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Theistic evolution : Definition

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Theistic evolution, theistic evolutionism, evolutionary creationism, divine direction, or God-guided evolution are views that regard religious teachings about God as compatible with modern scientific understanding about biological evolution. Theistic evolution is not in itself a scientific theory, but a range of views about how the science of general evolution relates to religious beliefs in contrast to special creation views.

Supporters of theistic evolution generally harmonize evolutionary thought with belief in God, rejecting the conflict thesis regarding the relationship between religion and science – they hold that religious teachings about creation and scientific theories of evolution need not contradict each other.

Francis Collins describes theistic evolution as the position that "evolution is real, but that it was set in motion by God", and characterizes it as accepting "that evolution occurred as biologists describe it, but under the direction of God". He lists out six general premises on which different versions of theistic evolution typically rest. They include:

the prevailing cosmological model, with the universe coming into being about 13.8 billion years ago;
the fine-tuned universe;
evolution and natural selection;
No special supernatural intervention is involved once evolution got under way;
Humans are a result of these evolutionary processes; and
Despite all these, humans are unique. The concern for the Moral Law (the knowledge of right and wrong) and the continuous search for God among all human cultures defy evolutionary explanations and point to our spiritual nature.

The executive director of the National Center for Science Education in the United States of America, Eugenie Scott, has used the term to refer to the part of the overall spectrum of beliefs about creation and evolution holding the theological view that God creates through evolution. It covers a wide range of beliefs about the extent of any intervention by God, with some approaching deism in rejecting the concept of continued intervention.

Just as different types of evolutionary explanations have evolved, so there are different types of theistic evolution. Creationists Henry M. Morris and John D. Morris have listed different terms which were used to describe different positions from the 1890s to the 1920s: "Orthogenesis" (goal-directed evolution), "nomogenesis" (evolution according to fixed law), "emergent evolution", "creative evolution", and others.

Others argue that one should read the creation story in the book of Genesis only metaphorically.

Others see "evolutionary creation" (EC, also referred to by some observers as "evolutionary creationism") as the belief that God, as Creator, uses evolution to bring about his plan. The Jesuit paleontologist Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881-1955) was an influential proponent of God-directed evolution or "orthogenesis", in which man will eventually evolve to the "omega point" of union with the Creator. Eugenie Scott states in Evolution Vs. Creationism that it is a type of evolution rather than creationism, despite its name, and that it is "hardly distinguishable from Theistic Evolution". According to evolutionary creationist Denis Lamoureux, although referring to the same view, the word arrangement in the term "theistic evolution" places "the process of evolution as the primary term, and makes the Creator secondary as merely a qualifying adjective." Scott also uses the term "theistic evolutionism" interchangeably with "theistic evolution". Divine intervention is seen at critical intervals in history in a way consistent with scientific explanations of speciation, with similarities to the ideas of progressive creationism that God created "kinds" of animals sequentially.

Regarding the embracing of Darwinian evolution, historian Ronald Numbers describes the position of the late 19th-century geologist George Frederick Wright as "Christian Darwinism".

wikipedia.org

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