It’s not Christianity!
Biologos says: Christian parents and students should believe evolution
Published: 2 October 2012 (GMT+10)
On their website’s front page, BioLogos has two articles to coincide with the start of the school year in the US. Many parents are sending their children off to school and university, and many Christians are worried about the effects of evolutionary teaching on their children’s faith.
The first article seems aimed more at parents. ‘Allaying Parental Fears about Evolution Education in the Public Schools’ is a narrative about a conversation between the author and a concerned parent whose child was learning evolution in public school. The author ended up convincing both parents that evolution and Christianity were compatible, and even better (in their view), the parents became ‘evolutionary evangelists’, spreading their newfound view in their church.
Leading the flock astray?
This sadly demonstrates the concerns we’ve had at CMI about Biologos since its inception (see Evolutionary syncretism and The non-mythical Adam and Eve). On the surface they seem all embracing of, and willing to dialogue with, anyone who has a long-age or evolutionary view of God’s Creation. But from day one, notably absent from their ‘list of friends’ are the biblical (young-earth) creationists (BCs). In fact, they commented that their agenda is to help Christians believe in evolution. As such, this caused us to be more than wary about accepting them as just another group who claims to be Christian, but believes in evolution, because they have demonstrated such a low view of Scripture. It appears their agenda is to marginalize BCs by using some sort of popular authority argument. I.e. “Look at all these scientists who have no problem reconciling evolution and the Bible. It’s those young earth types who have the narrow view.” Dare we say, Biologos are really proving to be ‘Wolves in sheep’s clothing’. Is this harsh? We don’t think so, particularly when they are leading people away from a straightforward understanding of what Jesus and the apostles clearly believed. And who is to say having such a ‘narrow’ view of Scripture is bad anyway? Since when did God rule by democracy? Let’s read what God’s Word has to say in this regard.
The creation of this newfound parent/child tension, and the personal angst of trying to ‘pick up the pieces’ of a ‘shattered’ worldview (to use one of the students’ own terms), is apparently acceptable ‘collateral damage’.
“Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? So, every healthy tree bears good fruit, but the diseased tree bears bad fruit. A healthy tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a diseased tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus you will recognize them by their fruits”—Matthew 7:13–20.
Lest you think this is too harsh, it might be worth reading our initial report on Biologos called Evolutionary syncretism: a critique of Biologos, but just to summarize a few points:
- The Apostle Paul (and the other apostles) was wrong when it came to Genesis.
- Jesus was similarly wrong.
- Biologos’ founder Frances Collins claims that modern genetics proves that Adam and Eve were not real historical people (again, this compounds the implication that Jesus and the NT authors were wrong).
“But BioLogos’s consistent syncretism goes beyond the “blessed inconsistency” which we believe enables a person to be a Christian evolutionist. They are a syncretistic religion which no longer takes Scripture as its authority; rather, they twist and distort Scripture to try to fit with their true authority, evolution.
“The result is a religion, but it is not Christianity.”
Biologos’ second series seems aimed more at students, and is a small study (certainly too small to be useful as anything except use as several anecdotes) about how students’ views on evolution changed as they took evolutionary courses. The few students in the sample went from mainly biblical creationists to theistic evolutionists after being exposed to evolution in college. The series explores various aspects of their shift on origins, including its effect on their faith and their relationship with their parents.
The angst of some of these students, some of whom even now have not been able to discuss their belief in evolution with their parents, is one of the saddest parts of the series. But the blame is subtly aimed at the parents, whose views are too ‘rigid’ to accommodate evolution. The creation of this newfound parent/child tension, and the personal angst of trying to “pick up the pieces” of a “shattered” worldview (to use one of the students’ own terms), is apparently acceptable ‘collateral damage’.
Atheistic evolutionists use but don’t respect theistic evolutionists
So, of course, by advocating this strategy, BioLogos is actually on the side of the atheists, even if they are not consciously promoting atheism. … That should all tell us something about ‘how’ Christian they are.
The message of these two articles is clear: Evolution is true, and Christians should act pre-emptively to make sure that their children are aware of it, and that their faith incorporates a God who used evolution. But these articles don’t tell the truth. CMI and many other BC organizations can testify to heart-breaking reality that for many church-going teens and college students, exposure to evolution puts them on the slippery slope to unbelief. Just ask arguably the world’s leading spokesman for evolution, Richard Dawkins, on what it was that caused him to reject the Christian faith. This video clip indicates that even arch atheists like Dawkins think that the ‘sophisticated theologians’ who blend evolution and the Bible are “deluded”. In an earlier interview Dawkins also said:
“Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasn’t it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!”
In a debate with the very same Francis Collins, who said that Adam and Eve were never real people, Dawkins said:
“I think that’s [referring to theistic evolution] a tremendous cop-out. If God wanted to create life and create humans, it would be slightly odd that he should choose the extraordinarily roundabout way of waiting for 10 billion years before life got started and then waiting for another 4 billion years until you got human beings capable of worshipping and sinning and all the other things religious people are interested in.”1
So, of course, by advocating this strategy, BioLogos is actually on the side of the atheists, even if they are not consciously promoting atheism. It seems ironic that the world’s leading atheists can see that this type of Christianity is no Christianity at all, but Biologos themselves apparently cannot see (or dare admit to?) the hypocrisy. That should tell us something about ‘how’ Christian they are!
Helping the atheists along
For instance, Eugenie Scott of America’s National Center for Science Education, an atheist humanist, gives a more detailed strategy for combating creation in her two-part ‘Dealing with Antievolutionism’ which includes having students ask their pastors what their faith has to say about evolution:
“A teacher in Minnesota told me that he had good luck sending his students out at the beginning of the semester to interview their pastors and priests about evolution. They came back somewhat astonished, "Hey! Evolution is OK!" Even when there was diversity in opinion, with some religious leaders accepting evolution as compatible with their theology and others rejecting it, it was educational for the students to find out for themselves that there was no single Christian perspective on evolution.”2
No wonder she is also reported to have said:
“I have found that the most effective allies for evolution are people of the faith community. One clergyman with a backward collar is worth two biologists at a school board meeting any day!”3
Note how that while they play the ‘God could have used evolution’ card to make their students more comfortable with rejecting creation, their ultimate aim is to make atheists out of them. Perhaps they should just save themselves the trouble and simply donate to BioLogos!
Many public (government) school teachers and university professors view the young minds coming into their classrooms as clay to be molded with a worldview totally foreign to the parents of these students (who are, incidentally, often funding this indoctrination of their own children).
A wake-up call for parents
Parents have the primary responsibility for their children’s education—and part of this has been the privilege and responsibility of bringing children up with the worldview and culture of their parents. But many public (government) school teachers and university professors view the young minds coming into their classrooms as clay to be molded with a worldview totally foreign to the parents of these students (who are, incidentally, often funding this indoctrination of their own children).
English professor Bill Savage chillingly illustrates this mindset:
“The children of the red states will seek a higher education, and that education will very often happen in blue states or blue islands in red states. For the foreseeable future, loyal dittoheads will continue to drop off their children at the dorms. After a teary-eyed hug, Mom and Dad will drive their SUV off toward the nearest gas station, leaving their beloved progeny behind. And then they are all mine.”4
The sad thing is, this strategy is working. The percentages vary according to who is doing the research and which denominations are being studied, but young people are overwhelmingly leaving the Church when they leave home—and many of them will never return.
Evolution isn’t the entire problem—and perhaps the acceptance of evolution is simply another symptom of the Bible’s perceived irrelevance in their lives and lack of authority. But for many students, evolution is what makes them start questioning the Bible’s authority. And if the Bible isn’t right when it talks about the world’s history, why should it be trusted when it tells us about spiritual things that we can’t see this side of eternity (cf. John 3:12).
Inoculate your children against evolutionary indoctrination
The answer is not necessarily to pull out of the schools and the universities. Christian anti-intellectualism has never been the answer or provided a solution that has ultimately strengthened the Church. Rather, parents should inoculate their children against evolutionary indoctrination by teaching them how to defend their faith. With a little home instruction on these issues (regardless of where one’s children are educated), children can be taught how to think on issues such as origins, so they will not be misled during higher education. Our Parents' Corner is a good place to start. Or simply invest in a few children’s resources from our webstore and spend time with your children/grandchildren helping them work through the issues.
- Cray, D. God vs. science, Time 5 November 2006, time.com, last accessed 23 August 2012. Return to text.
- Scott, E. Dealing with antievolutionism, ucmp.berkeley.edu, last accessed 23 August 2012. Return to text.
- T.J. Oord and E. Stark, A conversation with Eugenie Scott, Science and Theology News, 1 April 2002, quoted in J. Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Regnery Publishing: Washington, DC, 2006), p. 175. Return to text.
- Savage, B., Lessons learned, The Stranger, 9–15 June 2005, thestranger.com, last accessed 23 August 2012. Note: ‘red states’ means ‘politically conservative’ and ‘blue states’ means ‘politically liberal’. ‘Dittoheads’ are the conservative fans of a popular American talk radio host. While Savage’s comments are in the context of political indoctrination, the same dynamic is at work with evolutionary indoctrination. Return to text.
Isn’t Biologos doing exactly the same thing that Lucifer did in the Garden of Eden? Creating doubt, and by so doing mixing truth and lies? Evolutionists (and the master behind it) know that their arguments do not hold any water. They can chop and change their approaches but the Bible is always true. What is next? BioJesus? Believing in Jesus but refuting that he didn’t die and rise to heaven? Watch the space.
Having flirted with the idea that evolution could perhaps be squeezed into the Genesis narrative ... somehow! ... I finally had to conclude that it could not. That narrative simply states what is, and was. The fact that we may find it difficult to believe, or to defend, means nothing. God's ways, powers, and so on, are far beyond what we can grasp, and so it is with the Creation. If His Word says it came to pass over the course of 6 days then it did.
As for trying to serve up evolution as simply one of His tools, well ... schools simply ladle on extra helpings of theoretical nonsense, none of which can be verified. A bone is a bone. It says nothing more, in reality, than that. It does not speak of evolution in any way, but speaks of post-Creation existence.
Graham D. commented that theistic evolution should be discarded out of hand, but then goes on to say "But still a question remains, how did God create life? By which means did he do it? What processes were involved? Which God did it? Creators and engineers of immense complexity don't just speak complexity into existence!"
Seriously? "Which God did it?" And how would you know that "Creators and engineers of immense complexity don't just speak complexity into existence??? Unless you've brought into existence something from nothing you actually shouldn't take such an unsubstantiated position.
The One who created the immense complexity is the one true and living God of the Bible. The process he used was "God said". Graham your view of God is not based on scripture, and without scripture you have nothing at all. Read your bible and believe it and God will bless you with understanding.
Thank you for this article! Bates and Cosner are telling the hard truth about BioLogos that is long past due being told, even in the Biblical Creationist community.
I agree that, although cognitive dissonance (in some cases bordering on intellectual dishonesty) can allow a person to believe in evolution and still be a saved Christian, BioLogos goes well beyond this mere "blessed inconsistency."
BioLogos' position that Jesus and other New Testament writers such as Paul were essentially wrong about Genesis demonstrates a rejection of the truthfulness, authority, and lordship of Jesus Christ and of the Holy Spirit, crossing a line into absolute heresy.
I conclude that the theologians and would-be theologians of BioLogos are modern-day heretics, in the same vein as Marcion and Arius. The modern Christian church needs to respond to them as such.
Again, thank you to Bates and Cosner for having the courage and integrity to recognize the teaching of BioLogos as the heresy it is, and to meet it head-on!
Romans 12:2 (KJV) ~ "And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God"
Is it possible to be more conformed to the world than a belief in evolution?
As satan seems so determined that the whole world including christians should believe in evolution, it must have some payoff for him. If it makes no difference to salavation why does satan bother to convert christians to evolution? It would take a braver person than me to say to someone that a belief in evolution will not affect your salvation as i just don't know if that is true or not. Conforming to the world over the word of the God seems a very serious offence to me and shows a serious lack of faith.
I would just like to share that I have really appreciated CMI’s ministry over a number of years. Over recent times I have been particularly drawn to the witness of the Word of God in my life in so many areas.
I would affirm that I believe as scripture states so clearly that God created by his Word & that as a result of sin God chose to re-create mankind by his Word. Also that God sustains, empowers & reveals himself to us by his Word. How precious is the Word of God & I believe that God is not a liar, so why would we want to be deceived to believe otherwise? The created cries out in witness & testimony of the Creator.
Thank you so much CMI for your faithfulness in your declaration & witness to the reliability of the Word of God.
I happened to come across an interview that Jim Cantelon did with Dr. Karl Giberson in July of this year on 100 Huntley Street:[URL deleted as per our feedback rules]
Giberson is a prominent member of BioLogos and served as its Executive Vice-President for a time (2009-2011).
At one point Cantelon asked Giberson, "How do you understand this great divide between the Old Earthers and Young Earthers who are all Christians. How do we resolve this?"
In the time slot between 5:00 and 6:35, his response was basically that the emphasis on young earth is "very recent" and led by so-called 'fundamentalists' (that is, people who believe that the Bible is true). As evidence for his historical revisionism, he cites Augustine from the 5th century as not believing in a 6-day creation. Like any fabrication, contained within it are often some half-truths. It is true that Augustine did not believe in a 6-day creation. Augustine, influenced by Greek philosophy which caused him to be prone to allegorization, believed that God, being timeless, created instantaneously. Thus, the non-literal days resulted from extra-biblical philosophical influences; not from the words of the Bible. Augustine, although he may not have come down conclusively on a literal 6 days, he also did not come down on the earth being very old. In fact, the very opposite: "Let us, then, omit the conjectures of men who know not what they say [like Gilberson?], when they speak of the nature and origin of the human race...They are deceived, too, by those highly mendacious documents which profess to give the history of many thousand years, though, reckoning by the sacred writings, we find that not 6000 years have yet passed." [Augustine, Of the Falseness of the History Which Allots Many Thousand Years to the World’s Past, De Civitate Dei (The City of God), 12(10).] You would think that as a 'scholar', Gilberson would know this.
At 7:45 min he reports that as a college professor he is "happy" to have indoctrinated young people to believe in theistic evolution.
Giberson has recently found a way to fix the nagging 'problem' of taking Genesis as literal history. He has written a book, "Seven Glorious Days - A Scientist Retells the Genesis Creation Story", where he basically rewrites Genesis to fit in with evolution or millions of years. [URL deleted as per our feedback rules]
I would tend to reject theistic evolution right off without discussing it any further. It completely leaves out original sin, and thus the whole of Christianity comes crashing down because of one single theory. It deeply contradicts the bible, at least we can both agree on that.
But still a question remains, how did God create life? By which means did he do it? What processes were involved? Which God did it? Creators and engineers of immense complexity don't just speak complexity into existence!
@Francois -- Funny, just today me and a friend were talking about how if Jesus were to be asked about his political opinions today he probably would be in favour of a dictatorship :).
The time is nearing for CMI to draw the line closer in. This article (honestly written) underscores the danger of saying a person can, at once, be both a Christian and hold to theistic evolution. Lita Cosner and others need to rethink and re-engineer their public thoughts on this bifurcated and self-defeating view. I for one believe that what CMI holds in private needs to stay that way. Opinions for public consumption should carefully guard and honor that glory bestowed on man, who, in less than one 24 hour period, was fashioned in the image of his Creator God. Any view beyond that is to err.
Thanks for writing in. Honestly though, it’s a bit exasperating when people write in from outside the ministry believing they know what we should do as a ministry. We have often thought about these issues at some length and carefully try to phrase things with as much nuance as needed.
On one hand, we are commanded to believe Scripture—if someone understands what Jesus says, or what Paul says, or what Isaiah says, etc, and says, “I think I like theory X better than what Jesus and Paul and Isaiah say,” that’s plain unbelief and a serious sin; and I believe this is what BioLogos does.
On the other hand, the Christian is saved by belief in Christ, not complete doctrinal correctness (thank God!). When I was saved 10 years ago, I loved Jesus and I believed in Him and I believed the Bible was true. I also held some serious doctrinal errors that mercifully were ironed out by faithful discipleship and sitting under biblical preaching. Now, a few of those errors may have been just as serious as being wrong about creation—but I wasn’t less saved. Rather, I sincerely wanted to believe the truth, and when I was shown that there were doctrinal errors, I abandoned them for the true doctrines. Some people may be in that place with theistic evolution, etc, where they love Jesus and believe in Him, they just haven’t had ‘the light go on’ yet. And I can’t bring myself to be less merciful regarding such a person than Jesus is. In fact, most of our scientists and many of our staff were evolutionists who became Christians, and then later, creationists. Were they any less saved because they believed in evolution at the point of their conversion? What we attempted to show with Biologos though is different. It is syncretism. Their belief in evolution trumps any belief in Christianity or the Savior.
So I have to say: holding to a historical view of creation is very, very important; the first few chapters of Genesis give us the foundation for the Gospel, and the Gospel is in many ways incomprehensible with a compromising view of creation. Nevertheless, someone may err on this doctrine and yet be saved by the mercy of Christ, because we are saved by Christ’s death and resurrection, not by complete doctrinal correctness (to say otherwise would be to advocate a form of salvation by works). But someone with a true and vibrant faith will want to continually return to the Scriptures and allow them to transform his or her mind, and hopefully that process will eventually lead to a biblical view of creation for the person who is actually searching for truth.
In all my ten years as a Christian, I have heard many testimonies from believers and non-believers alike. I have VIRTUALLY NEVER heard of theistic evolution creating sound faith. I have, though, heard of many examples of it doing the opposite.
"Since when did God rule by democracy?" How simple but how true!
I sadly have to agree with you that the Biologos website is proving to be a "wolf in sheep's clothing" as it seeks to undermine the faith of evangelical Christians in the inerrancy and perspicuity of Scripture. That judgment is not too harsh,in my opinion, for to deny the historicity of Adam and Eve and the historic fall of mankind into sin is indeed to promote a different religion than that taught by Jesus and the apostles. Why should a literal Jesus have to die on the cross to undo the effects of a symbolic fall that never took place? Richard Dawkins is right about that! Such a view renders the Bible an incomprehensible book, for it wreaks havoc on the plain sense of passages like Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15. In the Bible, Adam is presented as every bit as historical as Jesus-- just take a look at the genealogy of Jesus in Luke 3, which traces his lineage back to Adam. I would not say that the Biologos writers are promoting atheism, but I do think they are promoting a view of the Christian faith that is clearly heretical, and that departs at numerous points from apostolic Christianity. It is in fact a substitute religion that might be called "Christ mysticism." The features of that religion are a Nestorian view of Jesus, a more or less Deistic view of God's relationship to the natural world, a denial of the perspicuity of Scripture, an exaltation of human reason over special revelation, and greater confidence in modern-day insights allegedly given by the "Spirit of Jesus" than in the plain teachings of Jesus in the Bible (which are a 'mixed bag' of religious insights and historical/scientific/theological errors). They believe that Christianity is constantly evolving in its doctrines, requiring a "magisterium" of degreed scientists and theologicans working together to tell the "man in the pew" what the Christian message is for us today. I am glad that you are "calling them out" on their clear departure from the "faith once for all delivered to the saints" and warning the Christian community about its deceitful influence.
Thank you for this article. We had a similar preacher at the Singapore Aldersgate Convention a few years back (before I heard of Creation ministries), and I remember feeling disturbed by it. Now, I know how to counter the proponents of theistic evolution.
I have a new casual coworker, a casual Christian, who rightly so is just as proud as punch of her daughter. One of her daughter's accomplishments is that she is an avid reader who reads at the fifth grade level at the end of her first year. My coworker recently commented that she wanted her daughter to get more into science in her second year of school. I bought 2 of your books for children and gave them to my coworker to give to her daughter. She did after reading them herself. From her comments, I think both may be somewhat insulated from the secular world view of evolution. I continue to pray for them and thank God for your resources.
"...this caused us to be more than wary about accepting them as just another group who claims to be Christian, but believes in evolution."
But this is EXACTLY what CMI believes and has stated many times before!
Anyone who claims to be a Christian but still claims to believe in evolution is saying, in effect, that Jesus Christ is a liar, because Christ Himself claimed to be the creator of the universe. Thus such people do NOT believe in AND FOLLOW the teachings of Christ and are thus NOT Christians, no matter what they or CMI may claim to the contrary.
CMI has affirmed that it is possible to be an evolutionist and a Christian; however, there is a difference between someone who holds this position because of an unawareness of the full biblical teaching, or some sort of ignorance, and someone who consciously rejects the Bible's teaching in this area and teaches others to do likewise. When someone says, "Jesus and the authors of Scripture believed creation, but I reject it", that becomes a form of unbelief.
Excellent article that should be mandatory reading for all Christian parents and Biologos supporters. It staggers me how much Biologos has compromised on scripture – Jesus was wrong????
How is it possible to be a consistent Christian and believe Jesus was wrong? Simple: You can’t.
A wolf in sheep’s clothing indeed.
As I read this article I am reminded of this phrase in 2 Timothy 3:5 - Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.
We don’t need mutilate the Bible text and force evolution world view into it to bring scientists on board. History science that is nothing (the singularity) to moral Homo sapiens via big-bang(s) is a product of humans with the fallen nature. This product is as good, if not worse, as the fallen Adam’s nature we all have inherited.
Thanks CMI for a truthful analysis and review of this book and the persons behind it.
I have grown alot since my youth and am much more tempered in my responce to evolution beliefs among christians.
However, I continue to grow in disgust at the speed in which people who have the potential to be great leaders and bulwarks in the church will deny the scriptures and lead many astray.
Such men* should know better ("wizards" in the moview rendition of LOTR) they are not young school children who have no ability to stand for themselves but atleast they physically resemble mature adults who are (atleast in theory because of their answerability to GOD) able to stand up and fight for what counts.
Thank you again for your ministry, I was an athiest and stopped believing in evolution before I became a christian. This was key to me accepting the christ and your material and research is very useful in suplimenting my own.