Several Christian friends of mine are theistic evolutionists with whom I have had lively discussions. Theistic evolutionists state that God, at the beginning, brought all things into existence. They would also say that God endowed matter with self-organizing capabilities. Thereafter, God sustains matter and His natural laws, but plays no direct role. Theistic evolutionists and creationists alike would agree with the Apostle Paul in Colossians 1:16-17: Everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it together right up to this moment (The Message Translation).
In contrast, naturalistic evolutionists claim “nature is all there is.” They would not accept the idea that God programmed matter with self-organizing properties. The process of evolution has produced the most complex life present today. They do not believe God exists. Consequently, the truths expressed in Colossians 1:16-17 have no reality for them. Theistic evolutionists, while believing in God, also accept the innate ability of matter to produce man from the simplest ancestral life. They join with naturalistic evolutionists to endorse the principle of descent with modification. They believe mutation and natural selection drive the process.
When a well-known biologist becomes a theistic evolutionist and comes out unequivocally for both evolution and belief in God, it attracts considerable attention. Dr. Francis Collins, head of the Human Genome Project and one of the world’s leading scientists, wrote The Language of God. This popular book is cited by many Christians as giving credence to theistic evolution, because Collins is a high profile, self-proclaimed Christian. Essentially, he sanctions the idea of molecules-to-man evolution and claims there is no conflict with his evangelical faith. What, then, could be the objection to theistic evolution?
Evolution and creationism are affirmed by two entirely different worldviews. Naturalistic evolution finds its fulfillment in nature and its inherent properties. Creationism has God as the natural world’s author and sustainer. Theistic evolution locks arms with naturalistic evolution in many significant ways. Miracles are not needed for the formation of complex physical life. For a theistic evolutionist, the dangers of absorbing naturalistic habits of thought are ever present. In deciding between theistic evolution and creationism, the Christian must constantly consider whether nature calls attention to itself, or to the Creator.