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Report on BioLogos-Reasons To Believe Dialogue

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February 25, 2010 Tags: Christian Unity
Report on BioLogos-Reasons To Believe Dialogue

Today's entry was written by Darrel Falk. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of BioLogos. You can read more about what we believe here.

Intoduction by Darrel Falk

The BioLogos Foundation exists to help bring harmony between the Christian faith and science. Since BioLogos is an organization of Christians, this means that those who support it are members of a single Body, and by definition this includes people who do not all think about issues in exactly the same way. Jesus prayer for unity in John 17 is our prayer too. Hence, Paul’s I Corinthians 12 and 13 description of how things are to work in the Body of Christ is our calling. Indeed, it is our mandate. With that in mind BioLogos sponsored the In Search of a Theology of Celebration conference between pastors, theologians, scientists, and other scholars in November, 2009. The statement that emerged from that meeting and its signatories has been posted.

We have also been privileged to engage in several discussions with leaders of the Reasons to Believe organization, including an all day meeting in January, 2010. The following joint statement is the product of that meeting.

Report on BioLogos-Reasons To Believe Dialogue

BioLogos and Reasons To Believe are Christian non-profit organizations. Both may be described as science-faith think tanks. Both affirm that the revelations of Scripture and nature testify to the glory of God. BioLogos promotes theistic evolution as the best understanding of life’s origin and history. Reasons To Believe advocates day-age creation that accepts micro-evolutionary but not macro-evolutionary change.

On January 23, 2010, three scientists and a theologian who support BioLogos met in Washington, DC, with three scientists and a theologian from Reasons To Believe to discuss areas of agreement and disagreement. On the broad subject of creation and evolution, our particular focus for this discussion was the biological record of the past 700 million years.

We agreed on four goals for this session of an ongoing dialogue that began more than a year ago:

  1. Clarify for each other our beliefs about and positions on various aspects of creation and evolution. We wanted to establish areas of agreement on science, theology, and philosophy of ministry as well as major differences—with the understanding that secondary differences would require additional discussion at a later date.

    Significant progress was made in clarifying similarities and differences and more will be reported on this at a later date

  2. Outline the means by which at least some of the more significant differences between us could potentially be resolved.

    We agreed to undertake back-and-forth exchanges—video, written, or a combination—on specific topics.

  3. Set up public forums that will allow both Christians and non-Christians to learn about our respective positions on specific creation and evolution issues, observe our dialogue, and then engage in conversation with us.

    We agreed that the emphasis in these events must be on education and discussion, but this does not rule out sincere debate

  4. Consider how our interactions with one another might model for the Christian community at large how to approach differences of perspective and interpretation.

    We agreed on the primary importance of showing civility, grace, and unity in the common goal of understanding and submitting to God’s truth.

We’re pleased with the progress already achieved. As far as we’re aware, this is the first time in the recent history of the church when two ministries that share protestant evangelical commitments, but with divergent views on creation, have engaged in dialogue showing respect for each other’s Christian character, professional qualifications, and scholarly integrity. Each participant has embraced the exhortation in 1 Peter 3:15-16a:

But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect…

Thus, we remain hopeful that at least some of our differences can and will be resolved and that, even with an admixture of agreement and disagreement, our unity in Christ will be upheld and strengthened.

Darrel Falk is former president of BioLogos and currently serves as BioLogos' Senior Advisor for Dialog. He is Professor of Biology, Emeritus at Point Loma Nazarene University and serves as Senior Fellow at The Colossian Forum. Falk is the author of Coming to Peace with Science.

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Gregory Arago - #5413

February 26th 2010

#5335 Darrel: “I prefer the term “biologos” to “theistic evolution.” ... However, the shift to the common use of the term, “biologos” has not yet taken place.  We’re fine with using “theistic evolution,”  “evolutionary creation,” or “biologos” for now…they usually mean pretty much the same thing…God created through a gradual process.”

I’ve no problem with accepting *some things* were created gradually. But I leave the door open that some things were created ‘non-gradually’ or ‘rapidly’. Would you leave this door open Darrel or is it closed in the field of biology?

In my academic fields, abrupt/rapid creation, i.e. with discontinuity, is a given.

In contrast with evolution or creation, BioLogos cannot take form of verb. One cannot say BioLogossing or BioLogossed. Thus, I think you’re still stuck on the creation/evolution fork.

Welcoming more (evangelical) Christians to accept scientific vocabulary & contribute to doing biology is a noble goal!

BioLogos, as I understand, means God created/made life (biosphere).

The phrase ‘created through evolution’ is flimsy. Creation – origins; evolution – processes. Something must first be created before it can evolve.

Gregory Arago - #5415

February 26th 2010

Hi Darrel,

I posted #5413 before reading your #5411. Probably it would be a BioLogosist?

Darrel Falk - #5416

February 26th 2010

“Logos” is the Greek term for “Word,” i.e. God, incarnate in Jesus Christ.  “Bio,” of course, is life.

” Bio-Logos:”  All of life has been created by the Word through whom all things are held together. (Colossians 1:16,17)

Gregory Arago - #5419

February 26th 2010


Or, in the words of the theistic evolutionist or evolutionary creationist:

“Bio-Logos:” All of life has been evolved by the Word through whom all things are held together. (On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or the Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life + Bible)

Dave Wallace - #5433

February 26th 2010

To Darrel Falk et al I am very pleased that you had discussions with RTB especially in the way things are framed.  Are you hoping to have talks with the leaders of ID like you are having with RTB?

I think that the present divisions between Christians on the topic of Origins is not only a disgrace but SIN as well.  At the very least we should all be fellow combatants against philosophical naturalism as held by Dawkins and Coyne, if not allies.  The current state as adversaries who is some cases accuse each other of strong heresy is morally wrong.

I prefer to use the term Evolutionary Creationist rather than Theistic Evolutionist for at least two reasons:
1. EC makes it crystal clear that we stand in the same position as YEC and OEC in that we all believe “In the beginning God”
2. The noun is creationist rather than evolutionist which indicates a better emphasis, ie we are creationists who also accept evolution not evolutionists who accept theism.
Yes I am probably tilting at windmills using a different definition, but this is one case where IMO it seems important but Biologos is fine by me if and when it gets accepted.

Robert T. - #5555

February 28th 2010

Actually, it is easier to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission.  That’s why most don’t.

Ide Trotter, Ph.D., RIA - #9258

April 9th 2010

There is an agreed starting point for BioLogos, RTB, ICR and others. The Creator God started it. Differences as to how, how often, when and where God may have intervened in the causal flow of nature and how that should be understood in relation to the Scriptural text leads to the different views.  I t would be illuminating to see how the currently held timeline and intervention views of the main groups compare.  Just as the BioLogos group feels it constructive to avoid the loaded and misunderstood term “evolution,” there might be a way to get away from “God of the gaps” arguments.  Personally I would hope we could develop some sort of probability assessment.  For example, my current impressions line up in an order like this.
1)  Science may eventually make me feel comfortable that common descent is more firmly established than common design.
2)  Natural process for the origin, deracimization and polymerization of uncoded nucleotide chains of biologically interesting degree of polymerization is rather improbable.
3)  Natural process for encoding these nucleotide chains with the complex specified information requisite for life appears vanishingly improbable.

B. Schweigert, MA - #53589

March 8th 2011

It has been more than a year since this page was constructed.  Anything new on the BioLogos/Reasons to Believe front?  Please provide us an update.

Larry Bowman - #54485

March 15th 2011

B. - At present I’m not sure anyone is monitoring this blog.  They put on the “Vibrant Dance” conference together, but I don’t know if any “harmony” is occurring.  In the past Reasons to Believe has said some pretty bad things about theistic-evolution, and BioLogos hasn’t been to kind to Progressive Creationism either.  They might eventually dance, but I doubt if they’ll ever hug (or mate, for that matter!).

Steve Wilkinson - #55479

March 24th 2011

I heartily agree! I enjoy the debate (and think it is fruitful), but so often, it seems 1 Peter 3:16 gets lopped off.

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