Original from Clarion [numbered for our responses below]
Evolution falls outside the tent of the Reformed confessions
One of the great things about the Three Forms of Unity (TFU) is that they provide a big roomy tent under which Reformed confessors can discuss, even argue, theological points. For example, TFU subscribers can either believe there is such a thing as a covenant of works or that there is not, and have the room under the tent to discuss it. TFU subscribers can hold to either the Puritan or the Calvinian view of the application of the fourth commandment and have room to discuss their differences. This, alone, makes the TFU superior to some other Reformed confessions, which insist–to use the aforesaid examples–that one hold to the covenant of works doctrine and the Puritan understanding of the fourth commandment. The TFU get it right. They exclude Roman Catholic, Anabaptist and Arminian heresies and errors, but do not push fellow Reformed confessors out into the cold and rain. But what about “theistic evolution”? Can that discussion take place under the big tent?
Someone who holds to a teaching of evolution, “theistic” or other, has brought the discussion outside the tent. By way of our confessions, we say that we believe scripture to teach that Adam was a direct creation of God; we reject that Adam had human and/or animal ancestors.
One example from each confession should suffice to demonstrate the truth of this:
- Article 14 of the Belgic Confession says, “…God created man of dust from the ground and He made and formed him after His own image and likeness….”
- Lord’s Day 3, referring to “our first parents, Adam and Eve,” says that “God created man good and in His image.”
- Canons of Dort, III/IV, I says, “In the beginning man was created in the image of God.”
Responses by Reformed Academic
37. Many who have been gifted and called to study and serve in the field of biology (or even geology or astronomy), and who are fully committed to the Reformed faith, have difficulty discussing openly in the church community what they are discovering about the way the world is. These brothers and sisters raise challenging questions, but they can be encouraged that there are also answers being given within the broader community of the Reformed faith by those who give careful attention to the interpretation of Scripture and of the scientific evidence. Suggesting instead that entertaining any support for the biological theory of evolution puts them outside of the Reformed community is not serving them, or Christ, well.
38. This argument assumes that God-directed evolution excludes the direct creation of Adam by God. But God-directed evolution does not exclude the direct creation of Adam, because everything that happens is under God’s direct control. Therefore, theistic evolution is not outside the boundaries of the TFU.
39. We at Reformed Academic all affirm all of these points.