Let’s stop equivocating: Is God the operator in nature, or is time-plus-chance? If as a Christian you bashfully sneak in a God at the beginning and then switch to the Evolution bandwagon, you will still have to contend with Biblical testimony of a hands-on Creator and not a deistic higher power who wound the clock and walked away: “You cause the grass to grow for the livestock” (Psalm 104:14).
My friend S.I. was the canary in the coal mine of evolutionary theory. So distraught was she in high school to learn she came from nothing and was going to nothing that she verged on suicidal. She became a Christian in the nick of time.
So where do we come from, and what difference does it make? Is the idea that you’re a 2.0 version of an ape really toxic in your life, or was my friend hypersensitive, like Hans Christian Andersen’s princess who could detect a nefarious little pea beneath a pile of mattresses? One of the finalists for WORLD’s 2017 Book of the Year was Theistic Evolution (Crossway), a critique of that approach, and I went to a conference early in April to consider it.
First question: the name. “Theistic Evolution?” What on earth? As the head-scratching spirit of Acts 19:15 might have said: Evolution I know, and Creation I recognize, but what is Theistic Evolution? Sounds like trying to have your cake and eat it too. Trying to be a Christian without losing university peer respectability.
Hitler named his party the National Socialist German Workers’ Party, Nazi in abbreviation. When asked which word in that ponderous title was more important—“National” or “Socialist”—Hitler’s propaganda minister Joseph Goebbels answered that “Socialist” was more important, because “National” is just an adjective. Right. Likewise, the operative word in “Theistic Evolution” is “Evolution,” not “Theistic.”