New Book: Creationism, Intelligent Design Are Fully Compatible with Evolution
"Evolutionary creationism" sounds like a contradiction in terms, but to theologian and biologist Denis Lamoureux, it is the liberating truth of the Holy Spirit as revealed in both Scripture and nature. Indeed, in his view, creationism, intelligent design, and evolution all work together to proclaim the glory of God, and his reading of scripture frees Christians from the dichotomy of God-given creation verses atheistic evolution.
But Lamoureux, now associate professor of science and religion at the University of Alberta, did not always hold this view. He was raised to believe in six-day creation, became an atheist when he discovered evidence for evolution, and only came back to the faith years later. After his return to Christianity, he made it his life's mission to disprove evolution.
"I walked out of medical school to be a creation scientist," he told PJ Media in an interview Tuesday. The military was paying his entire dentist's salary (he estimated it at $250,000 per year in today's dollars) for him to go to medical school, but he walked away from it in order to study theology and biology and fight the good fight against atheistic evolution.
Only through studying the Word of God deeply in seminary did Lamoureux realize that there was no inherent contradiction between God's theological truths and the science of evolution. The title of his new book says it all: Evolution: Scripture and Nature Say Yes!
The author described the deeply personal moment when he suddenly realized that scripture does not rule out modern science — "There was a moment where all this came into my mind and just exploded," he told PJ Media. "All of a sudden I sensed the Holy Spirit putting his arms around me. Intelligent design in nature hit me like a ton of bricks."
Lamoureux had been led to reject a certain idea about science and scripture — that ancient scientific truths revealed in the Bible would be confirmed by modern science, and that the Bible was meant to reveal facts about nature as well as inerrant spiritual truths. But his deep study of theology and the Bible actually led him away from this view, which he calls Concordism. And it terrified him — he thought he was walking away from God.
"The Lord said to me, what you're stepping away from here is Concordism, you're not stepping away from me, or from the Bible," the author explained. God accommodated His calling to Lamoureux to fit the man's specific circumstances — and that deeply personal experience helped him to understand why the Bible should not be read as a science book, but rather as the inerrant Word of God for spiritual truths.
The thing that scared Lamoureux and made him think he was rejecting God was his discovery of the ancient science in scripture. This is more than the well-known facts that the Bible represents the sun rising and setting, rather than the Earth revolving around it. All throughout scripture there is a view of the universe which seems extremely primitive to people today, but was the height of sophistication in the ancient world.
Reading the Bible from the viewpoint of the ancients is very important. Some Christians read their view of the universe into the Bible's text, and this is a big mistake, the author explained. Looking at the text on its own terms suggests a few key facts about the world — facts that everyone today knows are wrong.
For instance, the Bible speaks of a "firmament" in the heavens. People in the ancient Near East believed that the earth was flat, that it was a circle surrounded by a sea, and that it was covered by a solid dome (firmament literally means "pounded out," strong and hard) which held up the waters in heaven. In fact, there were two "heavens:" the dome with the sun, moon, and stars in it, and the realm on top of the heavenly sea where God lived.
This view of the world pervades scripture, and explains some odd passages like Jesus being able to see all the kingdoms of the world from a high place (Matthew 4:8-9) and the idea that when Jesus comes back to Earth, everyone will be able to see him at once (Revelation 1:7).
There are other inconvenient errors, such as Jesus calling the mustard seed the smallest of all seeds (when the orchid produces even smaller seeds), and the idea that women only incubate human babies (women are said to be "barren" because the ancients thought of a baby coming from the man and planted in the woman's womb, like planting seed in the earth).
But it is easy to explain these gross scientific errors, by pointing out the real purpose of scripture — and Lamoureux insisted that he still believes the Bible to be the inerrant (completely true) Word of God.
Next Page: How to reconcile scientific errors in the Bible with the perfection of God's Word.