Peter Kirk has written a post titled The Gospel is not incompatible with theistic evolution, in which he responds to an article by Dr. David Shackelford. Peter’s response covers most of the ground.
I wanted to add something here, however, regarding “continuous upward progress,” which Dr. Shackelford, as quoted by Peter, says is “demanded” by most “versions of evolution.” I’m in the dark about what he means by “versions,” unless he’s referring to popular conceptions, and especially social evolution.
For example, an evolutionary view of the early Christian church would have the church “progressing” toward greater order and organization, thus the pastoral epistles must be later than other writings because they refer to such greater organization. On the other hand, if the progress is not so steady, nor unidirectional. I’m no church historian, but I’ve often wondered if the progress toward greater structure was not faster amongst those coming from Judaism with synagogue traditions than for Gentile Christians. All this begs the question of what is “progress” and more particular what is “upward progress.”
But the biological theory of evolution teaches no such thing. Though there is, I believe, a general trend toward greater variety, simply because there are more creatures to be varied, even that trend is not inevitable, and one can question whether a trend toward greater variety would be “upward progress” in general.
The tendency of biological evolution is toward suitability for some ecological niche (stated loosely–I’m no biologist), and depending on how you look at it, the tendency could be distinctly downward, for example, when a population of fish living in a cave lose their eyesight. The tendency can be terminal when a population fails to adapt to environmental changes.
For certain periods of time and using certain defintions of “upward” (people who use this term usually mean upward as leading toward us humans), you will find “upward progress” in evolution, but there is nothing about the theory, nor is there general evidence in the record, to suggest that evolution demands upward progress.