What do Thomas Burnet, Gottfried Leibniz, Immanuel Kant, Erasmus Darwin and … Joel Hunter all have in common? They all made the argument that the evolution narrative is theologically superior because it is a sign of a more magnificent, more marvelous, greater god. You can see Joel Hunter’s version of this at the [0.30] mark in this video where he approvingly explains how thinking Christians think:
Probably, I would say, the vast majority of our people sitting in those pews, who are very uncomfortable with: “Look, it was six 24-hour days, and if you think anything else, then you don’t believe in Scripture.” These are science teachers; these are scientists; these are bright businessmen and businesswomen, and people who have been thinking. And they just say: “Wait a minute, God is God. God could choose any way He wants to create the world. And it doesn’t make it any less marvelous, as a matter of fact, it makes it more marvelous. Because He would be so intricate in its creation.
I doubt these thinking Christians are up on their Burnett or Leibniz or Kant or E. Darwin. This argument is common, but not because it is passed on but because it reflects a deep tendency in our religious thought.
When you hear people repeating religious doctrines that have been issued for centuries, you know there is a common bond. And that common bond is not Anglicanism, or Lutheranism, or Roman Catholicism. This common bond transcends denominations and parochial religious traditions. I call it theological naturalism because it, ultimately, is a theological mandate for a naturalistic creation narrative.
Religion drives science, and it matters.