Monday, May 31, 2010

Sola Smorgasbord: Tim Keller And Theistic Evolution. Part VI, Conclusion. "The Universal Acid"

Recently, on the Christianity Today Magazine Blog, I made the following observation: belief in Evolution is almost universal in Europe, while in the U.S., disbelief in Evolution is greater than belief in Evolution.  The Church in Europe is pretty much dead.  The Church in the U.S., despite its problems, is much more healthy.  Yet theistic evolutionists warn us that if the Church does not make peace with Darwinian Evolution, the Church faces a mass exodus of young people.  Francis Collins predicts this in "The Language of God."  Bruce Watke stated that failure to embrace Evolution could lead to the world viewing the Church as a cult. (See above link)  Where Scripture and Evolutionary dogma conflict, Christians are told they must accept the pronouncements of the later over the former.  So says Collins, so says other theistic evolutionistsRedeemer Presbyterian Church pastor Tim Keller wrote "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay People," which appears on Collins' Biologos website, for the purpose of convincing Christians to accept the importance of evolutionary biological processes so reconciliation can be made between Biblical faith and belief in Evolution.

Keller thinks that failure to reconcile the two causes conflict for Christians and for those interested in embracing the Christian faith. 

On the conflict for Christians: "Many believers in western culture see the medical and technological advances achieved through science and are grateful for them.  They have a very positive view of science.  How then, can they reconcile what science seems to tell them about evolution with their traditional theological beliefs?" (Keller, p. 1)  This reminds me of a passage in Francis Collins' "The Language of God," one of the most ridiculous passages I have ever read:  "This potential sythesis of the scientific and spiritual worldviews is assumed by many in modern times to be an impossibility, rather like trying to force the two poles of a magnet together into the same spot. Despite that impression, however, many Americans seem interested in incorporating the validity of both of these worldviews into their daily lives. Recent polls confirm that 93 percent of Americans profess some form of belief in God; yet most of them drive cars, use electricity, and pay attention to weather reports, apparently assuming that the science undergirding these phenomena is generally trustworthy."

On the conflict for those exploring Chrisitanity: "They may be drawn to many things about the Christian faith, but they say, 'I don't see how I can believe the Bible if that means I have to reject science.' " (Keller, p. 1)

Lets look at the second conflict first.

 No one can deny that belief in Evolution has kept many a person from coming to a saving faith in Jesus Christ.  Intellectual doubts definitely play a role in keeping people from becoming believers, whether these doubts center on Evolution, the authenticity of Scripture, or the question of evil in the world.  Without diminishing the importance of intellectual doubts about the Gospel, Scripture gives us the reason most people reject the Gospel: "The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godless and wickedness of men who supress the truth by their wickedness..." (Rom 1: 18).  "This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved the darkness instead of the light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed." (Jn. 3: 19-20)  The determitive issue whether one becomes a disciple is repentance.  Note that when Paul preached to the Athenians, his message was radically different from his other discourses  recorded in Acts.  But Paul still stressed their need for repentance. (Acts 17: 30-31) Many an intellectual doubt concerning the Gospel is a mask, conscious or unconscious, hiding the real reason for not becoming a disciple.  The real reason is not wanting to repent.  I have seen people whose intellectual doubts have been effectively dealt with.  At first they seem earnest when expressing their doubts, but when their questions are answered, they become sheepish in their refusal to repent of their sins. They act like they have been caught. Many who profess faith after their intellects have been satisfied fail to repent.  Often intellectual doubts are a sign the person is bound by fear of what others think of them.  Does Keller try to guide these people to repentance on this point when he counsels them concerning their doubts?  When I read  "The Reason for God" perhaps I'll find my answer.

As for Christians, is the conflict among them as widespread as Keller leads us to believe?  As noted earlier, disbelief in Evolution exceeds belief in Evolution in the U.S.  Those who disbelieve include non-Christians as well as Christians.  The U.S. is without a doubt a very materialistic country.  Both Christians and non-Christians reap the consequences of science and technology's negative aspects and profit from their positive ones.  It appears that a great many Evangelicals partake of the fruits of science and technology without thinking they need to ask themselves how they can do so without accepting Evolutionary dogma.  And as noted earlier, the American Church is far more healthy than the European Church.  Reinhold Niebuhr, not one of my favorite theologions, in his book "Pious and Secular America," observes how materialistic the U.S. is while being a far more spiritual country than many other western nations.  There is no doubt that many Christians have doubts prompted by Evolution.  Keller thinks he has the answer for such people.  But in fact, he is creating a smorgasbord of Christian and evolutionary dogma in which the evolutionary elements eventually eat away the Christian elements.

New Atheist Daniel Dennett refers to Evolution as "The Universal Acid."  The term originates from his youthful fantasy of inventing a liquid so corrosive that it will eat through anything including the container that holds it.  Everything it touches will be transformed.  Dennett states that Evolution operates in the same way on all other world-views: "it eats through just about every traditional concept and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view with much of the old landmarks still recognizable, but transformed in fundamental ways."  For those naive enough to think Biblical faith and belief in Evolution can be reconciled, they will have a rude awakening when they see the universal acid transform Biblical world-views into non-Biblical ones.

But the universal acid is just a theory developed by an atheist, theistic evolutionists will say.  Lets just take a look at just how Evolution has transformed the view of life and reality in fields outside biology and how it impacts religious thinking.  Physicist Lee Smolin has speculated that universes, including our own, are the offspring of black holes.  Universes in turn reproduce through the black holes contained in them.  The more black holes in a universe, the more offspring a universe produces.  The new universes posses the same fundamental physical constants of the parent universes.  The evolutionary concepts of mutation and differential reproduction are appied to cosmology. (This information found here)  If Christians accept that Evolution was God's means of creating Man, why would they not accept an evolutionary model for the creation of the universe?  Keller would still contend that the earth was specially created, but many would see that he is simply trying to fit the Christian account of creation into an evolutionary creation model.  By accepting the evolutionary model for creation, the Christian consensus concerning the beginning of the universe  would be pushed back to accomodate the birth of multiple universes.  Over time, the application of evolutionary principles to cosmology removes God completely from the picture of creation.

The findings of neuroscience have been affected by the view that Man has no soul but is the product of the structure of the brain.  According to neuroscientists even spiritual experiences are the product of brain structure.  In fact, some believe that the birth of religion coincided with the growth of the size of Man's brain during Evolution.  The increase in the brain's size allowed for the increased capacity to process language which was a necessary precurser to the development of religion.  As Man evolved, his capacity for tool making forshadowed Man's ability to develop religious systems.  Man was able to visualize the object without seeing it before it even existed.  To understand the use of a tool requires an understanding of causality.  The more complex a tool Man is capable of producing, the more sophistication Man posseses to develop religious systems.  It is these religious systems that increase survival in the evolutionary process.  These systems created communities that restrained selfish behavior.  They restrained women to encourage them to choose long term male partners for procreation.  The result was that women evolved into the more commited sex. (For sources, see here  and here)  Remember that in the Tim Keller/Derick Kinder model of creation, Man evolved until God chose one from the tool makers (homo faber) and implanted His image in him.  Keller is willing to counsel using arguements rooted in non-Christian world views to convince people that Biblical faith and Evolution can be reconciled.  Yet what is to stop the intellectually curious from exploring the roots of Keller's counsel?  What is to stop them and those they will counsel, from concluding that since the religious nature in Man can be explained by neuroscience and genetics, then the Christian revelation is no revelation at all?  What is to stop them from rejecting a God who reveals Himself and embrace all religious experiences as essentially the same, from the same source?

Implicit in Keller's model for counseling Christians on this issue is the presumed lack of further intellectual speculation on the part of those Keller counsels.  Once Christians accept Keller's counsel that God used evolutionary biologiocal processes to create Man and Man's belief in Him, then all conflicts should supposedly cease.  Yet what prevents those Keller counsels from working out the implications of Keller's counsel discussed in the paragraphs above?  The only ones that can be counted on not to work out these implications are those whose trust in their pastor's counsel is absolute, non-thinkers who need to be told what to think.  If Keller counsels that our belief in God may be rooted in genetics, what is to stop people from concluding we are just robots programmed by genes and this is the entire explanation of who we are?  Keller believes that an attitude that rejects that Evolution is a rival world-view of the Christian world-view would prevent such such conclusions.  All we need is an attitude.  In his attempt to reconcile the Biblical account of creation with the universal acid of Evolution, Tim Keller has no clue what he's playing with. 

All Scripture quotations taken from the NIV.    

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Sola Smorgasbord: Tim Keller And Theistic Evolution. Part V: Congregational Confusion On A Scale Previously Unimagined

(Revised 6/28/11)

Protestants adhere to the doctrine of Sola Scriptura.  The doctrine of Sola Scriptura states that the Bible alone is the sole authority for matters of Christian living and doctrine.  Calvinists, Arminians, Wesleyan-Arminians and Pentecostals uphold this doctrine.  Tim Keller's attempt to reconcile Biblical faith and Evolution in his article "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay People", which appears on Francis Collins' Biologos website, undermines Sola Scriptura.  His Biblical exegesis ignores relevant scriptures that must be taken into consideration in determining whether or not Genesis 1 is to be read literally.  Such scriptures include Heb 4:3-4, Mark 10:6 and I Cor 15:47.  He also ignores the meaning of key terms such as the meaning of light in Gen. 1:3 and lights in Gen. 1:14.  His views that Adam was the product of Evolution while Eve was the result of special creation, his promotion of the "God gene," that Man's belief in God may be genetic in origin, these Keller admits are just models of how the Christian faith can accomodate Darwinian Evolution. But Keller insists that Christians must make such accomodations for the sake of accepting the importance of evolutionary biological processes.  How does Keller characterize the refusal to make such accomodations? "This is not a sophisticated theological and philosophical move..." (Keller, p. 6)  He speaks of this accomodation as if the contents of the Christian message are just a strategy to win people to the Christian side.  And part of Keller's strategy to win people is to so read Scripture in such a way as to accomodate a theory that Darwin could not have formulated without rejecting the role of God as creator in the process of creation. (See Part III)  He mixes Scripture and non-scriptural elements to make the accomodation neatly fit together.  Hence the rational for the title of this series.

The irony is that some Calvinists believe that they own the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (from the little I know about Tim Keller, I would not include him in this category).  Some Calvinist's believe that all other Christian theologies are Man-centered and result from a refusal to honor the authority of Scripture as the sole authority for life and doctrine.  For instance, they criticize the Wesleyan Quadrilateral, which states that truth can be arrived at by consulting Scripture first, and interpreting Scripture through tradition (what the Church has said in the past on a particular issue), reason and experience.  Some Calvinists charge that the Quadrilateral, by consulting tradition, reason and experience, undermines the authority of Scripture.  Yet many Calvinists have no problem when one of their own undermines the authority of Scripture by accomodating it to a world view rooted in the rejection of God as creator.  Tim Keller recently published an article on the Reformed Gospel Coalition website entitled  "Sinned In A Literal Adam, Raised in a Literal Christ."  It is a far shorter article than "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople", yet it repeats many of the points he makes in the longer article which have been discussed in this series.  Some of the other members of the Gospel Coalition may disagree with Keller, but Keller appears to remain in good standing with the group.  Some of the members of The Gospel Coalition, such as John Piper and Al Mohler, are also members of the The Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals .  According to Roger Olson, the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals will not allow Methodists to become members. (See the comment section from this article on Olson's blog.  Olson would disagree with my views of creation.)  If certain well known Calvinists will not allow Arminians to join their group and persist in the fiction that their group represents the Evangelical wing of the Church, why are the writings of Keller which challenge the Biblical account of creation not responded to by Keller's fellow Calvinists. How can Calvinists continue to remain hypocritical?

Let's look at one further example of Keller's accomodation of Christian and non- Christian world views.  Keller promotes a theory by Christian philosopher Peter van Inwagen.  Keller quotes him on page 1:  "Suppose that God exists and wants supernaturalistic belief to be a human universal, and sees (he would see this if it were true) that certain features would be useful for human beings to have-useful from an evolutionary point of view: conductive to survival and reproduction-would naturally have the consequence that supernaturalistic belief would be in due course a human universal.  Why shouldn't he allow these features to be the cause of the thing he wants?-rather as the human designer of a vehicle might use the waste heat from its engine to keep its passengers warm."

Keller comments on this statement: "Even if science could prove that religious belief has a genetic component that we inherit from our ancestors, that finding is not incompatible with belief in the reality of God or even the truth of the Christian faith.  There is no logical reason to preclude that God could have used evolution to predispose people to believe in God in general so that people would be able to consider true belief when they hear the Gospel preached." (Keller, p. 1)

So God used Evolution to predispose all of us to believe in God in general and be able to consider true belief when the Gospel is preached.  If God indeed used Evolution for that purpose, it didn't work, did it?  The vast majority of human beings have not had saving faith in Christ.  As Christ Himself said, "Enter through the narrow gate.  For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it.  But small is the gate and narrow is the road that leads to life, and only a few find it." (Mt. 7: 13-14)  It is the created world surrounding Man that causes Man to first discern that there is a God, Paul tells us in Rom. 1:18-21.  Yet even then Paul tells us that no one seeks God. (Rom 3: 11)  Most of those we witness to do not accept the Gospel.  Most of those who believe in God do not believe in Jesus as the Son of God, nor do they believe Jesus is the only path to God. Why would God root our belief in Him in natural phenomena subject to mutation? If Man inherited a "God gene" as Keller thinks we did, so that we would be predisposed to believe, then what God predetermined did not come to pass.  Why should we put our faith in such a God who does not have the power to fulfill all His purposes?  In Keller's zeal to accomodate Evolution and Christianity, he sows doubts concerning God's sovereignty and sabotages Christian assurance.

One last question.  How does Keller reconcile his notion that we inherited this "God gene" with the Calvinist doctrine of predestination?  This doctrine states that God predestined a certain few, the elect, to life with God while the rest of humanity is damned to a Christless eternity in hell?  Whether one is a member of the elect or not, one cannot alter their own destiny.  If that is the case, why would God implant a belief in Him in those He predestined to hell?  Why would He predispose humanity to belief in Him if He has decreed that the vast majority of humanity through the centuries are not among the elect?  Again,this is a slur on the character of God.  How does Keller reconcile this with his Calvinist theology?  How does those he counsel reconcile these contradictory beliefs?  Or are they so confused by his counsel that doubts are sown in their minds concerning not only the authority of Scriptures but the very existence and character of God?      

The conclusion to this series will appear in a few days.
All Scripture Quotations taken from the NIV.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Sola Smorgasbord: Tim Keller And Theistic Evolution. Part IV: Adam And Eve, The Extreme Makeover Edition

(Revised 6/13/11)

Tim Keller poses four questions that must be answered if one is to reconcile Biblical faith and belief in Evolution.  We have dealt with the first two in previous posts.  The final two Keller deals with simultaneously: is belief in Evolution compatible with a historical fall of a literal Adam and Eve and if these two world views are indeed compatible, when did sin and suffering enter God's creation?  In Francis Collins' book, "The Language of God," he states that Adam and Eve are symbolic figures and his explanation of the introduction of sin into the world is vague at best.  It is Collins' website Biologos where Kellers article "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople" appears.  Keller's position is a marked improvement upon Collins'. Despite that, Keller's views on this subject fall short of sound Biblical interpretation. 

Keller defends the historicity of Adam and Eve.  Keller effectively debunks the notion that the Biblical account of creation is just one of many creation myths and that Genesis and other ancient stories were imaginary history.  Keller quotes Egyptologist and Evangelical Christian Kenneth Kitchen: "The ancient Near East did not historicize myth (i.e. read it as imaginary 'history.') In fact, exactly the reverse is true--there was, rather, a trend to 'mythologize' history, to celebrate actual historical events and people in mythological terms..." (Keller, p. 8)  Near Eastern 'myths' did not evolve over time into historical accounts, but the reverse, that historical events took on mythological elements.  But they were still historical accounts and it is reasonable to interpret  Genesis 2 and 3 as  true historical accounts.

In Rom. 5:12, Paul writes of the Fall as a literal historical event and of Adam as an actual historical figure.  If one holds to a non-literal view of Adam and the Fall, this has implications as to how one reads Scripture.  Keller tells us "Those who don't believe in the Biblical account of the Fall and of Adam and Eve will tell themselves: 'Well, the Biblical authors were 'men of their time' and were wrong about something they were trying to teach readers'  The obvious question they will ask is, 'how will we know which parts of the Bible to trust and which not?' " (Keller, p. 9) If Paul interpreted Genesis 2 and 3 literally, and he was wrong, then his theology of sin in Romans collapses.  This would lead to the questioning of the reliability of all Scripture.  "...I believe such a move (interpreting Genesis 2 and 3 non-literally) can be bad for the church as a whole" Keller writes, "and it certainly can lead to confusion on the part of laypeople." (Keller, p. 9)  Without a literal historical Fall, there is no way to account for the introduction of sin into the human makeup.  If we did not inherit the sin nature because Adam sinned, where did we obtain it?  Keller asks, was it only by observing the bad example of others?  Furthermore, he asks, "If some human beings began to turn away from God, why couldn't some human beings resist so that some groups would be less sinful than others?"  (Keller, p. 10)  Keller states that these explanations violate the Christian doctrine of original sin.

Keller is exactly right here.  Yet the writings of Paul are not the only relevant New Testament texts to consider.  Heb. 4: 3-4 and Mk. 10:6 are also important in determining how we interpret the creation account in Genesis.  We have gone over this in Part II, but it bears repeating.  Heb. 4: 3-4 speaks of the seventh day of creation as an actual historical event.  If the seventh day did not really occur, then the promise given in Hebrews concerning a future Sabbath rest for the people of God is a promise based on a myth.  If the writer of Hebrews interprets the account of the seventh day in Genesis 2 literally, then we must interpret the Genesis 1 account of the first six days literally.  We cannot believe that day seven is a literal hisorical event while claiming days 1-6 to be a symbolic or theological interpretation of actual events depicted in Genesis 2.  We will come to the observations concerning  Mark 10:6 shortly.

Thus far, Keller and I are in agreement.  Unfortunately, Keller presents a model of how we can reconcile the historicity of Adam and Eve and the development of Man through evolutionary biological processes.  This model was first introduced by Derick Kinder.  Keller's presentation of this model is bad Scriptual analysis and an affront to God's character.

Keller points us to the verses that he believes indicates that Adam was born through natural biological processes.  He follows Kinder in pointing us to Job 10: 8-9: "Your hands shaped me and made me...Remember that you molded me like clay.  Will you now turn me to dust again?"  Obviously Job was born through natural biological processes despite his poetic description of his birth.  The language in Job is similiar to the language used to describe Adam's creation in Genesis 2.  Keller asks, with Kinder, if such similiarity could denote natural biological processes in Gen. 2:7, namely Evolution?  Keller brings to our attention Bruce Watke's observation on Ps. 139:13 written by David: "For you created me in my inner most being, you knit me together in my mother's womb."  This is figurative language for the normal process of human development that occurs during pregnancy.  Therefore, according to Keller, the language of Genesis 2:7 may be figurative language for Adam's birth through natural biological processes.

Rev. Keller, we have a problem.  The word "Adam is probably related to the verb 'adom, to be red, refering to the muddiness of man's complexion.  Adamah, 'soil' or 'ground', may also be derived from this verb.  Thus, Gen 2:7 says 'The Lord God formed 'adam from the dust of the adamah.'  Paul sees Adam as earthman or earthy man in ICor. 15:47."  (Word Wealth Note for Gen. 1: 26 from the "Spirit Filled Life Bible.")  Yes, it is obvious that the language in Job 10 and Ps 139 is figurative.  Yet in neither of these two verses can we observe the same linguistic dynamics we observe in the creation and naming of Adam.  By naming the first man Adam, the Lord was linking him to the manner in which he was created, from the dust of the ground.  Literally.  Not through normal biological processes.  Even more of a problem for Keller's thesis is Paul's statement in ICor 15:47: "The first man was of the dust of the earth, the second man from heaven."  In the original Greek language Paul is telling us that the first man came out of the ground.  Literally.  ("The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key To The Greek new Testament", Cleon Rogers Jr. and Cleon Rogers III)  Paul says here that Jesus literally came from heaven.  Keller knows this to be literally true.  Why in one verse would Paul use figurative language for the first half of the verse and straight forward historical prose for the second half?  The entire verse is to be taken literally.  And if Paul interprets Gen. 1:26 to say that Adam literally came from the earth, so should we.  Keller himself tells us we must use the same standard of interpretation when interpreting the account of the Fall in Genesis 3 in the light of what Paul said in Rom. 5:12.

It doesn't get any better for the Keller/Kinder model.  According to this model, lesser beings developed through evolutionary biological processes until one was ready to be the first of the new race of Man.  God took one out of this group of homo faber (the maker of tools) and endowed him with the image of God.  Then God created woman, Eve, through special creation.  So the man was created through evolution, the woman through special creation.  Keller tells us that the presense of  evolved beings lower than Man explain the presense of those who would kill Cain for murdering Abel, a wife for Cain and inhabitants for Cain's city.  Keller states that Gen 2:20 hints that Adam went in search of a wife.  Among whom did he seek?  Personally, I do not see that Adam went in search of a wife, but that no suitable helper could be found among the creatures God brought to Adam to name.

Where did Cain get his wife?  Keller ignores Genesis 5:4: "After Seth was born, Adam lived 800 years and had other sons and daughters."  If the human race began with a single pair, than marriage among Adam's children was unavoidable.  Such examples are not unknown in Scripture.  Abram married his half sister (Gen 20:12).  Moses' father married his father's sister Jochebed (Ex. 6:20).  At first, the sin of incest applied only to relations between parent and child.  By the time of the Mosaic Law, it had been extended to cover relations among mothers, fathers, stepmothers, sisters, brothers, half brothers, half sisters, grand daughters, daughter-in-laws, son-in-laws, aunts, uncles and brothers' wives.  "The genetic reasons for forbidding incest were not always an issue.  Close inbreeding in ancient times was without serious or any genetic damage.  Today, the risk of genetic damage is extremely high.  Since the genetic possibilities of Adam and Eve were very good, there were no biological reasons for restricting marriages to the degree that it became necessary to do later." (This quote, as well as all the information in this paragraph come from "Hard Sayings of the Bible" edited by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Peter H. Davids, F.F. Bruce and Manfred T. Brauch)  Someone may object that this theory is just as speculative as Keller's thesis. That there were those who lived on earth who would want to kill Cain for murdering Abel could be explained if these were blood relatives of Abel.  Speculative this explanation may be, yet it is based on the implications of the plain reading of the Biblical account of creation, not on an attempt to reconcile Biblical faith with a world view rooted in the rejection of a creator.  (See Part III)
Then there is Mark 10:6.  Jesus declares: "But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female."  At the beginning of creation.  There was no evolutionary development of Man because Man as we know him (without the sin nature) came into existence at the very beginning of creation.  This proves that Jesus Himself read Genesis 1 as a literal historical account of the origins of Man.

Then there is the question of the introduction of sin and suffering into the world.  Keller points us to to Gen. 1:2 which says that before God's creative acts the earth was formless, empty and filled with darkness.  Keller tells us chaos reigned.  Satan was present in the world as well.  After God's creative acts, the earth was undeveloped.  "Even before the Fall," Keller writes, "the world was not yet in the shape God wanted it to be." (Keller, p. 12)  Why God chose to create the earth without form , or how long the earth remained without form is hidden from us.  Yet in that state, the earth was in that state by the will of God.  After the six days of creation, the earth's undeveloped status was still by God's design.  And God called his creation "good."  In both states, before and after creation, the earth was as God wanted it to be.  It is apparent, though, that it was not God's will that the earth remain in either state.  But while the earth was in either state, it was in a state of being with all the potential God had in  mind for it.  After creation, the earth was undeveloped, but God created it to be glorious under the domination of Man.  A new born baby may not be as smart as a dog or a cat, yet it is the pinnicle of creation and all its potential to be what God wants him/her to be is already present in that new born (with the exception of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit).  The state of the earth before or after the six days of creation in no way implies that sin and suffering were present on earth prior to the Fall.  Yes, Satan was present, but he had no power until Adam and Eve disobeyed God's decree.  They did not have to give in to temptation; it was not until they did so did that they become powerless against Satan.  It was only after that that the earth has failed to reach its potential.

Evolution teaches that all life forms came into being through the survival of the fittest, a process involving death, violence and suffering.  This notion is the main obstacle to reconciling Biblical faith with belief in Evolution.  Keller knows this.  "The process of evolution, however, understands violence, predation, and death to be the very engine of how life develops.  If God brings about life through evolution, how do we reconcile that with the idea of a good God?  The problem of evil seems to be worse for the believer in theistic evolution." (Keller, p. 2)  While it is commendable for Keller to have acknowledged this issue (this issue didn't seem to trouble Collins in "The Language of God"), no where in his article does he answer the question.  While at the end of his article he tries to make the case for evil being present in the world before the Fall, Keller makes no attempt to explain why God permitted this.  To maintain that God not only created a world where sin and suffering existed, but that such suffering was the engine that He used to develop Man, is a slur upon God's character.  God would not create a world in which the majority of living beings had to kill or be killed to survive.  Perhaps Keller believes that God's loving care extends only to fully evolved Man and that those less evolved creatures he believes Adam evolved from did not suffer the anguish of the survival of the fittest.  Whoever the people were whom Cain feared would kill him for murdering Abel, if they wanted revenge against Cain, then they must have had a sense of right and wrong, a sense of justice.  Would God create such a race and them subject them to the law of the survival of the fittest?  Would not such creatures ask why they had to kill or be killed, why a God whom Keller believes may have provided these creatures with the genetic capacity to believe in Him, would place them in such a cruel world?  God would not have created such a world and then pronounce it "good."  Yes, Keller believes that Genesis 1 is not to be read literally but is a poetic restatement of the actual events of creation recorded in Genesis 2.  If this were the case, then the author and the God who inspired the Scriptures to be written would be lying by pronouncing such a world to be good.  Keller is rightly concerned that to reject the historicity of Adam and Eve and the Fall would undermine the authority and trustworthiness of Scripture in the minds of believers.  Yet Keller cannot see that to promote  his views attempting to reconcile Biblical faith and belief in Evolution would have the same effect.  There will be more concerning this point in Part VI.

Part VI?  I originally wrote that this would be a five part series.  I had intended to include how Keller's views violate the doctrine of Sola Scriptura and contradicts the Calvinist theology he adheres to in this post.  But that would make this article too long.  So those topics will be covered in a seperate post.  This will be a six part rather than a five part series.

All Scripture Quotes are taken from the NIV.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Sola Smorgasbord: Tim Keller And Theistic Evolution. Part III: Kicking The Atheists Off Their Own Turf

Tim Keller sees a problem.  The problem is that there is an entrenched position among Evolutionists and Christians that Biblical faith and belief in Evolution are mutually exclusive.  Those who hold this position conclude that if Man is the product of evolutionary biological processes, then every aspect of Man's soul is the product of genetic factors at work in natural selection. Most Evolutionists certainly believe this.  Our capacity to love, act, our moral convictions, even our belief in God is rooted in our genetic makeup.  These traits are present today because they helped our ancestors survive the process of Human Evolution.  Keller quotes a prominent "New Atheist", Sam Harris.  Harris says that humans have "no immortal soul, free will, [knowledge] of the moral law, spiritual hunger, genuine altruism..." (Keller, p. 5-6)  Many Christians share the atheist view that if evolution is true, than Man's unique status as outlined in Scripture is an illusion, that Man is nothing more than a biological machine.  The second question Keller addresses in his article "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay People," on p. 5-7, concerns this view of Christianity's and Evolution's mutual exclusiveness.  How does Keller think we can overcome this hostility to Evolution among Christians?  By convincing Christians that "Belief in evolution as a biological process is not the same as belief in evolution as a world view." (Keller, p. 5)  Christians must abandon their conclusion that to believe in human evolutionary biological processes one must logically conclude that everything about Man is the result of natural selection.  He quotes David Atkinson to make his point: "If evolution is...elevated to the status of a world-view of the way things are, then there is a direct conflict with biblical faith.  But if 'evolution' remains at the level of a scientific biological hypothesis, it would seem that there is little reason for conflict between the implications of Christian belief in the Creator and the scientific explorations of the way which--at the level of biology--God has gone about his creating process." (Keller, p. 6) Keller warns Christians that if we fail to make the distinction between evolution as a world view and evolution as a scientific biological process, then Christians will never grant the importance of evolutionary biological processes.  We will never change our view of the world and God to accomodate the view that man is the product of evolution.  That is what upsets Keller and to affect this accomodation is the purpose of writing this paper which appears on Francis Collin's Biologos website.

To accept Evolution as part of  God's creative process, Keller would have Christians ignore the implications of the evolutionary model. But Darwin himself could not have developed his theory of evolution without taking God out of the picture.  Here is a quote from Ernst Mayr's book "One Long Argument: Charles Darwin and the Genesis of Modern Evolutionary Thought":

"Darwin was unable to build on this foundation but rather started from the fundamental question that Lyell bequeathed to him, namely, how do new species originate? Although Lyell appealed to "intermediate" causes as the source of the new species, THE PROCESS WAS NEVERTHELESS A FORM OF SPECIAL CREATION. [Capitalization mine] 'Species may have been created in succession at such times and at such places as to enable them to multiply and endure for an appointed period and occupy an appointed space on the globe' (Lyell 1835, 3:99-100). For Lyell, each creation was a carefully planned event. The reason why Lyell, like Henslow, Sedgwick, and all the others of Darwin's scientific friends and correspondents in the middle of the 1830s, accepted the unalterable constancy of species was ultimately a philosophical one. The constancy of species--that is the inability of a species, once created, to change--was the one piece of the old dogma of a created world that remained inviolate after the concepts of the recency and constancy of the physical world had been abandoned.

"No genuine and testable theory of evolution could develop until the possibility was recognized that species have the capacity to change, to become transformed into new species, and multiply into several species. FOR DARWIN TO ACCEPT THIS POSSIBILITY REQUIRED A FUNDAMENTAL BREAK WITH LYELL'S THINKING..." [Capitalization mine] (Mayr, One Long Arguement, Harvard University Press, 1991, p. 17-18)

In other words, for Darwin to formulate his theories, he had to reject the belief in the work of a creator in the creation of species. Can any one who claims to be a follower of Jesus Christ explain to me how the truth of man's origins could not be discovered without the rejection of an Intelligent Designer and that now we can reconcile Biblical creation with a theory thats development depended upon a rejection of God as creator?  Darwin himself worked out the implications of his theory:

"Considering how fiercely I have been attacked by the orthodox it seems ludicrous that I once intended to be a clergyman...I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. This belief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete...The voyage of the Beagle has been by far the most important event in my life and has determined my whole career..." (From H. James Bix's introduction to Darwin's "Descent of Man.")  If the development of Evolution required a rejection of God as creator, why does Keller think it strange that Christians should consider Biblical faith and evolution mutually exclusive?

   New Atheists such as Sam Harris and Richard Dawkins are intolerant of Christian beliefs and would like to remove all religious discourse from the market place of ideas.  Yet that in no way excludes the possibility that they have correctly worked out the implications of evolution for Man.  Most evolutionists do not adhere to New Atheist rhetoric; in the case of Dawkins most evolutionists do not consider his views and rhetoric to be representative of the scientific community.  Many consider his conduct to be harmful to their cause.  Yet even most of these who believe Man's origins are in evolution take this belief a step forward to the position that genetics explains everything there is about Man, including Man's belief in God. For example,  anthropologists view mankind and religious belief through the prism of evolution.  In fact, this view of Man may be the next greatest challenge to faith in God and orthodox Christian belief.  And Keller would have Christians who have worked out the same implications of evolution as the New Atheists ignore their own reasoning all for the sake of accepting the importance of evolutionary biological processes?

Not only does Keller want Christians to ignore their conclusions, he would ignore the obvious implications of his own arguements for the acceptance of evolution.  On p.1 of his paper, Keller promotes the idea that there may be a genetic explanation for our belief in God.  This genetic factor, called by some the "God gene," somehow supported our acestors' ability to survive and reproduce.  God's purpose was to make belief in God universal among the human race.  This will be dealt with in Part IV.  I bring it up now to demonstrate the utter lack of logic in Keller's position.  Keller wants us to seriously consider that our belief in God may be genetic, originating in evolutionary biological processes.  But then, he wants us to reject the conclusion that if we have the God gene, then our belief in God, our moral convictions, are not the result of natural selection! If belief in God was genetic in origin, wouldn't it logically flow from that our moral convictions (tied to our belief in the Triune God), are genetic in origin?  If belief originates in genetics, then belief is predetermined and not a response to the revelation of a loving and sovereign creator.  If belief is genetic in origin, then why should Christians not conclude that the truth claims of any religion are as valid as any other?

Keller's description of those Christians who will not accept evolution as God's method of creation and his strategy for getting Christians to change their minds reveals an unfortunate attitude toward those he would counsel.  This is what Keller writes concerning Christians who refuse to accept evolution: "Many Christian lay people resist all this and seek to hold on to some sense of human dignity by subscribing to 'fiat-creationism.' This is not a sophisticated theological and philosophical move; it is intuitive." (Keller, p. 6)  This statement reveals some condesention on the part of Keller toward his readers.  He is saying that to reject evolution is to be led by one's feelings rather than be guided by one's own intellectual reflection as well as a careful study of the scriptures.  This is a subtle way of trying to make you think,"I don't want to be seen  as uneducated and ignorant."  Keller also appeals to reader gullibility.  To remove any doubts Christians may have in accepting evolution, Keller tells his readers to make common cause with theistic evolutionists against the New Atheists.  The New Atheists are trying to delegitimize any religious belief, so why not join with theistic evolutionists to thwart them and rescue evolution from its own implications, to rescue evolution from the exclusive intellectual ownership of the atheists, to kick the atheists off their own turf?  This reminds me of the American Civil War.  When war was seen to be unavoidable, some in the North sought to provoke a war with England to unify North and South.  It seemed that these northerners had a low view of the public's IQ if they thought both northerners and southerners would fall for that.  Keller seems to have a similiar view of his readers gullibility.  Just remove Christian doubts over evolution by creating a new enemy, the New Atheists.  And Keller wants us to see this as "a sophisticated theological and philosophical move?"  What is Keller's estimate of the intelligence of the average Christian?  It doesn't sound too high.          

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Sola Smorgasbord: Tim Keller And Theistic Evolution. Part II: WDJS (What Did Jesus Say?)

Tim Keller's article, "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay People" appears on the Biologos website.  Biologos was started by Dr. Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project and current Director of the National Institutes of Health.  Collins is a Christian who believes in the compatibility of Biblical faith and belief in Evolution.  His book, "The Language of God" was reviewed on this blog.  (See here, here and here)  The aim of Biologos is to convince the Christian public that Evolution and the Christian faith are compatible.  Keller's article seeks to demonstrate how a pastor could reconcile the two while engaging in pastoral counsel.  He identifies four questions that one must answer to affect this reconciliation.  This article will examine Keller's answer to the first question which appears on p. 3-5 of his article.

The first question Keller seeks to answer is how to interpret Genesis 1.  Keller correctly points out that for Evolution and Biblical faith to be seen to be compatible, Genesis 1 cannot be interpreted literally.  And if Genesis 1 cannot be interpreted literally, why interpret any other part of the Bible literally?  Keller's answer: "The way to respect the authority of the Biblical writers is to take them as they want to be taken.  Sometimes they want to be taken literally, sometimes they don't.  We must listen to them, not impose our thinking and agenda on them." (Keller, p. 3)  Keller expands upon this answer on p. 3-5.

In this answer, Keller identifies a key component of sound Biblical exegesis: what is the original intent of the author?  How does the author wish to be understood?  The answer, according to Keller, is to identify the genre the author employs to convey his message.  Keller points to Judges 4 and 5 by way of illustration.  Both chapters concern Israel's defeat of Sisera and his army.  In chapter 4 the author employs historical prose narrative to chronicle this historical event.  Chapter 5, Deborah's Song, contains verses such as this: "From the heavens the stars fought, from their courses they fought against Sisera."  This is evidence that the author was employing Hebrew poetry to explain the theological significance of the historical events described in chapter 4.  These choices of genre indicate that the author intended chapter 4 to be read literally while chapter 5 was not.  Keller points to Exodus 14 and 15 as another example illustrating similiar intent by a Biblical author.  Exodus 14 is a straight forward historical account of the Red Sea crossing and the destruction of the pursuing Egyptions.  Chaper 15 contains poetical language to convey the meaning of what happened in chapter 14.  From these examples, Keller correctly identifies an important principle of Biblical interpretation: " assert that one part of scripture shouldn't be taken literally does not mean that no other parts should be either."(Keller, p. 3)

Keller maintains that these two examples serve as evidence that the author of Genesis intended Genesis 2 to be interpreted literally, but not chapter 1.  Keller quotes Hebrew scholar Edward J. Young (who believes Genesis 1 is an historical account) as writing that Genesis 1 is written in "exalted, semi-poetical language."  It describes a sucession of historical events characteristic of prose and does not feature a key element of Hebrew poetry, parallelism.  Keller points to the use of refrains within this prose style which repeat themselves as they do in songs.  "And God saw that it was good" is repeated seven times, as is "and it was so."  "God said" and "let there be" appear ten times each.  The author also employs poetic phrases not repeated anywhere else in Scripture as well as the phrase "beast of the field," a term usually reserved for poetic discourse.  Keller comments: "Obviously, this is not the way someone writes in response to a simple request to tell what happened." (Keller, p. 4)  Keller quotes scholar C. John Collins in labeling Genesis 1 "exalted prose narrative" which Collin's defines as a narrative making truth claims but in being labeled exalted it is understood that it is not to be interpreted literally.

Keller believes the strongest evidence that Genesis 1 is not to be interpreted literally is the order of creative acts in the first two chapters of Genesis.  Gen 2:5 is proof, according to Keller, that God followed the natural order of creation.  Keller reads this verse to say that God did not create vegetation before there was an atmosphere or rain, while he reads Genesis 1 as saying God did.  In Genesis 1 God created light on the first day before there were any sources of light which were not created until the fourth day.  But in chapter 1 vegetation appears on the third day.  According to Keller, this is impossible because on the third day the sun was not yet created.  If there was no sun, there was no atmosphere.  No rain was possible on the third day either.  Keller concludes that we cannot interpret both chapters as literal historical accounts because their orders of creation are not compatible.  Since Genesis 2 provides a natural order of creation events, according to Keller, then we must interpret Genesis 2 literally while Genesis 1 is to be read as a theological statement concerning the actual events presented in chapter 2.

Keller is correct that just because one portion of scripture is not to be interpreted literally does not mean that no portion is to be interpreted literally.  But is he correct that the scriptual evidence is clear that Genesis 1 was never meant to be interpreted literally?  NO!  Lets us examine why his assertions do not stand up to scrutiny.

Lets begin by examining the above mentioned chapters in Judges and Exodus.  Judges 4 is a straight forward historical account of Israel's defeat of Sisera and his army.  Chapter 5 is Deborah's Song commemorating that defeat.  The Song indeed contains poetic language not to be read literally.  The stars did not literally fight against Sisera. (v. 20)  Yet chapter 5's poetic language refers to actual historical events.  The language in verse 20 may be written in poetic language, but it refers to God acting on Israel's behalf, bringing about Sisera's defeat even before the two armies met.  We know this because the Lord told Deborah to tell Barak that the Lord Himself  will lure Sisera to the Kishon river and give Sisera and his army into Barak's hands.  We read this in Judges 4:7, the straight forward historical account of the battle.  While chapter 5 may be poetry, it still narrates historical events.  Verses 6-9 speak of the conditions in Israels' villages and on its highways while Israel was dominated by Sisera's king, Jabin.  Verses 13-18 identify which tribes of Israel fought and which ones hesitated.  Again, this describes a true historical episode.  Verses 19-23 contains poetic language, but it describes an actual historical battle.  Verses 24-27 describe Jael's killing of Sisera with a tent peg in straight forward language.  The genre may be poetry, but almost all the verses refer to actual history.  Since the language may be poetry, that does not mean the historical events it describes did not actually happen, did it?  Of course not.

We can make the same observation concerning Exodus 14 and 15.  Exodus 14 is the historical account of God's delivering Israel from Egypt by parting the Red Sea.  Chapter 15 is a poetic retelling of the same historical event.  Moses speaks of God's right hand shattering Pharoh's army. (Ex 15:6)  He writes that the waters were piled up by a blast from the Lord's nostrils. (Ex. 15:8)  We know that God does not possess physical traits as we do, so we know the language used here is poetical.  Yet the poetry describes the actual historical events described in chapter 14.  Ex 15: 13-18 may be poetry, but it is declaring future historical events about how Israel will enter the Promised Land.

What we see in these two pairs of chapters is the coupling of two chapters where the first chapter describes actual historical events while the second chapter describes the same true events in poetic language.  In the poetic recapitulations, very few verses actually speak of events that literally did not happen.  From these very few verses in Judges 5 and Exodus 15, Keller wants us to conclude that the ENTIRE first chapter of Genesis was not chronicling actual historical events.  THE ENTIRE CHAPTER!  This is bad Biblical exegesis.  To infer that from a very few verses in the midst of a poetic retelling of actual events that the writer of Genesis 1 did not want us to interpret it literally is to make a sweeping conclusion from too little evidence.

What about Keller's statement that the language of Genesis 1 is not written in the language of one responding to a simple request to write an account of what happened?  From what evidence does Keller conclude that Genesis was written in response to a simple request to write an account of what happened?  There is no evidence in scripture that Genesis was written because of such a request.  The only scripture concerning why Moses wrote any account of God and Israel that I can find is Ex. 17:14 where God commands Moses to write an account of the defeat of the Amalekites.  Because there is no evidence of such a simple request, we cannot conclude that the poetic language employed in Genesis 1 is evidence that the events it describes did not actually occur.  After all, in Judges 4, the writer employs poetic language to symbolize a historical event: "After Ehud died, the Israelites once again did evil in the eyes of the Lord.  SO THE LORD SOLD THEM INTO THE HANDS OF JABIN..." (Judges 4: 1-2, caps mine).  Are we justified in reading all of Judges 4 non-literally because of its use of poetic symbolism?  No. Neither is Keller justified in concluding that the events of Genesis 1 are non-historical because of the use of certain poetic phrases.  Perhaps it was the intention of the author of Genesis 1 (Moses) to use language to emphasize that radical difference between God and the idols?  Perhaps the author wanted to demonstrate how only God could create, how God was so powerful that all He had to do to create was to speak the word?  This message was so at odds with the religious thoughts of Man that perhaps Moses employed poetic language to drive the lessons of history home?  Perhaps prose was not adequate to the task?

Keller's evidence concerning the order of creation in Genesis 1 and 2, which he states is the strongest evidence there is for a non-literal reading of Genesis 1, does not withstand critical examination.  It appears that vegetation was created on day three before the sun on day four.  But we need to examine Gen. 1:1 and the Hebrew word used for "light."  "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."  The phrase "heavens and earth" most likely means universe or cosmos and must be taken with the same sense it is used throughout the Bible (Joel 3: 15-16) which would include the sun, the moon and the stars.  The whole of the universe, including the sun, the moon and the stars, were created on the first day, not the fourth.  On the fourth day, the Hebrew does not read "Let there be lights" but "Let the lights in the expanse of the sky seperate."  The lights already existed in the expanse (created on the second day) and on the fourth day they were given purpose by God's command: to seperate the day from the night and mark the seasons and years.  In v.6, we read of the creation of the expanse between the waters.  In the Hebrew syntax, it speaks of God creating the expanse where there was nothing previously.  The syntax in v.14 concerning the lights suggests that the lights already existed but had not yet been seperated.   Also, Gen. 2:6 informs us of streams that came up from underground to water the Earth. The conditions for an atmosphere were already in place for the vegetation to be created on the third day in Gen1: 11-13.  (The information for this paragraph comes from the commentary on Genesis by John H. Sailhamer in the Expositors Bible Commentary, which I have on CD ROM.)

If we look closely at Gen. 1:11-13 (the third day) and Gen. 2:4-7, we see that these two verses are not two different accounts of the same aspect of creation.  Gen. 1:11-13 speaks of the creation of vegetation: "...seed bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with the seed in it..."  Gen. 2:4-7 speaks not of the creation of vegetation but the beginning of agriculture, the human tilling of the ground.  No shrub of the field or plant of the field appeared before man could cultivate the vegetation already existing.

Keller is correct when he identifies the discerning of an author's original intent as a major ingredient of biblical interpretation.  Yet this is not the only principle of Biblical interpretation.  Nor is it the most important.  There is the principle of interpretation which demands that we let Scripture interpret Scripture.  Reading a Biblical passage within the context of the entirety of Scripture sheds light on that passage we would never have just by reading that passage alone.  It also guards against unbalanced interpretations of Scripture.  Jesus said to His opponents, " You diligently study the Scriptures (The Old Testament) because you think that by them you possess eternal life.  These are the Scriptures that testify about me..." (Jn. 5:39)  The Old Testament writers had their reasons for writing what they did, but they were not aware that their writings were speaking of God's Son, Jesus Christ and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in believers.  Therefore, the original intent of the Old Testament writers is not always the controling factor in Biblical interpretation of the Old Testament.

The author of Hebrews states this concerning the seventh day of creation: "...And yet his work has been finished since the creation of the world.  For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: 'And on the seventh day God rested from all his work.' " (Heb. 4: 3-4)  The author is quoting Gen 2:2, which speaks of God's rest on the seventh day.  The author quotes Gen 2:2 in making the case that there will be a future Sabbath day of rest for the people of God.  Without Gen. 2:2, his scriptural case for such a promise collapses.  Gen. 2:2 is the evidence for a promise from God to his people.  Obviously, the writer of Hebrews believed that Gen 2:2 chronicled a historical event, an event that actually happened.  If the writer did not think so, he would be comforting God's people with a promise based on an event that did not happen.  He would be giving a false comfort.  Obviously the writer thought Gen 2:2 should be interpreted literally.  And if a New Testament writer interprets Gen 2:2 literally, then according to the principle of letting Scripture interpret Scripture, so must we.  If  the verse chronicling the seventh day is to be literally interpreted, so are all the verses covering days one through six.  After all, if the seventh day is an historical event, so are all the previous days.

Did Jesus have anything to say concerning a literal interpretation of Genesis 1?  Yes.  What did Jesus say?  In Mark 10, in speaking of marriage, Jesus said, "But at the beginning of creation God made them male and female."  AT THE BEGINNING OF CREATION.  Jesus tells us that Man and Woman  appeared at the very beginning of creation, not after a period of human evolution.  This agrees with the account of creation in Genesis 1.  To interpret it otherwise would be untrue to the text of Scripture.

Part III will be posted soon.
All Scripture quotations are from the NIV.                    

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Sola Smorgasbord: Tim Keller And Theistic Evolution. Part I: A Faith And Evolution Reconcilation?

Tim Keller is the pastor of The Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan.  While pastoring his own church, he has been influential in planting numerous churches in New York City.  Most of these church-plants are not even of his own theological conviction.  Of these 65 church-plants, only 10 are of Keller's denomination, The Presbyterian Church of America.  The rest include Lutheran, Charismatic and Christian Missionary Alliance Churches.  The largest church-plant is Southern Baptist. (For the source, see here)  For this, Keller deserves enormous respect.  I have heard some of Keller's Apologetic sermons and found them profitable. Sometime this year or next, his book, The Reason for God,  will be reviewed on this blog.  Therefore, I was disappointed to discover that Keller has written an article which was published on Francis Collins' Biologos website entitled "Creation, Evolution, and Christian Lay  People" which attempts to reconcile biblical faith and belief in evolution.

In his article, Keller states that the widespread conviction that evolution and biblical Christianity are mutually exclusive poses problems for Christians and those who are attracted to Christianity.  According to Keller, many Christians cannot reconcile their gratitude toward modern science and what modern science tells them about evolution with their theological beliefs.  Those who are exploring the Christian faith have a different problem.  Seekers may be drawn to the faith but ask, "I don't see how I can believe the Bible if that means I have to reject science." (Keller, p. 1)The merits concerning Keller's presentation of this conflict will be examined in part V of this series. 

Keller maintains that the conflict for Christians and seekers  can be resolved by demonstrating how biblical faith and belief in evolution can be reconciled.  To affect this reconciliation, Keller attempts to answer four questions:
1.  How can we interpret Genesis 1 as non-literal while honoring the authority of Scripture ?
2.  How can we accept evolution without adopting the views of the New Atheists such as Richard Dawkins and Sam Harris?
3.  How do we reconcile the historicity of Adam and Eve, which is at the center of Paul's theology of human sin, with evolution?
4.  If God used evolutionary biological processes to produce Man, how do we account for the introduction of sin and violence into the world?
Keller's answers to all four questions fail to stand up to scrutiny.

By this time I had planned to begin series on the Global Church and Wesleyan theology but I wanted to deal with issues that came up during my blogger hiatus this past winter.  I have been busy with so many other things that even this has proven to be difficult.  Anyway, this series deals with one of these issues.  Originally this series had been planned as a single article, however, realizing that the one article would have been too long, I have divided it into five parts.  In the next three posts, I will examine how effective Keller's answers are to the four questions he poses.  Part IV will evaluate a possible model Keller uses to explain how the Biblical account of creation could accomadate evolutionary biological processes.  It is in part IV that the rational for the title of this series will be explained.  For now it suffices to say that his model violates the doctrine of sola scriptura adhered to by Protestants.  It is also in conflict with Calvinist theology, of which Keller is an adherent.   Part V will examine whether the conflict between faith and belief in evolution for believers and seekers is as Keller portrays it to be and why the two cannot ultimately be reconciled.

Judging on past experience when this blog has dealt with the topic of evolution, I would advise anyone who would like to comment to read the new comment policy which can be found at the right hand side of the screen.  I would also encourage you to read Keller's article linked to above.  I do look forward to your responses.