas about the world and beliefs on how to live from the Scriptures. And while they may not like to admit, in the same way people draw similar conclusions from scientific theories. Religious or secular, people are powerfully affected by theories that represent a significant change to the way we used to think the world worked. What is most important is to find what conclusions about our world and about our lives as a human community are being drawn from theories like evolution. Whether a particular theory is scientifically true or not is something for labs and researchers, and I think the heart of this discussion is not found there. The heart of this debate between science and religion, creationism and evolution, lies in what beliefs we draw out of this theory. Are they good for the human community? Are we correct to make them, or do we need to reevaluate how we view the issue? That, to me, is the debate.

Rev. Millz - #49166

January 26th 2011

I believe that the Bible can indeed agree with the theory of evolution. It is ignorant to say that the Bible can be read straight through as is without looking at its original context and language. That is where key mistakes are made!

CharlesS&R - #49168

January 26th 2011

I am more and more becoming displeased with the argument as to whether or not the Bible should be read literally, particularly when instigated by advocates of the church. Very few participants in this controversy give credence to the fact that either stance is not able to be proved; the idea of such leads one to believe that the debate is irrelevant and Christians who advocate for a God should focus on the fact that the meaning and purpose of the Bible remains constant whether the Bible is read literally or not. Focusing on logistics (if you will) only continues to incite debate and, further, petty arguments that only end in bitterness.

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