August 20, 2014


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (BP) -- The danger of the scientific tail wagging the theological dog is real, a Southern Baptist seminary professor wrote in an ongoing debate with evolutionary creationists at The BioLogos Foundation.

'Are we to start with a scientific conclusion and then look for biblical sanction?' -- Kenneth Keathley
"Can one start with the Scriptures and arrive at anything resembling theistic evolution? Are we to start with a scientific conclusion and then look for biblical sanction?" Kenneth Keathley, theology professor at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, wrote.

"I don't think most scientists would want to do science the way evolutionary creationists seem to be asking theologians to do theology," Keathley, who also serves as SEBTS senior vice president for academic administration, noted.

Keathley's essay, "Expressing Our Concerns," is part of a series titled "Southern Baptist Voices," which also includes essays from six other Southern Baptist seminary professors as well as responses to each from BioLogos representatives, posted at

In addition to Keathley's introductory essay, William Dembski, research professor of philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has written, "Is Darwinism Theologically Neutral?" Others will be posted roughly every four weeks throughout the summer.

The series emerged as an effort to "engage in charitable dialogue" as a result of discussions between Keathley and Darrel Falk, president of The BioLogos Foundation.

In comments to Baptist Press, Mark Sprinkle, a senior fellow at BioLogos, said it's crucial that such conversations happen not just in academic circles but in the broader church.

BioLogos, according to its website, "believes that evolution, properly understood, best describes God's work of creation."

"Science, as it turns out, does not overthrow the Bible. And faith, as it turns out, does not require a rejection of science," BioLogos says. Concerns about the theological method used by evolutionary creationists were among those Keathley cited in his essay.

"One gets the impression at times that evolutionary creationism is a theory in search of theological justification," Keathley wrote. "It's easy to see why believing scientists who hold to evolution would want to find ways that evolution could be compatible with orthodox Christian doctrine. However, theologically speaking, the danger of the tail wagging the dog is very real."

Keathley added that certain evolutionary creationists "ask us to accept more and more fanciful interpretations of Genesis," though "the textual skin of Genesis 1-3 does not readily fit over an evolutionary drum."

"The BioLogos community has yet to convince Southern Baptist scholars that they are correctly handling the Genesis accounts," Keathley wrote.

Other matters that remain unresolved are the connection between natural history and salvation history, the status of Adam and Eve, and the problem of evil, Keathley wrote. Read More

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