I’ve written before about the various writers and speakers at BioLogos, who regularly deny the authority of Scripture and promote evolutionary beliefs. I’ve discussed Peter Enns and Karl Giberson, both former fellows with BioLogos. Well, BioLogos, whose mission has been to promote the idea that evolutionary ideas can be reconciled with Scripture, looks like it may be trying to appeal to a wider audience. However, its latest project is designed to reach out to the academic elite.
In a recent BioLogos video post, Dr. Chris Tilling, a theologian at St. Mellitus College and St. Paul’s Theological Centre, London, talked about what he believes started the debate over literal readings of Scripture. But first, let’s define what we mean by “literal.” At Answers in Genesis, we mean “naturally,” that is, according to the type of literature used in Bible passage. Dr. Tilling thinks that the debate over which parts of Scripture should be read literally “is a modern concern,” but he cites Martin Luther of the 1500s as a source for the debate.
Really, reading the Bible literally is a problem for Dr. Tilling because he says, “not all Scripture wants to be read literally.” (AiG staff member and writer Tim Chaffey has examined how to read Scripture in an article on our website.) What does Dr. Tilling mean by this? Dr. Tilling says when we read certain parts of Scripture literally, we are not being sensitive to the text and we miss truths of Scripture. Who is guilty of this type of reading, according to Dr. Tilling? Creationists (like those at AiG) and the New Atheists, whom he refers to as “two sides of the same coin.” Creationists, in particular, believe Genesis 1 and 2 to be the literal account of creation, and because of that, Dr. Tilling would say that we are missing truths in Genesis.
But Dr. Tilling says he has a solution. There is a third group, a “mediating voice,” that can listen to the arguments of the New Atheists “without being frightened.” This group also knows how to find the good in creationists’ arguments while keeping a “faithful reading” of Genesis. Dr. Tilling does not specifically name this third group, but he seems to be arguing that BioLogos is the group.
Putting aside the obvious slight that creationists are “frightened” of opposing views, BioLogos does not seem very interested in being the mediating voice when it comes to their newly announced research program. BioLogos’s new program, funded in part by The John Templeton Foundation, offers grants for research in the area of “evolutionary creation.” The grants can range from $30,000 to $300,000. But will they, as Dr. Tilling puts it, try to see the “good” in creationists’ arguments? It doesn’t look like they will.
We anticipate funding projects that explore consonance between evolution and Christian faith. Proposals will not be considered if they reject (or at least do not helpfully inform) historic, creedal Christianity (e.g. historical Resurrection, high view of Scripture,etc.) or if they reject the conclusions of mainstream science (e.g. old earth, common descent, etc.). Please note that this does not mean all grantees must be ardent supporters of evolutionary creation. Church leaders, for example, may be interested in exploring the ramifications for their tradition if evolution were true, even though they personally remain unsure. Also, teams may represent a variety of viewpoints.
So, proposals will be rejected if they do not adhere to the “conclusions of mainstream science”? This doesn’t sound like a group that’s willing to listen to the arguments and research of those scientists who disagree with BioLogos, despite what Dr. Tilling says to the contrary. We have found in the past that what they mean by “conclusions of mainstream science” is evolution and millions of years.
In fact, isn’t the dismissal of any viewpoint other than their own really a demonstration of “fright” on their part? Young earth creationists are often accused of coming to conclusions (based on Scripture) and finding supporting facts later, but if the above paragraph is not a clear example of simply concluding from the outset that God used evolution to create—and then giving grants to find the supporting information—I’m not sure what is.
It is obvious—if AiG were to apply for such research grants, we would be rejected!
It is sad to see millions of dollars being given for research that encourages more Christians to compromise God’s Word and believe in evolutionary ideas. Imagine how AiG could use such funds to teach people the truth about Genesis!
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