Published on July 16, 2018 by Joshua R Monroe

Zondervan, 2016 | 196 pages

Reviewed by Ardel Caneday


Denis Lamoureux, a Canadian Evangelical who occupies an extraordinary teaching role at St. Joseph’s College in the University of Alberta, is convinced that he has the remedy for the growing number of university students who defect from the Christian faith when they encounter the overwhelming evidence for evolution. He insists that it is necessary to relieve young people from the unwarranted conflict between Christian faith and evolutionary science with which their churches, pastors, Sunday-school teachers, Christian school teachers, and their own parents have burdened them. What is the solution he proposes to relieve this conflict? This Associate Professor of Science and Religion is a passionate apologist for his cause; he believes that Christian young people, from their formative years through high school, are not being taught fairly the range of views concerning origins. As he sees it, one view, “the literalism and scientific concordism of young earth creation,” has been forced upon young people (p. 180). So, he is convinced and endeavors to convince others that to preserve the Christian faith of university students it is necessary to make it safe for Christians to embrace evolution as factually right, even indubitably true. Thus, he wrote Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!

To meet Denis Lamoureux is to encounter a man exuberant and passionate about this cause. Hence, the bold title. Does he really believe that both Scripture and nature affirm that evolution took place? It is an audacious and provocative title that poses a daunting if not impossible task. Who can demonstrate that both Scripture and the corporeal realm advocate evolution? Such is a massive endeavor for one even with his credentials and impressive resumé. Lamoureux admits the title overreaches with provocation.[1]


Summary of the Book

Lamoureux presents his experience as paradigmatic concerning most young people among North American Evangelicals who are trapped between two antithetical belief systems concerning origins: “either atheistic evolution or creation in six days.” The first two chapters recount his own journey that reflects his dichotomous thinking when he entered college. Convinced that he was inadequately taught, he found himself without any capability to defend his faith when confronted with contrary beliefs. So, as a college freshman he began to forsake his Christian rearing, abandoning belief in the Genesis account of creation, no longer attending church, and vehemently defending evolution. By the close of the first year he spurned the God of Christianity. While in dentistry school he became an agnostic and then an atheist. Upon graduation and serving as a military dentist, Lamoureux plunged into godless living and debauchery until, while serving as a UN peacekeeper in Cyprus, he repented and returned to the Christian faith.

When he returned to Canada and joined a church, he testifies that dichotomous thinking concerning origins still trapped him. As zeal earlier drove him to evolution and to atheism, so now passion impelled him away from “theistic evolution” to become a zealous advocate for six-day creationism. He “became totally consumed by the topic of origins and bought the best books defending creationism” (p. 22). He attended evolution versus creation debates, became friends with well-known creationists, and attended a summer event hosted by the Institute for Creation Research. He became an avid opponent of evolution, even desiring to launch an assault against “evolutionists for brainwashing college students with Satan’s lie that the world had evolved over billions of years” (pp. 22-23). To the degree that fire, passion, zeal, and verve drove Lamoureux as an evolutionary atheist the same impelled him as a “creation scientist.” Zeal surpassed knowledge, leaving no room for measured restraint, given his dichotomous either/or mentality.

Chapter 2 continues to recount Lamoureux’s tortuous journey. After three days in medical school he dropped out. He prayed and became convinced, “the Lord was calling me to become a creation scientist in order to attack evolutionists in secular colleges and universities” (p. 26).[2] Determined to protect young college students “from Satan’s lie that life had evolved” (p. 26), he set out to attain a PhD in both theology and biology, in that order. As he began studying first toward a master’s degree in theology Lamoureux held a naïve notion that he calls “scientific concordism,” which according to him, entails belief that “God has revealed basic scientific facts in the Bible” (p. 28). During his first year of theological studies, Professor Loren Wilkinson rocked Lamoureux’s dualistic thinking by asking, “If you gave up your belief in six day creation, would you also give up your faith in Jesus?” (p. 28). He began to pursue an answer to the question.

In his quest, Lamoureux wondered whether “a literal reading of Genesis 1 is an error” (p. 28). He claims that he discovered “evidence within the Bible itself,” apparently with no outside influences either from teachers or books, that Scripture portrays the physical universe in concord with the “ancient science” of the Near East. He insists that the entirety of Scripture, from the Genesis creation account through the whole Bible, portrays the created universe in terms of “ancient science” concordant with how Israel’s pagan Egyptian and Mesopotamian neighbors understood the universe. Thus, as he reads the Bible, Lamoureux asserts that God accommodated the erroneous and thoroughly discredited “ancient science” view of the universe with the earth at the center under a hard, blue, solid, domed structure that holds a massive heavenly body of water above it. From the stationary earth the stars, the sun, and the moon can be seen embedded into the hard, blue dome. Yet, somehow, the embedded sun, moon, and other heavenly bodies also move across the dome to light the earth by day and by night.

It became necessary for him to adjust his understanding of Scripture’s inerrancy and authority to accommodate his emerging beliefs concerning the origins of all things and Scripture’s accommodation of erroneous beliefs concerning creation, nature. “Scientific concordism,” as he understands it, had to be abandoned. In place of believing that the Bible’s account of creation, properly understood, is scientifically concordant with the findings of modern science, rightly interpreted, he came to believe that every mention of nature throughout the Scriptures, beginning with the creation account, is scientifically concordant with “ancient science,” a science that is manifestly wrong. The remainder of the book expands on how he understands the relationship between Scripture and science.

Lamoureux argues, “What the biblical writers saw with their eyes, they believed to be real” (p. 87). They really believed that the sun rises and sets in contrast to what we know to be simply an appearance of rising and setting “caused by the rotation of the earth on its axis” (p. 87). None of the Bible writers would have understood if God had revealed to them “the Big Bang and biological evolution,” so the Lord used “incidental ancient sciences as vehicles to transport life-changing messages of faith” (pp. 110-11). Thus, God accommodated ancient notions that the earth is immovable (e.g., 1 Chron. 16:30; Ps. 96:10; 93:1; 104:5). The erroneous and “incidental ancient understanding of the earth delivers the inerrant spiritual truth that God is the Creator and Sustainer of our world” (p. 92). Again, the ancient incidental notions that the earth is a circle surrounded by a sea (Isa 40:22) and that the earth “literally came to an end at the shore of the circumferential sea” (Matt 12:42; Prov 8:27; Job 26:10) are erroneous incidental conceptions that convey “the inerrant spiritual truth that God created the world” (p. 95). Likewise, the ancient science concerning a “subterranean world” (Amos 9:2; Matt 11:23; Phil 2:10; Rev 5:13) and the notion that the earth is a flat disk (Matt 4:8-9; Rev 1:7) indicates that the “geography-of-the-day” is the “vehicle that transports the inerrant spiritual truth” that God reveals concerning Jesus (p. 97).

Likewise, God accommodated ancient scientific beliefs concerning astronomy. God allowed the writer of Genesis to use the science of the day to speak of the sky as a “firmament,” a solid and immovable dome with a circular horizon. This dome separated water above it from waters below it on the earth (Gen 1:6). This solid dome explains the ancient science concerning “the foundations of the heavens” (2 Sam 22:8; Job 26:11) and the “ends of the heavens” (Mark13:27; Ps 19:6). The solid and immovable dome had to rest on “something solid, like a set of foundations” (p. 98). God used ancient astronomy but not “to reveal the actual structure of the heavens.” Rather, God accommodated the erroneous astronomy “to reveal that he alone was the Creator of the heavens” (p. 98). The erroneous idea of a hard dome for the sky (Ps 19:1) is simply a “vessel to carry the inerrant spiritual truth that the heavens reflect intelligent design and point to their Maker” (p. 98). The same understanding must be extended to ancient astronomy concerning the waters in the heavens (Gen 1:6-8; Ps 104:2-3; 148:4; Jer 10:12-13) which have no corresponding aspect “known to modern astronomy” (p. 99). So, Lamoureux contends that this rules out contemporary belief that Scripture’s portrayals are concordant with modern science. Instead, the Bible’s representation of astronomy and geography is concordant with ancient science and ancient geography. God accommodated the “intellectual level of the ancient biblical writers and their readers to reveal that he created the huge blue ‘structure’ in the heavens” (p. 99). Even though we modern people know that there is no solid dome structure in the heavens, the spiritual truth remains (p. 99).

According to Lamoureux, the same principle of divine accommodation that employs the Message-Incident Principle holds true concerning the taxonomy of creatures (plants and animals reproduce according to their kinds, pp. 103-104), botanical knowledge (the smallest seed, Mark 4:30-32; a seed dies to grow a new plant, John 12:23-24; 1 Cor 15:36; pp. 104-105), human reproduction (only males had reproductive seed, Gen 47:23; Lev 15:32; only females could be infertile, Gen 11:30; Heb 11:11; pp. 105-107), and the origin of all living organisms “according to their kinds” indicates that ancient peoples “never observed one type of creature evolving into an entirely different type of creature” (pp. 107-108). Instead, because they observed that each kind of plant and each kind of animal reproduced the same kind, the Genesis creation account reflects the thinking of ancient biologists who reasonably “retrojected” this observation to believe “that the Creator made each plant kind and animal kind quickly and completely” (p. 108). However, they were in error to infer from the analogy of “living organisms giving rise to their own kinds” that this is how life has reproduced from the beginning when God created each discrete life form. Thus, for Christians to use the phrase “according to their kinds” from Genesis 1 to argue against biological evolution is to “tear this phrase out of its ancient scientific context and claim it is biblical proof that God did not use evolution to create living organisms” (p. 149). The “phrase is not a divine revelation” to be used “against biological evolution—it’s ancient science” that modern evolutionary science has discredited (p. 149).

The author insists that God accommodated ancient science even though that science is manifestly wrong, proved so by modern evolutionary sciences—astronomical, geological, and biological. Accordingly, God allowed the ancient writers of Scripture, inspired by the Holy Spirit, to retain their erroneous ancient scientific beliefs concerning nature, including the origin of all things and of human life “to reveal the foundational message of faith that he alone was the Creator of the entire world” (p. 32). God was pleased to allow Scripture’s writers to convey the “message” of spiritual truths in the defective “vehicle” of “ancient science-of-the-day” (p. 32). That the whole of “creation is ‘very good’” and that God created human beings alone “in the image of God” are spiritual truths to be believed, but all of Scripture’s claims concerning how God brought all things into existence must be rejected as ancient science, thoroughly discredited by modern evolutionary science. Did God lie? No, God accommodated ancient science.[3]

Concerning his concept of God accommodating erroneous science as the vehicle through which he expresses spiritual truth Lamoureux emphatically asks, “And isn’t this exactly what Jesus did?” (emphasis added). He contends that when God the Word became flesh (John 1:14), God accommodated himself to humans in exactly the way that he accommodated erroneous ancient science (p. 32). This, however, seems to contradict his own limitations on what he calls the “Message-Incident Principle” concerning God’s accommodation of “ancient science.” The ancient science is the incidental vehicle that conveys the inerrant message. Lamoureux restricts his Message-Incident Principle to all the Bible’s statements about the corporeal realm and excludes biblical passages that involve “the attributes of God (1 John 4:16), God’s moral commandments (Matt. 22:37-39), or practices in the church such as communion (1 Cor. 11:23-26)” (p. 89). Whoops! This exclusion seems not to cover Christology, particularly the incarnation of the Word.

Lamoureux dislikes the designation “theistic evolution” because it features the noun. So, he opts for “evolutionary creation,” a more ear-pleasing designation to describe his own beliefs concerning origins which entails cosmological evolution, geological evolution, and biological evolution (p. 118). Though he disallows “reverse reasoning” to either ancient biologists or contemporaries, the use of analogical thinking to appeal to kinds of life forms reproducing the same kinds of life forms to infer “de novo creation” (p. 108), he allows reverse reasoning for himself as he employs knowledge of embryology to infer evolution. Thus, he allows for retrojection from the fact that “the DNA in the  genes of a fertilized human egg is fully equipped with information necessary for a person to gradually develop in the womb” to conclude that God triggered the whole cosmological, geological, and biological evolution with one Big Bang which he “preloaded” with the capacity for the “universe and life to self-assemble over 13.8 billion years, with humans emerging as the pinnacle of the evolutionary process” (pp. 118-19).[4] Again, he exploits reverse reasoning when he appeals to his “Embryology-Evolution Analogy” to infer from the development of an individual—at some point beginning to bear God’s image, becoming morally accountable, and committing acts of sin—that analogically “prehuman ancestors became fully human when they were given God’s Image and made morally responsible” (p. 119). How does Lamoureux’s “Embryology-Evolution Analogy” (pp. 41-43, 53, 118-19) differ from the “type of thinking used in crime-scene investigations” (p. 108), the kind of “retrojection” or “reverse thinking” he faults in “ancient biology” and naïve contemporaries?

Lamoureux passionately wants Evangelicals to understand that Charles Darwin offers many “theological insights” that will set them free “to embrace evolution as the Lord’s creative process for making all plants and animals, including men and women” (p. 154). His manner is generous toward readers who oppose evolution, including his “evolutionary creation” view. He is kind and charitable concerning how he characterizes notable individuals who represent views that differ from his own (e.g., Ken Ham, p. 113, 115-16; Hugh Ross, p. 117), but his use of Richard Dawkins as the atheistic-dysteleological-evolutionist whipping-boy becomes excessive. Lamoureux’s writing is as engaging, clear, and winsome as are his lectures. Clear is his passion for the evangelical faith, for evolutionary creation, and for assisting young people avoid the crises of dichotomous thinking that he sustained. Hence, he generously makes available an entire course on the internet, Science & Religion 101. At the publication of Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!, Jim Stump, Senior Editor for BioLogos, interviewed Denis Lamoureux. He inquires: “If you were advising someone today who is interested in a career in the academic field of science and religion, what topics would you suggest as the most important for careful, Christian thinking?” Lamoureux responds: “I would say, ‘Don’t do what I did!’ They don’t need to do a PhD in theology to realize that concordism fails and that the Bible is not a book of science. And they don’t need a PhD in biology to realize the evolution of life is a fact. Read my book and save yourself a lot of time that I wasted!”[5]

Despite his bold title, throughout his book Lamoureux advances his thesis that Scripture and science address completely different though corresponding realms of reality. Early he states his thesis: “Scripture reveals spiritual truths concerning our Creator, his creation, and us.” The Bible speaks concerning “who created the world” but nature reveals “how he created it” (p. 15). As he concludes the book, again he asserts, “The book of God’s Words reveals spiritual truths. The book of God’s Works offers scientific facts. The Bible tells us who created and science shows how he created” (p. 181). Besides exaggerating the factual objectivity of what nature itself discloses, Lamoureux’s “can’t lose” interpretive approach to both Scripture and nature essentially isolates scientific inquiry from Scripture’s revelation so that the two can never conflict. Though he calls his approach to Scripture and to created reality “complementary” (p. 182), complementarity entails correspondence, pairing, agreement, and harmony. But Lamoureux’s strategy, set forth by the title Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!, requires that he strip Scripture of any authoritative voice concerning nature, God’s created realm, because he relegates to “ancient science” everything the Bible affirms concerning nature. Elsewhere, Lamoureux expressly affirms that Scripture does state how God created all things, but Scripture is wrong: “Holy Scripture makes statements about how God created the heavens that in fact never happened. . . . Holy Scripture makes statements about how God created living organisms that in fact never happened.”[6] These claims made by Scripture are wrong because they entail ancient science which God accommodated. Thus, after affirming that Scripture does reveal how God created all things, Lamoureux claims, “Consequently, Genesis 1 does not reveal how God actually created plants, animals, and . . . humans.”[7]

In the conclusion Lamoureux observes that students intuitively sense that there must be a solution to the animosity between science and Scripture to which they have been subjected. They “all yearn for an integration of Christian faith and modern science, including human evolutionary biology” (p. 173). He is convinced, of course, that he integrates the two, that he resolves the problem by observing, “It is only when Scripture and nature are taken together in a complementary relationship that they can say ‘yes’ to evolution” (p. 181). He is distressed that many young Evangelicals are abandoning the Christian faith in which they have been reared. His argument is quite simple: he insists that cosmological, geological and biological evolution need not subvert Christian faith. Rather, he argues that for young people, to embrace evolution can actually strengthen their Christian faith.


Critical Reflections

Rather than integrating Scripture and created reality, Lamoureux’s “evolutionary creation” approach disintegrates the already existing harmony God established between his forms of revelation in Word and world because his evolutionary cosmology conflicts with Scripture’s cosmology. Despite his claim that “evolutionary creation breaks us free from the chains of ‘either/or’ thinking and the origins dichotomy” (p. 121), his approach to the alleged dualism silences Scripture’s voice concerning every aspect of God’s creation—cosmologically, geologically, and biologically—because everywhere God’s Word speaks concerning nature, God accommodates ancient science which, according to the author, is thoroughly discredited. Yet, while silencing Scripture concerning nature, Lamoureux privileges modern evolutionary science’s impact on our understanding of Scripture. He extrapolates from an observation by Galileo that “the evolutionary sciences become ‘very appropriate aids to the correct interpretation’ of the biblical creation accounts. In this way, evolutionary biology will help with the interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 by identifying the ancient understanding of the origin of living organism, including men and women” (p. 143). His passion is understandable since he is an evolutionary scientist. However, his praise of modern science gushes with excess when he exclaims that

science today offers Christians an infinitely more magnificent picture of our Creator and his creation than ever before. We no longer think that we live in a diminutive 3-tier universe or a geocentric world enclosed by a spherical firmament. . . . Scientific discoveries have also assisted in the interpretation of Scripture. It is only because of modern science that we now understand the Lord accommodated in the Bible by allowing the inspired writers to use ancient science, the best science-of-the-day-thousands of years ago (p. 183).

As Lamoureux views it, while evolution can “describe the origin of the world over billions of years through natural processes” and explain “how the universe and life originated,” one thing science cannot do but Scripture alone can do is “reveal who began the evolutionary process” (p. 50). Even so, he is convinced that no other belief concerning origins acknowledges “the Lord’s eternal power and unfathomable foresight” better than believing that God set in motion an evolutionary process by which the entire universe self-assembled (p. 50). Evidently belief in “evolutionary creation” rather than belief in “six-day creation,” “progressive creation,” or “intelligent design” enhances one’s worship of the Lord God, for Lamoureux declares, “I find it absolutely incredible that the Creator ordained and sustained the laws of nature to self-assemble into this astonishing creation, including the flagellum. As a result, and to the surprise of most Christians, I have a wider and greater view of intelligent design than that of the anti-evolutionists” (p. 79).

This exuberance for evolution dominates the book while excluding weighty counter-arguments. Nowhere does the author tackle the problem of evil that his commitment to “evolutionary creation” encounters. Instead, he barely touches the issue and then only by way of the memoirs of Charles Darwin as he admits that the existence of suffering troubled him, for example, “a wasp that lays eggs in a caterpillar, and as these develop, they kill the caterpillar” (pp. 162-63). Again, he cites how Darwin believed that “happiness decidedly prevails” over suffering (pp. 165-66).

His stylized description and dismissal of “deistic evolution” (pp. 122-23) seems to diminish realization that embryonic deism lurks in his enthusiastic endorsement of evolution, albeit “evolutionary creation.” He inquires, “Does the mind-blowing mathematics of the fine-tuning in the Big Bang point to a Fine Tuner who balanced the forces of nature? Is it just a fluke that our planet has all the ‘right’ geological and astronomical features for complex life to evolve? And is it possible that God programmed biological evolution to create plants, animals, and humans?” (p. 82). He ardently affirms, “Think about it. Beginning with the Big Bang, God put in motion extremely well-designed natural processes which he used to self-assemble the entire world, including us. Only a Creator with unbelievable power and incredible foresight could have designed such an evolutionary process” (p. 53). This is a Deistic view, but Lamoureux delivers himself from a full embrace of “Deistic Evolution” by insisting that he believes in a “personal God” (p. 122). How does this view accord with Scripture’s portrayal that Christ actively sustains all things (Col 1:15-17)? It is evident that he holds an impoverished view of providence, at least as it relates to the material cosmos.

More foundational are three entangled problems that persist throughout Lamoureux’s book. All three originate from his embrace of a post-Enlightenment cosmology that is evident in his commitment to evolutionary astronomy, evolutionary geology, and evolutionary biology. Ironically, while Lamoureux criticizes anti-evolutionist Christians for their (1) “biblical literalism,” (2) “scientific concordism,” and (3) shortsightedness concerning “divine accommodation,” he commits mirror-image errors of all three. The following discussion engages these three as inseparable.


On Literalistic Reading and Scientific Concordism

Concerning many who oppose evolution Lamoureux criticizes them not only for their “literalistic” interpretation of Scripture concerning nature but also for appealing to scientific concordism by retrofitting Scripture to modern scientific discoveries. However, his own interpretation of Scripture’s portrayal of the physical creation is no less “literalistic” than that produced by “literalists” he criticizes. However, because of his prior commitment to evolution, he joins his literalism to scientific concordism by fitting Scripture to ancient science that modern science has discredited. Both he and those he criticizes make the same mistake, failing to recognize that interpretation is neither literal nor figurative.[8]

The whole of chapter 5, “Ancient Science and the Book of God’s Words,” exemplifies how the author’s pre-commitment to evolution constrains his awkwardly rigid interpretation of Scripture’s earth-bounded portrayal of the cosmos. His interpretive “ancient science” chart of the biblical description of the cosmos (p. 91) reflects his belief that the Bible’s portrayal of the cosmos is in concord with that of Israel’s pagan neighbors, the Egyptians and Mesopotamians (pp. 102-103). Yet, he observes, “Of course, God’s purpose in Scripture is not to reveal the actual structure of the heavens. Instead, he accommodated to the level of understanding of ancient biblical people and allowed their ancient astronomy to reveal that he alone was the Creator of the heavens” (p. 98). Throughout chapter 5 and the entire book Lamoureux insists that wherever the Bible comments on creation it invariably conveys “ancient science.”

Statements about the natural world in Scripture do not align with the facts of physical reality. We do not live in a 3-tier universe. The mustard seed is not the smallest of all seeds. Men do not have miniature preformed people in their semen. Infertility is not limited to women. And land animals do not sprout into existence from the earth. Questioning the truthfulness of scientific concordism is uncomfortable. I know this personally because I was taught in Sunday school that God revealed some basic scientific facts in Scripture (p. 110).

Just above these words is the heading, “The Bible Is Not a Book of Science,” which means that, while the Bible is a book that has much to say concerning “ancient science,” nothing Scripture says concerning geography, astronomy, or biology has any correspondence to physical reality (see Fig. 5—9, p. 111). He finds nothing in Scripture that corresponds to “basic scientific facts” concerning reality. Instead, everything that the Bible says concerning the heavens and the earth that God created, while not corresponding to physical reality, functions as an errant incidental vehicle to convey a spiritual truth. So, Scripture does contain “science,” but it is all “ancient science,” none of which corresponds to reality as modern science does.

Why is Lamoureux confident that he is correct concerning the “scientific” beliefs of the Bible writers? He pronounces, “People in the ancient Near East believed that the flat earth and circumferential sea were enclosed by a solid dome” (p. 97). What warrants his insistence that God’s ancient prophets and apostles, who wrote Scripture, really believed that the sky is a solid dome? He offers, “From an ancient phenomenological point of view, the vault of the sky and the circle of the horizon give the appearance of a firm immovable structure overhead, similar to an inverted bowl” (p. 97). This controverts Lamoureux’s claim. Indeed, this is a “phenomenological point of view” but not just for ancient people but for modern people also because it is the “phenomenological point of view” for everyone who dwells on the earth regardless of science, ancient and modern. As for modern people, consider the structure of a planetarium, a large walk-in model or replica of the heavens consisting of a hard dome with a circular horizon where the semi-sphere meets the flat earth where visitors stand or sit. Nothing in Scripture allows for us to regard the Bible’s representation of the cosmos as an errant incidental vehicle of an inerrant truth. Every verbal or pictorial representation of the universe, however detailed and accurate, is still only an inadequate analogy or model whether it is offered by an ancient Bible writer or a modern scientist. It cannot be otherwise. Thus, Genesis 1 truthfully portrays with words a representation of the universe that both ancient and modern earth-dwellers understand. God did not accommodate erroneous ancient science to convey a spiritual truth. God accommodated the “phenomenological perspective” of every human who has ever resided on this earth, and he does this with a figurative portrayal of reality that even a child can recognize.

Because he subscribes to and promotes his own version of rigid, literalistic reading of the Bible that constrains Scripture’s earth-oriented cosmology to conform to the “ancient science” of Israel’s pagan neighbors, the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, Lamoureux rejects any form of “scientific concordism” that views Scripture’s accounts concerning creation and nature with reality, especially as modern scientists see the universe. Nevertheless, it is fitting to acknowledge that Lamoureux correctly objects when Christians appeal to “phenomenological language” to contemporize Scripture’s talk of the sun’s rising and setting in relation to modern scientific discoveries. He properly criticizes this misuse of “scientific concordism” because such a use of “phenomenological language” attempts to retrofit the 16th and 17th-century discoveries advanced by Copernicus and Galileo, that the earth rotates on its axis and circumnavigates the sun, to whatever scientific beliefs Scripture’s writers may have held. On the other hand, why can we not understand the Bible writers’ talk of the sun’s rising and setting in the same way that they represent the cosmos, the heavens in relation to the earth? For every earth-dweller, including ancient writers of the Bible and Christians of the modern era, from a human “phenomenological point of view,” or the “language of orientation,” the sun and the moon rise and set, ancient and modern science notwithstanding. It is a fitting description for humans who inhabit the earth and whose discernment of time’s progression—day and night—is regulated by the appearance of the sun and the moon.

Lamoureux seems unaware of his own governing presuppositions concerning the authority and reliability of God’s Word. Despite decrying the use of “scientific concordism” by anti-evolutionists, he practices and endorses his own version of “scientific concordism” by rigorously embracing and promoting the notion that whatever Scripture says concerning creation or nature is in harmony with “ancient science,” which modern science has thoroughly discredited. Not only this, but as many others have done, Lamoureux has misappropriated the ancient Christian doctrine of divine accommodation to serve his modern agenda by imposing his Message-Incident Principle upon Scripture.


God’s Revealed Cosmology Makes Scientific Inquiry Possible

A danger that practitioners in every academic discipline face is the tendency to become self-absorbed, self-important, myopic, and forgetful that we cannot escape the fact that our fields of study employ symbolic language whenever we convey how our research correlates with reality. Exaggerated confidence and pride exacerbate these dangers. My major field of study entails knowledge of the biblical languages, rigorous exegesis, and complex theological concepts. Like Jesus Christ and the apostle Paul, every bit of my theological talk involves me in representing complex ideas with symbolic language that is rooted in analogy. This is unavoidable. All theology is “ectypal or analogical,” a concept indispensable to responsible interpretation of Scripture and its proper use in the doing of Christian theology.[9]

Likewise, scientists, ancient or modern, use their discipline’s repertoire of symbolic language and models when they speak to one another or attempt to communicate to non-scientists concerning the complexities of their research and how it correlates with reality. To communicate his theory of a heliocentric universe, Copernicus, an earth-dwelling man, created a model, a miniature analogy to represent the reality of the universe, as he understood it, to others who were equally earthbound. He could do nothing else. Within the last century, no fewer than four different theories have been advanced concerning the structure of an atom, each with its own model. Likely, more theories with their own representations will be proposed to replace earlier ones. Such is the nature of scientific inquiry. The ephemeral nature of scientific theories cannot overthrow Scripture’s enduring cosmology that is revelatory and theological, not subordinate to scientific inquiry or theory.

Therefore, we must avoid the mistake that many of our Christian forebears of the 16th century committed when they seemed to regard the Bible’s cosmology as scientific, thus rejecting Copernicus’ heliocentric model. Copernicus’ theory should have prompted Christian theologians to ponder that Scripture’s geocentric cosmology, which is not derived from scientific inquiry (either ancient or modern) but revealed by God, is deeply theological and thus unassailable by any true knowledge acquired by observing the universe God created for earth dwellers. God’s authorized cosmology is neither pre-scientific nor scientific. God’s portrayal of his creation is not a scientific description. Rather, his portrayal of creation transcends scientific inquiry, a human endeavor. God’s authorized cosmology is revelatory; because it is theological it discloses what scientific inquiry cannot reveal—the origin of all creation—not only that God created but how he created and formed all things. Every valid science derives from it because God’s revelatory cosmology entails an orderly cosmos that makes human scientific investigation possible. God’s established cosmology invites our inquiry concerning the whole of creation while resisting humanly devised theories that contradict it.

Therefore, if we presume to treat what Scripture says concerning the heavens and the earth as a scientific portrayal, whether ancient or modern, we will invariably commit one of two errors. On the one hand, attempts to retrofit the Bible’s earth-inhabiting-perspective concerning the heavens and the earth with discoveries that have come with modern science, such as heliocentricity, is a kind of “scientific concordism” that rightly falls under Lamoureux’s indictment. On the other hand, to relegate the Bible’s earth-inhabiting-phenomenological-perspective concerning the heavens and the earth to errant ancient science in common with the pagan views of the Egyptians and Mesopotamians, an erroneous view that God accommodates throughout Scripture, is to adopt another form of “scientific concordism.” This is what Lamoureux has done by relegating Scripture’s statements concerning the heavens and the earth to “ancient science” and then declare it discredited by modern science. Anyone who does this implicitly repudiates Scripture’s trustworthiness, which Lamoureux does with his Message-Incident Principle.

Attempts to harmonize the Bible with science, whether modern or ancient, fail to recognize that God’s Word presents its own cosmology without concern for concord with any humanly derived formulation of science, ancient or modern. And this failure is linked with either ignoring or misunderstanding God’s revelatory condescension. Now, to unpack this idea essential to proper interpretation and use of Scripture concerning Christian theology. For the purposes of this review, the following discussion focuses on Genesis 1.

Because Lamoureux rightly accepts the Bible as God’s Word he correctly retains, however minimally, an aspect of the cosmology revealed in Genesis 1, namely, that God is the creator of the heavens and the earth. However, he never explains on what basis he regards Genesis 1:1 to be exempt from being assigned to ancient science as he does with Genesis 1:2-31. So, without explaining why he believes that the Bible tells us “who created,” he rejects what Scripture says concerning how God created all things because of his governing presuppositions; he accepts cosmological, geological, and biological evolution. Because he embraces a cosmology that is not complementary with the Bible but antithetical to Scripture’s account of the origin, development, and ordering of all things God created, Lamoureux insists that not Scripture but “science shows us how God created” (p 181). His “evolutionary creation” cosmology restricts God to a single creative act, the Big Bang. Scripture’s cosmology, however, attributes not only the first act of creation to God but also several discrete creative and formative acts, which Lamoureux rejects. He characterizes God’s creative act portrayed in Genesis 1:1 this way: “the Creator planned the Big Bang and preloaded it with the ability for the universe and life to self-assemble over 13.8 billion years, with humans emerging as the pinnacle of the evolutionary process” (p. 119). Lamoureux’s “evolutionary creation” cosmology is antithetical to Scripture’s cosmology. Given his paradigm, how is God’s first creative act recorded in Genesis 1:1 (that God created) any less vulnerable to falsification than all God’s subsequent creative and formative acts recorded in Genesis 1:2-31 (how God created and filled his creation), which Lamoureux insists are errant incidentals?

Since Lamoureux fully commits to this evolutionary cosmology, how can he explain Scripture’s cosmology that extends beyond Genesis 1:1, that permeates every one of God’s creative and formative acts concerning all with which he fills the heavens and the earth? As already indicated, wherever Scripture speaks concerning the corporeal realm, such as the rising and setting of the sun (Ps 19:6; Eccl 1:5), he argues that God accommodated ancient science which is wrong (p. 87). Like others who share his cosmology, Lamoureux latches on to the church’s ancient doctrine of divine accommodation, derived from Scripture itself, but he amends it to serve his purpose.[10] To do so, he also embraces a diminished view of Scripture’s truthfulness which invariably accompanies his contorted view of divine accommodation. So, he develops his use of divine accommodation around his “Message-Incident Principle,” by which he means that God accommodated errant ancient science as the incidental vehicle to convey his inerrant message. He illustrates his point: “The ancient science in Scripture is essential for transporting spiritual truths. It acts like a cup that holds water. Whether a cup is made of glass, plastic, or metal is incidental. What matters is that a vessel is needed to bring water to a thirsty person” (p. 90). Any reasonable Evangelical should wonder how Lamoureux’s Message-Incident Principle of interpreting Scripture, sorting out the inerrant message from the incidental vehicle differs from Adolf Harnack’s hermeneutical method of sifting the kernels of eternal truths of Jesus’ teachings from the husks of culture-bound teachings that are “incidental” beliefs that modern people do not accept.[11] Whereas Harnack casts aside Jesus’ miracles recorded in the Gospels, Lamoureux dismisses all God’s creative and formative miraculous acts reported in Genesis 1:2-2:25 as “ancient science.”

On what basis can he restrict his Message-Incident Principle to extracting Scripture’s inerrant spiritual truths from what he deems is Scripture’s obsolete worldview concerning God’s creative and formative acts? In fact, Lamoureux extends his Message-Incident Principle to the Bible’s history also. As an evolutionary creationist, he contends “that the biblical accounts of origins are based on ancient scientific concepts,” and he firmly believes “that real history in Scripture begins roughly around Genesis 12.” So, he assures readers, “from my perspective, Abraham was a real person” (p. 120). But, of course, this is putting a favorable spin on an otherwise damaging affirmation because it means that he believes that whatever falls prior to Genesis 12 is not an accurate record of history but an incidental vehicle for conveying an inerrant message. No historical Adam existed. Hence, Lamoureux strips both history and the historical person from the Bible’s account of Adam’s fall. He does this while supposedly retaining some semblance of “the fall” by claiming that one of the things “the opening chapters of Genesis teach us” is that “all humans are sinners” (p. 119). How did sin enter the world? How did humans become sinners? According to Lamoureux, it certainly did not come to pass the way Scripture portrays it through the historical Adam’s sinful plunge.

How is it possible to accept Lamoureux’s Message-Incident Principle concerning Scripture’s creation and fall accounts without also extending it to all of Scripture’s history? What restrains wholesale endorsement of this notion concerning all history recorded in Scripture, including the revelatory condescension of God’s Son, our Redeemer, the Second Man? Only inconsistency delivers Lamoureux from thoroughly undercutting the gospel message of the Jesus Christ, the Second Man. God’s Word situates the historic Second Man parallel to the historic First Man, Adam. One cannot mythologize the First Man without jeopardizing the Second Man, thus relegate him to myth also. To de-historicize the creation-fall account of Genesis 1-3 is to threaten the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ with the same. The creation-fall account of Genesis 1-3 is the only historical milieu within which God designed the good news to function as it is in Jesus, the Second Man.


All God’s Revelation Entails Condescension

When God authorized Moses to write Genesis 1-2, did the Creator accommodate his revelatory speech to the errant beliefs of his human audience, the Israelites, so that their creation story is in concord with that of the Egyptians and Mesopotamians? When God authorized the account of his creative and formative acts (Gen 1-2), did he convey an inerrant truth within an incidental and errant vehicle? Is God’s accommodation of human affairs and language restricted to portions of Scripture that speak concerning nature, as Lamoureux would have it? Does God design his accommodation for uneducated folks who are not as capable as educated people?

None of this rightly apprehends or represents what the best among Christian theologians mean when they speak of Scriptures doctrine of divine condescension, or the less fitting description, accommodation. What is the historic understanding of the doctrine of condescension? The idea is not difficult. Only God can reach across the Creator-creature chasm of being (ontological) and knowing (noetic) between mere humans and God. God spans that chasm to make himself known to us by condescending to us, his creatures. He becomes, as it were, a human. Since the Creator made us in his image he reveals himself to us by accommodating human speech and manifests himself to us in human forms throughout the whole of the Scriptures. Every fragment of God’s self-revelation in Scripture comes to us by way of his condescension to speak as a human to humans. Herman Bavinck summarizes the concept well:

And inasmuch as the revelation of God in nature and in Scripture is specifically addressed to humanity, it is a human language in which God speaks to us of himself. For that reason the words he employs are human words; for the same reason he manifests himself in human forms. From this it follows that Scripture does not just contain a few scattered anthropomorphisms but is anthropomorphic through and through. From the first page to the last it witnesses to God’s coming to, and searching for, humanity. The whole revelation of God is concentrated in the Logos, who became “flesh” and is, as it were, one single act of self-humanization, the incarnation of God. If God were to speak to us in a divine language, not a creature would understand him. But what spells out his grace is the fact that from the moment of creation God stoops down to his creatures, speaking and appearing to them in human fashion.[12]

That God condescends to reveal himself analogically to us by using human language and form poses not the slightest restriction for him, nor by doing so does God accommodate error to convey his inerrant message.[13] Rather, God condescends to us for our eternal benefit, and he displays this most gloriously when the Word became one of us, in the flesh (John 1:14). If God were to reveal himself to us not analogically but univocally with the deific language of heaven and with deific formlessness, since God is invisible (Exod 34:20; John 1:18; Col 1:15; 1 Tim 1:17), we would have no knowledge of God. Furthermore, even though God reveals all things analogically, his revelation is not errant but true, pure, and trustworthy.[14]

God created us after his likeness so that our knowledge of him and our creaturely relationship with him originate from the reality that we are God’s earthly analogs who mirror his engraved and ineradicable image. Sin twists both our resemblance of the Creator’s likeness and our comprehension of all things, including what God has made known in his Word and world. Yet, his ineffaceable image, implanted into our very being, is his revelatory link, apart from which we would be as beasts with no God-imaged knowledge of our Creator or of his creation. We, however, are indelibly embossed with this analogical likeness of the Creator, endowed with an inherent consciousness of God and an innate awareness of our nobility above all other creatures.

Because we are earth-bound creatures who bear God’s likeness and whose knowledge of God and his purposes is analogical, beginning in Genesis 1 and unfolding throughout the Scriptures, the Creator, who exists outside his vast creation, is pleased to recount his creative works not with intoned deific speech from his heavenly throne but with human words as if he were an earth-dwelling person within his own creation, i.e., anthropomorphically. The One who made all things describes the origin, establishment, and form he gives to the physical realm, especially the earth, not only as if we were there to observe but also as if we humans were God’s climactic creation on the sixth day, which we are (Gen 1:26-31).

If the Bible does not present a scientific cosmology (i.e., ancient, pre-scientific, or modern), why do Bible writers speak of the sun rising and setting? By speaking of the sun rising and setting God’s Word does not accommodate ancient geocentric astronomy nor is it “phenomenological language” used in anticipation of modern heliocentric astronomy. Rather, our Creator, who is enthroned above the circle of the earth, accommodates our earth-circumscribed vantage point that suffices for all our daily needs. If God, who possesses infinitesimal and intimate knowledge of his own creation, is pleased to condescend to our frame of reference from outside the universe to speak of the rising and setting of the sun, who are mere mortals to correct the Creator and to assign his earth-focused portrayals of creation to discredited ancient science? Because we are earth-dwellers, the sun’s rising and setting is an apt, truthful, and divinely authorized perspective that remains fully functional and intact for everyone living in this modern era who acknowledges a heliocentric planetary system, and it is testified to daily by meteorologists (scientists) who chart each sunrise and sunset.

Again, if Scripture’s cosmology is neither pre-scientific nor scientific, why do Genesis 1-2 center the whole creation account on God’s formation and filling of the earth? God’s revelatory cosmology, portrayed in the Genesis creation account, magnifies earth’s significance among the innumerable heavenly bodies, not because of its size nor because of where the Creator placed it. Rather, the Creator’s recounting of his detailed attention to his creation, formation, and filling of the earth with plants and animals is owing to the last of his creatures, the First Man from the earth with his wife who, both made in God’s image, whom God makes to populate and to care for the earth. Likewise, promptly after the account of creation, God’s Word focuses on the First Man who inhabits the earth with an accounting of the intrusion of human sinfulness that results in God’s curse upon his creation which, when announced, anticipates redemption through the Seed of the Woman (Gen 3:15).[15] There is no other place within God’s vast created expanse where any event will display the Creator’s glory more resplendently than on this earth, for this is the world to which God the Word, who is the Image of God, will condescend, where he will be incarnated as the Seed of the Woman, the Second Man from heaven, where God will dwell veiled in flesh as a human among humans, where he will die and will rise again (John 1:14; Col 1:15; Gen 3:15; 1 Cor 15:47; 15:3-4). This, the place God’s creatures made in his image inhabit, is the focus of his creative acts foreshadowing and anticipating his redemptive acts of both humans and creation itself.

The revelatory condescension of God’s Son reinforces this theological orientation readily discerned throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis through Revelation. God foretold Adam and Eve of his coming to this earth, albeit in embryonic form (Gen 3:15). The Law and the Prophets prophesied his coming to this earth. The Gospels tell of the Word’s incarnation to reside among humans, to die, and to rise again as the redeemer. The Apostolic Letters proclaim the inauguration of his reign over this earth and his sure return. The Apocalypse assures us that the one who is come will come again to this earth to redeem fully his created order of all things (Rev 1:8).



In November 2007, establishment of BioLogos by Francis Collins emboldened evolutionists within evangelical churches and universities to emerge from the shadows, to speak plainly in advocacy for evolution, and to secure book contracts with Christian publishing companies. I engaged the issue when I was asked to write an essay concerning the indispensability of Adam’s historicity concerning the gospel of Jesus Christ.[16] That essay brought an invitation to contribute an article concerning interpretation of the Genesis creation account for the Dictionary of Christianity and Science (2017). Also, my friend, Matthew Barrett, who recognized the growing trend, asked if I would join him to pitch a book to Zondervan for the Counterpoints series that eventuated in Four Views on the Historical Adam. As a general editor of the book I became personally acquainted with Denis Lamoureux, a contributing essayist, an ardent and articulate advocate for the non-historicity of Adam from an evolutionary creationist position. It is from this background of interest, unambiguous beliefs, and participation in the ongoing dialogue concerning the interfacing of Christian theology and science that I was asked to write this book review which morphed in size.

Denis Lamoureux’s highly acclaimed and heavily promoted book may be small but it conveys massive ideas that not long ago received relatively covert reception among North American Evangelicals. He expressed surprise to be invited to contribute to Four Views on the Historical Adam, given his experiences with Christian publishers concerning his evolutionary creation view. Despite his surprise, now his Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes! has been widely touted with praise from several evangelicals in significant roles: John H. Walton, C. John Collins, Terry Morrison, Randy Isaac, Scot McKnight, and many more. Deborah Haarsma, President of BioLogos, acclaims, “This is a great book to hand to a Christian student or friend who is asking questions about evolution.” Terry Morrison, Emeritus Director IVCF, recommends the book to anyone who is “currently struggling with the ‘literal’ interpretation of Genesis and what science texts and professors are saying.” He reasons that “Carefully working through this book will help strengthen faith and open otherwise closed gateways to the exciting world of God’s creation as science is coming to understand it.”

These endorsements seem to describe a book different from the one I read. As heartily as many endorse the book I equally discommend it. Lamoureux’s book strikes me as reflecting a surprisingly superficial grasp of Scripture, its authority, and its trustworthiness. Also, despite his claim that he once was an ardent creationist, this book shows a remarkably inadequate grasp of creationist scholarship. His acceptance and endorsement of evolution comes across as entirely uncritical. His reasoning engages many non-sequiturs. He exploits “crime-scene-investigative thinking” and analogical reasoning that he disallows his creationist opponents.

True, Lamoureux holds a Ph.D. in theology, but this should not assure readers that he is a reliable guide concerning Scripture and theology. Far from harmonizing science and Scripture, which he claims to do, his book drives a massive wedge between the two with his mishandling of God’s Word. By separating “factual” from “spiritual” with his “Message-Incident Principal” he deepens the dichotomous thinking that he claims to resolve. To make it safe for Christian young people to embrace evolution he corrodes confidence in the trustworthiness and authority of God’s Word by sifting out Scripture’s grains of spiritual truths from the errant incidental chaff in which the truths are wrapped. He endangers readers by endorsing the very principle that, if followed with consistency, will lead to winnowing out the kernels of eternal truths from Jesus’ teachings from the husks of culture-bound teachings, those “incidental” beliefs that modern people do not accept, thus doing to the gospel what he does to Genesis 1-11. Thankfully Lamoureux is inconsistent with his crafty hermeneutical key. Yet, what confidence does he have that he will not aid and abet readers to be more consistent than he is and cast aside the Christian faith in which they were reared? As shown earlier, his Message-Incident Principle for reading Scripture was active more than a century ago. Without identifying it with his designation, many, both young and old, have already applied his hermeneutic to Scripture particularly concerning other alluring beliefs and practices accepted in modern culture, such as same-sex sexual relations and so-called “same-sex marriage,” and are doing so with increasing frequency and alarm.[17]

Thus, for all the reasons I have detailed throughout this review and for others that I have hinted at or have not mentioned, I discourage Christian parents, pastors, teachers, or friends from putting this book into the hands of any high school or university student without also scheduling and following through with regular discussion sessions for each discrete chapter to engage critically the ideas and arguments advanced therein. As a mature Christian who was reared in a Christian home and the church, and educated in Christian higher education, I was exposed to the full range of belief systems concerning origins, including theistic evolution, which Lamoureux prefers to call “evolutionary creation.” What his book adds to recent publications that argue for his belief system concerning origins is an enticing appeal to younger readers with his characteristic allure and passion but with simplistic assertions, claims, and interpretive maneuvers concerning Scripture that jeopardize confidence in God’s Word rather than reinforce it as he claims. Today, few university students have the capability to recognize or to counter the nimble interpretive ease with which Lamoureux overrides God’s Word to entice them to embrace evolution to their own peril. Nothing in the book persuades me that he handles Scripture properly on its own terms.

Against Lamoureux’s assessment of today’s students, those who populate the university where I teach have been exposed much more to various views of evolution than to a creationist view. Christian apologetics, where these issues typically have been engaged, has been conspicuously absent among so many Evangelicals for two or more decades. Thus, as a university professor, I know the capability and susceptibility of my students. Because they have not been adequately prepared, not many are equipped to read the book critically with sufficient biblical and theological understanding. Thus, if I were to give the book to such students, I genuinely fear that I would be complicit in leading many away from the Christian faith and heritage I cherish, promote, and endeavor to pass on to the next generation. On the other hand, if I were to teach a Christian apologetics course, I would require the book. And I would critically engage the alluring claims, assertions, and arguments presented in the book and provide a solid Christian apologetic from Scripture and for the Bible’s account concerning origins and the challenges thrown at it by both atheistic dysteleological evolutionist Richard Dawkins and theistic teleological evolutionary creationist Denis Lamoureux.

Lamoureux’s candid belief that the Bible conveys spiritual truths (“that God created”) encrusted with erroneous notions and false beliefs (“how God created”) belies his book’s title. Concerning evolution: do Scripture and nature say “Yes”? According to his own claims concerning Scripture throughout the book, the answer most assuredly is No! Because he repeatedly insists that the Bible presents how God created all things and modern science proves those claims wrong, Lamoureux has falsified his own book title. Of course, Scripture rightly handled on its own terms also falsifies the thesis for which he argues in his mistitled book.

The highest heavens belong to the Lord,
but the earth he has given to mankind (Psalm 115:16).

Worthy are you, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they existed and were created (Revelation 4:11).

The Son is the image of the invisible God,
the firstborn over all creation.

For in him all things were created:
things in heaven and on earth,
visible and invisible,
whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities;
all things have been created through him and for him.

He is before all things, and in him all things hold together (Col 1:15-17).


[1] See Jim Stump, “Scripture and Nature Say ‘Yes’ to Evolution: An Interview with Denis Lamoureux” Biologos (https://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/scripture-and-nature-say-yes-to-evolution-an-interview-with-denis-lamoureux). Lamoureux acknowledges, “The title is definitely intended to be a little provocative and to produce a tad of dissonance. The book was written for young people and I know they like a bit of ‘edge.’”

[2] Later, after he once again embraces evolution, albeit “evolutionary creationism,” he repudiates creationism, Lamoureux attempts to explain God’s call for him to become a creation scientist. “Today, I still believe that I was called by the Lord at that time [to become a creation scientist]. But in doing so, he accommodated and came down to my spiritual and intellectual level by using the only Christian view of origins that I understood—six day creation. . . . I now see that God did indeed call me to attack atheistic interpretations of evolution and defend the belief that the world is his creation” (p. 44).

[3] Elsewhere Lamoureux asks, “So to ask the question once more, ‘Did God lie in the Bible?’ My answer again is a resounding ‘No! The Lord accommodated in the Bible.’ The Holy Spirit used the biology-of-the-day as an incidental vessel to reveal inerrant spiritual truths in Genesis 1” (The Four Views of the Historical Adam, 57).

[4] Similarly, Lamoureux reasons that because no one “thinks that arms or legs were attached to our developing body in the womb through dramatic God-of-the-gaps interventions . . . it is perfectly reasonable to believe the Creator ‘impressed on matter’ evolutionary laws that led to the creation of every organism that has ever lived on earth” (p. 161).

[5] See Jim Stump, “Scripture and Nature Say ‘Yes’ to Evolution: An Interview with Denis Lamoureux” Biologos (https://biologos.org/blogs/jim-stump-faith-and-science-seeking-understanding/scripture-and-nature-say-yes-to-evolution-an-interview-with-denis-lamoureux).

[6] Denis Lamoureux, “No Historical Adam: Evolutionary Creation View,” in Four Views on the Historical Adam, ed. Matthew Barrett and Ardel B. Caneday (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2013), 54, 56.

[7] Ibid, 57.

[8] On why interpretation is neither literal nor figurative, see A. B. Caneday, “Genesis, Interpretation of Chapters 1 and 2 (Factual View),” Dictionary of Christianity and Science, eds. Paul Copan, Tremper Longman III, Christopher L. Reese, and Michael G. Strauss (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2017), 320-24.

[9] Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, trans. John Vriend, ed. John Bolt (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004), 2.110.

[10] Lamoureux’s twisted use of the church’s doctrine of divine accommodation reflects dependence on the skewing of this doctrine by Jack B. Rogers and Donald K. McKim in The Authority and Interpretation of the Bible: A Historical Approach (San Francisco: Harper & Row, 197). For a devastating rebuttal of the Rogers and McKim argument and misuse of divine accommodation to argue against the inerrancy of Scripture, see John D. Woodbridge, Biblical Authority: A Critique of the Rogers/McKim Proposal (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1982). Others who take the same view as Lamoureux’s as they follow the missteps of Rogers and McKim are Kenton Sparks, God’s Words in Human Words (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008) and Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins (Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2012). In The Evolution of Adam, Enns quotes Bavinck at length as though the Dutch theologian supports his insistence that the “creatureliness” of Scripture requires that we acknowledge that God’s revelation accommodates erroneous beliefs and myths of the ancient people among whom the Israelites lived. See pp. 143-145. For a refutation of this errant interpretation of Bavinck see Richard B. Gaffin, Jr., God’s Word In Servant-Form: Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck on the Doctrine of Scripture (Jackson, MS: Reformed Academic Press, 2007).

[11] Adolf Harnack, What Is Christianity? trans. Thomas Bailey Saunders (New York: G. P. Putnam’s Sons, 1902).

[12] Herman Bavinck, Reformed Dogmatics, 2.99-100.

[13] Ibid, 2.110. Bavinck identifies the following as implications of acknowledging the analogical nature of all our theology: 1 “All our knowledge of God is from and through God, grounded in his revelation, that is, in objective reason. 2. In order to convey the knowledge of him to his creatures, God has to come down to the level of his creatures and accommodate himself to their powers of comprehension. 3. The possibility of this condescension cannot be denied since it is given with creation, that is, with the existence of finite being. 4. Our knowledge of God is always only analogical in character, that is, shaped by analogy to what can be discerned of God in his creatures, having as its object not God himself in his knowable essence, but God in his revelation, his relation to us, in the things that pertain to his nature, in his habitual disposition to his creatures. Accordingly, this knowledge is only a finite image, a faith likeness and creaturely impression of the perfect knowledge that God has of himself. 5. Finally, our knowledge of God is nevertheless true, pure, and trustworthy because it has for its foundation God’s self-consciousness, its archetype, and his self-revelation in the cosmos.”

[14] Ibid, 1.455. Bavinck affirms, “But just as Christ’s human nature, however weak and lowly, remained free from sin, so also Scripture is ‘conceived without defect or stain’; totally human in all its parts but also divine in all its parts.”

[15] How does mention of Eve’s “seed” (zera’) in Genesis 3:15 not prompt Lamoureux to stop before asserting: “It is significant to note that throughout the Bible, only men are said to have reproductive seed, never women” (p. 105)? He continues, “In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word zera’ refers to both the ‘seeds of plants’ (Gen 1:11; 47:23) and the ‘reproductive seeds of males” (p. 105). He passes over Genesis 3:15 which unambiguously refers to Eve when it speaks of “her seed” (זַרְעָ֑הּ, mt; τοῦ σπέρματος αὐτῆς, lxx; zera’; זֶרַע; τὸ σπέρμα). Unfortunately, Lamoureux does not hesitate but goes on to avow that Scripture is concordant with ancient science on this matter. “This ancient view of human reproduction is known as ‘preformatism’ or the ‘1-seed model.’ Ancient people believed that within each male sexual seed there was a tightly packed miniature human” (p. 106).

[16] A. B. Caneday, “The Language of God and Adam’s Genesis & Historicity in Paul’s Gospel,” SBJT 15.1 (2011): 26-59. The title reflects engagement with and challenge of Francis Collins thesis in The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief (New York: Free Press, 2006). A subtitle more reflective of the book’s thesis would have been, A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief in Evolution.

[17] The theological and ethical ramifications of embracing evolution are corrosive and subversive to Christian faith. Ponder the following statements from another evangelical advocate of evolution and a non-historical Adam, whose book Denis Lamoureux endorsed. In the conclusion the last of nine theses states: “A true rapprochement between evolution and Christianity requires a synthesis, not simply adding evolution to existing theological formulations.” In other words, embracing evolution necessarily transforms Christian theological affirmations. “Evolution is a serious challenge to how Christians have traditionally understood at least three central issues of the faith: the origin of humanity, of sin, and of death. Although . . . sin and death are universal realities, the Christian tradition has generally attributed the cause to Adam. But evolution removes that cause as Paul understood it and thus leaves open the questions of where sin and death have come from. More than that, the very nature of what sin is and why people die is turned on its head. Some characteristics that Christians have thought of as sinful—for example, in an evolutionary scheme the aggression and dominance associated with ‘survival of the fittest’ and sexual promiscuity to perpetuate one’s gene pool—are understood as means of ensuring survival. Likewise, death is not the enemy to be defeated [contra 1 Cor 15:26]. It may be feared, it may be ritualized, it may be addressed in epic myths and sagas; but death is not the unnatural state introduced by a disobedient couple in a primordial garden. Actually, it is the means that promotes the continued evolution of life on this planet and even ensures workable population numbers. Death may hurt, but it is evolutions ally” (Peter Enns, The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins [Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2012], 147).

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Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!

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