What is OEC, anyway? (was: Human origins and doctrine)

From: SteamDoc@aol.com
Date: Tue Feb 26 2002 - 00:01:57 EST

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    In response to David Campbell's statement that the Christian understanding of
    original sin is not contradicted by possible evolutionary origins of the
    human body, Adrian Teo said:
    > Thank you for framing the issue so clearly. I would agree that the processes
    > you described are probably scientifically indistinguishable, which BTW,
    > seems to support my contention that OEC is a viable alternative for
    > Christians who do not reject science.

    My first reaction was that this missed the point, but on reflection I think
    it, and my reaction, illustrate how different people understand the term
    "OEC." Of course it means "Old-Earth Creationist," one who believes the
    Earth is old and that God did some "interventions" in nature over the years
    to produce (or to help natural processes like evolution produce) life. But,
    within that, there are two very different categories:

    OEC-1) OEC believing not only that God did such interventions, but that such
    "gaps" are a theological necessity. This category of OEC, in which evolution
    is seen as something that must be false in order for Christianity to be true,
    seems to be the category in which most people today who are famous for OEC
    views (Phil Johnson, Hugh Ross, John Wiester) fall.

    OEC-2) OECs who think evolution is theologically OK, but believe that God did
    it some other way. I can't think of any "famous" OECs today in that category
    (maybe Robert Newman, maybe Bernard Ramm 50 years ago), but it seems to be
    the category for Adrian and several others on this list.

    When I see "OEC" or "progressive creationist" I tend to assume "believes
    evolution is incompatible with Christianity." I suppose that reflects my
    perception that the dominant flavor of OEC is OEC-1 in my classification
    above. "Dominant" perhaps referring to total amount of noise made (or amount
    of harm done to the Christian witness, or amount it offends me?), not
    necessarily total numbers.

    Given that we have these two very different things under the "OEC" label, we
    should be careful about how we are using it. As has been discussed before,
    OEC-1 is "God-of-the-Gaps" theology and amounts to a denial of God's
    providence, so I would not call it "a viable alternative." But I would have
    little quarrel with OEC-2 (just as they would presumably have little quarrel
    with people like me who lean toward thinking evolution probably does describe
    how God did it). Do we need some different terminology to distinguish these
    two very different positions?


    Dr. Allan H. Harvey, Boulder, Colorado | SteamDoc@aol.com
    "Any opinions expressed here are mine, and should not be
     attributed to my employer, my wife, or my cats"

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