On November 9-11, 2010, a group of pastors, church leaders, scholars, scientists, and informed laypersons met in New York City for the second Theology of Celebration BioLogos Workshop. In light of the scientific consensus that has emerged about the origin of the universe and of life’s diversity, there was extensive discussion around the following three themes:
- The theological significance of Adam and Eve’s historicity
- The nature of divine activity in a world where life has been created through an evolutionary process
- The appropriate response to the emphasis on scientism that has emerged from some in the secular scientific community
After much dialogue, the following statement emerged, which represents a summary of the discussion, as no attempt was made to develop a binding consensus statement.
Science and Faith
We affirm historic Christianity as articulated in the classic ecumenical creeds. Beyond the original creation, God continues to act in the natural world by sustaining it and by providentially guiding it toward the goal of a restored and consummated creation. In contrast to Deism, Biologos affirms God’s direct involvement in human history, including singular acts such as the incarnation and resurrection of Christ, as well as ongoing acts such as answers to prayer and acts of salvation and personal transformation.
We also affirm the value of science, which eloquently describes the glory of God’s creation. We stand with a long tradition of Christians for whom faith and science are mutually hospitable, and we see no necessary conflict between the Bible and the findings of science. We reject, however, the unspoken philosophical presuppositions of scientism, the belief that science is the sole source of all knowledge.
In recent years voices have emerged who seek to undermine religious faith as intellectually disreputable, in part because of its alleged dissonance with science. Some go further, characterizing religion as a “mind virus” or a cultural evil. While many of their ideas are not new, these voices are often identified as the New Atheists, and scientism undergirds their thinking.
In contrast to scientism, we deny that the material world constitutes the whole of reality and that science is our only path to truth. For all its fruitfulness, science is not an all-inclusive source of knowledge; scientism fails to recognize its limitations in fully understanding reality, including such matters as beauty, history, love, justice, friendship, and indeed science itself.
We agree that the methods of the natural sciences provide the most reliable guide to understanding the material world, and the current evidence from science indicates that the diversity of life is best explained as a result of an evolutionary process. Thus BioLogos affirms that evolution is a means by which God providentially achieves God’s purposes.
Accounts of Origins
We affirm without reservation both the authority of the Bible and the integrity of science, accepting each of the “Two Books” (the Word and Works of God) as God’s revelations to humankind. Specifically, we affirm the central truth of the biblical accounts of Adam and Eve in revealing the character of God, the character of human beings, and the inherent goodness of the material creation.
We acknowledge the challenge of providing an account of origins that does full justice both to science and to the biblical record. Based on our discussions, we affirm that there are several options that can achieve this synthesis, including some which involve a historical couple, Adam and Eve, and that embrace the compelling conclusions that the earth is more than four billion years old and that all species on this planet are historically related through the process of evolution. We commit ourselves to spreading the word about such harmonious accounts of truth that God has revealed in the Bible and through science.
The following individuals were present and thoughtfully participated in the group discussion that produced this statement:
Denis Alexander, Director of The Faraday Institute for Science and Religion
Kathryn Applegate, Program Director at the BioLogos Foundation
Robert C. Bishop, John and Madeleine McIntyre Professor of Philosophy and History of Science in the Physics Department at Wheaton College
Stephen Ashley Blake, Filmmaker and President of Realm Entertainment
Jim and Carolyn Blankemeyer, Chairman of the MetoKote Corporation and the National Christian Foundation
Barbara Bryant, Trustee of the Trinity Forum
R. Judson Carlberg, President of Gordon College
Ron Choong, Ordained minister and Founder of the Academy for Christian Thought
Francis Collins, Former leader of the Human Genome Project, author of The Language of God, and Director of the National Institutes of Health
Michael Cromartie, Vice President at the Ethics and Public Policy Center
Pete Enns, Senior Fellow, Biblical Studies, The BioLogos Foundation
Catherine Crouch, Associate Professor of Physics at Swarthmore College
Andy Crouch, Special Assistant to the President at Christianity Today International
Darrel Falk, President of the BioLogos Foundation and Professor of Biology at Point Loma Nazarene University
Leighton Ford, President of Leighton Ford Ministries
Kerry Fulcher, Dean of Arts and Sciences and Acting Provost at Point Loma Nazarene University
Karl Giberson, Vice President of the BioLogos Foundation, Professor of Physics at Eastern Nazarene College, and author
Charley Gordon, Neurological Surgeon
Os Guinness, Author or editor of more than 25 books and primary drafter of the Williamsburg Charter
Deborah Haarsma, Associate Professor and Chair of Physics & Astronomy at Calvin College
Daniel Harrell, Senior Minister of Colonial Church and author of Nature’s Witness: How Evolution Can Inspire Faith
Matthew J. Heynen, Project Manager for the Theological Book Network
Joel C. Hunter, Senior Pastor of Northland, A Church Distributed
Ian Hutchinson, Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Randy Isaac, Executive Director of the American Scientific Affiliation
Sidney J. Jansma, Jr and Catherine Jansma, President and CEO of Wolverine Gas and Oil Corporation
Tim Keller, Pastor and Founder of Redeemer Presbyterian Church and author of The Reason for God
Paul H. Lange, Professor of Urology at the University of Washington
Ard Louis, Reader in Theoretical Physics at Oxford University
Patrick McDonald, Associate Professor of Philosophy at Seattle Pacific University
Tim O'Connor, Professor and Chair of Philosophy at Indiana University
Thomas Jay Oord, Professor of Theology and Philosophy at Northwest Nazarene University
Jeff Schloss, Professor of Biology and Director of the Center for Faith, Ethics, and the Life Sciences at Westmont College
Randy Scott, Chairman of the BioLogos Foundation
Sanford C. "Sandy" Shugart, President of Valencia Community College
Dean Smith, Senior Pastor of the Highway Community
Mark Sprinkle, Artist and Senior Fellow at the BioLogos Foundation
Tim Stafford, Author and Senior Writer for Christianity Today
Dave Ussery, Associate Professor at the Center for Biological Sequence Analysis at the Technical University of Denmark
Luder Whitlock, President of Excelsis and former Executive Director of The Trinity Forum
Philip Yancey, Best-selling author of evangelical Christian literature
Amos Yong, J. Rodman Williams Professor of Theology at Regent University