Which is the better opinion for a Christian: theistic evolution, natural evolution or evolutionary creation?
I see no measurable difference between natural evolution and evolutionary creation. One is an essentially atheist view, while the other comes from believers, but as far as science is concerned, they cannot be distinguished. Both propose that all living things descend from an original life form–that all species are connected by an unbroken chain of common descent from the original simple form of life. Both propose that this process is entirely the result of random natural processes. Both believe that there is no need whatsoever to invoke any supernatural intervention in this process. If you go do a search under evolutionary creation, you can find how biologos defines evolutionary creation. They claim that they believe that God is the one who upholds and sustains life, but are quite specific in saying that they believe that “science” or natural processes are able to explain the formation of all species. Therefore, other than philosophically believing in a Creator, there is no difference between natural evolution and evolutionary creation in how they propose that all species arose.
I have no objection to those who propose evolutionary creation, but I do not agree with them. I believe both that this is not the preferred position and also that it is not the correct explanation of the origin of life. I am a theistic evolutionist. By that, what I mean is that I believe that God invented the process we call evolution and that God uses this natural series of processes that cause natural evolution. However, although I believe that evolution is a great scientific theory and that evolution happens, but I believe that God had supernaturally directed the process or perhaps has even intervened in that process at various times. I believe that a fully natural process–one that is not guided by God–would not have produced homo sapiens from bacteria by any series of undirected, fully natural processes. I believe that evolutionary creationists hold to their position so that they can integrate into the scientific community with atheists, agnostics and others. This is helpful in reducing potential conflict within the scientific community, but I believe the view is simply not correct. Because I have no disagreement at all with the theory of evolution as a successful scientific theory, as a theistic evolutionist I have personally had no conflict with atheistic natural evolutionists.
We put on a forum on this topic a few years ago. The event was called “Four Christian Views of Evolution.” The forum/debate is available through www.ipibooks.com. One of the participants was an evolutionary creationist, one was an intelligent design person, one was a young earth creationist and I took the theistic evolution position. To tell you the truth, the evolutionary creationist person, who is a friend of mine, won the debate because his position is consistent with science (as is mine), but it is much easier to explain and to defend by a simple argument. In this forum, the deistic evolutionist (evolutionary creationist), the intelligent design person and I were far more in agreement with one another than in disagreement, but the young earth person was somewhat antagonistic to the three of us. Here is an essay on Four Christian Views of Evolution. FourChristViewsEvolutionEssay