Seminary Professor Fired Over Views on Evolution

This actually came to my attention last night, but due to family obligations and needing sleep, I chose to hold off on writing this.

Sometimes we all say or do something we regret. I do it all the time. Other times, we stick to our guns and support those statements that we made, even if it gets us in trouble. That what happened to Dr. Bruce K. Waltke, evangelical scholar of the Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary after a video posted on BioLogos “upset officials of the seminary.”

What was this comment that got him fired? According to those who have seen the video, Dr. Waltke stated,

If the data is overwhelmingly in favor of evolution, to deny that reality will make us a cult … some odd group that is not really interacting with the world. And rightly so, because we are not using our gifts and trusting God’s Providence that brought us to this point of our awareness.

Makes sense to me, although I have held the view for some time that evolution and the creation account are compatible. I can still remember my college biology professor telling me that theory of evolution does not omit the hand of a creator. But I digress.

Michael Milton, president of the seminary’s Charlotte campus and interim president of its Orlando campus, where Waltke taught, confirmed that the scholar had lost his job over the video. Milton said that Waltke would “undoubtedly” be considered one of the world’s great Christian scholars of the Old Testament and that he was “much beloved here,” with his departure causing “heartache.” But he said that there was no choice.

No choice? Let’s see why.

Milton said that the seminary allows “views to vary” about creation, describing the faculty members there as having “an eight-lane highway” on which to explore various routes to understanding. Giving an example, he said that some faculty members believe that the Hebrew word yom (day) should be seen in Genesis as a literal 24-hour day. Others believe that yom may be providing “a framework” for some period of time longer than a day. Both of those views, and various others, are allowed, Milton said.

But while Milton insisted that this provides for “a diversity” of views, he acknowledged that others are not permitted. Darwinian views, and any suggestion that humans didn’t arrive on earth directly from being created by God (as opposed to having evolved from other forms of life), are not allowed, he said, and faculty members know this.

Let me get this straight. We can argue over the meaning of the word “day”, which if one takes a literal interpretation, means a 24 hour period. But bring science into the mix…never! This actually pisses me off a little (ok, more than a little). Evangelicals hold that anyone who believes in evolution has a skewed, non-Christian worldview. But who is the one putting God in a box? I’m not the one saying God had to create this way only. I will fully admit that God could, if he so desired, create everything in 6 literal days, but the evidence points to something else…and right now, the best explanation in my mind is evolution.

Dr. Waltke has released a clarifying statement on his remarks in the video (which has been taken down by BioLogos)

Dr. Bruce Waltke’s Statement of Clarification:

“I had not seen the video before it was distributed. Having seen it, I realize its deficiency and wish to put my comments in a fuller theological context:

1. Adam and Eve are historical figures from whom all humans are descended; they are uniquely created in the image of God and as such are not in continuum with animals.

2. Adam is the federal and historical head of the fallen human race just as Jesus Christ is the federal and historical head of the Church.

3. I am not a scientist, but I have familiarized myself with attempts to harmonize Genesis 1-3 with science, and I believe that creation by the process of evolution is a tenable Biblical position, and, as represented by BioLogos, the best Christian apologetic to defend Genesis 1-3 against its critics.

4. I apologize for giving the impression that others who seek to harmonize the two differently are not credible. I honor all who contend for the Christian faith.

5. Evolution as a process must be clearly distinguished from evolutionism as a philosophy. The latter is incompatible with orthodox Christian theology.

6. Science is fallible and subject to revision. As a human and social enterprise, science will always be in flux. My first commitment is to the infallibility (as to its authority) and inerrancy (as to its Source) of Scripture.

7. God could have created the Garden of Eden with apparent age or miraculously, even as Christ instantly turned water into wine, but the statement that God “caused the trees to grow” argues against these notions.

8. I believe that the Triune God is Maker and Sustainer of heaven and earth and that biblical Adam is the historical head of the human race.

9. Theological comments made here are mostly a digest of my chapters on Genesis 1-3 in An Old Testament Theology (Zondervan, 2007).”

I agree with Waltke on most of the above points.

I really wish I could have seen the video, but I understand why Dr. Waltke requested that BioLogos remove the video from its site.

HT: Robert Cargill

The Video That Ended a Career – Inside Higher Ed

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8 thoughts on “Seminary Professor Fired Over Views on Evolution

  1. Mainstream media again strains at a gnat while swallowing a camel. This is nothing compared to intense and widespread discrimination against people who believe in an intelligent Creator, as exposed in Ben Stein’s movie ‘EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed’. Evolution is not only unscientific, but is the exact opposite of science, see Miracles of God, Evolution or False Prophets?

  2. A Christian can only accept evolution for two possible reasons, ignorance or intellectual dishonesty. A Christian must trust God’s inspired Word and stick to their guns, and make sure they have clear understanding what it says and means about a topic to speak about it.

    Exodus 20:10 “For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth…”. God designed a schedule for us to follow as a week and made the heavens to show us His power, just as Psalm 19:1 states the heavens declare His glory, and Romans 1:20 so being understood from what has been made, so that men without excuse.

    Fossil record of clearly defined multi-cellular creatures with no evidence of transitions, because there never were any. Comets that are around despite a maximum duration of 100K years, because they were blown into space as debris from the “fountains of the deep” during the worldwide flood. There’s much, much more. Check out the creation seminars by Dr. Dino, it all makes beautiful sense when you are equipped with the facts. The evidence is there! Stick to the Bible, stick to your guns!

    • Kurt, thanks for stopping by and sharing your thought; however, I disagree and have serious problems with a literal reading of the creation account as well as young earth creationism as a whole.

      • You’re welcome to your opinion, Craig. I invite you, though, to some additional research. Look into the original creation account. The english translation fails to convey the fullness of what is meant in the original text. Look at the evidence of what it would cause, and see how that fits with the world we see today. Hydroplate theory and liquefaction, as explained by Dr. Walt Brown, for example. Your interpretation of the evidence is based on your worldview, Craig. Look at it as an evolutionist, and you are forced to explain things away with impossible chances, and still have gaping holes. Look at it as a creationist, and it all fits with amazing precision.

        Evolution is faith, not science. There are many “what ifs” and “could haves” and “maybes”, but take away the fluff and nothing credible remains. Creationists try to reconcile with evolution in hopes of looking more credible to evolutionists, and the more it happens the more it forces misinterpretation and intellectual dishonesty when evidence points to a young earth.

        Keep in mind, the apparent age of the earth is irrelevant to creationism. If God made it fully mature and functioning to begin with, how could it be proven one way or another? The Bible also says He made Adam and Eve as adults. If God is who He is claimed to be, He has the power to create something from nothing (as the original text states) in any state of being He wishes. Fully functioning planet, sun, adult humans, plants, everything. What matters is the history of life that we see. Extrapolate the size of the human population, it dates back to the time the flood is said to have occurred. The evidence prior to that require assumptions that cannot be verified.

        Best wishes to you, bro!

  3. Pingback: What is listening, anyway? | The Discerning Christian

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