This week Stacy Trasancos, one of my favorite bloggers on the intersection of faith and science, had a good comment on the term “theistic evolution”. Dr. Trasancos says the term is redundant and unhelpful:
The term “theistic evolution” is used in contrast to the atheistic idea of evolution. It means evolution set in motion by God or under the direction of God, and seems appropriate for a believer who admits [the] truth to evolutionary science. But I don’t like the phrase because it’s a confusing redundancy. Think about it. If you’re a believer, it’s already implied that you see all biological and physical processes as created and held in existence by God. You don’t need “theistic” in front of biological terms. Who speaks of theistic reproduction? Or theistic gestation, theistic meiosis, or theistic menstruation? Plus, to qualify a biological process as “theistic” implies that the opposite is possible, that God may not be involved in creating certain laws of nature.
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Richard Dawkins called the term “theistic evolution” an attempt to “smuggle God in by the back door,” and he was right. God doesn’t need us to do that. Be confident that God, who became Incarnate, makes Himself known through His creation. When we gather to assess and critique evolutionary science, the believers will praise God for his handiwork and the atheists will do whatever they do. To grasp this confidence and clarity is to grasp why science doesn’t draw a rational person away from religion. In fact, science, like a good meal shared among friends, can even draw a searching mind closer to his Maker.