Bavinck on theology and science

Several friends and I recently discussed the issues of theistic evolution and the historicity of Adam. We conclude that theistic evolution is unbiblical and harmful. We also affirm that God’s sure Word teaches that Adam and Eve existed and acted as Genesis tells it. I checked on what Herman Bavinck thinks on this matter in his Reformed Dogmatics. We need to hear him.

At the end of Bavinck’s discussion, he penned some right and wise words, found below. He wrote at the beginning of the 20th century. Now at the start of the 21st century, what he said still rings true.

So as Christians and as theologians we await with some confidence the certain results of the natural sciences. Theology has nothing to fear from thorough, multifaceted research. It only needs to be on its guard against attaching too much value to a study that is still completely new, imprecise, and incomplete; it therefore is constantly being augmented with conjectures and suspicions. It needs to be on its guard against making premature concessions to, and to seek agreement with, the so-called scientific results that can at any time be knocked down and exposed in their untenability by more thorough research. As the science of divine and eternal things, theology must be patient until the science that contradicts it has made a deeper and broader study of its field and, as it happens in most cases, corrects itself. In that manner theology upholds its dignity and honor more effectively than by constantly yielding and adapting itself to the opinions of the day.

Among self-confessed Evangelicals today, Peter Enns has very bravely questioned the historicity of Adam. A good review of one of Enn’s book on this issue is found at the most recent issue of Themelios.