Trinitarian theology and theistic evolution

On its website, Grace Communion International addresses the topic of creation and evolution. The article explores alternative ways for harmonizing the Biblical creation accounts with the evidence of science.

The primary option addressed in the article is theistic evolution. It notes that Scripture (as we understand it) allows for the idea that God created the cosmos a very long time ago, and thus does not demand a young earth - young universe view of creation.  Moreover, it notes that Scripture does not specify the method by which God created, and thus allows that God may have used evolutionary processes as a "tool" in his creating. The article also notes that there is a big difference between evolution as a worldview/philosophy and evolution as a scientific explanation of the development of life as we know it. For many years, GCI has noted these things in its literature. These are not new ideas to us, though they are helpfully articulated in the referenced article.

I've received from several readers of this blog questions asking if there is a connection between Trinitarian theology and theistic evolution. My answer is that there is not a necessary connection (one does not necessitate the other). However, I would note that Trinitarian theology does speak to the issue of cosmology. It says to us that all the created order (cosmos) has (through the incarnation of the Son of God, who is Creator and Sustainer of all), been "included” in God's triune life and love. 

This inclusion means that God shares with his creation something of his own creative freedom and ability. Thus it would be no surprise (from a trinitarian perspective) that science would discover through observation of the physical creation, a certain creative ability and capacity inherent in that creation. Perhaps this is what we see in organic evolutionary processes, which would be seen as the creation expressing inherent creative freedom that results from its continuing union with God's own creative life. 

From this trinitarian perspective, organic evolution would be seen not as "godless" (i.e. not as creation in the absence of God) but as processes that flow from God's ongoing involvement in his creation as it continues to develop, in creative freedom, over time. This suggests that God did not merely "wind up" the creation at one, single, moment in the past (whether near or distant) and then exit the scene. The God who is revealed to us in Scripture is not a deistic God posited by some theologies (and cosmologies). Rather the God of Scripture is triune (the Trinity) and has joined the creation to himself through the incarnation - he is thus present with and actively involved with and in his cosmos. It is not only humans who "live and move and have their being" in a dynamic relationship with this triune God. This is true of all of his creation.

Comments

  1. Whoa; Praise God for GCI, and Thanks to all at hq, for your Service to help us Learn and understand!

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