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Creation and Metaphysics

Dr. Robert Burns has written a short reply to my essay What Depends On An Historical Adam. His post is fair, as far as it goes. I don’t think I ever said that we must “begin” with metaphysics. I suppose that one could begin with whatever discipline was on his or her mind at the time. But they would, if intending to give a full statement on the matter, need to address metaphysics at some point, and neither modern science nor modern theology do a very good job of that. Indeed, Etienne Gilson wrote an Aristotelian critique of Darwinism in 1971. Few scientists felt compelled to respond to it. Why not? Because they simply don’t do metaphysics. Our contemporary progressive evangelicals do engage in metaphysics, however, particularly the legacy of postliberalism. They simply don’t like to give an account of this, preferring rather to take it for granted that such philosophy is correct. Dr. Burns seems to be an exception to this point, as he writes of his own philosophical views at his blog. He admits that modern philosophy convinced him to make significant doctrinal changes.

Another point I would like to make in reply to Dr. Burns is that I don’t believe that Christians cannot attempt to incorporate Darwinistic evolution in good faith. I just believe that they need to be forthright about the results. They cannot eat their cake and have it. Changing fundamental conceptions of Christian doctrine will have significant effects. Perhaps they believe the evidence demands this of them. If so, then they should speak openly.

Dr. Burns describes himself as “leaving a faith tradition.” I am sad to hear this, but it is his prerogative. I just ask that others admit this of themselves as well. If one does not believe that the Apostle Paul properly understood Adam, then they really are not using the Scriptures as their authoritative standard of faith.

By Steven Wedgeworth

Steven Wedgeworth is the associate pastor of Faith Presbyterian Church in Vancouver, British Columbia. He writes about theology, history, and political theory, and he has taught Jr. High and High School. He is the founder and general editor of The Calvinist International, an online journal of Christian Humanism and political theology, and a Director for the Davenant Institute.