In my last article I wrote about how science is in a state of change based on the ongoing discovery of new information, and the Bible has remained unchanged since it was written. I went on to explain how the more science changes the closer it comes to what the Bible has revealed that does not change. Since the debate has been revived regarding theistic evolution, some may have thought I was making an argument for this position. I was not.
Theistic evolution is an attempt to syncretize certain scientific theories on the origin of life, and its current complexity and diversity, with the revelation of Scripture. Those who hold this view believe evolution is the method God used to create everything. I rejected theistic evolution a long time ago because it is predicated on poor science and even poorer theology.
The guys over at BioLogos (biologos.org) disagree. According to their website they see “evolution as the means by which God created life, in contrast to Atheistic Evolutionism, Intelligent Design, and Creationism.” Of course they call their position Evolutionary Creation, which is theistic evolution in new semantic clothes. BioLogos claims to be “…a community of evangelical Christians committed to exploring and celebrating the compatibility of evolutionary creation and biblical faith…”
That last statement is a little misleading. They are more committed to “celebrating” the compatibility of evolution and the Bible than they are to “exploring” it. When they suggest they are exploring the matter they imply there is an ongoing investigation into and search for scientific truth. The only truth found here is their embracing of evolutionary creation over other competing views.
Science consists of gathering data through observation of natural phenomena or observation and recording results of experimentation in a controlled environment such as a laboratory. At its essence, science is observation. Observation reveals facts and scientists speculate on what the facts mean and this gives rise to theories. There is a huge gap between what science observes and what science speculates.
When it comes to the origin of life, that gap is about 3.5 billion years. Scientists theorize life began 3.5 billion years ago and they have formulated several theories about the origin of life, but the whole scientific community is not in possession of a single observed fact about how life began. They can only guess how life began because they did not observe how life began. If you think that last sentence is an exaggeration, read on.
The National Academy of Sciences is a group of about 2,100 scientists representing every major science discipline. About two hundred of their number have received Nobel Prizes in their various fields of study. They are often called upon to advise the Congress of the United States regarding technical or scientific issues affecting pending legislation. They promote the teaching of evolution and oppose the teaching of creationism.
In a publication entitled Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, Second Edition (1999), page 7, we read, “Of course, even if a living cell were to be made in the laboratory, it would not prove nature followed the same pathway billions of years ago.” This is a stunningly honest admission by a body of highly respected scientists. Since the origin of life is an unobserved event shrouded in antiquity, they must admit they do not know what happened. This same admission is repeated almost verbatim in a 2008 publication entitled Science, Evolution and Creationism, page 22. Both publications can be viewed free of charge at the National Academies Press website.
Of course, other comments in these publications like “no one yet knows” or “scientists who study the origin of life do not yet know” seem to get lost in the wordy explanations of what scientist do know and serve to obscure what they do not know. Scientists are very good at the art of observation and recording what they observe. They are not always good at speculating about what happened in the distant past or even the near future, because the distant past and near future are unobserved. They can only speculate, and history is replete with the speculative mistakes of science. It is arrogance for any scientist to think that because he knows some things, he knows everything.
If the guys over at BioLogos think they have discovered more on the origin of life than the National Academy of Sciences it is time to lay their cards on the table. Until then, I maintain evolution’s explanation of the origin of life is unproven speculation, and one should be wary of twisting their theology to wrap around it.