ur friends at BioLogos are feeling the pincers of criticism. On one side are doctrinaire materialistic atheists; and on this side are those of us who actually believe the Bible.
BioLogos has deliberately staked out a middle-road position between these two irreconcilable worldviews. They say they are determined to find and develop common ground between both sides. But this week they've been discovering what any highway engineer will tell you: on a freeway where heavy traffic is moving at high speed in opposing directions, there's no such thing as "common ground."
Furthermore, you won't get very far pretending the yellow line is the common-ground marker. You're liable to get clobbered by traffic from both sides.
So anyway, Dr. Darrell Falk, president of BioLogos, e-mailed me Thursday morning to say he had prepared a response to Monday's Pyro-post. I read it eagerly, hoping he would respond to the substance of my critique. Instead, he spent most of his time pandering to Richard Dawkins, Jerry Coyne, and others on the doctrinaire-materialistic-atheist side.
He was keen to assure them that "BioLogos exists in no small part to marginalize [belief in the historicity of the Genesis account] from the Church." Specifically, the BioLogos team have targeted the notion that Adam was a special creation—fashioned in God's own image rather than evolved from higher primates. "A fundamental part of our mission is to show that [the Genesis account of Adam] is not tenable," Falk solemnly (and somewhat fawningly) assured Dawkins. (Read his post for yourself if you think I am exaggerating about the obsequious tone he takes with Dawkins.)
Dr. Falk's whole response to my post was basically: You have your interpretation of Genesis; we have ours. He seems to be suggesting that because interpretation by definition has an element of subjectivity to it, everyone is free to interpret however he or she prefers, and everyone's interpretation deserves equal respect. That may seem a nice-sounding platitude in our current postmodern context, but it is by no means a biblical value.
And it's no real answer to any of the points I made.
Indeed, Dr. Falk's one complaint about my post focused on the wording of my closing paragraph, where I wrote:
If BioLogos is willing to throw away so much at the very foundations of our faith and at the very beginning of God's revelation, I can't imagine why they would want to keep up the pretense of being Christians at all. Selectively admiring the Bible's moral teachings is not the same thing as actually believing the Bible.
Naturally, Dr. Falk did not like my suggestion that genuine faith can't be as skeptical and selective with God's revealed truth as the BioLogos team wants to be.
He also objected to Travis Allen's post at the GTY.org blog. Travis (quoting from 1 Timothy 6:20) said: "It's time for Christians to return to the self-attesting authority of God's Word and forsake the 'vain babblings and oppositions of science, falsely so called.'" Dr. Falk wasn't happy to have such harsh words (written by the apostle Paul, not by Travis Allen, as Falk seemed to think) applied to his views.
I do wish though, that we would not be put forward as those who, according to the above quotations, live under the "pretense of being Christians," or that we be represented as "vain babblers." At various times, we have written respectfully that we understand why this issue is so important to you. We love and respect you for the sincerity of your position, but please don't call us "vain babblers" any more, and please don't imply that we are only "pretending" to be Christians.
So I'd like to clarify a couple of things: First, despite Dr. Falk's verbal reassurance, most of the contributors at BioLogos clearly have no clue "why this issue is so important." It's painfully obvious that theology is very low on BioLogos's list of priorities. In fact, one of the besetting sins at BioLogos is a blithe lack of concern for some of the most foundational doctrines of Christianity and their implications. I'm thinking especially of the authority and inspiration of Scripture and the doctrine of original sin.
Second, I stand by my statement that the blend of scientific skepticism and moral piety being peddled over at BioLogos isn't authentic Christianity. That's based on the fact that the authority of Scripture and the doctrine of original sin are and always have been deemed Christian essentials by every major branch of the church—and BioLogos does seem very keen to do away with both doctrines.
For example, BioLogos's relentless attack on the historicity of Adam entails an implicit denial of the doctrine of original sin (or in the very best case, a totally different, extrabiblical re-imagination of how humanity fell). Dr. Falk himself rejects the views of those who believe in the historicity of Adam and the Fall. In his reply to Dawkins he seems to be pleading for patience as they seek a way to humor the minority in the BioLogos community who crave the "comfort" of believing all humanity descended from a single pair—not a specially-created Adam and Eve, mind you, but a pair of humanoids who evolved from the higher primates. I thought that part of his post came across as especially condescending and dismissive. You can decide for yourself whether I'm reading too much attitude into it.
In any case, his rejection of the historicity of Adam and the Genesis account of original sin simply isn't consistent with biblical and historic Christianity. The doctrine of original sin is and always has been the starting point of Christian soteriology and the doctrine of atonement. Ecumenical councils, Catholic Church councils, and mainstream Protestants (including Calvinists and evangelical Arminians alike) have always explicitly, emphatically, and repeatedly affirmed original sin as a cardinal doctrine of the Christian faith. Denying original sin is the identifying mark of Pelagians, rank heretics, and quasi-Christian cults.
The authority, inspiration, and inerrancy of Scripture is a matter of similar import, and this too has been the subject of sustained and systematic attack at BioLogos. Remember, in their president's own words, BioLogos "exists in no small part to marginalize this view" (i.e., the view "that Adam and Eve were created with apparent age"). That goal obviously will require a systematic campaign to undermine Christians' confidence in the Genesis account, starting with an open attack on evangelical convictions regarding biblical inerrancy.
Which of course is precisely what the team at BioLogos are currently doing.
BioLogos is by no means the first group in church history to attack the foundations of the Christian faith in the Name of Christ—shamelessly pleading for charity and acceptance as true believers from the very saints whose faith they are determined to dismantle. (Read the saga of Arius and Athanasius if you want a gripping tale of doctrinal intrigue and heresy in the name of Christian brotherhood. It'll cure you of thinking it's uncharitable to take a hard-line stance against heresy.)
In short, I don't apologize for saying that the worldview BioLogos promotes is a challenge to—and by no means an affirmation of—the authentic, biblical, and historic Christian faith.
I'm certain that fact will become more and more obvious the more material BioLogos publishes. But for those still in doubt, here's a simple test: Apply their Genesis hermeneutic consistently to the bodily resurrection of Christ (or the deity of Christ, for that matter), and see what you come up with. Then ask how reasonable it is to accord the BioLogos worldview the right hand of Christian fellowship.