Evangelicalism, Evolution, & Cosmic Warfare

In the recently released collection of essays Creation Set Free, Greg Boyd argues that evolution can be situated inside the broader scriptural motif of cosmic warfare between God & Satan.  In so doing Boyd (appears to) embrace a faily current scientific understanding of evolution.

What makes this unique is that this affirmation does not develop out of a liberal reading of scripture, in which the biblical narrative is demythologized & made to square with current evolutionary theory.  Rather, Boyd comes from a thoroughly evangelical perspective, one that has a “high” view of scripture (unless you think his open theism renders him unworthy of the label evangelical). 

I found some of Boyd’s thoughts provocative, but what really interests me is that a conservative evangelical appears to be at the very least sympathetic to neodarwinian evolution.  I know that this is not a completely new phenomenon, but in my judgment is still far too rare among evangelical theology.  Further, while proponents of open theism have never been afraid to live on the boundaries of evangelicalism, I am excited by someone of conservative evangelical stripe being willing to approach evolution without a dismissive or reactionary attitude.  As Clark Pinnock, a fellow evangelical OT & doctrinal tightrope walker once said, “may his tribe increase.”

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4 responses to “Evangelicalism, Evolution, & Cosmic Warfare

  1. On this topic, here’s a good talk.

  2. I would agree that it is still rare for a conservative evangelical to be sympathetic, let alone accepting, of biological evolution. But I’d say both are becoming increasingly less rare … and have been for at least a decade if not more – particularly outside of North America (eg. In the UK which never went through the fundamentalist disaster). In particular, evangelical Anglicans in the UK have made this peace for some time and some reformed thinkers (eg. From Calvin College) on this side of the pond have as well.

    Re: Open Theology and reconciliation with biological evolution, I think there are some definitely some synergies there – see John Polkinghorne (who was main speaker at Science and OT conference a couple years back – Boyd blogged about this at the time).

    • The “fundamentalist disaster” lurks behind much of the disdain for evolution in american evangelicalism, but even then there was not consensus on this matter. Warfield, for example, was hopeful that science & theology could get along.

      Pinnock stated in another essay in this book that there has been a revival of suspicion among evangelicals in regards to evolution, the root of which he locates in the anti-intellectualism in american culture. In my judgment this is off the mark: my intuition is that the old “binaries of fear” simply get resuscitated intermittently in american evangelicalism.

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