Re: [asa] Interview with Denis Lamoureux (TE definitions)

From: Murray Hogg <>
Date: Thu Jun 11 2009 - 19:18:03 EDT

Hi Bernie,

In some respects I think I take a different approach than Merv (assuming I have correctly understood his remarks about "defining TE as a monolithic belief set"), if only because I think your definition is sufficiently broad to cover most, if not all, bases. Your definition might make TE a "monolithic belief set" but in it's advantage is the fact that it's a pretty broad set!

But to develop this, that the fact that we can only define TE by appeal to such a broad definition just speaks to another problem which seems to me to arise when people outside the Christian community try to define TE. They simply don't appreciating all of the issues involved in dealing with the interface of Christian theology and scientific knowledge. And while it's not the only issue, they particularly don't appreciate the complexities of theological discussion about God's action in the world. So they don't appreciate how much diversity of view is covered by the apparently simple phrase "God personally directs".

My guess (and I emphasize "my guess") is that they wouldn't really be able to process a phrase like: "God personally directs some aspects of evolutionary development" in anything other than an "interventionist" way.

As a result they seem to me to want to divide Christians into two camps: "orthodox" evolutionists to which the label "theistic" can be added without really meaning much at all, or "creationists" who think that God has his fingers into everything. But I think this is drastically oversimplifying.

Again, just to be clear, I'm trying to express how I think other people (particularly the strong critics of Christian views of origins) see things. I know the real situation is pretty complex, with the TE umbrella covering a few different perspectives on divine action. I think your definition does a good job of covering that complexity so whilst I see Merv's point that we shouldn't define TE as a monolithic belief set, I think the breadth of your definition is good (but to be honest, I lean toward the very simple: "A TE is a theist who accepts evolution" - regardless of how the God's role is understood). I just wish critics of Christian positions on origins would appreciate that it's not quite as simple as "evolutionist" or "creationist".


Dehler, Bernie wrote:
> Murray said a TE could say:
> "Theistic Evolution is the claim that evolution (a process unguided/unplanned by God) is a process guided/planned by God which explains the origin and development of life."
> How about this:
> "Theistic Evolution is the claim that God personally directs some aspects of evolutionary development in the world or that God has planned/designed all of life to unfold naturally (without His interference) starting from the big-bang."
> ...Bernie

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Received on Thu Jun 11 19:18:57 2009

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