Special Creation or Evolution: No Middle Ground -- By: David H. Lane

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 151:601 (Jan 1994)
Article: Special Creation or Evolution: No Middle Ground
Author: David H. Lane

Special Creation or Evolution: No Middle Ground

David H. Lane

[David H. Lane is a biologist in Wellington, New Zealand.]

[This is article one in the two-part series, “Is Theistic Evolution Viable?”]

But I grieve to say that I cannot honestly go as far as you do about Design. I am conscious that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance, and yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of Design…. Again I say I am, and shall ever remain, in a hopeless muddle.1


Like Darwin (1809–1882), many Christians are in a “hopeless muddle” because of their failure to resolve the theological questions underlying the creation-evolution controversy. This debate concerning the origin of the cosmos, life, and the profusion of complex species, has centered on the antithetical concepts of chance and design.1 But could chance and design be viewed as complementary facets of biological change? Many modern biologists who reject the concept of a Creator acknowledge the role of chance in the processes of genetic variation, and the concept of design in the adaptations of an organism to its environment. Some theologians argue that God’s creativity and the creative processes entailed may involve an interplay between the principles of

design and arbitrariness.2 The purpose of these two articles is to alert Christians to the theological, scientific, and philosophical errors implicit in the teachings of theistic evolution.


The following definitions will be used in the two articles in this series.

1. Evolution. This word has several meanings all of which involve some form of “descent with modification”3 from a common ancestor. Unfortunately these are often conflated.

a. Microevolution. The accumulation of small-scale variations (genetically based) within a species.4

b. Special theory of evolution. The proposition that “many living animals can be observed over the course of time to undergo changes so that new species are formed.”5

c. General theory of evolution. The theory that “all the living forms in the world have arisen from a single source which itself came from an inorganic form.”6 In...

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