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As I have done my research on theistic evolution, which is the theory that God created the earth and everything in it but let the process of evolution happen on its own.

Definition of Evolution: The process by which different kinds of living organisms are thought to have developed and diversified from earlier forms during the history of the earth.

My main question though is what evidence is there to support the variety of different claims that theistic evolution makes?

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    I think that is probably an impossible question to answer, because all the available evidence points to evolution but not necessarily theistic evolution. Having established that evolution occurred, it is then an assumption that it was divinely guided. – Dick Harfield Apr 2 '17 at 20:50
  • There are many ways one could address this question. On the surface, it might be broken into its component parts: What is the evidence that God created the world? and What is the evidence for Evolution? The latter is answered by practically every piece of scientific understanding known to man. The former is much more nuanced. Do you want scientific evidence that a creator was involved in creation? Good luck. Do you want scientific evidence that the Bible's creation claims are valid? Good luck. – Flimzy Apr 3 '17 at 2:05
  • (cont) Generally the closest one might come in this area is to find evidence that the Bible is generally accurate. From this point, there's a clear leap-of-faith necessary to determine if you believe that the Bible is specifically accurate (with respect to the resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, etc). If one is willing to make such a leap, then the Biblical claims that God was the creator of the universe are easy conclusions. But you can't get there with just "science" or "evidence." – Flimzy Apr 3 '17 at 2:07
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    Welcome to Christianity.SE! Please take a few minutes to take the tour and find out how we differ from other sites. This is an interesting question, but do you think you can provide an overview of the "variety of different claims" made about theistic evolution? – Wtrmute Apr 6 '17 at 14:38
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    @DickHarfield - I would doubt your assertion that all available evidence points to evolution. Yes - intra species evolution occurs as Darwin noted, but the evidence that the life we see today was the natural result of species evolving into other species is speculative at best. No missing link yet! – David P Dec 14 '17 at 15:04
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First of all, evidence for the claims of evolution theory, theistic or not, comes from observations. Therefore, I understand the question as asking for exegetical evidence that the narrative of Genesis ch. 1 is compatible with evolution theory.

That compability comes from the distinct usage of two verbs in Gen ch. 1 for the divine activity: bara (Strong 1254), "create", and asah (Strong 6213), "make". Bara indicates the exclusively divine action of creating something which is not the result of reshaping a preexisting entity, and is used, as bārā or wayyiḇrā, in:

  • 1:1 & 2:3 for the whole universe;
  • 1:21 for the sea animals, the first living beings from the viewpoint of the Hebrews (for whom plants did not count as such);
  • 1:27 (& Deut 4:32) for man.

Thus, while sea animals were "created", meaning that their being did not come from mere reshaping of preexistent inanimate matter (since for the Hebrews plants did not count as living beings), birds and land animals were "made", meaning that their being came through the reshaping of sea animals (which BTW was just the actual case according to contemporary natural science), just as the sun, the moon and the stars were "made".

Man, in turn, was also "created", meaning that his being (i.e. his spiritual soul) did not come through the reshaping of an existing animal.

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This is a difficult question to answer, because many specific ideas come under the label of “theistic evolution.” It may at least be helpful to consider one particular question, whether the Earth was created in six 24-hour periods.

Augustine of Hippo, writing more than fourteen hundred years before Darwin, confesses that he does not understand the meaning of the days of creation, because what does it mean to have days before the Sun existed?

We see, indeed, that our ordinary days have no evening but by the setting, and no morning but by the rising, of the sun; but the first three days of all were passed without sun, since it is reported to have been made on the fourth day. And first of all, indeed, light was made by the word of God, and God, we read, separated it from the darkness, and called the light Day, and the darkness Night; but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was, and yet must unhesitatingly believe it. (City of God I.7)

I imagine is that every other issue would motivate someone to accept theistic evolution follows the same reasoning. One reads the Bible and concludes that the literal meaning surely cannot be the intended meaning—and perhaps we cannot understand the intended meaning, or perhaps we can make guesses.

(This is, incidentally, the way almost all communication works. If I say, “My supervisor is a real monster,” you are not confused, because you know that I don't believe in monsters, so you can safely infer that my meaning is metaphorical.)

  • "but what kind of light that was, and by what periodic movement it made evening and morning, is beyond the reach of our senses; neither can we understand how it was, and yet must unhesitatingly believe it." Notably, the answers to these questions are straightforward in modern relativistic cosmology! – Johannes Dec 14 '17 at 13:09

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