We have been giving presentations on the science/faith interface to various audience in Northern California for several years. Recent public engagements include presentations at a local church's high school youth group, at a public forum on the campus of a Christian liberal arts university, and as a guest lecturer for a sociology course on culture wars at a public university in Kentucky. More on the speaker and our approach can be found below.
Start with the Message of Creation
Before diving into the discussion surrounding creation and evolution, it's important to appreciate the larger message of creation. The Bible is seen by Christians as God's word to his people. What might God have to say through Scripture's many creation-oriented passages? Once we grasp the message of God to his beloved people we will see that it provides a constructive framework and an interpretive context for the conversation about whatever mechanisms he may have employed in creation.
One take on the message of Genesis 1 is provided in a sermon I gave in San Jose, August, 18, 2013. Day Zero: Creation amidst Chaos. The accompanying handout is here. Day Zero Handout
An excellent tour through several key creation texts is this accessible book by David Wilkinson, The Message of Creation (The Bible Speaks Today) (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2002).
Appreciate the Church's Diverse Opinions
After placing the message of creation at the center of the conversation, one is prepared to address the various opinions the church holds on the matter of creation and evolution. For this, I refer you to the presentation given at William Jessup University in early 2013. Here we situate the debate about creation and evolution within the context of Jesus' command to love God and neighbor. With that as the governing paradigm, we move on to distinguish between evolution as science and evolution as philosophy. This discussion allows one to understand why a large proportion of evangelicals accept evolution as God's means of creation. Evolutionary creationism can then be seen as one of several reasonable options available today for those who want to be faithful to God, to Christ, and to Scripture in this increasingly scientific era. Here's a copy of the handout: WJU Handout
Fliers, Handouts, and Videos from Prior Presentations
Outline of Earlier Presentations
Distinguishing Central and Secondary Issues
A Biblical Posture
A Broad Framework
We offer here an introduction to two popular models of relating biblical creation to biological evolution.
A. The Conflict Model Creationism versus Evolutionism (held by about 60% of US Christians)
B. The Complementarian Model Creation via Evolution (held by about 40% of US Christians)
My adoption of this model was slow and progressive. Over time I found the evidence for evolution to be compelling, fascinating, and worship-inspiring, and I was not alone. (See My Journey.)
C. Why These Models Make Great Sense to Their Respective Advocates
The Conflict Model
1. Takes selective scientific cues from Scripture
2. Distrusts science as having an atheistic bias
Methodological naturalism is thought to be inseparable from metaphysical naturalism
3. Denies the evidence for evolution
4. Presumes that some natural mechanisms are eternally inexplicable and, as such, provide “proofs” of supernatural intervention
5. Insists on multiple “poofing” events
The Complementarian Model
Reverse each of these 5 points above to grasp the presuppositions of those who view evolution as God’s marvelous means of creation.
With this perspective, science and theology both seek understanding, but generally they address different topics, raise different questions, and use different methods. Together they allow a richer view of the world.