Evangelical Opposition to Evolution with Jeff Schloss

Conversation with: Jeff Schloss

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.

To join the conversation, see Understanding Evangelical Opposition to Evolution on our blog.

Video Transcription

These ideas of evolution are threatening at a number of levels. The first level actually doesn't even necessarily have a whole lot to do with evolution itself. It may have more to do with one interpretation of the historicity of Biblical narratives; for example, the age of the Earth. That has become a very big issue in the United States, although issues of an old Earth substantially predate evolutionary theory. That's one whole set of concerns.

The other set of concerns is actually slightly deeper and derives from proposals by evolutionary theory that it leaves no room for a designer, a superintending providence that directs evolutionary history. What's interesting about the Biblical faith is that this doesn't just propose the existence of a God who doesn't do anything or even propose an existence of a God who created the universe and then went on vacation and let it run. The Biblical God is a God of history, the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, who has purposes for history and who not only directs it, but enters history.

Some articulations of evolution say that if you really understand evolution, that can't happen anymore. Some proposals have gone so far as to say that if you look at evolutionary history, there is no thematic continuity. There's no directionality. There's no progression to suggest that the history of the cosmos has any meaning.

Strictly within the secular interpretation of evolutionary history, that's changing to an appreciation of thematic trends, trends toward complexity, greater cooperativity, a series of major evolutionary transitions. The theory itself is changing; the theoretical landscape. It really doesn't seem to be inhospitable to the notion - you don't have to come to this conclusion but it is certainly concordant with a conclusion - of a God who intended evolution to be the mode of his creation.

John. R. W. Stott, Understanding the Bible

What may we say about the ‘how’ of God’s creative activity. Not many Christians today find it necessary to defend the concept of a literal six-day creation, for the text does not demand it, and scientific discovery appears to contradict it.  The biblical text presents itself not as a scientific treatise but as a highly stylized literary statement (deliberately framed in three pairs, the fourth “day” corresponding to the first, the fifth to the second, and the sixth to the third).  Moreover, the geological evidence for a gradual development over thousands of millions of years seems conclusive. …“ “It is most unfortunate that some who debate this issue (evolution) begin by assuming that the words “creation” and “evolution” are mutually exclusive.

- John. R. W. Stott, Understanding the Bible