Saturday, March 26, 2011

BioLogos Nonsense

Recently my son and then some friends put me on to a great uproar over what Christianity Today called “Creation Museum Founder Disinvited from Homeschooling Conferences.”  Ken Ham, founder and president of Answers in Genesis, was the “disinvited” one here.  He lost the invitation because of his public attacks on Peter Enns, a senior fellow of biblical studies at the BioLogos Foundation.

I am not a “young earth” creationist in the sense that I am not convinced that we can be very sure about the age of the earth.  But I can see why anyone who takes the Christian faith seriously would have problems with what comes out of the BioLogos Foundation.

Consider one example, an essay found there that attempts to explain “At what point in the evolutionary process did humans attain the ‘Image of God’?” of which Peter Enns is a “consulted expert.”  Let’s peruse a few samples.

[T]he fundamental qualities of the image of God are characteristics of the mind and soul, however we understand those: the ability to love selflessly; engage in meaningful relationships; exercise rationality; maintain dominion over the Earth; and embrace moral responsibility.

From the BioLogos perspective, God planned for humans to evolve to the point of attaining these characteristics.

This implies, of course, that at some point “human beings” did not bear the image of God.  This is exactly what the Biologos people think.

Humans did not have a fully formed moral consciousness prior to the time of Adam and Eve. However, general consciousness must have already evolved so that a moral consciousness and the associated responsibility were possible.  When Adam and Eve received God’s image, they had evolved to where they could understand the difference between right and wrong.

When, then, did this happen?
We cannot know the exact time that humans attained God’s image. In fact, it may be that the image of God emerged gradually over a period of time.
According to Biologos, scripture even suggests this view.

Scriptural evidence supports the view that other humans existed during the time that God’s image was attained. Genesis makes this apparent when the writer makes reference to Cain’s fear of other people, when God cursed him. Likewise, Cain finds a wife among a nearby tribe (Genesis 4:13-17). In light of these references, it seems likely that Adam and Eve were not individual historical characters, but represented a larger population of first humans who bore the image of God.

Near the end of this essay, the authors wonder “What About the Soul?” and go on to at least hint that human beings may not have an identifiable non-physical component of their being.

You should browse the Biologos website to see more about the views of this group.  They are clearly a group who begins with a complete acceptance of some version of Darwinism.  They then attempt to stretch and re-shape the Christian faith in whatever ways are necessary to force it to fit over their Darwinism.

There is nothing wrong with a nuanced reading of Genesis.  But when this reading is done through colored glasses that screen out key points of the historic Christian faith, it might be time to take off those glasses.

So again I say that I can see why anyone who takes the Christian faith at all seriously would find the alternative worldview of the Biologos Foundation to be not an “explanation” of that faith, but a threat to it.  And it doesn’t require that you agree with the “young earthers” to share this concern.


Mark said...

Could you define "a nuanced reading of Genesis?"

Yes, I'm a young-earther.

Kent B. True - perhaps one Harold N. Orndorff, Jr. said...

I was talking most about being able to allow for earth being more than 100,000 years old. I think Genesis describes events in time and space. But I think sometimes we don't understand it very well due to our extreme linguistic and cultural distance. When are MUCH more distant from ancient Hebrew literature than say Greek NT writings - even though those are very ancient too.

Here is an unrelated to the age of the earth 'for instance' - it seems much more likely that "Serpent" in Genesis 3 is a proper name, not the common noun that refers to a reptile. This doesn't mean that an original woman, Eve, was not tempted by Satan. It does mean that no snakes were involved. (See relevant material by Dr. Jim Smith of Florida Christian College for details on this point.)

Mark said...

Thank you for the reply and the pointer to Mr. Smith's works.

A talking snake is understandable when you take into account Balaam's donkey expressing its own historical actions and irritation at Balaam's current actions. We see an animal who's mouth is "opened" by the Lord speaking sense, and this may give insight into a closer fellowship with some higher animals prior to the fall of man.

I believe that God has accomplished His purpose in communicating clearly with man, and that it's up to man to believe that communication or not. Indeed, if He began with nothing and created everything, what other thing post-GEN 1:1 is too hard for Him to do?