Over at HuffPost Religion, Travis Loller writes about an interesting dialogue between Southern Baptist theologians and evangelical scientists at the BioLogos Foundation:
Many Roman Catholic and mainline Protestant Christians today see parts of the Bible such as the creation as metaphorical, but for many evangelical Christians such a belief is untenable.
Southern Baptist Seminary President Albert Mohler, a young-earth creationist, has called the attempt to reconcile evangelicals to evolution a “direct attack upon biblical authority.”
Keathley, meanwhile, calls himself an old-earth creationist who accepts that the universe is billions of years old, but also believes that God directly intervened at certain points in natural history.
In an introductory essay to the series, Keathley lays out several points where he believes Southern Baptists are at odds with the BioLogos model. Among them is whether Adam and Eve were real people who experienced a real fall from grace with God that brought sin into the world. The concept is also central to the idea that Jesus saved the world from sin through his death on the cross.
Falk and two other writers state respond that science tells us “there was never a time when the human population from which all modern humans descended was as small as two individuals.” Instead, they suggest the possibility that “God began a covenantal relationship with a real, historical first couple who brought about spiritual death as a result of their disobedience.”
Keathley also points out that for some Christians, evolution presents a problem because it implies that suffering and death have been with the world from the beginning, rather than resulting from rebellion against God.
“Young-earth creationists ask, `What does this do to the nature of God if God created the world with pain and suffering from the beginning?’” Keathley said in an interview.
Another essayist, Bill Dembski, who is a research fellow at the Discovery Institute and one of the leaders of the Intelligent Design movement, takes it a stretch further when he says, “In terms of strict logic, nothing takes you from natural selection to atheism, but, as a practical matter, many people find that Darwin makes atheism seem plausible.”
Falk and others say in their essay that the problem of evil is a challenge, but that “Scripture does not take a universally negative view of suffering and death in the present age. Rather it is recognized as being both a tragedy and a creative force.”
So far, BioLogos has published four essays and responses with three more planned. Writers on both sides say the dialogue has been useful. Keathley said the response he has heard from other Southern Baptists has been overwhelmingly positive.
You can read the essays for yourself here.