A few thoughts. First, that in a number of places in the Tome, it was said that the target was “a particular type of theistic evolution”, and if that target was sometimes too wide in the book, it may be partly because in our day TE has been popularised in a particular form far removed from its historical roots in, say, B B Warfield, Asa Gray or even Alfred Russel Wallace.
Part of the characteristic of this form is its refusal to stand up and be a particular target, which I put down, in the end, to intellectual cowardice, I’m afraid.
At the beginning of the BioLogos era, there was, in fact, a strong and fairly specific emphasis on theologically “unusual” views of creation arising (intellectually) from the Divine Action Project and the ASA discussion boards. This embraced various forms of openness theology derived partly from panentheism, and partly from the “Evangelical” vogue for Open Theism, applied to nature in terms of a God who “let nature create itself”. Names associated with include Ken Miller, John Polkinghorne, Howard van Till, Peter Enns, Karl Giberson and others.
The Tome targets some of these views theologically and philosophically, but critics have replied that times have moved on and many ECs don’t have that kind of view. The trouble is that their organisations have not repudiated, or rationally countered, those approaches, and still support most of its proponents.
The current more historically “orthodox” brand of TE seems, to me, to avoid any possibility of incoherence in its position by praising its lack of explanatory power as a theological virtue, often citing “mystery”, or “humility”, or “paradox”, when a little close examination reveals it’s simply the juxtaposition of incompatible ideas.
And so “creation” is affirmed - but left so vague in its scope that it is quite unclear even what God created, since there are still many discussions about “poor design”, “chance” showing evolution to be a “fully natural process” and so on.
The fallacious “God of the Gaps fallacy” is frequently wielded to exclude design, but in direct contradiction to allow creation (what does that even mean?), failing to realise that the argument also excludes the resurrection or any personal experience of God, and endorses the most rigid scientism.
Much work is done, then, to show that science shows nature to be a fully enclosed self-sufficient system (as in Van Till’s “Robust Formational Economy Principle”), and yet to include a now fully-redundant creator God only by faith, using misconstrued Thomist arguments or “hidden God” theologies to suggest that God must not be intelligibly involved in Creation (contra Scripture and historical theology). The loose ends this leaves are covered by the term “mystery”, couched in terms of humility about seeking to probe God’s secrets - a restriction that does not apply to scientific hubris even about the origin of life or the universe itself.
To cite one celebrated instance, science can show us that there was no historical Adam, and that St Paul was clearly wrong to believe there was; but we cannot possibly dare to know if God intended there to be parrots or carrots in the world.
In reality, all the verbiage disguises the incompatibility between an evolutionary process treated, in practice, as open-ended and unguided (there is no need for telelogical explanations in nature, and they’re unscientific) and an unclearly stated hint that God is so powerful that he can guide a process that he doesn’t guide by any particular means explored over the centuries by theologians.
So, often universal providence is denied (eg by the philosophical voice of BioLogos), occasionalism eschewed, concurrence too spooky to be discussed. The scientific determinism that would, perhaps, allow God to “front-load” the big bang so that everything turns out as he planned is rightly dismissed as Deistic (but also incoherently dismissed as curtailing creation’s “freedom”, whatever that means… actually, it means “afflicted by randomness”, but that’s seldom acknowledged). At the same time, such a blatantly deistic idea of a God who stops acting after the Big Bang is used as an explanation, whilst denying it is deistic, deterministic or implausible given the nature of the universe.
The net result is that the more traditionally orthodox theistic evolutionists seem content to believe that God created all (or some) things wisely (or imperfectly) “through evolution”, whilst evolution is conceived as, in essence, a shotgun. God can do the logically impossible, guiding an unguided process. One outcome of this is that the many atheists appearing on the boards at BioLogos are seldom distinguishable from the believers when discussing Evolutionary Creation, but only when “religious” topics come up.
That’s before one gets to the reformulation of Scripture to conform to such an unformed and self-contradictory account of the world, which the Tome addresses at length but, in my view, too much from what seems a Young Earth and biblically literalist perspective.
In short, one of my main beefs with Evolutionary Creation is that it does not provide a coherent synthesis between theoligical and scientific accounts of the world, and that it doesn’t even care. There is no coherent theory, or group of theories, of “Evolutionary Creation” or “Theistic Evolution”, but only rather circular discourse affirming “Creation/Theism” and “Evolution” separately.
What version of theistic evolution could be theologically sound? Well, that discussion is going on here, and at the Hump of the Camel, and at some other places, amongst those either distancing themselves from the term “theistic evolution” or being suspected by “mainstream” TEs of denying the EC “faith”. The TEs themselves are, instead of rising to the challenge, contemptuously dismissing their critics as, usually, being ignorant of the science and “creationists in a cheap tuxedo.”.