WLC and Mere Theistic Evolution

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  • Last Updated December 15, 2019

November 2019, at the Evangelical Theological Society (ETS), several scholars gathered to respond to a paper discussing "Mere Theistic Evolution," responding to the Crossway book that objected to theistic evolution as it is advanced by "evolutionary creationists."

Moderators: Michael J. Murray (Franklin and Marshall College) John Churchill (Independent Scholar) Respondents: Tom McCall (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) William Lane Craig (Talbot & Houston Baptist) Jeff Schloss (Westmont College) Steve Meyer (Discovery Institute) Paul Nelson (Biola University & Discovery Institute).

The room was packed, standing room only. As "evolutionary creation" usually refers non-traditional theology, traditionalists are looking for other ways to describe themselves. Mike Murray and John Churchill propose "Mere Theistic Evolution." William Lane Craig presented this response at the session.

Also see Dr. Swamidass' alternate term (Christian that affirms evolutionary science, CAES) and his  response to the Crossway Theistic evolution book. In BioLogos's response to the Crossway book, they state that "evolutionary creationists cannot affirm the traditional de novo view of human origins."

Dr. Craig retains all copyrights to this paper, and we are posting it here as a service to the larger conversation.




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  • Tim Stratton says:

    I was looking forward to this conversation. Two years ago I sat right next to William Lane Craig in a huge lecture hall at the EPS in Rhode Island as we listened to the panel of authors contend that Christians should be opposed to the idea of theistic evolution. Both Bill and I raised questions from the crowd. In fact, I argued that they seemed to miss the mark.

    After the panel discussion I discussed this further with both Moreland and Grudem. Moreland seemed to grant my case and Grudem simply responded by saying that he was tired (I respect that).

    Anyway, since my time at Biola (2011) I have offered a model based upon Molinism that shows how evolution from a single-celled common ancestor is logically compatible with the creation account in Genesis along with a literal and historical Adam and Eve. The model can be found here (an updated model is included in my PhD dissertation):


    In fact, the model I proposed showed the evolutionary biologist professor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, that she did not need to be opposed to the Bible because of science. Several months later she gave her life to Christ. This evolutionary biologist now helps me with the Reasonable Faith/Ratio Christi meetings on the UNK campus.

    With this backstory in mind, I could not wait for this discussion in San Diego at the recent EPS conference. However, to say I was “let down” would be an understatement.

    Dr. Craig’s presentation was brilliant. It was completely compatible and supportive of the model I have been proposing for several years. It seemed to me that Bill demonstrated that evolution from a single-celled common ancestor AND Intelligent Design can BOTH be true simultaneously! At that point, Meyers stood up and basically said, “But look at all the evidence for Intelligent Design!”

    Well, yeah, no one is denying that!

    During the break I asked Bill if he thought people might be “talking past each other.” I’ll never forget his response: “Boy, I’d say!”  

    After the panel discussion I talked with Steve Meyers and told him that Bill argued for the compatibility of evolution and ID. He responded by saying that he had argued otherwise. I said, “No, you have argued that evolution does not make sense apart from ID. Then I added that this makes a great case for the existence of God/ID:

    1- Evolution only works if ID is true.
    2- Evolution is true.
    3- Therefore, ID is true.

    Anyway, much more could be said, but that’s the gist of what I remember.

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