If you look at the Bible, you will find that Biblical Inerrancy and Theistic Evolution are both true. Most of the arguments against Theistic Evolution are not biblical arguments, they are practical arguments meant to protect against biblical liberalism. I agree that biblical liberalism is to be avoided. I define biblical liberalism as considering the bible to be literature (fiction) and someone who subscribes to such a framework is not a Christian in any meaningful sense, and possibly an atheist whether they realize it or not.
Biblically Inerrant Thiestic Evolution is arrived at simply by going verse by verse through the verses which have been misinterpreted as being indicative of Adam as being the first of all men, and then interpreting them and showing that these verses do not actually state that Adam was the first man. For instance, Acts 17:26-27 states: From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. So, on the surface, this appears to be stating that God made all of the nations that inhabit the whole earth from Adam. However, note that Adam is not mentioned by name. So, it is an assumption to think that this verse is referring to Adam at all. Furthermore, you can easily go back to Genesis 10 and see what specific nations were founded by the sons of Noah. Since Noah was decended from Adam, then in a way the nations listed in Genesis 10 could be considered to have been made from one man, Adam. But for that matter, we could say that the man referred to in this verse is not Adam, but Noah. So, not so clear cut. Furthermore, there are lots of nations missing from the list in Genesis 10 (New Zealand is not mentioned, nor is England, Holland, USA, Brazil etc. etc.). So, I think that it is safe to say, that this verse which is often cited by Young Earth Creationists is not actually biblical support for the concept of Adam as the partiarch of all people on Earth. Not only that, but this verse is not specifically stating that the progeny of this “one man” make up all of the populace of these nations. George Washington is referred to by Americans as “The Father Of Our Country” but this in no way means that all of the citizens of the USA are direct descendants of George Washington. So, we can posit that the sons of Noah were the political founders of various nations in the ancient middle east, without trying to shoehorn all of genetic history under Adam’s fig leaf. Also, I am a big believer of the Local Flood as biblical truth. I think that the notion of a global flood is the outcome of the misinterpretation of the Hebrew word Eretz as “world” when it should be interpreted as “land”. I also am a big believer of a “Local Eden” for the same reason.
Part of the protestant reformation is the belief of Adam as being our representative. Once we understand this concept of Adam as our representative (not as our “Federal Head” which is a concept dependent on us all being descendants of Adam and our being somehow guilty of the sins or our ancestors and carriers of some strange apple derived genetic pollution) anyway, once we understand the concept of Adam being our representative who simply made the same choice in the Garden of Eden to choose to have knowledge of what is Good and what is Evil, then we can correctly interpret Genesis 2 and all of the verses in the bible without having to spin them to protect an artificial concept of “original sin” which is not itself a biblical concept, but rather an inherited concept from Aristotle which is incorrect. The more correct interpretation of Genesis 2 is that we all suffer from “ubiquitous sin” as a result of not being God which means not being perfect. If we are different than perfect, then we are imperfect and prone to sin. God knows this. . . he is all-knowing. So, this raises the ethical question of “if God knew in advance that we would sin, then creating a world full of sinful people is in itself sinful, because justice would require our punishment and creating sinful people just to punish them is in itself sinful/evil” It is exactly this ethical conundrum that is resolved by Adam and Eve in Eden. Adam and Eve in Eden prove that we all (humanity) choose to know the difference between good and evil. We choose to be culpable. Even when specially created out of dust in a perfect garden where there is no death and all of the animals are herbivores and we can eat from any tree in the garden but one, we all would still choose to have knowledge of good and evil. The irony is that once we have the knowledge of good and evil, we no longer have the moral defense of ignorance. Also, we are no longer suited to live in a perfect and safe environment. We crave challenge and danger and achievement and therefore have to be kicked out of the perfect garden into a more suitable habitat. Eden, inhabited by culpable people would be wrecked by them, and would become a padded cage. Adam and Eve were kicked out of a padded cage into a playground where they could run and skin their knees, and where their kids could exercise their free will by killing each other.
YEC’s are afraid that losing the concept of original sin destroys the work of Jesus on the Cross. That is simply incorrect. There are multiple theories of Atonement, and most of them are not mutually exclusive. Jesus lived a perfect life. Jesus was murdered. Jesus forgave his murderers. Might does not make right. God is all powerful, but that is not the source of his moral authority. God’s moral authority derives from his moral perfection. Jesus’ death is inarguable proof that Jesus is better than we are, and “we” means everyone who has ever lived. We do not have the moral authority to judge one another. Who are you to judge me when you are just as bad? Who am I to judge you when I am just as bad as you? Jesus, being blameless, is literally morally superior and has the moral authority to judge each and every one of us. One of the possible outcomes of judgement is forgiveness. Jesus is morally able to offer us forgiveness. Jesus commands us to forgive one another, and because he has the moral authority to forgive us, he offers us a simple and perfectly morally just deal. Matthew 6:14-15 says, “For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.” Similarly, Luke 6:37 states, “Do not judge, and you will not be judged; and do not condemn, and you will not be condemned; pardon, and you will be pardoned.” This is simply how salvation works. This may be news to people who have been taught that simply by having faith, one is saved, however when you look at the verses that teach about saving faith, they lead you back to the verses that tell us like Luke 6:46, “Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” If we have saving faith, then we follow the dictates of that faith to do what Jesus commands, and that is to forgive others.
Jesus also tells us to repent, ie. Mark 1:15 “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” Repent literally means “to turn around”. But what is sin anyway? Why does God care about sin in the first place, and how can sin disqualify a person from the Kingdom of God or from the New Jerusalem? Why are some resurrected to eternal life and some resurrected to eternal torment? How can a perfect and just God allow anything like eternal torment? Jesus when asked what the most important commandment was, turned the question around and we are told that there are two commandments that are the most important. Mark 12:29-31 states, “The most important one,” answered Jesus, “is this: ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no commandment greater than these.” Interestingly, the 10 commandments fit inside these two new testament commandments. The first 4 of the 10 commandments are about loving God and not loving idols (including money, sex, power, all of the modern and timeless idols). Commandments 6 through 10 are all of the things that we do to hurt one another which then require our forgiveness one to another. So, repenting means not hurting each other, and giving God his due credit and not worshiping things that are not God. Most of what people consider to be victimless crimes or victimless sins are shown to be idolatry when examined. So, sin disqualifies idolaters because idolaters would never want to enter the New Jerusalem because there is no barrier between us and God there, and the idolater would be forced to give up his idolatry. Similarly, sinners who do not forgive others cannot carry their grudges into the Kingdom of Heaven because there can be no hate or resentment in the Kingdom of Heaven. So if you want to keep your hate and keep fighting and keep worshiping idols, then there has to be somewhere else for you to go. That place is called Hell. In Hell you get to keep your idols and your grudges. In Hell you get to be separated from God, and in fact God, who knows the hairs on your head while you are on earth, in Hell, God does not look on you at all. So, what kind of place must Hell be then? We can get some idea by looking at places and times in history when God was rejected in favor of hate. So, for instance, you can go on the internet and see people in orange jumpsuits being beheaded and set on fire as a result of others rebellion against Jesus. Similarly, we can look at times in history, such as the 288 or so protestants that were burned alive by “Bloody Queen Mary” which was the result of her idolatry of wealth and power. I believe that the fires of Hell are lit by Hell’s inhabitants, and to try to blame God for Hell is the ultimate hypocrisy. Long story short, God is perfect, we are not, YEC is not biblical.
So, briefly, to go through the various bible verses that YEC’s consider to require a YEC in order to preserve biblical inerrancy. . . .
Hosea 6:7 “As at Adam, they have broken the covenant; they were unfaithful to me there.” So, does this verse state that the earth was created in 6 24 hour days and that we are all descended from Adam? Nope, it just states that Adam broke a covenant. Note that Noah was descended from Adam, and Shem was the first Semite, or Adam was the first Semite, depending on how you look at it. Semites broke a covenant, Hosea said some stuff about it. Got nothing to do with YEC.
Romans 5:12-20. “12Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because all sinned— 13for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not imputed when there is no law. 14Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.
15But the free gift is not like the transgression. For if by the transgression of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, abound to the many. 16The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one transgression resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the free gift arose from many transgressions resulting in justification. 17For if by the transgression of the one, death reigned through the one, much more those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness will reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.
18So then as through one transgression there resulted condemnation to all men, even so through one act of righteousness there resulted justification of life to all men. 19For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, even so through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous. 20The Law came in so that the transgression would increase; but where sin increased, grace abounded all the more, 21so that, as sin reigned in death, even so grace would reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” Ok, So, does this verse state that the earth was created in 6 24 hour days and that we are all descended from Adam? Nope, it is just Paul discussing Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden. Notice that in verse 12 it states that all men sinned. See the previous discussion of Adam as our representative. Adam and Eve in Eden prove that we all (humanity) choose to know the difference between good and evil. We choose to be culpable. I believe that outside of the Garden of Eden, there was the natural cycle of life and death going on and nature red in tooth and claw, although there was no death INSIDE the garden before Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the Tree Of The Knowledge Of Good And Evil. Once Adam and Eve ate of the tree, and chose to know good and evil, and therefore to be culpable for their actions, they were no longer suited to live in the garden. We are not suited to live in the garden either. Here is Romans 5:12 from the New International Version “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned–”. So, it is because all (we) sinned, that death came into the world. Death is necessary in order for there to be a finality to life in that from this brief, flawed world we get to either come to Jesus in the New Jerusalem, or be separated from God for eternity. Life is our opportunity to make that decision and Death is the decision made. Adam is the proof that this state of affairs is morally correct. Adam’s bite is the point in time to which we with Paul can point and say that death is necessary and correct. Jesus on the cross is the point in time that God can point to that proves that he has the moral authority to forgive Adam (and us) and to accept us back if we forgive one another. Paul points to Adam as representative of us, and then within the same sentence points to us. Paul points to us, and also points to Adam, and the Bible correctly understands death and can be trusted. But don’t trust Aristotle, because he was not divinely inspired in the same way as the apostles and prophets who wrote down the word of God in the bible.
Here is a great article about this very question, http://www.gentlewisdom.org/.../augustines-mistake-about.../
Augustine’s mistake about original sin - Gentle Wisdom
Scot McKnight writes: Behind the Reformation…
1 Corinthians 15:21 21 “For since by a man came death, by a man also came the resurrection of the dead. 22For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.” Ok, So, does this verse state that the earth was created in 6 24 hour days and that we are all descended from Adam? Nope, it is just Paul discussing Adam’s sin in the Garden of Eden again.
1 Corinthians 15:45-48 45 “So also it is written, “The first MAN, Adam, BECAME A LIVING SOUL.” The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. 46However, the spiritual is not first, but the natural; then the spiritual. 47The first man is from the earth, earthy; the second man is from heaven. 48As is the earthy, so also are those who are earthy; and as is the heavenly, so also are those who are heavenly.” Ok, So, does this verse state that the earth was created in 6 24 hour days and that we are all descended from Adam? Nope. It could be misconstrued that way if one were to think that it is saying that Adam is the “first man” in the history of ever. However, this is incorrect. This verse is not saying that Adam is the first man in history. This verse is saying that Adam is the first man in a series of two, of which the other man is Jesus. If this verse is saying that Adam is the first man who ever lived, then it is also saying that Jesus is the last man who ever lived. Then in verse 47 it would also be saying that Jesus is the second man who ever lived. These verses are simply comparing Adam and Jesus as the first and second (last) members in a set of two. They are in no way stating that Adam was the first man who ever lived.
1 Timothy 2:13-14 “13For it was Adam who was first created, and then Eve. 14And it was not Adam who was deceived, but the woman being deceived, fell into transgression.” Ok, So, does this verse state that the earth was created in 6 24 hour days and that we are all descended from Adam? Nope. When this verse states that it was Adam who was first created, it is not saying that Adam was the first man ever created. This verse is stating that in a series of two people created in the Garden Of Eden, Adam was created first, and then Eve was created second. This verse is talking about a series of two events that took place inside the Garden of Eden, and giving the order in which they occurred. Therefore, we cannot infer anything about the condition outside of the Garden of Eden from these verses. I suggest that outside the Garden of Eden, there were people running around who are simply not mentioned until we get to Cain’s wife and the land of Nod. Also, these verses in Timothy are not some sort of biblical justification for misogyny or inequality. The context of these verses is that they are part of a warning against a heretical goddess cult that was taking root in Ephesus which was teaching an inaccurate retelling of the events that took place in the Garden of Eden and also discouraging childbirth, advancing false teachers etc. Paul was not misogynistic. Here is a great article by Glen Miller that provides context for this verse. http://christianthinktank.com/fem09.html
The rest of the verses which YEC advocates cite to support that Adam was the first man who ever lived, as far as I know, are the genealogies in the Bible that go back to Adam as the created from dust first in the line. I concede that Adam was made from dust, in the Garden of Eden and that he was the first in the genealogies, but again that does not tell us anything about the conditions (or the people) outside of the garden. There is simply no reason to believe that one must believe YEC in order to believe in Biblical Inerrancy. You absolutely can have, and should have, Biblically Inerrant Thiestic Evolution.
Day age creationists explain that the Hebrew word “yom” as used in Genesis 1 can refer to a long, finite period of time, and that the creation “days” of Genesis 1 are millions and billions of years long. Here is a great article by Greg Neyman explaining the etymology. I’ve taken it upon myself to make up a fictional conjecture as to the origin of the first verses of Genesis. This is in no way inspired, but it may help you to see Genesis 1 differently. Our protagonist is named Bob. Why “Bob”? Because, as I told you, this is not inspired. We do not know who first received the creation account. So anyway, Bob is a shepherd. Why not? The Bible is full of shepherds. So, Bob the shepherd is out in the fields keeping watch over his flock by night. He is listening to insects sing and sheep snore and looking up into the ancient night sky, with no light pollution, no air pollution and no skyline but the dark hills in the moonlight. Bob is struck by the peace and grandeur and wonder and he prays that somehow he might know how it came to be and where it came from. Bob looks up from his prayer and behold – there is Gabriel the angel – ‘cause it’s always Gabriel the angel. Gabriel says to Bob, “Bob! Your prayer has been heard. I have come to give you a vision of the creation of the earth. You will see things that no human eye can see. You will know things that no man has known before you.”
And so, Bob’s consciousness was transported back 4.5 billion years. He watched the meadow get younger and younger until he came to the time when science tells us that the earth was just a glom of space rocks, dust and ice and thick gas. Bob was there in the impenetrable dark and could feel the whole swirling mass begin pressing in on itself as ice melted. In the fog, Bob heard the voice of God say “let there be light” and the compressing atmosphere thinned enough that light from above filtered down to the ocean. Tectonic action had not yet pushed up continents and water covered the whole of the surface of the earth which was shrouded in a thick, opaque atmosphere like that still present on the planet Venus. Bob watched for a long, looooooong time. The fog began to descend, and a continent pushed up out of the water. The ocean separated itself from the land, and the fog settled until the cloud cover overhead became more distinct. Bob looked down into the edge of the water and there, far smaller than the smallest grain of sand, smaller than Bob had ever been able to see before, he saw tiny plants and creatures. They began to spread through the ocean. The plants spread over the land in slime and fuzz. Bob watched for a long, looooooong time as the slime and fuzz became ferns and grasses. Some of them were green, thriving in the dim light, and as Bob watched, the thick clouds overhead thinned until Bob could see the sun, and the moon and the stars. Bob saw strange creatures and fish in the ocean swimming. Occasionally, he heard God remark with satisfaction at some new creation. He saw creatures on the land, and some of them were covered in what looked like feathers. Bob watched for a long, loooooooooong time. The feathered creatures disappeared, but the birds remained, and Bob saw mice, and all manner of other animals on the earth; and people.
Bob came to himself, in the field of sleeping sheep, as the morning sun came over the hills, and his sheep woke and began milling about. Bob began the long walk down from the hills, down to his family’s camp. He talked and sang as he went and his sheep heard his voice and followed after. It was dark again when Bob arrived at the tents and sheep pens. Bob led the sheep into the pen, and closed the crude gate. He walked to the campfire where his family and friends sat, wondering why he was back from the high pastures so soon. Bob walked to the fireside and explained that he had come down to tell them about a vision, given to him the night before, a vision of the creation of the world by God. He thought about the things he had seen. Much of the vision was mystery that he simply could not understand. Many things he had seen there were no words for, and would not be for thousands of years. He began:
1In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. 2Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4God saw that the light was good, and he separated the light from the darkness. 5God called the light “day,” and the darkness he called “night.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the first day.
6And God said, “Let there be a vault between the waters to separate water from water.” 7So God made the vault and separated the water under the vault from the water above it. And it was so. 8God called the vault “sky.” And there was evening, and there was morning—the second day.
9And God said, “Let the water under the sky be gathered to one place, and let dry ground appear.” And it was so.10God called the dry ground “land,” and the gathered waters he called “seas.” And God saw that it was good.
11Then God said, “Let the land produce vegetation: seed-bearing plants and trees on the land that bear fruit with seed in it, according to their various kinds.” And it was so. 12The land produced vegetation: plants bearing seed according to their kinds and trees bearing fruit with seed in it according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good. 13And there was evening, and there was morning—the third day.
14And God said, “Let there be lights in the vault of the sky to separate the day from the night, and let them serve as signs to mark sacred times, and days and years, 15and let them be lights in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth.” And it was so. 16God made two great lights—the greater light to govern the day and the lesser light to govern the night. He also made the stars. 17God set them in the vault of the sky to give light on the earth, 18to govern the day and the night, and to separate light from darkness. And God saw that it was good. 19And there was evening, and there was morning—the fourth day.
20And God said, “Let the water teem with living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the vault of the sky.”21So God created the great creatures of the sea and every living thing with which the water teems and that moves about in it, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.22God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and increase in number and fill the water in the seas, and let the birds increase on the earth.” 23And there was evening, and there was morning—the fifth day.
24And God said, “Let the land produce living creatures according to their kinds: the livestock, the creatures that move along the ground, and the wild animals, each according to its kind.” And it was so. 25God made the wild animals according to their kinds, the livestock according to their kinds, and all the creatures that move along the ground according to their kinds. And God saw that it was good.
26Then God said, “Let us make mankind in our image, in our likeness, so that they may rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky, over the livestock and all the wild animals,a and over all the creatures that move along the ground.”
27So God created mankind in his own image,
in the image of God he created them;
male and female he created them.
28God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
29Then God said, “I give you every seed-bearing plant on the face of the whole earth and every tree that has fruit with seed in it. They will be yours for food. 30And to all the beasts of the earth and all the birds in the sky and all the creatures that move along the ground—everything that has the breath of life in it—I give every green plant for food.” And it was so.
31God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day.