What Is Theistic Evolution?

Dr. Bruce Waltke caused quite an uproar by embracing theistic evolution. Some have tried to argue that if someone believes in the special creation of Adam and Eve or supernatural intervention in the process of evolution at any point that disqualifies someone from being called a theistic evolutionist. However, Dr. Waltke clearly included in his idea of theistic evolution the “direct creation” of “adam” (i.e., man) in the image of God and called himself a theistic evolutionist. Was he wrong to call himself that?

Here is Dr. Bruce Waltke’s definition:

The best harmonious synthesis of the special revelation of the Bible, of the general revelation of human nature that distinguishes between right and wrong and consciously or unconsciously craves God, and of science is the theory of theistic evolution. By “theory,” I mean here “a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for the origin of species, especially adam,” not “a proposed explanation whose status is still conjectural.” By “theistic evolution” I mean that the God of Israel, to bring glory to himself, (1) created all the things that are out of nothing and sustains them; (2) incredibly, against the laws of probability, finely tuned the essential properties of the universe to produce adam, who is capable of reflecting upon their origins; (3) within his providence allowed the process of natural selection and of cataclysmic interventions-such as the meteor that extinguished the dinosaurs, enabling mammals to dominate the earth-to produce awe-inspiring creatures, especially adam; (4) by direct creation made adam a spiritual being, an image of divine beings, for fellowship with himself by faith; (5) allowed adam to freely choose to follow their primitive animal nature and to usurp the rule of God instead of living by faith in God, losing fellowship with their physical and spiritual Creator; (6) and in his mercy chose from fallen adam the Israel of God, whom he regenerated by the Holy Spirit, in connection with their faith in Jesus Christ, the Second Adam, for fellowship with himself. (Bruce Waltke, An Old Testament Theology, [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007], 202-203]

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