Keller's Reason for God

Discussion in 'The Literary Forum' started by Grillsy, Nov 30, 2009.

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  1. ChristianTrader

    ChristianTrader Puritan Board Graduate

    Then what is the scientific difference? The common view of YEC creationists is that Theistic evolutionists take all that regular darwinian science puts forward then stick God at the front of the process, and say "Done".

  2. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Just to note that I've met theistic evolutionists who would claim supernatural intervention as a means by which evolution progressed. Most of these would also maintain that Adam and Eve were entirely separate creations.

    The issue is more one of how to reconcile the apparent age and progression of the earth (if the findings are unreliable, then modern nuclear physics--all of it--is most likely false) with the chronology found in the scriptures, particularly with Genesis 1 (the geneologies are fairly flexible, methinks).
  3. Montanablue

    Montanablue Puritan Board Doctor

    Since I'm not a theistic evolutionist and since I don't really care to spend my time arguing their case, I hope you'll pardon me for not responding to your query. To be honest, I would run the risk of misstating their case. I merely responded to the thread because I knew so many of my theistic evolutionist friends would be appalled at what was being put on them.

    I can say that all of them see God as the master and designer of creation and reject a number of Darwin's assertions. But to try to expand on which assertions they reject etc would be foolish of me since I haven't studied the topic in-depth.
  4. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    I can't speak for the PCA, but the OPC has ruled theistic evolution to be out of accord with our standards and Scripture through a judicial case a few years back. So they have ruled against Warfield's particular view. :2cents:
  5. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

    A sample quote from the PCA position paper on creation in regards to theistic evolution:

    And another:

    [emphasis added]
  6. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    Didn't the PCA report allow for teaching of a theological or literary framework view of Genesis 1, though?

    It seems to me that as long as we can say that Adam and Eve didn't have/need navels, we're on fairly solid ground :lol:
  7. Wayne

    Wayne Tempus faciendi, Domine.

  8. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Patrick/PS...thanks, I didn't know that about the OPC.


    I know that in my Presbytery (metro NY, with Keller) there are ordained guys with exceptions to the confession on the sabbath and a few other things. So I would imagine it is also fine to take exceptions to PCA position papers. I can't see that this creationism position will ever be required if the confessional sabbath position about recreation isn't. Just guessing.

    One of my kids would agree with everything in a standard statement of faith but he became a theistic evolutionist at college. Drives me nuts when we get talking. He was a history major and took barely any science, and I took almost all botany/biology/geology, but he has lots of theologians on his side for all the old earth, day-age junk, as well as the divinely directed evolution, so it seems like a useless debate anymore.
  9. Philip

    Philip Puritan Board Graduate

    After reading the position paper on the framework view, it seems (to me) that Keller is in line with it.
  10. Jon Peters

    Jon Peters Puritan Board Sophomore

    Why should YEC define the terms of the opposition? I suppose it's easier to refute when you narrow the terms of the debate. Or perhaps I misunderstand something.
  11. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    I will.

    I agree they are different at a metaphysical level, but that was not my question. Are they physically (scientifically) distinguishable, and if so how?

    As I understand things, theistic evolutionists believe that God providentially ordered creation to bring about what we see today. From the PCA Statement:
    Hence, speciation becomes a "natural" process. However, the view is essentially deist in that God simply wound up the clock and had nothing else to do. The only supernatural act was the setting up of the initials conditions.

    It is distinguished from, say, progressive creation which teaches that God directly/supernaturally intervened at certain points to create new species.
  12. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Dr. Sam Waldron did an excellent gracious but critical review. I think it is a beneficial read.

    Midwest Center for Theological Studies: Owensboro, KY

    First off Dr. Waldron has a lot of commendations for the book. He is very gracious in his look at Keller and the book. He also has some serious critique also.

    Here is a small portion of his critique.

  13. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    That's a major straw man. Not only is it inaccurate for many theistic evolutionists, but it doesn't fit with the definition you quoted. Some theistic evolutionists might take a deist approach, not certainly not all.

    In terms of the scientific distinction, I'm not sure I understand your question. Evolution is evolution - I'm not sure how there can be a "scientific" difference...:scratch:
  14. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Is a Christ that is consistent with theistic evolution really the biblical Christ? If Christ is the last Adam, isn’t a non-literal reading of the first Adam destructive of the very identity and saving work of Christ?

    Actually no, although I don't agree with theistic evolution.

    With creation, Adam is made from the dust of the ground directly.

    With theistic evolution, the dust of the ground dissolves in the early pool of chemicals that turns into amino acids and comes together into the first cell and on to the worms and fish and finally the primates.

    But in both interpretations,God makes that first Adam a living soul by giving him his human spirit. With Warfield/Hodge/Keller this IS a historic Adam, a first man with an eternal soul who sins. Everything before him in theistic evolution is just animal.

    Please note that I am not trying to support this position, but there ARE many true believers who in other respects are Reformed and confessional who hold to it. To say they do not believe in the biblical Christ, in my opinion, is an accusation of heresy and is unjustifiable. They serve the same Jesus we serve.

    Here is a nice little blurb on that primordial pool of scum and chemicals we all come from. The ATP molecule parts ( in all living things) had to all come together within about half an hour in a reducing environment. Right.

    The Myth Of Chemical Evolution

    Even small parts of the components of cells can be unimaginably complex. An example of this is the enzyme adenosine triphosphate synthase, found in all living cells including animals, plants, fungi and bacteria. The elucidation of the structure of ATP synthase won a 1997 Nobel Prize. Every cell contains hundreds of these miniature motors embedded in the surfaces of the mitochondria. Each is 200,000 times smaller than a pinhead. The motor forges a bond between ADP and phosphate to form ATP. The ATP couples with other processes in the cell requiring energy to reform ADP and phosphate. So energy is directed to contract muscles, beat the heart and drive thought processes in the brain, while the products are recycled. At the centre of ATP synthase is a tiny wheel that turns at about 100 revolutions per second and turns out three ATP molecules per rotation. Just to keep us thinking and walking, humans must recycle their own body weight of ATP each day. Each enzyme is composed of thirty-one separate proteins that in turn are made of thousands of precisely arranged amino acids. Take away any one of the 31 proteins and the motor is useless. It could not have evolved. And consider this: the genetic information and RNA plus proteins needed to construct the ATP synthase are in total even more irreducibly complex than the ATP synthase itself. (A car-making factory is more complex than a car.)
  15. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    I think the point is that Christ as the son of Adam (or son of Man) must be the same as far as creation goes. Christ is the son of Adam and the Son of God. To diminish the first man as a created whole is to diminish the second one as a created person. I have heard some pretty weird interpretations of theistic evolution. I have also heard some compelling argumentation that the first chapter isn't poetic. But that is another topic. And one must take into account what a non-literal reading in the creation of Adam might render. The two Adams are closely connected and therefore what one thinks concerning the first effects the the second.

    It is kind of like the Covenant of Works debate. If one doesn't understand the prelapsarian covenant (or believe in a CofW) his or her view will be skewed concerning the person and work of Christ. It doesn't necessarily mean they aren't saved though faith in Christ's atonement. But they will have a deficient understanding of the work of Christ. Thus the comparison and analogy, if one doesn't interpret the creation account in a literal sense then were can that lead him when he interprets other things that should be interpreted literally. It tends to lead down some dangerous roads in my estimation.

    Just my humble opinion

    BTW, what did you think of Dr. Waldron's assessment of Keller's chapter 12 and atonement. There is much more to the story than just his talk of creation. And I believe that is being neglected in our discussion.

    BTW, Dr. Waldron did have some kudos for the book. Don't forget that either.
  16. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    PC, I agree with you, you have to understand that I am a creationist and I think the points you just made are all correct and well articulated.

    Having said this, when people use words like wondering if this is really the biblical Christ, I get jumpy. I mean, to preach another gospel or another Christ, well, let him be accursed. It is loaded language. We cannot use words like "not the biblical Christ" in my opinion here, but I might be wrong. As long as someone holds to a historical Adam who was the very first man with an eternal soul, I think we have to accept them as preaching the same Jesus we preach. Now the ones who hold to gradual evolution with no divine moment in time when God separates man from animals and gives him a soul, well, it is OK with me to call them heretics :). But that isn't Keller. To believe in a historical Adam is to believe in a historical Adam.

    This [email protected] is all over the PCA by the way. Pray for us.

    Re the atonement, I can't for one second think Keller has rejected belief in and preaching the penal satisfaction of God's wrath. I am in his presbytery and I just don't believe he teaches "dim and finally inadequate human reflections of substitution" in his ministry as a whole. I would have to see a great weight of evidence first, and even with that I do believe he would repent of any vagueness and go back to truth, and the presbytery would drag him in anyway if he seriously departed from orthodoxy.

    To tell you the truth, I read a lot and I love theology and my hub went to WTS and he reads constantly and we talk a lot. But I started reading Reason for God and stopped part way through as I found it to be just plain uninteresting. And I can enjoy books other people find dry and boring, but I just couldn't see what the big deal was with that book. I love his preaching tapes, but the book just didn't do anything for me. Maybe I'm just not into apologetics?

    When I got saved I was starving to think and understand. He is around smart, educated New Yorkers and I don't think anything needs to be watered down with poor examples if you ask me. Feed them the real thing. But hey, he is on the best seller list and leading multitudes to the Lord, and I am not, so what do I know.
  17. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Is it "concessions" or attempting to build on "points of contact"? I agree, for example in the creation chapter, that he does concede too much to "science". But I also think that overall he is appealing to the good values of our current post-modern culture, and attempting to show that those good values (i.e. mutual respect, social justice, human dignity, etc.) cannot be consistently held unless you become a Christian. The post-modern worldview cannot logically account for them or even enforce them consistently. The Christian worldview is the only worldview which can account for those values with any logical or moral integrity.

    Would you agree or disagree with that?
  18. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member


    I believe there might be a bit too much fuzziness in certain areas. And I believe that is the point Dr. Waldron is making. Though Pastor Keller might be effectual in doing some things right some of his stuff might have some poor renderings in times to come. And that is the point Dr. Waldron made in the last paragraph of the quote I sighted and will show here.

    I bet you would enjoy the whole blog Lynnie. It is moslty gracious. I picked out a small part of the critical part since it was what you guys were discussing. Take a look at it. I think you will appreciate the spirit it was written in.

    Midwest Center for Theological Studies: Owensboro, KY

    Be Encouraged,
  19. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    You are right, it is truly gracious. I love the very last paragraph quote.

    I don't know why Keller didn't have nitpicky proofreaders ahead of time to catch the fuzziness. I would have given it to students at his alma mater and let them rip it apart before the final edit. Students are great at that! Better yet the PB :lol: Oh well. Thanks for the link!
  20. caddy

    caddy Puritan Board Senior

    "Prodigal God" is excellent In my humble opinion!
  21. TimV

    TimV Puritanboard Botanist

    They chose it in ignorance based on the recommendation by a person new to Reformed thinking (his dad is a pastor in a PCA and a fan of Keller), and came to the conclusion that Keller isn't Reformed. They were neither trying to understand the unbeliever (? weren't we all unbelievers at one time?) nor trying to prove that they are theologically superior. I was the only one familiar with Keller before reading the book (I was not involved in the choice of reading) and even I was shocked. I know he shows contempt of the PCA's constitution by refusing to incorporate the laying on of hands during the ordination of deacons to further erase gender distinctions, I knew he denies the Biblical flood, but I still was unprepared for his telling unbelievers that he thinks evolution is true. The true Reason for God seems to be someone who created the first amoeba and sort of guided things until a pair of apes could walk upright.
  22. tcalbrecht

    tcalbrecht Puritan Board Junior

    I’m sorry, but it is not a strawman for the majority view of theistic evolution. It is essentially deistic in its view of the mechanical nature of evolution. It is perfectly in keeping with the definition from the PCA Statement.
    At the heart of theistic evolution is the notion that God created certain laws and principles (“natural processes”) and that by the “normal” application of these processes (“God’s ordinary providence”) every living thing evolved to the state we see today. Natural selection, macroevolution, speciation, are all the result of providential guiding of natural processes. Like a child being born and growing up to adulthood and on to death, it’s just ordinary providence.

    That is my point. From a scientific standpoint there can be no distinction between how the Darwinian evolutionist approaches the data and how a theistic evolutionist approaches the data. The data itself tells the same story. The difference only comes about after imposing certain metaphysical views on the data.

    Theistic evolution, like its Darwinian brother, says that the same natural processes that turned fish into birds also turned apes into humans. There was no “dusty Adam.” Basic evolution precludes such a notion.

    You said:

    So, is it your opinion that, naturalistically speaking, there is a different sort of “creation” happening in these three verses? It seems inconsistent with the definition of evolution to suggest they are radically different.
  23. Jack K

    Jack K Puritan Board Professor

    Trying to feel theologically superior is what I would have been doing, arrogant sinner than I am. Hence the comment. Sorry to accuse.
  24. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    Old agers have to have a local flood. They hold to millions of years of gradual geologic change. For them, Mt Everest is too high to be covered with water thousands of years ago; even Mt Ararat is too high.

    Young earthers believe in catastrophic events at God's initiative. God spoke and the mountains were raised up. A much flatter crust was destroyed when the fountains of the deep opened up during the flood, and deposited sedimentary layers of rock from water that was under great pressure and heat below the crust, saturated with minerals. The mountains rose up during this period of great upheavel, taking their soon to be fossilized fish and ferns up with them.

    The thing about old earth and the local flood is that it isn't even necessary, not even for carbon dating. If people would just read some of the better books out there they'd realize how impossible the billions of year old moon and oceans and earth science really is. But they don't read creation science books, so they are trapped in deception. Sad. I think it is a subtle- or not so subtle- adoption of limited inerrancy, and the end point down the years for followers is liberalism.
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