More thoughts on Christadelphian Evolutionary Creationism


For intelligent and academically minded Christadelphians, Creationism is no longer an option. Those blessed with knowledge of modern science and who have read the relevant literature, know that the truth of Evolution is the best attested fact in all of science. It is no longer a theory; it is observable reality. We can even see both Evolution and Speciation occurring in glass beakers in a science lab. We observe Evolution taking place in the geological record. No fossil has ever been found out of place in the Evolutionary chain.

Intelligent Christadelphians don't even argue with Creationists any more, because the argument is not really about Creationism; it's about the Fideism of the Creationists. Therefore we don't have the time of day to discuss either Creationism or Fideism; any more than were would discuss alien abduction stories, fairies or the Loch Ness Monster.

The above applies to both Young Earth Creationism and Old Earth Creationism. The mountains of evidence for Evolution have made both theories untenable; except to the unwise

That leaves some form of Evolutionary Creationism as the only game in town for smart Christadelphians who want to cling to their Theistic beliefs.

Evolutionary Creationism is not one set of beliefs in Christadelphianism. It is a spectrum of opinion ranging from the belief that God both used Evolution to create life and species on Earth and that he closely guided it's unfolding; all the way to the other end of the spectrum which says that God played no part at all in the outworking of Evolution and that he did not interfere at the critical juncture of Abiogenesis, which was the commencement of life itself.

My friend bother Ken Gilmore holds the latter view, as can be witnessed here and here. I don't agree with him; but I do find his view to be the most sophisticated and satisfactory argument of all the competing claims and it is the view that best fits with the empirical data that we have. By that I mean the evidence for Evolution being true.

The problem with the various positions on the spectrum below that held by Ken Gilmore is that they do not account for the problem that there are billions of imperfections in living species. I'm thinking here of the human appendix, the wandering nerve in the neck of the Giraffe, gill slits in human embryos, humans born with tails, junk DNA, malaria affliction in the tropics and countless other anatomical details that show evidence of an unguided process of Evolution and not the guiding hand of an all powerful, all knowing God. That God would guide Evolution and yet create the almighty mess as we see in living species is something that my mind cannot countenance.

Therefore, to my way of thinking, if I were an intelligent Christadelphian, I would find Ken's thesis to be the most attractive. The smart guys at Berea-Portal appear to mostly agree with him and I find that to be pleasing.

However we are still left with some very significant problems with Ken's thesis. The most obvious one is: when exactly does the "Creationism" happen in "Evolutionary Creationism"? If it does not happen during Evolution and it did not happen at Abiogenesis, how far back do we have to go in time and space before we can say with certainty that God interfered in the natural processes and laws of the universe to create something?

Strangely, so far as I can tell, Ken has never ventured an opinion on this problem. When I started explaining on this blog the new scientific thinking about how the nature of the fabric of space itself is able to spontaneously generate new universes from what at first glance appears to be "nothing" he became very upset and launched a tirade of rebuttal to me on his blog. That tells us that he must think that God was involved in the creation of the universe. Although he did not actually say that; we have to infer it from his annoyance.

But at least it teaches us that Ken's elimination of God does not extend to before the Big Bang.

On his blog he recently came out with the absurd idea that God can create through "chance." But a moment's thought will show that if God acts through chance, then chance is God and we end up Deists instead of Theists. Moreover if God acts through chance, then we are back to trying to explain why life on Earth is full of so much junk and mistakes. I don't think that he thought through that idea and I would expect that he has abandoned it by now.

I've challenged him before to explain exactly where the Creator God wakes up and first starts to act. I never got an answer.

His followers don't seem to have the brains to ask him, or to flesh out the theory in any way. But if the theory is to make any headway in Christadelphianism, it is vital that these problems are addressed and some sensible explanations be found.

For example, did God create the Big Bang in such a careful way that everything, including life on Earth, unfolded following a Divine Deterministic plan? But if that were the case, we come back to the problem of the millions of imperfections in nature. God's Determinism was deeply flawed.

I will also venture the suggestion that if God did create the universe, why was it created in such a wasteful manner? Why so big if we are all that matters? That does not make any sense. It argues against a Divine Creator.

I was a devoted Christadelphian for half of my life and if I were still one, I would find these questions to be deeply troubling. Where would I slot my God into the creation process? What exactly did he do; if anything? Why were Homo Sapiens around for one hundred and fifty thousand years before sin and redemption came into the world? It makes no sense.

I've told Ken that I think that he's bluffing and that he does not have these answers. I am honestly convinced that he is bluffing. I genuinely think that the entire Berea-Portal team are quite lost for answers here. Their theory hits a vacuum before Abiogenesis and their God has been lost in that vacuum. I shared exactly the same problem thirty years ago before I resigned. I gradually went through the same process of YEC to OEC, then a brief period of Theistic Evolutionary Creationism, which evolved into a sort of Deistic Evolutionary Creationism like Ken's and then finally when I realised that I could not find God in my Deistic Evolutionary Creationism I accepted the awful reality that there was no God at any stage of the process.

Ken says on his blog:

"Ultimately, this site exists to provide help for those who are aware that the evidence for evolution is considerable, and want to see how an orthodox Christadelphian faith is compatible with evolution."

But that's the very thing that you have NOT done Ken. You have shown that it is possible for a Christadelphian to hold two mutually incompatible ideas in his mind simultaneously. But you have not shown where your Theism meets your Evolutionism. We don't see how they join up because you spend all your time writing about Evolution and nothing about God. We need to know how they bond together and what's the empirical evidence of this proposed fusion. 

I'll tell you what I think: I think that it does not matter to me one jot what the vast majority of Christadelphians think about Evolution and these associated issues. But it does interest me what the clever Christadelphians think about all this, because as Rob Hyndman has shown; they are the ones closest to deconverting. And the deconversion of a smart Christadelphian is one of the most beautiful and wonderful things in the universe. To watch a smart member of my family religion finally attain knowledge of the Truth that they have searched for all of their lives is breathtaking.

So I say this to my intelligent brethren and sisters who are toying with these ideas: Stop fudging the issue. You have to go further and define exactly what you do believe; because if you don't, the rest of the brotherhood is not going to buy your story. It's no good putting a mountain of effort into proving the truth of Evolution, as Ken does, if you can't offer a well thought out explanation of how God and Evolution can co-exist. And as of now, no Christadelphian has done that.

I'd offer to help you; but I can't. Because it was trying to solve this same problem back in 1985 that deconverted me. Rob states clearly in his blog that it was this problem that started his deconversion at the start of 2011; so he can't help you either.

That's part of your problem. Many of the smart Christadelphians have already resigned because this issue deconverted them and your pool of available talent to deal with the problem is constantly shrinking. You lost another Christadelphian student in Cardiff recently over this. They keep slipping through your fingers and you know very well that this will continue until you solve some of these difficulties.

Much as I support Jonathan Burke's new book and I will heavily promote it on this website, I see no indication that he has come up with a comprehensive and intellectually satisfying answer to the problem of the Divine origin of the universe, life, or the differentiation of living species. You know that Evolution is true, but you also know that it does not happily co-exist with Theism. You HAVE to solve that problem, or the brain-drain of clever Christadelphians to Secularism is going to continue and it is going to accelerate as science makes discoveries that blow holes in your hypothesis.

If Lawrence Krauss is right and there is a fabric to empty space that can and does self-generate universes and the Multiverse; then you really are finished. We non-Theists will have a Full House. A Clean Sweep. God will have been completely eliminated.

One of your problems is that you are not Fideists. That's good and sensible; but it means that you have nowhere to retreat to. We can keep pushing your God backwards in time and space until we push him clean out of the universe and out of the Multiverse. And you are going to go with him and deconvert and then come and shake my hand and say "thank you" for being a good friend to explain all this to you.

So that's my challenge to you guys: Get your asses into gear and come up with a comprehensive explanation of these things that you can sell to the Christadelphians. All this empty bluff and bluster is not cutting any ice with the smart Christadelphians who are leaving.

And they are the people that you need to reach. The 90% of Christadelphians who are Fideists are no good to you and they are no good to me. They will never abandon Biblical Literalism.

You need to pressure Ken Gilmore and Jonathan Burke to come up with the goods and to stop bluffing. I don't know any other Christadelphians on Earth who could do it, apart from those two.

And do you know what? I think that they are stumped; like I was in 1985; like Rob was in 2011. I think that Christadelphians will never come up with a satisfying explanation of how Evolution and God can co-exist. One or the other has to be abandoned.

And the problem is that you can't abandon Evolution because you are not Fideists and you know that Evolution is observable reality. So it's the other party that will have to be abandoned. - Your belief in God.

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