Francis Collins’s book The Language of God (2007) is an interesting book in a few ways. First, the author Collins is a scientist (geneticist) claiming to have evidence for God. Second, he puts forward an all-encompassing view that attempts to reconcile evolution and creation.

Although Collins tries to promote his newly coined term “BioLogos” (Collins 2007:203), the view that he employs is commonly called TE (theistic evolution), which is an attempt to hold together both incompatible views, namely, creation and evolution. First, theistic evolution accepts all the premises of Darwinian evolution; the emergence of humans, too, is part of this long process, and we humans share “a common ancestor with the great apes” (Collins 2007:200). Second, theistic evolution then adds the theistic/divine element to evolution: according to Collins, for example, the emergence of this special species (humans) was the work of God (Collins 2007:201). No doubt–as Collins claims–this view is “compatible” with both science and faith (Collins 2007:201). How can it not be compatible? He says that theistic evolution is “by far the most scientifically consistent and spiritually satisfying of the alternatives” (Collins 2007:210).

However, I think that TE is a troubling stance because it inevitably conflicts with Genesis 1-2. To make it work, for instance, Collins draws from C. S. Lewis (The Problem of Pain) to argue that the Adam and Eve narrative is not historical but more about “a moral lesson” (Collins 2007:208).

TE seems to be an absurd mix of two irreconcilable claims. It may end up being rejected by both sides.

It seems to me that Collins’s infatuation with evidence-based approaches makes him go too far to argue that our faith in God is evidential. I think the book’s subtitle says it all: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief.

(Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

One thought on “The So-Called “Theistic” Evolution (TE)

Leave a Reply