Are Evolution & Creation Compatible if Genesis is Interpreted Metaphorically

My answer is no, they can’t.

According to the Bible, humans are the end goal of creation. They are distinct from animals and created in god’s image; they are given dominion over the animal world. This implies that humans are superior to animals in some absolute sense. The suffering we see in the world today is because creation is broken which is itself the result of human rebellion against god - thus implying that there was a time in history where there wasn’t such suffering.

In contrast, evolution has no end goals and humans are just an intermediate species between our ape-like ancestors and the species that we will eventually evolve into in future. It may seem like humans are distinct from animals, but this only because our evolutionary ancestor species are extinct. If all these species were still alive, the distinction between human and animal would be much less clear. Suffering is the result of human nature which in turn is the result of millions of years of evolution. There was no time our history when humans were free from suffering.

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Hi Anthony,

I’m curious – what are you basing this claim on? I can’t come up with a verse in scripture where God reveals his “end goals” for creation…

Do plate tectonics have any “end goals”? What about hurricanes or virus mutation or meteor showers? If God created the universe and its processes, then he can use any of those processes to fulfill his goals, and I believe he does, whether we know what those goals are or not.

Again, physical processes of the universe are not divorced from God. Suffering is a result of our sin, but our evolution could have played a role in that too. It is quite possible to believe that humans are made in the image of God without throwing out evolution but simply seeing it as one of the many processes he has overseen and guided (in some way – the details are hidden to us) to work out his will.

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Hi Laura. Thanks for your response.

I’m curious – what are you basing this claim on? I can’t come up with a verse in scripture where God reveals his “end goals” for creation…

In the 7 days of creation, the fact that humans were created last of all and the fact that god rested afterwards both suggest that humans were the end goal of creation

Again, physical processes of the universe are not divorced from God. Suffering is a result of our sin, but our evolution could have played a role in that too. It is quite possible to believe that humans are made in the image of God without throwing out evolution but simply seeing it as one of the many processes he has overseen and guided (in some way – the details are hidden to us) to work out his will.

Are you suggesting that god used evolution to give us our sinful nature, the same nature that would make it impossible for us to avoid enteral damnation?

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That is one inference that could be gleaned from that – certainly we seem to be the prime audience for the creation narrative in the Bible. But I don’t know whether God is still “resting” – perhaps he is still creating. I would hesitate to make claims about God’s “end goals” that he doesn’t make.

What do you think God used to give us our sinful nature? A piece of fruit? Either way, he made us, and we have a sinful nature – I’m not sure evolution is any worse a method than another.

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I guess for me it depends on what exactly do you mean by creation. If you mean did God know that his choices would result in us and that it was part of his goal my answer is yes.

I don’t think he was just waiting to see what happened.

There was, in the garden.

That is one inference that could be gleaned from that – certainly we seem to be the prime audience for the creation narrative in the Bible. But I don’t know whether God is still “resting” – perhaps he is still creating. I would hesitate to make claims about God’s “end goals” that he doesn’t make.

Yes I agree that god might have other goals beyond creating humans. Another point… if humans were created in the image of god, don’t you think this implies that humans were the pinnacle of creation, since no other creature had this quality? And if humans are the pinnacle of creation, doesn’t that suggest that we have some physical or mental characteristic that cannot be improved by evolution? Can you think of such a characteristic?

What do you think God used to give us our sinful nature? A piece of fruit?

I don’t know. The Genesis story never made any sense to me

Either way, he made us, and we have a sinful nature – I’m not sure evolution is any worse a method than another.

If god used evolution to give us a nature that would make it impossible for us to avoid enteral damnation, don’t you think that is setting us up to fail and then punishing us when we do?

There was no time our history when humans were free from suffering.

There was, in the garden.

According to evolution, there was no time our history when humans were free from suffering.

Sure, but this is (also) a Bible forum :grinning:

My point was that evolution is inconsistent with the Genesis account of creation. Do you agree?

I would agree that humans do have a special role in creation, as “the image of God” is not something given to any other species that we know of. Whether or not we can be improved by evolution, I don’t know. I don’t think we become any “more” in God’s image by evolving, but that doesn’t mean we can’t improve. I think the image of God is more all-encompassing than simply a biological trait.

That’s a good question – am I correct in assuming you’re not a young-earth creationist? Personally, I don’t believe in “eternal damnation” in the sense of eternal conscious torment. Some do, but I lean more toward the view that those who do not come to Jesus will simply cease to exist in eternity. I would agree that it doesn’t make much sense to punish someone for something they can’t help (whether because of evolution or because Adam and Eve ate a piece of fruit) – but I don’t see needing a savior as punishment.

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In Genesis 1, the author uses the metaphor of temple construction as a conceptual framework to communicate God’s creation of the heavens and the earth. The climax arrives in Gen. 1:26–28, which begins, “Let us create adam in our image …” This is a statement of purpose, of telos. Coming at the end of God’s creative activities, the creation of humanity in his image was the goal of his labor. There is something special, something unique, about humanity in the biblical perspective.

My answer is yes, they can.

See “Adam’s Evolutionary Journey, pt. 1” at becomingadam.com.

http://becomingadam.com/index.php/podcast-blog/

He gave us a nature that would make it possible for us to represent him in his goodness, justice, and mercy. Is it possible to create a creature capable of making free choices, yet incapable of sin?

Jim Stump, Vice President of BioLogos, explains,

“Perhaps the evolutionary struggle is the only way to develop moral beings like us. I’d suggest that moral maturity is a quality that can be developed only by making moral decisions. God can no more create morally mature creatures than he could create free persons who are incapable of sin. So to achieve moral maturity, agents must be involved in their own moral formation by making decisions with moral implications…. It seems that evolution may be the only way to create beings with the capacity to know good and evil.”

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Genesis 1-3 in a nutshell:

God created everything and it was fit for His purposes (‘very good’); He created human beings in His image, giving them a unique status and role among all the creatures He had made; Human beings were made to be in relationship with God and bring glory to Him, but they chose to disobey His revealed will; sin entered the world, and ever since then humans fail to fulfill their task as God’s image bearers, continue to rebel against their Creator, and are all in need of salvation.

Of course, there’s all sorts of questions we can ask about much of the above, but in my opinion, none of it is inconsistent with the mechanism of evolution.

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Not necessarily.

Depends how one understands the Garden story.

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That’s a good question – am I correct in assuming you’re not a young-earth creationist? Personally, I don’t believe in “eternal damnation” in the sense of eternal conscious torment. Some do, but I lean more toward the view that those who do not come to Jesus will simply cease to exist in eternity. I would agree that it doesn’t make much sense to punish someone for something they can’t help (whether because of evolution or because Adam and Eve ate a piece of fruit) – but I don’t see needing a savior as punishment.

No I’m not a young earth creationist. I’m a ex-Christian. Evolution is one of the main reasons I’m no longer a Christian because I don’t think it is compatible with the bible. I’m not sure your belief that unbelievers will simply cease to exist at death is consistent with the bible. See Mark 9:42-48

Thanks for clarifying – whatever view you take, I’m glad you are here and talking about these questions. Many people here struggle or have struggled with seeing harmony between scripture and science, but are able to even through coming to different conclusions, and I’ve found the forum very helpful in figuring out where others are coming from.

As for the Mark verses, I don’t see those as necessarily being inconsistent with an annihilationist position. They don’t say that anyone will be tortured for eternity.

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Interesting how many former YEC adherents become ex-Christians, but remain biblical literalists! Makes you wonder if we are hard-wired to see things as black and white or in shades of gray.

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I was never a YEC

Thank you for your kind words. Ive enjoyed our brief interactions so far. My purpose here is to test my views. I want to change them if they are wrong. But at the same time, I also hope that I can return the favour and test other people’s views too

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