Is Theistic Evolution heresy?

Discussion in 'Natural Revelation and God's Creation' started by Anglicanorthodoxy, Jun 9, 2017.

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  1. Anglicanorthodoxy

    Anglicanorthodoxy Puritan Board Freshman

    What's the official PB opinion on this topic (theistic evolution)? I see a lot of very well-respected pastors and theologians (Tim Keller, N. T Wright, Alister McGrath, Bruce Waltke, Francis Collins) are theistic evolutionists. Where does one draw the line between error and heresy on this? My personal view is that as long as one believes in an historical Adam and Eve, and accepts the Genesis account of the fall, they're fine. However, when people like Peter Enns deny the existence of Adam & Eve, then I think that's teetering on heresy. I don't necessarily want to debate YEC/OEC/ID/TE, I'm just asking where you'd draw the line? When does someone become a heretic? Is Bruce Waltke, (who believes in an historical Adam and accepts the Genesis account of the fall), a heretic because he believes in evolution? The issue of creation is something I'm still studying.
  2. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    It's officially whatever Joshua posts :D
  3. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't know about heresy, but I don't think it's possible to truly affirm a literal Adam and Eve and a literal fall that introduced death, and also affirm evolution. This would certainly seem to be a major problem.
  4. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Being a fomer theistic evolutionist and avid reader of Biologos; it flirts hard with heresy. A lot do not believe in inerrancy. Many over at that site would affirm that theology needs to be changed to account evolution since there has always been suffering intrinsic to the world. I read Jack Collins book on Adam and Eve and believes whether or not one believes in evolution (a stance he does not take), they need to at least affirm a real couple at the headwaters of the human race. Interesting, but I am more conservative than that. TE, regardless if we Christians look like fools, is something that needs to be fought against. It is one of biggest threats to the church today I believe, even more so than egalitarianism, as it takes a a foundation of everything away unlike Andy Stanley would have you believe.
  5. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Theistic evolution would just be a failed attempt to try to gave "accepted scientific facts" be the filter to view the scriptures through, but must have the scriptures themselves as being the main lens at work here. there is no proof that there has ever been any evolution resulting from changing from one species into another, but just within the same species, so dogs evolved into different breeds, but also stayed dogs.
    Also, many holding to this would deny the literal adam and eve, or would see them as a final product of evolution, but that denies them as a special creation of God, and also causes problem with the historicity of the fall...
    Would see holding to this as holding to really bad theology, but not to level of outright heresy, as my understanding is that applies directly to denial of essentials such as resurrection, death as atonement, trinity etc...
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2017
  6. jwithnell

    jwithnell Moderator Staff Member

    At least one of the authors mentioned in the OP would be considered outside of orthodoxy on many issues.

    That said, confessional standards hold to both special and general revelation and we best not place them at odds with each other.
  7. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Some serious hermeneutical hopscotch is needed to deny the literal meaning of days in Exodus 20:11.

    - The ordinance of the Sabbath is now doubtful if six days is not literal.
    - If the first Adam is allegorical, then the second Adam is, too?
    - A literal Adam is required in Romans.
    - The Apostle clearly described Adam as the first human sinner--not whatever millions of human-like beings in the presumed evolutionary chain.
    - Death came through Adamic sin, an explanation from Scripture that is cast aside in the notion of millions of years of death and destruction prior to Adam assumed by evolution.
  8. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Agree with all that you stated here, so would holding to it be seen as Heresy then?
  9. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    I am of the opinion that heresy is a matter for the church to declare versus my personal opinions. Despite the numerous treatments by Reformed denominations wherein such a view has not been formally declared to be beyond the bounds, I remain steadfast in my view that holding a theistic view of evolution cannot be reconciled with Holy Writ. I leave the matter of heresy in the hands of those with the authority to declare it to be so.

  10. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    The scriptures themselves would define those holding to Jesus not being God, no resurrection, no Trinity etc as being heretic though, regardless if any group said those positions were or not....
  11. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Theistic evolution is a wholesale denial of chapter 6 of the confession of faith
  12. augustacarguy

    augustacarguy Puritan Board Freshman

    Not to mention a denial of Scripture.

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  13. greenbaggins

    greenbaggins Administrator Staff Member

    In the PCA's position paper on creation, they declared that theistic evolution was out of bounds, but the length of creation days was negotiable. The OPC holds a similar viewpoint. While I firmly believe in a literal interpretation of the creation days, I am willing to vote for someone who does not hold to a literal interpretation of the creation days IF they do NOT hold to theistic evolution, and DO hold to a literal, historical Adam and Eve, who were the sole progenitors of the human race.

    Heresy is, of course, a somewhat slippery term. Some people use it when they mean "heterodoxy," which is merely teaching a doctrine incompatible with confessional teaching. Others use it in a more restricted sense of "soul-damning." Is it possible for someone to believe in theistic evolution and not go to Hell? I would answer, "Only if they are being inconsistent!" I believe that consistent theistic evolution is heresy in the strict sense of the term, since they will deny the Fall, deny original sin, deny death as coming in by the Fall, deny the goodness of creation, deny the covenant of works, and eventually they will get around to denying that Christ came to fix what Adam broke. Eventually it results in Christological heresy. Consistent theistic evolution is an evil root that poisons the whole tree of theology.

    Happily, some hold it inconsistently, and think they can hold on to a historical Adam and Eve as progenitors of the human race which God made to evolve. This would not be consistent, and would be ultimately unsustainable, but it would be considerably less problematic from a salvation point of view. It might be possible for someone who held this inconsistent version to still be saved. I agree with Patrick, though, and would rather let the church decide this matter on a case by case basis.
  14. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Senior

    It is my understanding that Keller at least, not sure of the rest of the list, believes in a literal first Adam while also being evolutionist. At some point in time God breathed the first human soul into an evolved primate, and that was Adam. Not sure where Eve came from. So you can hold to millions of years of evolution plus God creating the first man.

    Walt Brown's "In the Beginning" is an excellent book for refuting many of these ideas.
  15. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    I'm glad you and Lane addressed this. Both we and Evangelicals (on paper) have issues with the Papacy. In Evangelicalism, however as Michael Horton has pointed out, each person is his own pope and determines truth and error, exegetical method, orthodoxy....all by themselves. Rome has one pope, Evangelicals have 5 million. I am grateful for confessional presbyterianism.....
  16. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    What is odd about these men is that they deny a literal six days because it is as they see it inconsistent with science but believe in the resurrection.
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  17. Anglicanorthodoxy

    Anglicanorthodoxy Puritan Board Freshman

    They say Genesis 1 is a poem.
  18. C. Matthew McMahon

    C. Matthew McMahon Christian Preacher

    I you want to "easily debunk" theistic evolution, start with Exodus 20 and work backwards chapter by chapter, or for that matter, start in 1 Samuel, or Joshua, or any historical account. That about does it.
  19. BayouHuguenot

    BayouHuguenot Puritan Board Doctor

    It has some poetic material. It also has the waw-consecutive. In any case, it's not clear, on their reading, why poems can't have historical referents.
  20. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Do not throw around the word "heresy" unless you are willing for people to think you mean the church should condemn those who hold such views as being outside of Christ and headed to probable damnation. That's what the word "heresy" means to many people.

    If you mean something less than that, then use a less inflaming word for the sake of both clarity and charity.
  21. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    I don't believe there is an official PB position about theistic evolution be heresy, but advocating for even the old earth position here can get you in trouble with the administrators.
  22. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I would tend to view those who would hold to it same fashion as those who only would see say a limited inspiration view on the scriptures, so that in both cases could be saved, but severely wrong on that one view....
  23. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    As long as they hold with the truths regarding the nature of God, the death of Jesus as atonement, and the physical resurrection, would be saved but really wrong regarding this issue...
  24. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Actually it would depend upon exactly how someone is advocating for the old earth view and not some blanket "don't go there" rule.

    See also:
  25. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    I understand that point, and so would now see them as being holding on this one issue bad/wrong teachings, but not rising to level of heresy, as that would tend to say they were not even saved...
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
  26. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    Maybe it is the case that you can say you hold to old earth, but you can't advocate for the details of the position that every old earth creationist believes. I just know that it was the cause of the strongest rebuke I have received here.
  27. Ask Mr. Religion

    Ask Mr. Religion Flatly Unflappable

    Since you are continuing to raise the issue, you will have to provide more explicit context, link, etc. I am sure an explanation is at the ready once that is provided.
  28. Dachaser

    Dachaser Puritan Board Professor

    Think that discussing/debating the Age of Earth/Universe much different though then trying to support Theistic Evolution ...
  29. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Theistic evolution is incompatible with the confession of faith.

    If Theistic evolution were true we will need to reevaluate every doctrine we hold, Federal headship would be gone and we would need to deal with the idea of sub humans perhaps living perfect lives and not sinning or perhaps falling into sin but not really representing us because they were not human.

    It might actually be the H word .

    Sorry hope I didn't offend anyone
  30. arapahoepark

    arapahoepark Puritan Board Graduate

    Atheists invented the safe spaces. They need to start making one when they encounter your words. ;)
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