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Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique

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The debate about biological origins continues to be hotly contested within the Christian church. Prominent organizations such as Biologos (USA) and Faraday Institute (UK) insist that Christians must yield to an unassailable scientific consensus in favor of contemporary evolutionary theory and modify traditional biblical ideas about the creation of life accordingly. They promote a view known as “theistic evolution” or “evolutionary creation.” They argue that God used—albeit in an undetectable way—evolutionary mechanisms to produce all forms of life. This book contests this proposal. Featuring two dozen highly credentialed scientists, philosophers, and theologians from Europe and North America, this volume provides the most comprehensive critique of theistic evolution yet produced. It documents evidential, logical, and theological problems with theistic evolution, opening the door to scientific and theological alternatives—making the book essential reading for understanding this worldview-shaping issue.

Resource Experts

Key Features

  • Contests the idea of theistic evolution and evolutionary creation
  • Features contributions from 25 scientists, philosophers, and theologians

Top Highlights

“The chief question asked about human evolution is this: are we descended from an ape-like ancestor, or are we unique, with a distinct origin? In the context of this book, of course, this question is paramount. One of the reasons people tend to become theistic evolutionists is precisely because they consider the evidence based on genetic similarity for our descent from an ape-like ancestor to be incontrovertible. We have presented arguments here that indicate the evidence for chimp and human common ancestry may not be so incontrovertible after all, and that in light of our basic ignorance of the way our genome functions, and in light of the increasing evidence for human-specific design, the rewriting of theology is a bad idea.” (Page 502)

“On the contrary, from cosmology to biology, it is becoming increasingly clear that science’s failure to explain matters at the most fundamental level is at least in part due to an institutional prohibition on intelligent design as one of the explanatory options. In these pages, ‘methodological naturalism’ is the name by which this prohibition goes, but it could be equally called ‘methodological atheism.’” (Page 28)

“Evolution in this second sense not only specifies that all life shares a common ancestry; it also implies that virtually no limits exist to the amount of morphological change that can occur in organisms. It assumes that relatively simple organisms can, given adequate time, change into much more complex organisms. Thus, evolution in this second sense entails not only change but also gradual, continuous—and even unbounded—biological change.” (Page 36)


  • Gregg R. Allison
  • Douglas D. Axe
  • Günter Bechly
  • C. John Collins
  • John D. Currid
  • Garrett J. DeWeese
  • Stephen Dilley
  • Winston Ewert
  • Ann K. Gauger
  • Wayne Grudem
  • Ola Hössjer
  • Matti Leisola
  • Casey Luskin
  • Stephen C. Meyer
  • J.P. Moreland
  • Paul A. Nelson
  • Tapio Puolimatka
  • Colin R. Reeves
  • Christopher Shaw
  • James M. Tour
  • Sheena Tyler
  • Guy Prentiss Waters
  • Jonathan Wells
  • John G. West
  • Fred G. Zaspel

Praise for the Print Edition

This volume fills a wide and expanding gap for Christians who continue to struggle with the relationship of evangelical Christianity to the claims of science. Specifically, for those who have rightly rejected the claims of unguided evolution, this book takes on the similar challenge of the possibility of theistic evolution. Scholarly, informative, well-researched, and well-argued, this will be the best place to begin to ferret out reasons for conflict among Christians who take science seriously. I highly recommend this resource.

—K. Scott Oliphint, professor of apologetics and systematic theology and dean of faculty, Westminster Theological Seminary

Theistic evolution means different things to different people. This book carefully identifies, and thoroughly debunks, an insidious, all-too-commonly accepted sense of the phrase even among Christians: that there is no physical reason to suspect life was designed, and that evolution proceeded in the unguided, unplanned manner Darwin himself championed.

—Michael J. Behe, professor of biological sciences, Lehigh University; author, Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution

Evangelicals are experiencing unprecedented pressure to make peace with the Darwinian theory of evolution, and increasing numbers are waving the white flag. The tragic irony is that evolutionary theory is more beleaguered than ever in the face of multiplying scientific challenges and growing dissent. Until now there has been no consolidated scholarly response to theistic evolution that combines scientific, philosophical, and theological critiques. I was excited to hear about this ambitious project, but the final book has exceeded my expectations. The editors have assembled an impressive cast of experts and the content is top-notch. Theistic evolutionists, and those swayed by their arguments, owe it to themselves to read and digest this compendium of essays. This book is timely and necessary—quite literally a godsend.

—James N. Anderson, associate professor of theology and philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte; author, What’s Your Worldview?

This book offers a much-needed, comprehensive critique of evolutionary creationism (theistic evolution), covering its scientific, philosophical, theological, and biblical deficiencies. It devotes much space in particular to the scientific side. This focus is needed because of the common, unwarranted assumption that Darwinism is doing well as measured by scientific evidence. Several articles, from different angles, show how much Darwinism depends on seeing all biological evidence through the lens of a prior commitment to faith in the philosophy of naturalism—particularly the ungrounded assumption that unguided natural forces must suffice as a complete account of origins.

—Vern S. Poythress, professor of New Testament interpretation, Westminster Theological Seminary

Few scholars even marginally knowledgeable regarding the nature of this debate could read objectively the lineup of scholars in this volume and not be impressed. Beyond the scholars’ academic credentials, the topics covered are both sophisticated and timely. For this reviewer, the experience caused me to respond time and again: ‘I want to start right there . . . or maybe there . . . wow—have to read that one first . . .’ The topic is not always an easy target, but after almost one thousand pages of critique across interdisciplinary lines, I do not think that it could be bettered. Kudos! Highly recommended.

—Gary R. Habermas, distinguished research professor and chair, Department of Philosophy, Liberty University

About the Editors

J.P. Moreland (PhD, University of Southern California) is distinguished professor of philosophy at Biola University. He is an author of, contributor to, or editor of over ninety books, including The Soul: How We Know It’s Real and Why It Matters.

Stephen Meyer (PhD, University of Cambridge) is the director of the Discovery Institute’s Center of Science and Culture. He is the author of several books, including the New York Times best-selling book Darwin’s Doubt.

Chris Shaw (PhD, Queen’s University, Belfast) is professor of drug discovery in the school of pharmacy at Queen’s University in Belfast. He is the author of hundreds of peer-reviewed papers and the cofounder of a biomarker discovery company.

Ann Gauger (PhD, University of Washington) is director of science communication and a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. She is also a senior research scientist at the Biologic Institute.

Wayne Grudem (PhD, University of Cambridge; DD, Westminster Theological Seminary) is research professor of theology and biblical studies at Phoenix Seminary, having previously taught for 20 years at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He is a former president of the Evangelical Theological Society, a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible, the general editor of the ESV Study Bible, and has published over 20 books.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition


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