BioLogos are having a spat with Richard Dawkins over an essay written by Daniel Harrell entitled; Adam and Eve: Literal or Literary

BioLogos are having a spat with Richard Dawkins over an essay written by Daniel Harrell entitled; Adam and Eve: Literal or Literary, and it looks as if all prominent atheists have joined in the ruckus.

Meanwhile, some Christian YEC‘s from the Grace to You ministry (specifically Phil Johnson of Pyromaniacs), have also been fighting it out with BioLogos, in relation to geological history.


On Living in the Middle

This has been an interesting week for The BioLogos Forum. From the atheist camp, Jerry Coyne, Richard Dawkins, and P.Z. Myers noticed Daniel Harrell’s essay, “Adam and Eve: Literal or Literary”, and had a few choice words for us. From the young earth creationist camp, Pastor John MacArthur’s team (see here and here) at Grace to You responded critically to our series on geological history.

When you’re trying to speak to both of two groups on opposite ends of the spectrum and trying to help each see there is middle ground, the forces tugging from opposite sides can be a little painful. Here are some of the responses we got this week:

From Richard Dawkins:

The Biologos Foundation was founded by Francis Collins, who was also its first President until he was nominated by President Obama to head the National Institutes of Health. It would be nice to think that, when Dr Collins was President of Biologos, an article as ridiculous as this could not have been published. Let us hope at least that, if he sees it and has time to read it, he will be profoundly embarrassed.

Jerry Coyne wrote something similar:

…If you accept apparent age to save the Bible, where does it stop?

More important: isn’t BioLogos embarrassed to have this kind of stuff on its website, which purports to accept the findings of science?

On the other side, Philip R. Johnson, Executive Director of Grace to You had the following to say in reference to our critique of some of their young earth propositions:

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.

And Travis Allen, Director of Internet Ministry at Grace to You, offered this:

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.”

At times like this, I think of Kermit the Frog’s song: “It’s not that easy being green…When I think it could be nicer being red or yellow or gold / Or something much more colorful like that.”

The problem with being in the middle is that both sides think they understand you, when neither does at all. Take Daniel Harrell’s outstanding essay for example. Those who are regulars at the BioLogos site all know what Harrell was doing in this essay. There are Christians whose very sense of purpose and meaning in life depend upon the historicity of Adam and Eve. For such persons, the non-historical approach of Pete Enns or Alister McGrath simply will not do. And when it comes to a historical Adam and Eve, Harrell lays out our only two options. Option #1 is that Adam and Eve were created with apparent age; Option #2 is (in Harrell’s words) “Adam and Eve exist as first among Homo sapiens, specially chosen by God as representatives for a relationship with him.”

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3 comments on this post.
  1. Jim:

    I think your title is a tad misleading Webmaster. Isn’t the point being made that Biologos feels assualted from both sides for taking a moderate course.

    Dawkins just makes a predictable point in a short statement. Much more is said by others. I think the comments following the various articles are as enlightening as the article itself. In the end I can’t see any of this changing anyone’s mind.

    To my mind, all this kind of controversy seems to achieve is yet further polarisation of views. There’s nothing like words of ridicule from the other side to reinforce the sense of persecution and to bind believers more closely to their fellows. Strange creatures these humans….

  2. webmaster:

    @Jim, yes you’re right about the title….teach me to cook and blog at the same time!

    Yep I’m with you re the further polarisation. It’s hard to know where it will all stop at times, I mean, how polar can we get in an ever-decreasing circle?

  3. Marc:

    I do wonder if Philip R. Johnson thinks the Bible is the foundation of our faith and whether or not this is a suitable replacement for Jesus. After all, it is these writings, that testify of him. It’s quite easy to say one believes the whole Bible but this is not how Christians are defined by Jesus. Rather, by our fruit we are known and, sadly, all the people I know who hold to biblical infallibility are not actually following half the commands Jesus gave nor feel any obligation to. It seems discussions over Adam and Eve are neat “biblical” ways of avoiding being the Church Jesus founded to bless the world.