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