Re: Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)

From: Moorad Alexanian (
Date: Mon Apr 16 2001 - 10:01:02 EDT

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    It seems to me that the question of how God interacts with His creation will
    never be resolved by man. The only thing Christians can do is to choose a
    specific approach and argue it cogently. But that is all that it is, a
    choice like, almost, any other we can make. Is it important what approach
    or name we use? I do not think so. But what is very important is that our
    approach to the creation/evolution issue does not override our Christian
    faith to the point of further dividing the Body of Christ. Moorad

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Howard J. Van Till <>
    To: <>;
    <>; <>
    Date: Monday, April 16, 2001 9:49 AM
    Subject: Re: Don't forget about me! (distal vs. proximate)

    Bob wrote:

    > I am not sure Howard would consider himself a TE. As I recall, he
    > strenuously to this label in the book _Three Views of Creation_ (I think
    > that is the title. Maybe someone can help me here.) You might want to ask
    > him.

    Here's what I wrote in Three Views on Creation and Evolution (pp. 172-173):

    What would I call such a perspective? Oddly, that presents me with a minor
    problem. I wish to employ a name that does not carry all of the negative
    baggage that has come to be associated with some of the more familiar
    terminology of the creation/evolution debate. And since this book is
    directed primarily to a Christian audience, I wish also to employ a name
    that most clearly demonstrates the Christian foundation on which my
    perspective is built.

    Views similar to mine are sometimes identified with the label, theistic
    evolution. But that term has some very serious shortcomings. As I see it, it
    turns the order of importance of divine and creaturely action upside down.
    Because it appears as the noun, the term evolution‹which focuses our
    attention on the natural action of creatures‹appears to be the central idea.
    Meanwhile, by referring to God only in the adjective, theistic, the
    importance of divine creative action seems to be secondary. But that
    implication would be unacceptable to me.

    As a means toward restoring the relative importance of divine and creaturely
    actions I have sometimes used the label evolving Creation for my
    perspective. I think it's a much better term than theistic evolution, but it
    still has the problem of having to deal with all of the negative attitudes
    that a majority of Christians have toward anything that even sounds like
    'evolution.' As I have already indicated, the scientific concept of
    evolution, properly defined, does not entail any idea that conflicts with
    the historic Christian doctrine of creation. The reality is, however, that
    many persons, both within and outside of the Christian community, and both
    within and outside of the scientific community, have been led by the
    rhetoric of the creation/evolution debate to associate the word 'evolution'
    with the worldview of naturalism. That association is, I believe, the result
    of a serious misunderstanding of both 'evolution' and 'creation.' But even
    if the association of evolution with naturalism is entirely unfounded, as I
    believe it is, that association is deeply established in our culture and
    extremely difficult to correct.

    So, then, what label shall I choose for my concept of a Creation that has
    been equipped by God with all of the capabilities that are necessary to make
    possible the evolutionary development now envisioned by the natural
    sciences? For the purposes of the discussion to be carried out in this book,
    I shall call it the fully-gifted Creation perspective‹a vision that
    recognizes the entire universe as a Creation that has, by God's unbounded
    generosity and unfathomable creativity, been given all of the capabilities
    for self-organization and transformation necessary to make possible
    something as humanly incomprehensible as unbroken evolutionary development.

    Howard Van Till

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