Theistic evolution is a theological concept associated with some versions of Old Earth Creationism which involves accepting the scientific theory of evolution and attempting to reconcile religious beliefs with that theory and with science in general.
The approach taken is different from church to church and a wide range of views and nuances are included in the concept. However, the generally accepted idea is that of a deity-assisted abiogenesis followed by an indeterminate amount of time during which evolution took place. There may have been further alleged direct divine intervention, eg with Adam and Eve.
Theistic Evolution and Natural Selection.
In some interpretations of Theistic Evolution the "evolution" part is assumed to have been carried out wholly by natural selection.
Nevertheless, if this definition is accepted it is not clear how such evolution would be "theistic" as evolution itself would be driven solely by naturalistic causes. Therefore, the name "theistic evolution" may be inaccurate, as what is really being described is "theistic abiogenesis". A case may be made for this being an example of Equivocation
Theistic Evolution and Guided Evolution
Others feel that this philosophy refers to some form of "guided evolution" whereby God used evolution to create mankind. While yet others' hold a position closer to Progressive Creationism and feel that a series of explicit interventions were made.
Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design
While its adherents are at pains to stress that this is a religious philosophy and not a scientific one it is difficult to see how - in practical terms - this concept could avoid the objections made to Intelligent Design. Followers maintain the difference lies in the fact that theistic evolution relies primarily on faith while ID claims to be concerned with attempting to find evidence.
Objections to Theistic Evolution.
- Whichever view of evolution is taken it is clear that most (and probably all) Theistic Evolutionists view mankind as the objective or final goal of the evolutionary process - something which is completely alien to the concept of unguided evolution by natural selection.
- Occam's razor favors an explanation that is simpler and involves fewer assumptions. Theistic evolution adds another unecessary factor, a God. This makes the theory more complex and less probable.