Classic Progressive Creation Literature?


(T J Runyon) #1

I am hoping those of you who hold to some type of progressive creation can tell me what is some of the progressive creation classic literature. The must reads if you will. Also, any resources that describe certain models. Particularly those that allow for human-ape ancestry.


(Jon Garvey) #2

I don’t know if prog. creation. even has a clear definition, let alone a classic literature. But to be slightly provocative, I’d see Asa Gray’s review of the Origin of Species in Darwiniana as something of a classic text.

His view, after all, was that variation proceeded along “certain beneficial lines”, and that natural selection was, in essence, the way in which the older, less adpted forms, gave way to the newly created models. That’s not far from the prevalence of the concept of purifying slection in today’s neutral theory. I did a Hump piece on Gray a while ago which has a link to the primary source.

He seems to me to include the elements of progressive creation and evolution you seek… and was the first ever theistic evolutionist.


(Dr. Patrick Trischitta) #3

Wouldn’t it be better to keep all theology out of the scientific study of evolution?


(Mark M Moore) #4

@T.j_Runyon anything classic is going to be dated. Bernard Ramm’s The Christian View of Science and Scripture would probably be a seminal work, though it has ideas borrowed from the man who also developed the Tablet Theory, Wiseman.

“A New Look at an Old Earth” by Don Stoner is one that I cut my teeth on.

After that you move into a lot of Hugh Ross stuff which you can investigate at the Reasons to Believe website.


(Jon Garvey) #5

Only if you keep all science out of the theological study of evolution. Neither sounds mandated, in my view (or Grays, or Wallace’s).


(The Honest Skeptic) #6

I just finished reading two books that involve discussions from multiple camps: Old-Earth or Evolutionary Creation, and Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design. I believe that there was more to learn about the positions for each camp through the discussion (and how they interact) than from any book from a single camp alone. That said, as mentioned below, Hugh Ross’ More Than a Theory and others are available at reasons.org.


(The Honest Skeptic) #7

I’ve never understood this position (separate magisteria) and can only see it as debilitating, not helpful. Since the scientific method aims a proving the truth and disproving that which is false, why not bring on all options? It seems as though one would only feed the conspiracy theorists by disallowing an opinion. I can see why one would not be predisposed to think that a theological aspect could be a part of a scientific discussion, but, even then, wouldn’t such a person rather have this aspect disproven rather than have it lurking in the background with supporters claiming that their idea was not even evaluated? Curious as to your thoughts.


(Joel Duff) #8

A timely question. I have been pondering the PC position on speciation and found myself very confused by the literature. What I am curious about is if PCs see all species as being the product of progressive creation of if some speciation events can be adequately described by evolutionary mechanisms alone. I had just written something like the following to a friend yesterday:

So I just read two chapters from Creation, Evolution and Intelligent Design early this morning. It was helpful but also added to my confusion. Hugh Ross’ uses such vague terms I can’t figure out what he is saying and he seems to contradict himself in the same chapter. At this point I would have to say he believes that some species are progressively created while some are not but I can’t be sure.
Here are some quotes I’m trying to make sense of:

"that “kinds” reproduce according to their kind. Thus, most progressive creationists reject the claim, for example, that Neanderthals and humans share a common ancestor and dinosaurs and humans share a common ancestor.

So is a “kind” a phylum, genus, family species? This is not clear and I haven’ found any other PC literature that defines a “kind.” Seems they have the same problem as YEC do with defining these terms.

But later in the same chapter: "The Bible’s use of the Hebrew word min for “kind” suggests that for the higher animals (Lev 11:13-18; Deut 14:12-18) natural-process evolution is limited to the species level, and for lower animals (Lev 12:22) to the genus level.

Earlier he argues that long-term evolution experiments haven’t made new species. Can you help me gramatically here. When he suggests evolution is limited to the “species level” should we take that evolution can make species but not new genera or that evolution can only change/adapt organisms within a species and that it can’t make new species? He talks about God causing “mass extinction and specation” events at intervals in earth’s history. So God is making many species. But then during the times between these mass speciation events there is adaptation. I can’t tell if that adaptation is adaptation within families, genera or just within species or would that matter since adaptation within a family would imply within species.

But then at the end of the chapter when he is talking about how God has ceased from creative work he says that all species are decaying and then makes this statement: “this decay from entropy should also be proportional to the time since God last intervened on behalf of a particular species.”

If he thought that a genus was kind and that God made genera and then used natural process to makes species he would say on behalf of the kind or the genus. But he says “on behalf of a particular species.” I read this that each species has experienced an Tranformation or Transcendant miracle as he calls them and thus each species is progressively created. When he talks about how God is no longer doing tranformational or Transcendant miracles anymore in creation he indicates that no new species have formed since God made man. Again this seems to imply that he thinks that species cannot be formed by any natural process alone.

When I try to apply this to a question like, what is the origin of the polar bear I have trouble identifying what a PC would say but I’m leaning toward the polar bear as a species was progressively created. That could have involved a brown bear parent but they gave birth to a polar bear that was supernaturally endowed with new properties that make a polar bear a polar bear. But is this true for all species?


(Kenneth Turner) #9

I think Ross is good up to genus, while YECs tend toward family. I’m not sure where I read that from Ross though, but it stuck out to me when I did read it.

Ah there you go!

One thing Ross has right is that “kind” is used differently in Genesis than the dietary laws in Lev 11 and Deut 14. So if one wants to equate “kind” with modern taxonomy, then it will look different depending on what you’re talking about. (IMO, making this equation is a mistake.)

When discussing all the whale species, Ross made me laugh when he said “God must really like whales”!


(S. Joshua Swamidass) #10

2 posts were split to a new topic: Callen and the Sacred Cows


(Joel Duff) #11

Yes, that article has always amused me. I agree he seems to be saying that diversification is limited to species level which could mean that species can evolve into other species but not change so much that we would be tempted to put them into new genera. But he turns right around and talks about how species can ONLY form by natural process since Adam was created since creation was complete at that point. He indicates that it is possible for new species to form but also seems to think that we haven’t seen any new species form so that could be very rare. Well, that suggests he doesn’t think that natural processes are sufficient to produce species and so one would think that he must then think that God took a special part in the formation of most species. Yeah, I’m massively confused.


(Kenneth Turner) #12

Which is his justification for methodological naturalism in general


(Ashwin S) #13

One thing I noticed is that the language in Genesis- is friendly towards God using natural causes for the things created each day…
Gen 1: [ 20 ]Then God said, “Let the oceans swarm with living creatures, and let flying creatures soar above the earth throughout the sky!”
[ 21 ]So God created every kind of magnificent marine creature, every kind of living marine crawler with which the waters swarmed, and every kind of flying creature. And God saw how good it was

This structure is prevalent in all days of creating living organisms… first there is a more passive command where God commands the oceans, earth etc to bring forth a particular kind of life…
Then the second verse is a positive confirmation that God made these organisms… Hence emphasising on God being the ultimate creator.
It seems to me that God used both nature as well as his personal creativity…

However there is no such ambiguity in creating mankind… He creates mankind in his own image to rule over His creation… so if animals plants etc came from the earth, ocean etc…Man is brought forth by God himself from his image.

We see the same emphasis in chapter two where God crafts man with his own hands from dust… no animal or plant is given this treatment…


(Mark M Moore) #14

Your question fits right into my PC views. Now @T.j_Runyon asked about Progressive Creationism “classics” and I mentioned some books that others have written. Nothing I have written (about theology) is anywhere close to being a “classic” as of right now, but I truly believe Early Genesis the Revealed Cosmology is going to be. Everything I have learned on this site has only confirmed that belief. Most “classic” or seminal works started as obscure works.

The main idea is that creation is going on in two realms, the one above and the one below. Up there what goes on would look like TE at an accelerated rate. God just speaks and the land itself does the work. That is the way it is for plants in both places. God tells the earth to bring forth various categories of plants and the land does so, not God. So a plain reading of the text suggests TE for plants and there seems to be no reason why the earth isn’t still following that command (its still ongoing).

But this realm is subjected to futility. It is a fit place for beings like us. It carries out God’s will slowly and with lots of mis-steps. It can’t carry out God’s will at all without God’s help. Thus while God just speaks it into existence in the land above “and it was so”, down here its a process for the animals. And God has to help the waters and the land in some way to bring forth living creatures by kinds. Presumably the creation takes over from there and turns general forms into various niches. So this explains why “it looks like evolution”. It was supposed to be like evolution, but God had to help things along.

Even evolutionists have a hard time defining these terms absolutely because they are in some sense artificial constructs which reflect reality and not reality itself. They are defined in relation to each other so bringing in some other measurement of categories is going to be difficult no matter who is doing it. Personally I think any of them who tries to do a one-to-one match is going to get it wrong. There is nothing in the text that suggests that these things even equate to the categories of our classification system.

For example, there were three “types” of living things mentioned as land animals which are said to have “kinds”- One of them is “behema” which is also translated “livestock” and so should correspond to “ungulates”. So “ungulates” have kinds. How many? It doesn’t say. But Ungulates minus the cetaceans have at least a dozen families. And that’s the category that should have the smallest and least diverse number of families. “Wild beasts” and “crawling things” are larger and more diverse categories. I don’t see how someone can say “that means family and no higher”. Our categories are different and I don’t see that its valid to even compare ours to the ones in this account. So while I am ok with sound concordism, some of this stuff is reading more into the text than can legitimately be gotten out of it. Its not trying to be a scientific account, its just that its right on the science to the limited extent it discusses science.

Any help?


(Mark M Moore) #15

Well, there is the more limited set of animals created in chapter two to help Adam in his mission to tend the earth and to keep it. They were formed from the “a’dam’ah” or ground of Adam. This was a much smaller set than those made in chapter one. I agree with what you say as it applies there.


(Kenneth Turner) #16

Bingo! In my article on the meaning of “kind,” I suggest the emphasis within theological polemics. While other nations would describe, for the sake of prophecies and omens, weird births that were composities of various animals (and humans), Israel’s deity creates things consistently–one generation always gives birth to the next generation that looks a lot like the former.

It’s possible the text is teaching something additional about “kind,” but I’m not convinced.


(Ashwin S) #17

Yes… when it comes to the garden, there is much more personal involvement from God… in the sense that Garden is a special place made for a special purpose.
Though I think it’s more a description of agriculture and animal husbandry rather than creation… Atleast the garden is planted and not created…


(Mark M Moore) #18

Correct. This is a smaller work within the larger work of creation which is done to initiate God’s plan to redeem and reconcile creation. The animals formed here were versions more amendable to domestication or have some role in an agricultural/pastoralist ecosystem. That is why they were also Adam’s “help meets” though the ultimate and true help meet for Adam was Eve.


(T J Runyon) #20

@pnelson just came across some of your stuff on the Dynamic-Creation Model. This reference is about twenty years old. Is this something you still consider and argue for?


(The Honest Skeptic) #21

I agree and think that this is a very important point. There is a distinction between how different “classes” of creatures are made. There seems, as you say, Ashwin_s, to be a great deal of latitude in terms of the “land” bringing forth new life. And, on the other side, there is an active crafting of, and even breathing life into man. This seems to be significant else there would not be such a clear difference.