Understanding the Theological Hazards of Bruce Waltke, BioLogos, and the New Darwinian Evangelicals
The Institute for Creation Research receives hundreds of letters from our constituency, most of them thanking us for our work in the sciences or expressing their support. Frequently we receive "instruction" in one form or another, giving us other viewpoints to consider. Occasionally we get questions from sincere folks, like this one from a pastor:
I was viewing NOVA on the TV recently where they were talking about the great "discoveries" by the Hubble telescope. One of these discoveries was that the earth was millions of years old. According to the scientists at ICR, the earth is some 6,000 years old. Who is right and what difference does it make?
His questions are valid--especially in light of the growing number of evangelical theologians and noted authors who endorse an old earth and various forms of "creation by evolution." How can one tell "who is right" or determine "what difference" it makes?
Over the past six months or so, the evangelical world has been debating a series of statements and papers by Dr. Bruce Waltke, sponsored by the BioLogos Foundation. BioLogos, founded by Dr. Francis Collins, claims to be "a reliable source of scholarly thought on contemporary issues in science and faith. It highlights the compatibility of modern science with traditional Christian beliefs."1
Dr. Waltke insists that he is an ardent believer in "the infallibility (as to its authority) and inerrancy (as to its Source) of Scripture."2 Yet he also insists: "I believe that creation by the process of evolution is a tenable Biblical position, and, as represented by BioLogos, the best Christian apologetic to defend Genesis 1-3 against its critics."3
In a paper released by BioLogos in late 2009, Dr. Waltke listed eleven "Barriers to Accepting the Possibility of Creation by Means of an Evolutionary Process."4 These eleven "barriers" to accepting some form of hybrid creation-evolution process were a collage of "traditional," Bible-based arguments for textual authority, some "logic" from the Intelligent Design proponents, and such theological arguments as the gap and framework theories.
The purpose of the survey was to determine the level of commitment among evangelical faculty to a recent creation by fiat, or to an evolutionary-process "creation" over long ages. Dr. Waltke defined the "evolutionary process" as:
[T]he sufficiency of mutation and natural selection in bringing about the development of present living kinds from simpler earlier kinds, including the emergence of man from a common ancestor with apes.5
In the same paper, Dr. Waltke said about "creation":
[S]ince "creation" involves "ordered existence," creation by the process of evolution implies--so it seems to me--the Creator's intelligence guiding the process, not a process by unguided, purposeless chance.6
Of the 659 evangelical faculty who visited the site survey, 264 responded. That 40 percent demonstrated a slight majority (46 to 44 percent) who accept the theory of creation by the processes of evolution. Of those responding to the survey, 84.1 percent "embraced" the theory of Intelligent Design.
Partially on the strength of his survey, and the various interchanges through BioLogos, Dr. Waltke recorded a video interview, released on BioLogos in March 2010. In that video, Dr. Waltke made several statements that have drawn intense criticism from a wide variety of respondents--and at the same time has reinforced the "creation by the process of evolution" position of many, including the BioLogos Foundation.
For several years now, various authors and spokespersons within the ID movement have accused ICR and other recent creation proponents of hindering evangelism because "no one" will talk to us if we hold such "silly" positions. Dr. Waltke's video comments reflect that thinking:
I think that if the data is overwhelmingly in favor, in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult, some odd group that's not really interacting with the real world.7
To deny the reality would be to deny the truth of God in the world and would be to deny truth….also our spiritual death in witness to the world that we're not credible, that we are bigoted, we have a blind faith and this is what we're accused of.8
I think it is essential to us or we'll end up like some small sect somewhere that retained a certain dress or a certain language. And they end up so…marginalized, totally marginalized, and I think that would be a great tragedy for the church, for us to become marginalized in that way.9
The answers to our pastor friend's questions are based on what authority is the basis for belief. Even those like Dr. Waltke, who insists that the biblical information must be interpreted based on modern science, all admit that the Scripture plainly teaches a recent creation by the spoken word of the Creator. One's answers to the questions depend on which Source is the ultimate criteria--the words of the Creator, or the words of modern science.
As for ICR and its people, we would embrace the apostle Paul's admonition: "Let God be true, but every man a liar" (Romans 3:4).
BioLogos Can Be Hazardous to Your Faith
(Editor's note: Below are just a few hazards found on the BioLogos website.)
BioLogos is funded by the Templeton Foundation, which has awarded prizes and grants to Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Catholics, evangelical Christians, and atheists. Its support of evolution-based science research is ongoing.
BioLogos is preparing to develop and market science curricula for homeschool and Christian school education, teaching "creation by evolution" to your children.
BioLogos is teaching "creation by evolution" to Christian high school teachers in southern California this summer (paying them a stipend to attend), described as "professional development" in biology.
BioLogos is launching "Resources for Pastors" to persuade your pastor that it’s okay to believe in evolution and teach it to your church.
BioLogos represents a new front in the drift and demise of evangelical Christianity, having as its leaders and spokespersons men and women who identify themselves as born-again believers, who teach in Christian colleges and seminaries, while at the same time questioning the accuracy and historicity of the biblical accounts of creation, Adam and Eve, the Fall, the Flood, and much more.
- About BioLogos. The BioLogos Foundation website at biologos.org.
- Dr. Bruce Waltke's Statement of Clarification, in Why Must the Church Come to Accept Evolution?: An update. Posted on the BioLogos Foundation website April 2, 2010, accessed April 20, 2010.
- Waltke, B. Barriers to Accepting the Possibility of Creation by Means of an Evolutionary Process. A white paper from the November 2009 BioLogos workshop, posted on the BioLogos Foundation website.
- Ibid, page 2.
- Bruce Waltke: Why Must the Church Accept Evolution? BioLogos Foundation video, since pulled from the site. Transcripts and commentary are available via Google.
* Dr. Morris is Chief Executive Officer of the Institute for Creation Research.
Cite this article: Morris III, H. 2010. Creation by Evolution. Acts & Facts. 39 (6): 4-5.