Understanding Evangelical Opposition to Evolution
This entry was originally posted on February 11, 2010.
In this brief video, Professor Schloss addresses what he sees as the two primary reasons that evangelical Christians oppose evolutionary theory. He notes that the ideas of evolution are threatening on a number of levels for evangelicals, but focuses on two in particular that seem to be the most common.
The first issue has to do with interpretations of the historicity of biblical narratives, and especially their implications for the age of the earth. Schloss comments that this is a significant concern, particularly among Christians in the United States--even though it is a debate that actually predates evolutionary theory. Still, however, some Christians feel that the very truths delivered by the Bible hinge on the historicity of some passages and are therefore threatened if we accept the view of an old earth.
The other concern runs deeper actually, says Schloss, and this is the scientific inference that there is no room for a designer or a superintendant power in the world of creation. While earlier views of evolution have suggested that evolution lacks direction and is purposeless, Schloss says that on purely secular grounds, this is changing. He says that evolutionary biology now demonstrates that there are thematic trends: trends toward complexity, greater cooperativity, and a series of major evolutionary transitions. The theory itself, he says, is just changing. Evolutionary theory, as he sees it, is increasingly hospitable to the notion of a creator.
For evangelicals, the biblical God is a God of history who has purposes for it and also who enters history through the act of creation. Recent developments in scientific thought indicate that that the acceptance of evolutionary theory can in fact be concordant with the belief in a God that intended evolution to be the mode of his creation.
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
As Senior Scholar of BioLogos, Dr. Jeff Schloss provides writing, speaking, and scholarly research on topics that are central to the values and mission of BioLogos and represent BioLogos in dialogues with other Christian organizations. He holds a joint appointment at BioLogos and at Westmont College. Schloss holds the T. B. Walker Chair of Natural and Behavioral Sciences at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California, and directs Westmont’s Center for Faith, Ethics, and the Life Sciences. Schloss, whose Ph.D. in ecology and evolutionary biology is from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, often speaks to pubic, church-related, and secular academic audiences on the intersection of evolutionary science and theology. Among his many academic publications are The Believing Primate: Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Reflections on the Origin of Religion