Biologos: Behind the Facade
On April 18, 2015, Biologos held a seminar at Constance Evangelical Free Church in Andover Minnesota, co-sponsored by MacLaurin CSF, a Christian study center at the University of Minnesota, which recently merged with Christian Student Fellowship. The title was "Integration of Science and Faith" and the goal was stated like this: "What if, rather than emphasizing opposition, we sought to understand the common ground shared by science and faith, without compromising either the science or Scripture and the Christian faith?" Speakers were John Walton (Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton) and Keith B. Miller (Professor of Geology at Kansas State).
Biologos, founded by Human Genome Project coordinator Francis Collins, states on its web site:
We embrace the historical Christian faith, upholding the authority and inspiration of the Bible.
We affirm evolutionary creation, recognizing God as Creator of all life over billions of years.
We seek truth, ever learning as we study the natural world and the Bible.
We strive for humility and gracious dialogue with those who hold other views.
We aim for excellence in all areas, from science to education to business practices.
Attendees at the conference heard from Dr. Walton that Adam and Eve were real people but had been chosen from among hominids to represent the human race and were thus not the parents of all. Also heard was the assertion that "very good" is not "perfect" and there was death in the Garden of Eden. Dr. Miller stated that there was no geologic evidence for a worldwide flood. So the question should come to mind, how is this "upholding the authority and inspiration of the Bible?"
Can a person be a real Christian and be wrong about certain issues? Of course! The heart of the gospel is that I recognize that I am a sinner, helpless to save myself and call on the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive my sins and be the Lord of my life. As time goes on, the Holy Spirit will convict the growing believer of those areas of life that are incompletely surrendered. We are warned that this is an ongoing battle. Romans 12:1 - 2: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will."
Francis Collins became a Christian as an adult and an academic -- which means that he was necessarily committed to an evolutionary world view because you do not rise in that world as an intellectual outlier. At the conclusion of the Human Genome Project, he declared that the work had proven evolution. Dr. Collins based that conclusion on the presence of "junk DNA", which he and the academic community considered useless remnants of our evolutionary past. From his book "The Language of God," he claimed that huge portions of our genome are repetitive junk: "Mammalian genomes are littered with such AREs [ancient repetitive elements]" wrote Collins, "with roughly 45 percent of the human genome made up of such genetic flotsam and jetsam." In the intervening years, functions have been found for the "junk." In fact a new level of complexity not previously understood has been revealed. Areas of the DNA that do not code for genes include sophisticated regulatory mechanisms that turn genes off and on -- essential for development and ongoing life.
Dr. Collins could have retracted his conclusions, risked the wrath of his secular colleagues and re-examined the case for creation ex nihilo (creation of the universe from nothing and Adam and Eve as special creations "in the image of God" and placed in a perfect environment.) But he did not. Gathering a following who agreed with him and receiving a large grant from the Templeton Foundation, he set out to re-educate the churches about what he considered the real message of Genesis and the proper acceptance of evolution as God's method of creating. He is able to offer materials and resources very reasonably because of the Templeton funding and able to gain a hearing because of his reputation and the (falsely) reassuring statement of "Core Committments."
Christians and their churches, overwhelmed by the power of the opposition in so many cultural areas and perhaps tired of fighting so many battles, will find it attractive to be able to say "we can believe in both evolution and creation." Is there any precedent for this sort of challenge? Read Paul's warning about those who distort the truth:
Acts 20:28 - 32 "Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard!"
If you agree with Biologos, I challenge you to re-open your mind and look at the powerful case for intelligent design, imposed on nature, not arising from it by natural laws -- which themselves require a designer of unimaginable sophistication. And also begin to investigate the surprisingly powerful case for a young earth, effectively censored by powerful propaganda but occasionally peeking out, like in the case of dinosaur bones with intact un-fossilized marrow in the bones and even a thoughtful consideration of the fact that the billions of fossils all over the world had to be buried quickly and deeply to escape decay.
If you disagree with Biologos, I challenge you to speak the truth, in love, of course, but making resources available to your churches and friends who may have only heard one side of the story. It may be risky, to be considered intellectual Neanderthals (actually the Neanderthals were quite bright, but you know what I mean) and to be confronted with questions you may not be able to answer. Yet there are MANY resources. We have 140 Creation Web Sites linked to www.tccsa.tc. Also look at the article linked below and a printable version of this article.
As the Lord said in Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Terrified is what you feel in the short term, discouraged in the long battle. Does that about cover it?
Ross S. Olson MD