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Article Info:
published: 3/31/13
updated: 2/27/14

Theistic Evolution

What is Theistic Evolution?

Image from the Hubble Telescope

Frequently associated with Christianity, "theistic evolution" is the belief that a Creator God and biological evolution are compatible ideas. In this view, Darwinian evolution is understood as a method that God used to bring about life forms. God is given the credit for creating an environment whereby living things could experience evolutionary development.

Theistic evolution is criticized by both sides of the creation and evolution discussion. Advocates of Young Earth creationism and Old Earth creationism dismiss theistic evolution for incorporating Darwinian evolution into their theology because it is seen as contrary to the Bible's teachings.

Also, some evolutionists dismiss theistic evolution for incorporating God into their science.

Is Theistic Evolution a Scientific Theory?

Theistic evolution isn’t considered a scientific theory; rather, it’s a vision of how religion and evolution can coexist and perhaps even complement one another. Theistic evolutionists reject the idea that God and evolution are opposed to one another, which is why adherents are often called “Christian evolutionists” or evolutionary creationists.”

How has Theistic Evolution been Received by Religions?

Each religion, and the various branches of each religion, has responded to the rise of theistic evolution differently. In fact, two people who go to the exact same church, synagogue, or mosque, can have different views on the idea. Still, some general observations can be made.

There are theistic evolutionists in almost all wings of Christianity, including the Roman Catholic Church, the Eastern Orthodox Church, the Episcopal Church, and some Protestant denominations, for example, Lutheranism.

While the Vatican has never issued a direct statement on the topic, there have been popes, including Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI, who have stated that evolution is compatible with biblical faith.

Most Jewish denominations accept the idea of theistic evolution. While the Reconstructionist, Reform, and Conservative wings of American Judaism have largely accepted the idea of theistic evolution, segments of the Orthodox wing has been more reserved.




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