In a recent interview with Eric Metaxas, Dr. Tim Keller states (beginning around the 20:00 mark) that he is an “old earth progressive creationist” and that his view is “not quite” theistic evolution. He goes on to say that the difference between his view and theistic evolution is that he believes that God intervened in the process. I was surprised to hear Dr. Keller define his views as “progressive creationism” given his support of BioLogos and their viewpoint on origins. So, I did a little research on progressive creationism and here are some highlights of what I found.
One of the best well-known proponents of progressive creationism is Dr. Hugh Ross of Reasons to Believe. Dr. Ross has written many books defining his view on origins. His organization’s website defines their position as creation and not supernaturally directed Darwinism. Progressive creationism specifically rejects the concepts of macroevolution (species evolving from other species). The BioLogos website places Dr. Ross and Reasons to Believe under the heading of Old Earth Creationism and explains why OEC is not acceptable to the BioLogos viewpoint:
Old Earth Creationists (OECs) accept that the earth and universe are billions of years old, but maintain that these findings are in concordance with a direct reading of the first chapters of Genesis (often by interpreting the days of creation as long periods of time, or by understanding large gaps between the days of creation). OECs hold that modern science tightly corresponds with biblical accounts and assume that God included modern scientific ideas in the Bible, sometimes through secret language that would have been lost on the original audiences. OECs do not, however, accept the common ancestry of all life forms.
BioLogos disagrees with the OEC viewpoint, because while accepting the scientific consensus for an old earth, it rejects the findings of modern genetics, paleontology, and many other biological sub-disciplines that support common ancestry. Furthermore, we believe that God chose to reveal Himself within the worldview, culture, and language of the biblical authors. Since heliocentricity or the Big Bang, for example, are neither relevant to God’s message nor meaningful to the ancient audience, we do not think these scientific ideas are encoded in Scripture.
In contrast, BioLogos defines their own view on origins this way:
The BioLogos view holds that both Scripture and modern science reveal God’s truth, and that these truths are not in competition with one another. It accepts the modern scientific consensus on the age of the earth and common ancestry, including the common ancestry of humans. While there are varying views of how to reconcile the truths of science and Scripture (for example with regards to a historical Adam), those who hold to the BioLogos view accept God as Creator and believe that the Bible, though open to a diversity of interpretations, is ultimately the divinely inspired and authoritative Word of God. (emphasis added)
Elsewhere on their website, BioLogos gives this definition:
We believe that the diversity and interrelation of all life on earth are best explained by the God-ordained process of evolution and common descent. Thus, evolution is not in opposition to God, but a means by which God providentially achieves his purposes.
We believe that God created humans in biological continuity with all life on earth, but also as spiritual beings. God established a unique relationship with humanity by endowing us with his image and calling us to an elevated position within the created order.
And also this:
The BioLogos view celebrates God as creator. It is sometimes called Theistic Evolution or Evolutionary Creation.
When Dr. Keller’s name was listed as a leading figure on BioLogos’ Perspectives page, his name was not with Dr. Ross and the other Old Earth Creationists. He was listed as a leading figure who represented BioLogos’ view. Given Dr. Keller’s advocacy of BioLogos and their position, I think it odd that he would seek to define his view as progressive creationism. If progressive creationism fits his view better, wouldn’t Reasons to Believe be a more appropriate organization to promote?