Tim Keller is not an Evolutionary Creationist

As I understand it, the racism charge derived from the concern over whether or not the pre-Adamic evolved people are considered truly human nor not. If they are, then obviously the racism issue disappears. This is very likely why people who have previously suggested that Adam and Eve were created de novo, while other people evolved and are still considered human, have not been charged with racism.

Perhaps this is the reason why so many people are concerned with you defining exactly what you mean by “human”, and explaining who you consider to be human and non-human.

I don’t think that justifies the claim that every time people use the term “EC” they must necessarily be using it the way one American Christian organization uses it.

I don’t think this is likely to change, since the main aim of this forum is to fix a problem which is present in a narrow spectrum of North American Christianity. Around 60% of people in the US believe humans have evolved, whether entirely without God or with God’s involvement. However, in the US rejection of human evolution is highest among white evangelicals. In contrast, in Australia 80% of the population accepts evolution, whether with or without God. Peaceful Science is addressing a real problem, but it’s mainly a white American evangelical problem. Most Christian groups in the world have long since reconciled themselves with evolution, and there are so many different ways of doing it these days I think GAE is largely getting lost in the sheer range of options out there.

Additionally GAE typically only appeals to people who want to retain a specifically narrow historical interpretation of Genesis 1-3 (people like me, for example), whereas that just isn’t very important to a very large percentage of Christians. So I think these are the main reasons why GAE hasn’t been taken up by a lot of Christians; most of them just don’t have a need for it.

But it isn’t. Biologos is an organization which promotes one EC model, while (nominally), allowing that other EC models could also be legitimate. They are being explicitly non-prescriptive about the term EC, while you are being explicitly prescriptive. If there’s someone looking for a monopoly here, it certainly isn’t them. What you’re going to end up doing is arguing that anyone who identifies with EC necessarily identifies with a dishonest, pseudoscience approach to origins.

This issue is separate from EC, as I illustrated with my YEC example.

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No that was not it.

I’ve actually always been very direct in how I handle this, and have now written a full book on it. One whole part of the book is titled “human.”

Recall, Venema still argues it is racist. He arrived at this not by what I said or wrote, but by what he insisted on inferring, against my explanations. In fact, he went so far as to finally admit that there was no meaningful difference between Walton and the GAE, but he thought Walton’s model was racist too.

What was going on was different. This is a strategy to silence people and prevent inquiry. The same was done to Opderbeck and Davidson. This was also their reason for never mentioning Kemp. What was going on was that Venema was (and is) on a mission to disprove Adam and Eve, and he was going about it by conflating genetics and genealogies (remember he knew of Opderbeck), and by conflating “human” and Homo sapiens. Rather than being upfront about these distinctions, which he understood perfectly well, he conflated them. When I pointed this out, his back up strategy was to invoke “racism”, because that had worked everytime in the past to shut people up. This time, however, was the first time he attempted this on a non-white person. I did not react the way he expected.

I already granted you see it differently. I don’t. I see them as linked. That is why I reject EC. Perhaps you just have to internally translate EC to BioLogos every time I write it.

Actually my experience with them is having it used very prescriptive against me. By definition, I was told, EC rejects de novo creation of AE. By definition it rejects literalism. By definition, so on and so forth. I know they try and give another impression publicly. I was on the inside. That is not what happened to me on the inside.

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That’s what it looks like from what Venema wrote.

Do we really want a theology that names them all as subhuman animals until their lineage happens to encounter and interbreed with Adam’s (Eurasian) offspring? God forbid. Likely this was not Swamidass’s intent, of course, but it seems to me that models like these lead to this decidedly unsavory conclusion.

And I don’t see him calling you a racist either. I think he’'s making a poor slippery slope argument, but I don’t see him calling you a racist. I do think he’s trying to tar baby your position however, in a completely unjustifiable way.

Well I can only go on what they’re saying publicly. When Behe says he’s EC, and Biologos agrees, but you say Behe isn’t, then I don’t think the problem is with Biologos.

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Sure. That is what I mean. He did not call ME a racist, he is poisoning the well with a claim that this inevitably leads to racist theology. This is also what Deb Haarsma repeated to me. This is one reason they kicked me out. Once again, studiously ignoring every answer I gave them.

Except, he actually ignored entirely what I had written about this, and chose to avoid all conversation with me to clarify before, during and after this. It was an intentional smear.

Where did Behe say he is EC? As I understand it, he rejected the term for himself. He said it is inherently opposed to detecting God’s action. I imagine he does not apply the term to himself.

I don’t think I said he called me racist, by the way. I said that he called “it” racist, meaning the GAE itself.

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Thanks, I saw him cited as an evolutionary creationist by William Lane Craig, so I thought that was how Behe self-identifies. However, I’ve just read an article by Behe in which he presents his own definition of EC, a definition with which Biologos disagrees.

This is what Biologos says about EC.

  1. EC requires common ancestry.
    As I’ve described EC, it requires the acceptance of common ancestry. If you don’t affirm common ancestry, then you can’t be an EC.

  2. EC is incompatible with a young earth (~10,000 years).
    The science of evolutionary theory is incompatible with that timescale, and since ECs accept that science, we could not logically accept a young earth.

  3. EC allows for (but does not require) a historical Adam and Eve.
    There are some ECs who believe that Adam and Eve were real people who served as representatives for all of humanity, and other ECs who believe that Adam and Eve are literary characters (like the Prodigal Son) and do not name any actual individuals in human history. BioLogos neither requires nor rejects a historical Adam and Eve, and aims instead to foster constructive dialogue.

Your position fits well inside their definition of EC.

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The claim is that the a de novo Adam and Eve have no parents, so therefore they do not share common ancestry. So therefore, by definition, it is excluded from EC.

On GAE BioLogos has torpedoed constructive dialogue at every opportunity.

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An interesting debate. If I understand correctly it is similar to pointing out that the swastika goes back to at least 500BC. However I think only a very naive person would paint a swastika on something they owned and be surprised if people had a very negative reaction to it. The Nazi party did not invent the swastika but in most peoples minds they have forever tainted it. So while it is technically correct to say that Biologos did not invent the term EC, it is also fair to say that using it now invites being associated with them? And it is that association which Joshua wishes to avoid?


It’s even illegal in Germany.

In New Zealand it is not illegal, but is considered highly offensive. Obviously I am not comparing biologos to the nazi party. Just pointing out the origin of a symbol or label is not always the same as the current popular perception, and the current popular perception is probably the most influential.

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Just curious… do the “known laws of nature” allow for creation by an intelligent being such as God?

I know it might seem incredible, but outside the US hardly anyone knows about Biologos. You have to remember that North American evangelicals are a tiny sector of Christianity, and that most Christians live outside the US. I was introduced to the term evolutionary creationism in the 1990s, and didn’t know about Biologos until nearly 20 years later. This isn’t the same as the swastika.

In North America, yes. In the rest of the world, it depends. Here in Asia, everyone naturally associates a swastika with Buddhism, and many people don’t know a Nazi swastika is even if they see one. Many people out here weren’t taught about the Nazi atrocities or the Holocaust. In fact several countries out here were under Japanese occupation at the time, and only know the Nazis as allies.

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That is correct from my point of view.


Even within the US, most evangelicals I encounter have never heard of BioLogos or only associate it with Francis Collins if they have. Only those who are interested in origins discussions know much of anything about it really.

On the other hand, and this is some of my concern with BioLogos == EC, if I say “Evolutionary Creationism” they pretty much immediately understand what I’m talking about. I haven’t decided yet whether losing the clarity to the larger audience is worth the specificity to those who are “in the know”.


Look if you need to use EC to make sense in your context go for it. Just do not use the term to describe me or PSs overarching association, though we certainly include EC. I’ve given several alternate descriptions for me.


And the last thing I want to do is misrepresent you, I will try my best to make the distinction when appropriate.


I think some of the issues with EC would be -

  1. How God creates
    I.e whether His creation just involves ordaining and sustaining natural processes.
  2. Whether the book of Genesis is just a spiritual account telling us spiritual truths using the error prone cosmogeny and history of the times.
  3. In connection to the above point, whether Adam and Eve were real historical people.

It seems to conflict with a historical Adam and Eve as well as the inerrancy of the bible.
The key issue is hermeneutics… and not just acceptance of Macro Evolution.

I think it’s fair to say that hardly anyone inside the US knows about Biologos either.


Your picture is incomplete: Level of support for evolution - Wikipedia. The English-speaking world is certainly not all Christians!

  • In all Latin American countries (which are a huge chunk of Christians worldwide), at 20-55% support the statement that “humans and other living things have always existed in their present form”, which is comparable to the US.
  • A considerable creationist movement exists in South Korea.
  • Only 26% of Russians support evolution
  • Some Christian leaders in the Philippines have given strong statements against evolution
  • Josh has already brought up the topic of YEC, which exists not just among white evangelicals but many Asian churches as well. I do not know what the data is like among African Christians.

From my personal experience in Indonesian churches in Indonesia, it is taken as a given that Adam and Eve literally existed. That being said, evolution is not brought up often in relation to religion, even if some form of it is taught in biology classes. I’m not entirely sure why it’s not a bigger deal than it is - possibly it is because society is generally very religious, and popularization of scientific findings is not very prominent.


Featuring tribalism does not create a good first impression for the group (I think) you’re trying to reach.

Exactly, which is why making it so important is more likely to interfere with communication of ideas than to facilitate.