December 18, 2017

Get Ready for the Next Battle

By Chaplain Mike

“So, is the Adam and Eve question destined to become a groundbreaking science-and-Scripture dispute, a 21st-century equivalent of the once disturbing proof that the Earth orbits the sun? The potential is certainly there: the emerging science could be seen to challenge not only what Genesis records about the creation of humanity but the species’s unique status as bearing the “image of God,” Christian doctrine on original sin and the Fall, the genealogy of Jesus in the Gospel of Luke, and, perhaps most significantly, Paul’s teaching that links the historical Adam with redemption through Christ (Rom. 5:12-19; 1 Cor. 15:20-23, 42-49; and his speech in Acts 17).”

• Richard N. Ostling, Christianity Today, June 3, 2011

Creation through a gradual process is not a hypothesis that emerges from a peripheral scientific sub-discipline. To show it wrong would involve overturning principles that independently lie at the very core of the findings of most of the natural science disciplines. True, they all together cry out in unison with a loud voice—“Created!” However, they also, in a subtle, but persuasive whisper, add the all-important qualifying phrase—“…slowly and not in an instant!”

• BioLogos Blog, May 31, 2011

As we have been saying for some time, the secular world will not and cannot accept even the possibility of a young earth, because then they could not even postulate the idea of evolution. They require an incomprehensible amount of time to propose evolutionary beliefs. That is why the secular world use terms like “anti-science,” “anti-intellectual,” and “anti-academic” for those who reject billions of years and accept a young universe. And sadly, that is why so many Christian academics give in to the secular world—they want to be seen as academically respectable in the eyes of the world. (The research detailed in our book, Already Compromised, documents that the majority of Christian academics in Christian colleges believe in an old earth and universe.)

Note that if the billions of years is not true and the universe is only a few thousands of years old, then this debate about a literal Adam and Eve is over! It is so obvious from Scripture that God created a literal Adam and Eve—this is vital to the Christianity and an understanding of the Fall and why God’s Son became our Savior.

• Ken Ham, “I Agree with the Atheists!”

Creation of Adam, Uccello

As the weather starts to heat up, it seems that the creation wars do too. It happened last year at this time (see last June’s Archives), and it’s bound to happen this year again. In 2010, it was Albert Mohler and John MacArthur vs. BioLogos. Currently, it is Christianity Today running its June 3 cover story, “The Search for the Historical Adam,” and the turmoil that is likely to ensue.

You know we are going to talk about this, right?

As I get my thoughts together over the next few days, here are some of the pertinent articles that have been published in recent days for you to review:

As you read these articles (and if you know of others to recommend, please pass them on to us), give us your initial thoughts. Those with more conservative views are surely warning, “There it is—another domino falling!” Some predict that this will be the issue or at least one of the issues that may “produce a huge split right through the heart of conservative, orthodox, historic Christianity” (Michael Cromartie). CT’s article calls for a discussion that goes beyond knee-jerk reactions, and that is what I would like to have here.

Where is your thinking right now with regard to this matter?

Comments

  1. So now it’s not just the earth but the entire universe that’s only six to ten thousand years old?

    Does Ken Ham not see how he’s cutting off his nose to spite his face, when he goes “I agree with the atheists! If the universe is not six thousand years old, the Bible is a lie!”?

    Having just come off the whole topic of the Papacy and infallibility and what we are bound to believe or disbelieve, let me link you to this and especially in regard to Pope Pius XII and his encyclical of 1950, “Humani Generis”:

    “35. It remains for Us now to speak about those questions which, although they pertain to the positive sciences, are nevertheless more or less connected with the truths of the Christian faith. In fact, not a few insistently demand that the Catholic religion take these sciences into account as much as possible. This certainly would be praiseworthy in the case of clearly proved facts; but caution must be used when there is rather question of hypotheses, having some sort of scientific foundation, in which the doctrine contained in Sacred Scripture or in Tradition is involved. If such conjectural opinions are directly or indirectly opposed to the doctrine revealed by God, then the demand that they be recognized can in no way be admitted.

    36. For these reasons the Teaching Authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions, on the part of men experienced in both fields, take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter – for the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God. However, this must be done in such a way that the reasons for both opinions, that is, those favorable and those unfavorable to evolution, be weighed and judged with the necessary seriousness, moderation and measure, and provided that all are prepared to submit to the judgment of the Church, to whom Christ has given the mission of interpreting authentically the Sacred Scriptures and of defending the dogmas of faith. Some however, rashly transgress this liberty of discussion, when they act as if the origin of the human body from pre-existing and living matter were already completely certain and proved by the facts which have been discovered up to now and by reasoning on those facts, and as if there were nothing in the sources of divine revelation which demands the greatest moderation and caution in this question.

    37. When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains that either after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parent of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents. Now it is in no way apparent how such an opinion can be reconciled with that which the sources of revealed truth and the documents of the Teaching Authority of the Church propose with regard to original sin, which proceeds from a sin actually committed by an individual Adam and which, through generation, is passed on to all and is in everyone as his own.”

    To sum up: that humanity ‘evolved’ from ‘pre-existent’ matter – from living creatures – no problem. Don’t need to pin yourself down to six thousand years. It is the infused soul that is made in the image and likeness of God, not having ten fingers or opposable thumbs.

    To make Adam a symbolic representation – that’s the trouble. Have to believe there was a historic pair of First Parents and a real sin which begot Original Sin in us, their descendants.

    You can be a Catholic and believe in evolution and creation, but you cannot believe in materialism (i.e. that the physical origins of the universe are sufficiently explained without recourse to a Creator, that mankind is not ensouled, that mankind was not created, etc.)

    • It is nothing new in the young earth creationist camp to claim that all that we see in the visible universe is 6000 years old. As everything revolves around us on the Earth, the creation of the heavens began with the creation of light on day one and moved on through the rest of the sky in the creation of sun and moon and stars and planets on day four. You might find it interesting to note that a YEC would argue that the “day is as a thousand years” can not be true in creation because the sun was not created until after plants (day 3) and plants could not have lived for a 1000 years with out the sun (day 4).

      • Plants could not have lived without the sun – but that’s science, that is, that tells us the mechanism of photosynthesis.

        The same science they deny when it comes to radioactive decay, geological age, and the cosmological red-shift that enables the size (and thus age) of the visible universe to be calculated.

        To use some of Mike Flynn’s favourite quotes when disputing on such topics:

        They say] “We do not know how this is, but we know that God can do it.” You poor fools! God can make a cow out of a tree, but has He ever done so? Therefore show some reason why a thing is so, or cease to hold that it is so.
        — William of Conches, The Dragmatikon

        “[T]he natural order does not exist confusedly and without rational arrangement, and human reason should be listened to concerning those things it treats of. But when it completely fails, then the matter should be referred to God. Therefore, since we have not yet completely lost the use of our minds, let us return to reason.”
        — Adelard of Bath, Quaestiones naturales

        • I enjoyed your quotes. I believe I’ll make use of the first in an upcoming discussion on another topic all together.

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      So now it’s not just the earth but the entire universe that’s only six to ten thousand years old?

      6014 years old — Ees Party Line, Comrades. (aka “IT IS WRITTEN! IT IS WRITTEN! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE! SCRIPTURE!!!!”)

      Christ got thrown under the YEC Uber Alles bus a LONG time ago.

      • “Christ got thrown under the YEC Uber Alles bus a LONG time ago.”

        HUG, I hope you never stop saying that. As my dad used to say, “It bears repeatin’.”

  2. Only one thought: This issue is way blown out of proportion. Not worth dividing over at all imo, like eschatology. We got so much more crucial issues at stake that get swept under the rug.

    • Co-sign!

    • it’s crucial in that, when it is made a case of “Either you believe in a six thousand year old universe or you don’t believe in God at all”, then for a believer or an inquirer who looks at the matter, says “So far as I can see, the evidence stacks up on the side of science”, then they are faced with the false choice of “Close my eyes and pretend this is wrong, or abandon God”, and many may abandon faith in any kind of God as being unreasonable – as if they are asked to believe in pink elephants or that if you go too far West, you’ll fall off the edge of the earth.

      Definitely it’s not worth splitting Christianity over, but if a section of Christianity is getting attention and publicity for what sounds like “Turn off your brain and drink the kool-aid”, then it is no witness to the world. If someone in good conscience says “I can’t believe what you’re asking me to believe, and you tell me I must believe all this or deny God altogether, therefore I must deny God”, how are we helping them to faith?

    • Tell Ken Hamm, John MacArthur, Albert Hohler and the other fundgelicals this. The like the controversary apparantly. They want to force this hand. They, in their “us” vs. “them” mindset attach this issue to being an orthodox Christian. Hey when I was exiting Christinaity and having my problems with a loving God allowing evil, I had some fundys who brought this issue up and demanded I believe in YEC. Okay, if I do that I’ll also believe in unicorns, the idea that the earth is flat, etc..

      One of the nice aspects ofbeing outside Christinaity is that I don’t hear fighting on this issue. And that’s nice.

      • brilliantvapor says:

        Hey, what did unicorns ever do to you to deserve lumped into that list? 🙂

  3. Luckily my faith in Christ rests with Christ, not a book. I’ll believe God wrote Genesis when He comes down and personally tells me. Until then, I’ll take it as a 3000 year story inspired by God and of a higher form of truth than a literal truth.

  4. Headless Unicorn Guy says:

    Where is your thinking right now with regard to this matter?

    While the Jihad flares up and Anathemas fly, pastors’ widows are still eating out of dumpsters.

    • You have said this before, and I don’t understand what it means. Could you “splain it” to me?

      • MIchael says:

        Without meaning to assume that I know HUG’s meaning infallibly*, I’m guessing he means that debates over topics like this steal all our energy and theological thunder – and eat up pastors’ time – while the real business of the church remains untended to and forgotten.

        * see what I did there?

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        My writing partner (the burned-out preacher) tells me that in his denomination, pastors’ widows often end up so destitute they have to eat out of dumpsters. But Everybody Prays for Them (TM).

  5. While taxonomies are often either oversimplified or to much driven by agenda, this one from Biologos seems to me to be a fair accounting of the relevant voices in the debate…

    http://biologos.org/resources/leading-figures

    I’d say my views most closely align with Biologos:

    “Biologos believes both the Bible and modern science should be taken seriously, and seeks a harmony between them that respects the truth of each. By using appropriate biblical and theological scholarship BioLogos believes that the apparent conflicts that lead some to reject science and others to reject the Bible can be avoided.”

    My only caveat is that in matters concerning the proper telos of human beings, it is always incumbent upon us to accede to our best understanding of the authority of God’s word as revealed by and through the person of our Lord.

  6. I have to admit that my first reaction to the question “Where is your thinking right now with regard to this matter?” was “WHO EFFING CARES?” It was also my second, third and fourth reaction.

    I want to grow in loving God and loving my neighbor. find communities of believers that are doing the same, and live out the Gospel of grace in the sight of the world. Yet the majority of what I hear coming out of the American church is arguments over how old the universe is, why we should exempt our kids from certain school days, how our culture is being manipulated by gays/feminists/special interests/white Europeans/socialists/big business/labor unions/Hollywood (pick the straw man of your choice), and who’s going to control the Republican Party.

    Well, you know what? I. Don’t. Care. Come the end, all those things are going to burn. I can no longer afford to waste my time getting worked up over anything on Earth that won’t also be around in Eternity. Call me when the scientists go back to working on science, and Ken Ham goes back to building amusement parks.

    (/rant)

  7. I do believe in a literal devil, and I think he doesn’t much care whether people are creationists or evolutionists, pre-mils or a-mils, as long as they base their faith and energy on anything but Jesus Christ, God Incarnate, who died, rose and insists that He will reign forever. I think he loves nothing better than a hot theological discussion.

    • You’re right, Kat. The devil doesn’t care if we argue about this or about infant baptism or the immaculate conception, as long as we argue. But unfortunately this isn’t going to go away. The YEC keeps calling the rest of us apostate, using this a litmus test for the faith. And, judging by the effect on opinion polls and the ballot box, it’s altering secular politics. As Christians we do need to get above this, but I’m afraid it’s not possible just yet. But we can at least argue gracefully if we feel the need to argue.

      • I’m sure the Pope called the Reformers apostate too. If so, we’re in pretty good company.

  8. It is written that the sun stood still over Gibeon (Joshua 10:12-13) not that the earth stopped rotating. Following these folks’ argument, if it’s not the sun moving, but the earth, as Copernicus postulated and pretty much every astronomer, scientist, astronaut, and member of the general public believes, then the bible is invalid and Christianity falls to pieces.

    My view, and I would argue that it’s the view of most of us Christians, is that Christianity is all about Jesus, and stands and falls on Jesus. The primary focus in our lives is meant to be on Him. If the primary focus of our lives is on confirming our very narrow interpretation of how Genesis 1-2 had to have happened in order to make the bible valid for us, we’ve prioritized two things ahead of Jesus: the bible, and our interpretation of it.

    So to me this issue is small potatoes, but Christianity Today is selling a few magazines by giving its fans a place to vent.

    • David L says:

      “It is written that the sun stood still over Gibeon (Joshua 10:12-13)”

      The best response to this I ever heard was “stood still relative to WHAT?”

  9. With the possible articles we could recommend, i assume its ok to post them in the comments page? I don’t really want to defy the recent request made on the bulletin board.

    I’ll put it up anyway; this is an article written by Daniel C. Harlow, professor of biblical and early Jewish studies in the Department of Religion at Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Harlow’s arguments seem reasonable, well-articulated, and firmly grounded in both science and scripture. Harlow’s seems like a reliable academic who has thoroughly researched his topic, unlike some who write on this subject.

    I highly recommend it.

    http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2010/PSCF9-10Harlow.pdf

  10. I’ve read Genesis a couple of times and I’m sure it was not written as a biology teaching book. I don’t doubt for a nanosecond that God created the universe, the world, man and everything else, but to nail people down on the belief that it had to be 6 x 24 hours narrows the text down to just one interpretation. Just take the hebrew word “yom” – that’s where the trouble begins: It can mean a timespan of 24 hours as well as a certain event that is not bound to time limits. The “yom Jahweh”, the day of the Lord is surely going to take longer than 24 hours. God exists outside of dimensional limits such as time and space, we should keep that in mind.

    • Exactly. And yom can also mean the daylight hours within the 24-hour period (Gen 1:5): “God called the light Day and the darkness he called Night.” Using yom in that manner exclusively (which would not be wise) makes a day about 16 hours where I live this time of year, and about 9 hours in December.

      But the second half of that verse uses yom in the 24-hour sense: “And there was evening and there was morning, one day.”

      And yet YEC insists that it be used as 24-hours only. Not consistent.

  11. Here’s my thinking on this matter:

    1) There are faithful believers on both sides of the issue who see it as peripheral and can have a rational discussion. These people don’t make the headlines much. They will be largely ignored in the flare-up and sometimes even hurt.

    2) The war will accomplish absolutely nothing for the Kingdom, and will probably hurt it. Few will be won over on either side. Many will be hurt by those who consider their own viewpoint as essential to being a good Christian, or perhaps even to being a Christian at all.

    3) Jesus will come in a distant second at best in the heat of this whole debate. There may not even be mention of him. Un-Jesus-like behavior is likely.

    4) If things really heat up, the world will take notice and mostly comment on how ridiculous the whole debate is, and by association the church and the gospel message. The gospel witness will suffer (again) because of Christians behaving badly.

    5) As I have with the culture wars, I’m opting out as a conscientious objector in this war.

  12. I have this vision of a rescue ship being run by the current horde of evangelical leaders, the ship is filled with life preservers, floatation devices and all manner of rescue equipment. All around the ship, people are struggling to stay alive, and one by one they disappear gasping beneath the waves to meet their watery fate.

    But aboard the ship no one notices, instead they are arguing over which rescue procedure to use and why theirs is the best. The more they argue, posture and fight. The more people around them drown.

    All of this is nonsense, these men who deem themselves the keepers of the faith. Are nothing more than modern day pharisee’s. It’s not about the truth, it’s most certainly not about the Gospel anymore, it’s about pounding your chest and making a statement. There is no room in their tiny hearts for any belief that does not match their own, they preach grace and love, but their lives are a testament to just how empty their words are.

    I don’t want another war, I don’t want anymore science and faith collusion’s (or collisions). I just want to practice a simple faith, share Christs love with one another and be mature enough to understand that we won’t all agree on every issue.

    Next…

    -Paul-

    • I have real sympathy for what you (and others here) are saying, Paul. From my standpoint as one who has been a pastor and teacher, however, theological issues like this must be discussed in the churches and schools. Since evangelicals don’t have a magisterium to guide us or any kind of authoritative episcopate to guide pastors in knowing how to handle God’s Word from the pulpit and lectern, we must learn to talk with one another in edifying ways and ask the Holy Spirit to guide us. If I were a pastor right now, I might feel constrained by the current atmosphere from teaching my interpretation of Genesis, which I happen to think is Christ-centered and harmonious with the story of Scripture. But I’m not interested in splitting a church over it or getting involved in endless arguments with zealots for certain positions. On the other hand, we can’t simply avoid these kinds of issues; the church never has and never will. I agree that it is maddening sometimes, but the CT article at least is calling for “a difficult, grace-filled family meeting” for the purpose of productive discussion.

      • The trouble is, it sounds like cowardice. It sounds as if Christians cannot engage with reality; that they have to live in a little bubble with their hands over their ears going “La-la-la, I can’t hear you!”.

        It makes faith sound irrational, which (I hope) we all agree it is not.

        It puts belief in Christ on the level of believing in the Tooth Fairy, as far as a sceptical secular world is concerned.

        • Martha,

          I agree that avoiding the questions makes us look like cowards, in fact to Chaplain Mike’s point. I would actually like to have the conversation, it would be healthy to discuss the various viewpoints. The issue is that we can’t seem to have the discussion without it turning into a farce. The minute we disagree on some point, no matter how insignificant, it begins this cycle of accusations, posturing and general idiocy.

          Case in point, years ago, I actually sat through most of Ken Hovind’s series on YEC, and you know what, if you moved past some of the more shall we say ‘fragrant parts’, that left a bad taste in your mouth. He actually had worked out some pretty good ideas for a YEC argument, it didn’t harm me at all to listen to his more reasoned and thought out ideas. He was a loon then and is now on a number of issues, *but* it wasn’t all bad.

          I’m all for having the conversation, I welcome it, I like to hear other ideas. And CM is right, we can’t avoid these issues, but we can avoid the nonsense and possibly set an example by having open irenic discussions about all this. I’m not convinced either side, YEC, Old Earth is right. I’ve not seen anything that would sway me one way or the other, both sides can make some pretty good arguments, and the poetry of Genesis certainly is going to answer the question. It’s a minor issue in the grand scale of things, but one that I’m willing to discuss, if we CAN actually discuss it.

          -Paul-

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        If I were a pastor right now, I might feel constrained by the current atmosphere from teaching my interpretation of Genesis, which I happen to think is Christ-centered and harmonious with the story of Scripture.

        My writing partner IS a pastor right now.
        My writing partner is not a YEC.
        My writing partner IS constrained by the current atmosphere.

    • Paul I think this issue is like those who screamed in the 1400’s “the earth is flat!!!” One of the things I despised about Christinaity was the wars. There were some fundys who were willing to duke it out over abortion, pornography restrictions, homosexuality, school prayer, End Times theology, birth control, etc… This is one more issue. Some I think enjoy the fighting. I hated it!!

      But here is the reality as you alluded to. The ship has struck the iceberg, and is going down. In turn some need to fight, dispute this issue because it is THEIR faith. They have built rivets used in building their hull. Instead they play this game while sticking their finger in the hole trying to keep the whole ship afloat, despite the fact that it is still sinking.

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        There were some fundys who were willing to duke it out over abortion, pornography restrictions, homosexuality, school prayer, End Times theology, birth control, etc…

        Whether to break an egg from the Big or Little end…

  13. That Other Jean says:

    My thoughts? That Genesis is poetry, not physics or biology. Its truths are poetic, not literal. I think that the earth is billions of years old, that evolution is the way the world works, and that mankind evolved from older, simpler, ape-like creatures. If you wanted to say that God looked at one set of proto-apes and decided that they would be different from their cousins that they might come to recognize Him (Her, It) in the fullness of time, I wouldn’t argue with you.

  14. creation battles/wars seem more like a 3-ring circus or even a less pretentious dog-and-pony-show to me after engaging in some exchanges with YEC & old age creationists.

    my faith considered suspicious due to slippery slope streaks & stains on my creation+science viewpoints similar to Hugh Ross & his efforts to make sense of both Genesis & science. for any believer that is both convinced everything seen & unseen ‘created’ by a God that is both knowable & relational, there is no fear appreciating the discoveries science attempts to understand & explain in scientific terms. i think the physical sciences a great vehicle for unveiling the amazingly intricate manner God has put all of it together…

    could He have done it in 6-billionths of a second? even before time+seconds created? or 6-billion years? or 6 consecutive 24 hour cycles? time is neither a requirement nor a limitation to God’s creative expression. however, to claim that all of what is being measured with ever improving modern equipment is only 6-10 thousand solar years old as we understand such a standard, is, well, a bit of a theological presumption IMHO…

    the historical Adam an interesting consideration since to have such a creature head-and-shoulders above the rest of the homonoids with self-awareness, intellect, speech, etc. problematic for unguided evolution. along with such attributes to then be capable of choice resulting in sin (disobedience) a key element in God’s elevated status He places on the entire human species. how did it happen that humankind became living souls? how deliberate was the Creator in forming male+female from the elements of the earth? wow. i like the considerations, but please, leave the anathemas at home if you want to engage others in glorifying the Creator in such ruminations. making a monkey out of those of disparate views simply tiresome & useless speculation that was never intended to cause division, hurt, ridicule, castigation, etc. play nice people…

    blessings…

  15. Kenny Johnson says:

    What does a non-literal Adam do to the Gospel — or how we understand it though? The Story of the Bible has been often discussed as: Creation, Fall, Israel, Christ, Redemption (or some variation).

    But if Adam isn’t real, then how do we understand the Fall and corruption? These are important questions to ask.

    I’m open to evolution, but I can’t lie — some of the theological implications are uncomfortable.

    • That’s a tough one. Some thoughts.

      In the genealogies of Old and New Testaments, Adam is listed, indicating that he was a literal person, in the eyes of the apostles and Jewish chroniclers.

      But even then, it isn’t entirely open and shut. “Adam” in Hebrew means “Man.” It could be that so little literal facts were known about the first man that ancient authors decided to call the first man, whoever he was, “Man” and use him as a stand-in for the real person.

      Logically speaking, there had to be a first man. The question is: was he literally named “Adam”? I would say yes, others would say no. But I trust ancient literature and understanding more than most people do. I think the ancients were smarter and more sophisticated than we give them credit for.

      I think they kept records, and people knew who Adam was. They knew who his sons were. They knew about Noah and the Flood. They knew where the nations came from, and who they were related to, and where everybody fit in the family tree. There were royal families in pre-Christian Europe who traced their ancestry back to Noah and his sons. There’s pretty good historical scholarship (from a YEC source) to back this up. I recommend the book “After the Flood” by Bill Cooper. I think Christians would do better to focus a little more on solid scholarship of ancient texts than on matters of science.

      Needless to say, we don’t need a story to tell us about the reality of sin, even of original sin. No one is born righteous, as parents can attest. I think the Gospel can still stand even if one doesn’t believe in a “literal Adam.”

      Nonetheless, I DO believe in a literal Adam, but I believe it not out of compulsion, because I fear my belief system will collapse if I don’t, but rather because I trust the ancient sources, I trust tradition and I think ancient humans knew their stuff.

      • Kenny Johnson says:

        Modern science suggests that there wasn’t a first man, but that the species of man rose from an isolated population of something pre-human. This isolated group had genetic mutations that they shared through mating over a long period of time and that GROUP of people became the first humans — not a single man and woman (or Adam and Eve).

        Now, you could say that then God bestowed on those 2 humans some kind of spirit or humanness that made them special. And maybe that was Adam and Eve. Even Genesis seems to suggest that there were other people unrelated to Adam and Eve in existence outside the Garden.

        But perhaps Genesis was nothing more than Ancients trying to understand creation with ancient science, myth, and history — but through the Holy Spirit were imparting real truths about the nature of God and Man.

    • JoanieD says:

      Adam and Eve’s children got married. So there were people existing at the same time as Adam and Eve, if you believe there was a literal Adam and Eve. I can go either way. The Gospel works for me even without a specific couple in a specific garden committing a specific act. Jesus told his disciples that they needed to be like the little child who he took into his arms. That child was probably trusting, loving life, needing care of its parents. That’s how we all start out. But then, we go astray. But God is always there, awaiting our return like the prodigal son. You may say, “Well, then, why did Jesus need to die? What did that do for us?” Jesus opened the path to God and made it available to all. He conquered death and evil. He poured out the Holy Spirit to be with us always.

    • I think you can’t have original sin without a literal Adam. We are all “in” Adam in a literal, physical way (his seed) and therefore his sin and its guilt is directly transmitted to us. Some might say he was just a representative man, but not literally THE one man from whom all humans descended. But I don’t think the parallel with Christ being THE one man from whom all in the new creation are born works then. All believers are “in” Christ literally as part of His body—He’s not just a representative, He’s THE new man. And so Adam is THE original man.

      • JoanieD says:

        JeffB, I can conceive of Adam as representing all of humanity. That humanity was once in harmony with God, but went astray. I think of this when I see animals naturally knowing what is good to eat, naturally knowing how to build their dwellings. Then I look at people who seem totally lost. We have this sense that somewhere in humanity’s history, we KNEW things “naturally.” God talked and walked with us. But then we find ourselves adrift and wonder how we came to be this way. Thus we have the story of Adam and Eve making a wrong choice and being banished from the garden to make their way outside of that garden. THEN, we have Jesus. He is something new in creation. He IS in total communion with God the Father. And he takes us right along with him if we wish to become a part of that new creation. It works for me.

        • I remember the last time this topic was hashed out it was mentioned that much of the language of Genesis was temple language, and that . Based on that, and the NT references to Jesus being both the new Adam and our high priest, I can also conceive of Adam being the first high priest. So instead of Adam representing people as a whole we have a literal, flesh-and-blood person who as a priest represents the people before God.

          Ultimately, though, I see this as one of those grey areas where perfect clarity will continue to elude all but the most die-hard Inerrancy uber alles literalists.

          • Oops, had 2 thoughts going, finalized one and posted the comment.

            First sentence should finish with: “was temple language, and that the garden itself was God’s temple.”

  16. Eagle has returned from 7-11. He has instant Microwave popcorn, a 6 pack of Miller and he’s thrown a bag of popcorn in the microwave. He also pulled up a lawn chair and is getting ready for the fireworks from YEC fundys. Who needs ESPN when you can watch a YEC turn the Bible into a weapon and pound the %^&*# out of someone? Remember WWJB..”Who Would Jesus Beat?”

    • Eagle: Miller eh???

      WWJD?

      enjoy the show. it does have all the juicy ingredients of a real Jerry Springer knock-down-drag-out, no??? 😀

      • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

        Tip:
        Search YouTube for “Jerry Springer” by Weird Al Yankovic.

    • Miller? I’ll pray for you that God will grant you better taste. Now if you had said Guinness….

      • Now if you had said Guinness…

        ah yes, the ever welcomed & refreshing rabbit trail of beer appreciation…

        Sierra Nevada my standard since i am moving to Chico, CA soon. most of the micro-brewed offerings worthy of bragging rights for those that appreciate them.

        however, wine is my libation of choice along with bourbon or the high-end rye whisky offerings. and Irish whisky the dream of this California boy to sample in its local pub. someday…someday…

        • The best beer I ever had was called Nugget Nectar, by the Troegs Brewery in Harrisburg, PA. If you’re ever in the area, give it a try.

  17. I think Christians would do better to focus a little more on solid scholarship of ancient texts than on matters of science.

    ‘solid’ scholarship of ancient texts by whom???

    and matters of science suspect because of the use of smoke+mirrors?

    i think the implications behind such statements the ‘reason’ many thinking Christians a bit jumpy about the manner which the issue(s) postured…

    i am not sure such an approach going to be the effective means to engage a largely scientific-minded populace, but then i am sure the strategy must accurately identify the supposed mental challenges one is trying to overcome in such an approach…

    does Cooper’s book stand up to review by historical, archaeological, anthropological, linguistic & biological evidence? does anyone within the scientific community consider his theories worthwhile? is it an attempt to squeeze a predetermined religious result out of the carefully selected material referenced?

    i am sure Mr. Cooper a sincere theorist, but does he have any support from the scientfic community he seems to want to take his presuppositions seriously???

    should we???

    • Mr. Cooper’s texts were historical records from pre-Christian Europe. They were written in obscure, dead languages. Very few people are capable of deciphering, and, honestly, most people don’t care enough to do so. Some examples include: The Anglo Saxon Chronicle, the Bede’s Ecclesiastical History of the English People, &c.

      True, we live in a scientific age. History and the humanities in general are decidedly “out of style.” I do not think that they are unimportant. I would argue they are more important now than ever.

      There are very real and serious consequences to having a society focused upon technical and scientific expertise at the expense of beauty, philosophy, music, art and theology. Christians should defend the humanities. We may need to get over some of our fears about “sacraments” in order to do so, but it’s worth it.

      • c’mon. have you looked up Mr. Cooper’s credentials???

        an economics degree??? and how many people have bought his book???

        doesn’t Mr. Cooper posit Hebrew was the ‘original’ language???

        and Mr. Cooper has support from what academic circles???

        and now he alone stands as the lone pillar of recently rediscovered geneological ‘links’ that support a YEC presupposition???

        and now you want us to take him seriously???

        obscure dead languages that have how many ancient linguists supporting his hypothesis???

        and you wonder why the ‘scholarly’ support of YEC theories truly lacking in the substance department???

        the way that you explain it is almost sufficient to make me think it is not even worth me trying to sort out fact from fiction in Mr. Cooper’s theories. again, why think one individual is actually capable of finally, finally, bringing ‘all’ the loose ends of both YEC & old earth findings to a ‘case closed’ conclusion?

        i am not at all comfortable with such a proposition. it needs some serious support from other disciplines that can validate such a proposition. any such ongoing study/discovery going on today???

        • I trust “amateurs” to do serious study of topics the professionals are afraid to touch. Some of the greatest discoveries are made by people who didn’t, strictly speaking, “know” what they were doing. Michael Faraday, notable Christian scientist, anyone?

          Great innovations in science have often come not from scientists sitting in universities, but from regular tradesman, engineers and the like. See the book “Shop Class as Soulcraft” by Matthew Crawford. Or “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”

          Heard the story of how longitude was discovered? John Harrison, an obscure clockmaker and mechanic from a small town in England, developed the mariner’s clock capable of determining longitude with amazing precision. The Royal Academy opposed him every step of the way, insisting on a celestial solution to what was essentially a time problem. At the time, the longitude problem was considered THE problem of science, much like cold fusion or a perpetual motion machine are considered today.

          So no, lacking credentials doesn’t mean your particular thesis about a particular topic (leaving the possibility that one may be wrong on other topics) is wrong.

          • Kenny Johnson says:

            Sometimes, yes. But in general, the lonewolves are just crackpots.

          • i then theorize English being the original language since my Bible is written in it…

            long lost language only recently rediscovered & currently the one science actually uses most…

            and since i have my B.S. in Ornamental Horticulture, i will with very educated certainty state that when God planted the Garden & had the man & women ‘care’ for it, that gardening/agriculture became the world’s oldest profession contrary to the more widely held understanding…

            and furthermore, the Tree of Life & the Tree of the Knowledge of Good & Evil were grafted. yeah. grafted by God onto a vitis rootstock (family Vitaceae) for the Tree of LIfe & a pome rootstock (family Rosaceae) for the other…

            anyway, my theories certainly up for debate which should be the case. and i would not fear any peer review since what i am stating just one man’s opinion amateur or not. if Cooper’s validation comes from other mechanically adept folk that actually applied the physics of their trade, then i would say Cooper may have constructed an Enigma code regarding ancient languages which he alone deciphered?

            i am still very skeptical of Cooper’s proposition if he stands alone on his ‘findings’. certainly they can be verified by others that could test such things unless of course they need the special crystal glasses to read these ancient texts accurately???

  18. I grew up on solid science as a kid, watching NOVA, COSMOS with Carl Sagan, reading Scientific American and reading the Science Times every Tuesday.I also grew up hearing the gospel message of Billy Graham and accepted it as a small child. They were never in conflict and still aren’t. I’m very grateful for the work of Biologos and for the courage of CT in diving into this issue. American evangelicals must come to terms with this and get out from under the fundamentalist/modernist false dichotomy.

  19. I’m learning to “embrace the gray” – i.e. get comfortable with these areas of faith that aren’t as black and white as we might like them to be.

    From a practical perspective, I homeschool my two kids, so I need to introduce to them the controversy about origins and why I accept the scientific evidence for an old earth, old universe, and biological evolution. But, I also want to make sure they understand that this can be a difficult issue. I’m struggling with the “necessity” of a literal Adam. My kids need to be able to hear differing opinions on these secondary issues of Christianity without feeling like I’ve betrayed them in their education. (Of course, neither of them is likely to study any science after high school unless it’s absolutely required, so they probably won’t think about this subject very much.)

    This is also a topic that Christians, especially those in scientific and technical fields need to be able to discuss. When I was working as a family physician, I knew that some of my colleagues were turned off to the Christian faith because of the perception that it is “anti-science”. I wish I had been able to articulate to them that we can accept scientific findings as Christians and that we don’t have our heads stuck in the sand.

    As much as I’d like this issue to go away, I can’t ignore it right now. Once the kids have graduated high school and I’m selling yarn instead of practicing medicine, I won’t have as much need to keep up with this. Until then, I keep reading and praying and trying to “embrace the gray”.
    Catherine

    • Thank you, Catherine. As an RN and now nursing instructor, I too bump up again this concern frequently with co-workers and students. Variations on the theme of “how can someone of your education and experience believe in fairy tales?” This is usually aimed at Christianity in general, but everytime something like last month’s end-of-time stories or YEC’s get on the cover of a magazine, it gets more specific.

      I have mentioned before that the entire YEC set of beliefs was out of my experience until well into adulthood. I was raised Catholic, stugying the likes of Teilhard De Chardin. Never saw any conflict between science and creation…..at some point, what may have looked huminod became created AS human with the infusion of a soul and reason. I am ok with not knowing where or when this occured, only that it did happen somewhere along the line, in God’s sweet time.

      My introduction to evangelicals came when another Army wife was horrified by my “I’m a Leo” T-shirt at a picnic. I got a crash course in the evils of astrology (never a belief of mine, btw, just up there with mood rings and tie-dye for a period in time) along with the age of the earth, my NON-christian status as a Catholic, the evils of alcohol (with a glass of wine in my hand) and all of the rest of fundmental doctrine. I dutifully read up on all this (back when one had to find b-o-o-k-s) and made a point of visiting Coburg and Wittenburg and several other similar spots when we lived in Germany. A real eye-opener. So, now I understand the YEC point of view….and still think it i horribly off base and makes the rest of look like fools when we get clumped together under the “Christian” umbrella.

      • Yes, I do know that Lutherans are not evangelicals. I was lumping together most of my non-Catholic relgious education.

      • My introduction to evangelicals came when another Army wife was horrified by my “I’m a Leo” T-shirt at a picnic. I got a crash course in the evils of astrology (never a belief of mine, btw, just up there with mood rings and tie-dye for a period in time) along with the age of the earth, my NON-christian status as a Catholic, the evils of alcohol (with a glass of wine in my hand) and all of the rest of fundmental doctrine.

        you are my kind of Catholic Pattie! and my b-day in late July… 😉

  20. JoanieD says:

    I just finished reading the CT article. I particularly liked what it says on page 5:

    “After scanning various interpretations of Genesis, Enns joins those who see the Genesis passages on Adam as ‘a story of Israelite origins,’ not the origin of all humanity, in which case there is no essential conflict with evolutionary theory”.

    It also says that Tremper Longman III of Westmont College is “similarly open-minded on the question of Paul’s epistles because ‘it is possible, even natural, to make an analogy between a literary figure and a historical one.’ “

  21. I believe every word the Bible says, no two ways about it. For instance I believe the earth was created in six days, and the universe around it (which isn’t much bigger anyway). But we can’t really know what shape the earth is, the Bible just isn’t clear. Or whether the stars go around the earth or the other way around. Anyway, science and the Bible rightly interpreted don’t have to contradict each other. Adams sons could have married the Nephilim (Gen. 6) from the Twelth Planet Nibiru, which is where our ancestors evolved before they put us in Eden.

    • Been reading too much Zecharia Sitchin, eh? 🙂

      http://www.sitchiniswrong.com/

      • You know those heirogliphic pictures of Ancient Astronauts on the pyramids that are shown wearing space helmets with antenna and everything? Well I beleive this is not meant to be taken literally, like Sitchin does–their SYMBOLIC ancient astronauts. But to leap from that and say there were no ancient astronauts, well that’s just going to far.

    • Gomer, you reveal yourself! Your slip of the tongue about the Nephilim “EVOLVED” on the twelfth planet just shows that you’re one of those durned scientists trying to pull the wool over our eyes!

      Thought you’d fooled us, didn’t you?

      😉

      • It doesn’t have to be the Twelth Planet–now that Pluto doesn’t count it could be some other number. The Bible doesn’t say. Anyway if we can reinterpret the Bible then why not science? Maybe we did not literally evolve from the monkies, but spiritually.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          We talking the Lemurian Root Races of Theosophy, or just garden-variety Eric von Daniken?

  22. Damaris says:

    It’s worth noting that “science” isn’t monolithic. A few years ago certain scientists, through tracing DNA back, postulated that we all descended from a single woman, whom they named, for convenience, “Eve.” Now certain other scientists are offering a different picture. Soon someone else will have a third speculation. Science is an on-going search for material truth, and some of it is well done and some of it is pretty iffy. We can almost never say, “Science says,” especially about new fields or discoveries. Science itself is deeply divided, and the honest scientists know that there is much more to be discovered. And sometimes new discoveries are based on an incredible paucity of information — two teeth and a shin bone yield a whole new theory in paleontology about the social habits of hominids, for example. And the media will jump on any new “discovery,” not distinguishing between a genuine fact and a goofy postulation, and report it as “Science.”

    So when Christians and others set up a conflict between Christianity and Science, what are they really talking about? Christians should be sophisticated enough to examine the “science” carefully and self-controlled enough to keep their mouths shut and their keyboards dusty instead of fighting with ephemera.

    Personally I enjoy watching the lava lamp of scientific understanding, where theories rise and fall, swamping other ones then being dominated themselves. After time and work, some things are established as fact, others are discarded. Seeking material truth is a noble pursuit for human beings; but faith is the air we breathe and the food we eat. There’s no conflict there.

  23. Steve Newell says:

    If we reject Genesis as being a book of history for all of its chapters, we do we do with the Fall? Is the Fall an actual event? If it did happen, then was there death prior to the Fall? If there is death before the Fall, then want do we do with God’s statement that Adam & Eve would die if they disobeyed God’s command not to eat of the tree they would die? It there “Original Sin”? What was Paul then writing about the role of Adam and of Christ in Romans?

    We cannot just lightly treat Genesis without understanding the theological impact.

    • Brendan H says:

      The Fall is the story of sin entering the world through one (hu)man. And, as Kierkegaard notes, EACH TIME that sin enters the world, it enters through one (hu)man.

    • I was just thinking about it the other day… If there was no death, there would just be endless piles of living people stacked so high on top of each other on this earth that we wouldn’t be able to move or breathe. Imagine how horrible it would be. A truly torturous, ever-living existence. I think death needs to exist in this world. The death from the apple was a spiritual death, imo. Physical death was always in the plan. Maybe heaven is infinitely huge though, and can fit us all in for the afterlife!

  24. Michael H. says:

    It is not necessary to choose between Genesis as purely mythological/ahistorical/non-informing of our cosmology and Genesis as literal/historical/scientific fact in every respect. If the account of the fall, for example, is metaporic truth, what is the metaphor ABOUT? Does it merely symbolize a timeless state of affairs, a kind of “fall” that occurs at all times and places? Or does it symbolically speak to us about a once-and-for-all departure from God on the part of primal humanity, albeit one that did not necessarily take place in the way described in Genesis 3? Biblically, it must be the latter, if it is symbolic and not literal truth. Similar things could be said about the existence of Adam and Eve. If the purpose of these characters in the biblical narrative is to symbolize something, is it all of humanity at all times and places, or primal, collective humanity at the beggining of history that is being symbolized? From the standpoint of Paul, I think it would have to be the latter, if it is not literal truth. Don’t hear me taking sides on the issue. My only point is that “literal vs. ahistorical” is a false choice. Theoretically, the narrative could be non-literal and still refer to events in history which permanently shaped future human existence.

  25. Old-Earth Creationist & maybe Theistic Evolutionist here. Historical Adam & Eve in Eden, fallen after being tempted by the Serpent- absolutely, maybe even as recently as 6000 years ago, probably much longer. Were they the physical ancestors of every human on Earth?- perhaps. Were they the Spiritual-Covenental ancestors of every human on Earth?- certainly.

  26. If I were presenting the message of Genesis to a pre scientific, local tribalism, oral history people, I am certain it would have been precisely what we have today. If instead God had chosen to reveal Himself today, I’m sure it would have been written differently. The spiritual truth remains the same.

  27. As much as I think this discussion to be quite entertaining and informative I can’t help but thinking this:

    When (not if) the time has come that I am standing in front of The Throne I bet the first question won’t be “Were you with the creationists or with the evolutionarists?” It won’t be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th either.

    When I am (happily?) floating on my cloud (as far away from the fat baby angels with harps as possible (if they exist at all) and I run into a scientist’s cloud (if they get there too and are able to overcome the fear of stepping on a gas) I bet his first question won’t be “Why didn’t you tell me more clear about creation?” It won’t be the 2nd, 3rd or 4th either.

    A little while ago when the world celebrated Darwin the discussion between creationists and (evolutionary) scientists broke down when creationist tried to battle the scientist without understanding how science reasons/works. I sometimes wish that for a day people could only talk about things they know about… But then again I would not have a lot to talk about…

    I enjoy using my brain. I enjoy conversations with people that know what they are talking about. It doesn’t matter whether it is a baker telling me about baking bread, a salesman about closing a deal, an internet monk about his post-evangelical life or one of my children about the latest game he played. I can lose myself for a long time in their stories and I enjoy the enthusiasm (look its etymology up!) they display.

    I didn’t mean to shake up anyone’s vision of heaven, sometimes I need to talk very graphical about very abstract things so I can bend my mind into accepting the abstraction more easily. At times I think the Lord did the same when he filled the Bible with stories about creation, heaven and even concepts such as salvation, faith and sin. I guess He knows how hard it is for me to grasp complex stuff and meets me half way (well, 99.999% of the way)

    • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

      When (not if) the time has come that I am standing in front of The Throne I bet the first question won’t be “Were you with the creationists or with the evolutionarists?”

      It was in the Last Judgment scene from Left Behind, Volume 12

      • I am not familiar with the Last Judgement, Volume 12. So I do not know how to respond to this. If you are seriously trying to convince me that I am wrong in my believe: you didn’t convince me. If you are trying to tell me I am not original: I am always copying others and in this case without knowing it. If you are making a joke: sorry I didn’t get it.

        • I think it was a joke buddy. No need to get snappy.

          • I was not trying to be snappy at all, I apologize for making it sound like that. I didn’t (and still don’t) understand what is being said. I don’t know what is being referred to and I don’t know how to interpret what is being said.

          • HUG is our resident theological jokester. and if you have not engaged in post+comment+post banter the nuance will be missed…

            however, his information is spot on regarding the references so you can enjoy extra reading as tongue-in-cheek support for his point…

            stick around. the convo is truly inspirational & energizing… 🙂

  28. dumb ox says:

    Ham must understand that laying down the fallacious ultimatum to believe in YEC or not believe in God at all is taken as an excommunication. How can this stem the tide of youth walking away from the faith, which he claims is his goal? At some point this stopped being about God entirely.

    The reason why youth are walking away from the faith is because the symbols of that faith have lost their meaning, which is much deeper than the loss of relevance that Ham traces back to a non-historical view of Genesis.

    This is difficult to get into, but try a few questions out for size: when people think about Christian faith, what do they see? When they hear of the name of Jesus, what do they see? The cross? The Bible? The church? They probably think of words like hypocrisy, legalism, judgementalism, fighting, greed, abuse, and ignorance. That isn’t the fault of science. That isn’t a loss of relevance. That is a fundamental failure to be salt and light, to be the body of Christ, to be the lovely feet bearing good news. The mission has been compromised. We can change the words we use or try to invent new symbols, but the fundamental problem remains. We don’t remember what a Christian is. It’s like Coke forgetting its secret formula…which is kind of ironic in its own way.

  29. The historicity of Adam is on a different level of debate than the age of the earth. Even Bruce Waltke, who has been enthusiastic about embracing evolution as an apologetic for the Christian faith, holds to a historical Adam on exegetical grounds.

    If Adam is not a historical figure, the whole story of our faith collapses. I’m not saying here that Christianity stands or falls on the age of the earth or on the question of evolution (as important as those questions are). Here I am saying a line must be drawn in the sand. Adam and Eve were historical individuals through whom sin entered the world. If you don’t start there, nothing else in the Christian faith follows.

    • Your faith in Jesus would fall if there were not a literal Adam and Eve? I really don’t need to know exactly how sin entered the world to know that our world is sinful. But I am a believer in Christus Victor rather than blood atonement, which I suppose could make a large difference in how much one’s view of Jesus is dependent upon the garden and God’s curse of mankind.

      • The only thing I need in order to know the world is sinful is a pair of eyes. But that’s not the point.

        I don’t need the Bible to tell me the world is sinful. But if the Bible does tell me why, and then tells me the solution to the problem, but then I turn around and say, “You know, I like the solution, but I think modern science has proven that the problem really isn’t that at all, so I’ll go with the Bible halfway,” then I have become a cherry-picking liberal, willing to take what suits me but unwilling to take everything.

        I have told God what parts of his Word he should and should not have spoken. And that simply won’t work. The whole story collapses if Adam isn’t there at the beginning.

    • David L says:

      “If Adam is not a historical figure, the whole story of our faith collapses.”

      Does it have to be the first “man” biologically or the first flesh and blood creature with a soul?

      I go with the later.

  30. Unfortunately, looks like much of the conversation has already taken place. Oh well, maybe Chaplain Mike will get a blessing out of what I have written below.

    ***

    While I agree that the early chapters of Genesis are not meant to be read as a literal-historical scientific account of natural history, and that its emphasis is primarily theological in nature, that doesn’t change fact that Genesis does incidentally make some scientific claims about the world as part of its primary narrative of redemption (i.e. green plants are food for man and beast, Gen 1:29-30).

    Monogenism is one of these claims, take it away and the redemptive narrative of historic Christianity falls apart, which is probably why the RCC still maintains this doctrine even as it nominally accepts evolutionary models of biological development. Methinks that the good people at BioLogos are trying to integrate their understanding of Genesis with the prevailing conclusions of contemporary academic science by pretending that Genesis doesn’t make some of the claims it seems to make (i.e. that the man and woman of Gen 3 only represent themselves).

    Here’s where I am at right now:

    (1) Gen 1:1-2:3 teaches that the heavens and the earth are one great cosmic temple that God inhabits and fills with his glory (Isa 6:3).

    The period of God’s creative activity is organized into six different pictures that are presented to the reader as six ordinary days with God going about his work of creation from morning to evening (i.e. daytime) with the start of the next picture-day following an evening and a morning (i.e. nighttime). The period of God’s ceasing from his work of creation and taking up his seat as governor of the cosmos is the seventh day, which is going on right now.

    Moses would almost certainly be very surprised to learn that so many today take these days in a literal-historical sense given the fact that the sun and moon are created to give light and separate day from night on day four (Gen 1:14, 17) when light is already given and day separated from night on day one (Gen 1:3-5) complete with evening and morning. Moses would not have understood a sunless evening and morning!

    (2) The account of God forming the first man out of the dust of the earth and animating that man with his spirit in Gen 2:7 is clearly [!] a picture of God crafting his image in his newly created cosmic temple. We are not given any details about how this was done so I am open-minded about how the first man came into being.

    (3) Similarly, we are not given any details concerning the biological origins and development of the animal kingdom, only that it was formed out of the dust of the ground by God (Gen 2:19). I am similarly open-minded as to how God might have accomplished this.

    (4) The Bible tells me nothing about how the plant kingdom came into being other than that God spoke it into being (Gen 1:11-12), so once again I am quite open-minded as to how this might have happened.

    (5) Contrary to what modern English translations strongly suggest and independent of any telescoping considerations, the genealogy in Gen 5 tells us nothing about when the first man and woman came into being.

    (6) From my perspective as a mathematician, we don’t really know even how our own bodies work let alone what must be necessarily true concerning the origins of the human family. Biologists and geneticists routinely make ridiculous claims that can’t be taken seriously (i.e. “junk” DNA) only to backtrack later on. The science of nutrition, at least according to my sources, has yet to come to a firm conclusion as to whether eggs can be a healthy staple in one’s diet. Despite our best efforts, life remains mysterious.

    (7) There is evidence that points toward monogenism but there is also evidence that points away from monogenism. I do not believe that we currently have enough understanding to decisively come down on this issue one way or another; moreover, I consider it probable that we will never have enough evidence to decisively come down on this issue as it concerns events that happened too far back in the past. I acknowledge that man has a natural tendency to decisively come down on issues for which he is woefully ignorant (i.e. the biological origins of the human family).

    (8) Monogenism is too central to the Christian narrative of redemption to be abandoned on the strength of our meager understanding of human origins.

    • Kelby Carlson says:

      Would just like to say that this almost perfectly incapsulates the way I feel. Theologically, I believe in at least covenantal monogenism (that there was one/a pair of humans that represented humanity before God) if not outright monogenism. I’m not a scientist and I simply don’t know. I think Genesis does make claims about primeval history and those claims are important. Scientifically, though, I’m content with the knowledge I have and don’t think this should really be made larger than it is.

  31. It’s ridiculous to criticize scientific fact that shows the universe is in fact billions of years old. Scientists have constantly changed their theories as the data has changed, and have always displayed a willingness to do so once facts have established that the existing model needs to be changed. It grows as our understanding of our universe grows.

    It is only young-earth creationists who stubbornly maintain beliefs worthy of only the Middle Ages despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

    All I see from the fundamentalists who believe this nonsense is whining about charges of “prejudice” and “persecution”, even as these people seek to force these fables on the rest of us as some sort of “scientific truth.”

    To say this nonsense is worthy of any consideration at all is like still believing you can fall off the edge of the earth if you sail too far out to sea…

    If you constantly utter nonsense, then you shouldn’t be surprised when you’re treated like you’re uttering nonsense. [See Camping, Harold]

    THIS is why these people are – rightly – scorned, not some “bias.”

  32. charlie says:

    Is it too late too post? I had one pastor who said, “If you can get past Gen. 1:1, the rest was easy.” I think in a lot of ways he was (is) right. It seems that the details were intentionally left out–God doesn’t intend to spoon feed us all the ‘right’ answers.
    It’s good food for debate; but as one poster said,our emphasis should be on God grace and redemption–that’s the point of scripture, ultimately…not, the creation story.
    Do we, as mere humans, think we are going to figure out God and His ways? What pride!
    Ahhh, the mysteries He has left for us to wonder about!