Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch13

Today we continue with chapter thirteen of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 13 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] – Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 13 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Thirteen: Origins, Design and Darwinism
(pages 266-296)

Chapter thirteen provides an overview of the topics in its title, outlining the key ideas of each area. Regarding origins, Groothuis describes three main Christian positions: theistic evolution, creationism, and progressive creationism. He offers his critiques of the first two, and his reasons for affirming the third view as most faithful to the Scriptures and to nature.

Regarding design and Darwinism, the author’s main goals include arguing for two main theses: (1) Belief in Darwinism as a comprehensive explanation for the biosphere has become a deterrent to Christian faith; thus a cogent refutation is in order. (2) Darwinism suffers from fatal flaws both logically and evidentially. It is far less well-supported than commonly thought. (p.267)

The chapter includes descriptions and critiques of some of the main tenets of Darwinism, while showing the proper place for these critiques in an overall case for Christian theism. Groothuis also paves the way for the following chapter, which makes a case for intelligent design.

Notable quotes:

But Darwinism is far more than a biological theory. It is integral to the secular worldview of the Western intellectual elite that wants to marginalize religious faith as having no claim on knowledge. The natural sciences and humanities are dominated by this naturalistic and secular worldview, and so they either ignore Christian claims or attack them forthrightly. Disputing Darwinism is, therefore, central in dislodging this secularist mindset that affects so much of elite intellectual life. (Christian Apologetics, p. 277) 

While methodological naturalism appears modest and agnostic to the untutored, it is a ruse for metaphysical materialism. Methodological naturalism assumes that even if God or anything supernatural exists, this cannot be evident in the universe. It thereby issues a metaphysical veto against any empirical evidence for the immaterial — such as the soul, God or the supernatural — regardless of the evidence that may be available(Christian Apologetics, pp. 278-279)

Natural selection itself does not provide the engine for speciation (macroevolution). Although it helps explain the survival of species (since species must adapt somewhat to environments if they are to survive over time), it does nothing to explain the arrival of species(Christian Apologetics, p. 283)  


  1. Do you find the author’s reasons in favor of progressive creationism convincing?
  2. Do you think it is important to critique Darwinism? Why or why not?
  3. What are your thoughts on the role of methodological naturalism in science?
Next week
Chapter Fourteen: Evidence for Intelligent Design
Written by

Brian Auten is the founder emeritus of Apologetics315. He is also director of Reasonable Faith Belfast. Brian holds a Masters degree in Christian Apologetics and has interviewed over 150 Christian apologists. His background is in missions, media direction, graphic design, and administration. Brian started Apologetics315 in 2007 to be an apologetics hub to equip Christians to defend the faith.

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The mission of Apologetics 315 is to provide educational resources for the defense of the Christian faith, with the goal of strengthening the faith of believers and engaging the questions and challenges of other worldviews.

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