Thursday, May 15, 2008

Theistic Evolution: The Marriage Of Science & Religion

Okay, so I have been discussing the plausibility of position called Theistic Evolution with a couple of guys over the past two weeks and thought I would ask your opinion on this topic.

Here is their basic view as it has been laid out to me: The creation story as laid out in Genesis is metaphorical and the original readers new this and it was understood. It was never meant to be taken as God created all that is before us and is us in 6 days. Further they would say that this metaphorical understanding has several advantages over the orthodox Christian view that would hold the creation as a literal event that took place as described in Genesis where Adam was created from dirt and Eve from his side. The advantages relieve the tension between Christianity/Judaism and science because it makes room for evolution to be understood in a biblical framework while still allowing you to hold to your faith.

Those who hold this view would say that all descended from a common ancestor and we, man, evolved from primitive primates. They would further say that God, in His sovereignty, utilized the process of evolution as part of His creative action and this makes for man to be all the more awed at His greatness. This view holds that at some point when the primitive primates evolved to a certain point, God intervened and bestowed upon them (or maybe just one? I am unclear on this point) the ability to reason and infused within them/it a soul that separates them/it from the rest of creation and now gives us the ability to say we are in the image of God; a distinguishing mark that no other part of creation bears. With these abilities came the ability to sin against our creator and thus a need for a savior is still valid.

Proponents would argue that with all of the advances in science, this view makes perfect sense and releases the tension between evolution and religion.

Proponents would argue that one does not have to “twist” scripture to make this work, they just have to reinterpret Genesis. Basically, scripture stays scripture, but your interpretation of that scripture must change. (They would say that interpretations are faulty and their interpretation is more harmonious with science than those who hold to young earth models)

Proponents would argue that if this was not the case, why would God “trick” us by making all this scientific data point to common descent. He sure went through a lot of trouble to make it appear as if common descent is how life began. So, if all the evidence points to that, then maybe our interpretation of Genesis 1 and 2 are wrong and need to be reinterpreted.

I first pointed to this discussion here.
You can read the dialogue between myself and two proponents concerning this topic here.

Some questions:
-Do you find this view plausible based on what scripture says (not our interpretation of scripture, but scripture itself)?
-Does this view seek to place the trustworthiness of science above that of scripture? (or does it just call into question our interpretation of scripture?)
-Do you see a biblically-based flaw in this model? If so, what?
-Do you see any biblically-based merit in this model? If so, what?
-How does this affect the parallels between Christ/Israel/Adam?
-Is there proof that early Israel understood the creation story to be a metaphor?
-What questions arise from this "interpretation" of Genesis?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I think this article from JMac demonstrates that the original readers believed no such thing:

Genesis 1 and Biblical Authority

"What do we find in the New Testament? In every New Testament reference to Genesis, the events recorded by Moses are treated as historical events. And in particular, the first three chapters of Genesis are consistently treated as a literal record of historical events. The New Testament affirms, for example, the creation of Adam in the image of God (James 3:9).

Paul wrote to Timothy, “Adam was formed first, then Eve. And Adam was not deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression” (1 Timothy 2:13-14). In 1 Corinthians 11:8-9, he writes, “Man is not from woman, but woman from man. Nor was man created for the woman, but woman for the man.”

Paul’s presentation of the doctrine of original sin in Romans 5:12-20 depends on a historical Adam and a literal interpretation of the account in Genesis about how he fell. Furthermore, everything Paul has to say about the doctrine of justification by faith depends on that. “For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive” (1 Corinthians 15:22). Clearly Paul regarded both the creation and fall of Adam as history, not allegory. Jesus Himself referred to the creation of Adam and Eve as a historical event (Mark 10:6). To question the historicity of these events is to undermine the very essence of Christian doctrine."