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John West on C.S. Lewis (who was not really a “theistic evolutionist” as the term is understood today)


While 20th century Christian apologist C.S. Lewis (1898–1963) was open to the possible common descent of humans from lower animals, it is misleading, West notes, to call him theistic evolutionist because, usually, more is meant by that term:

Theistic evolution can mean many things, including a form of guided evolution, but many contemporary proponents of theistic evolution are more accurately described as theistic Darwinists. That is, they do not merely advocate a guided form of common descent, but they are attempting to combine evolution as an undirected Darwinian process with Christian theism. Although they believe in God, they strenuously want to avoid stating that God actually guided biological development.

For example, Anglican John Polkinghorne wrote that “an evolutionary universe is theologically understood as a creation allowed to make itself.” Former Vatican astronomer George Coyne claimed that because evolution is unguided “not even God could know… with certainty” that “human life would come to be.”

And Christian biologist Kenneth Miller of Brown University, author of the popular book Finding Darwin’s God (which is used in many Christian colleges), insists that evolution is an undirected process, flatly denying that God guided the evolutionary process to achieve any particular result — including the development of us. Indeed, Miller insists that “mankind’s appearance on this planet was not preordained, that we are here… as an afterthought, a minor detail, a happenstance in a history that might just as well have left us out.”

John G. West, “C. S. Lewis and Theistic Evolution” at Evolution News and Science Today (October 28, 2021)

Needless to say, Lewis did not subscribe to anything similar to this and might not have recognized it as Christian.

Note: West’s article is taken from Chapter 6 of his The Magician’s Twin.

From the same page: Editor’s note: To mark the release on November 3 of the new C. S. Lewis biopic, The Most Reluctant Convert, we are running a series of articles exploring C. S. Lewis’s views on science, mind, and more.

SPECIAL LIMITED-TIME OFFER: Get a FREE chapter exploring C.S. Lewis’s views of intelligent design from the book The Magician’s Twin


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