Dennis Venema & Scot McKnight: Adam & the Genome video presentation

I have been watching Dennis Venema and Scot McKnight in this excellent and vital video on YouTube - surprised how relatively few people have seen it. If I had been at the meeting, I would have wanted to pose a question about our fallen natures. Which would have been: Surely, the scientific explanation of our sin problem is primarily that we are the result of 800 million years of evolution where every organism was competing for food, breeding rights, territory? These behaviours are literally written into our DNA, and are part of what constitutes survival of the fittest, along with the wonderful evolution of physical attributes. I take the poetic description of Genesis as creating a memorable storytelling picture of this problem we all have, and what could be available to us if we do it God’s way. Now, as conscious beings with a backchannel to communicate with our creator (or indeed listen to an alternate voice), we have to move beyond that physical inheritance of 800 million years onto a higher plane where our own selves, and by extension our own family and tribe, are no longer the centre of our universe with our perceived interests paramount against any other.

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Sounds interesting. Got to run now but will give a listen soon.

I’m buying less and less into our “fallen natures.” According to Enns summary of other scholarship, Adam represents Israel and the Fall or expulsion from the garden represents the exile. Paul is just trying to cast Jesus in the strongest terms possible as the culmination of all human history. Augustine misinterpreted Paul based on a mistranslation in the vulgate and then the idea of a specific and actual fall of all humanity at some moment in history took hold. Interpreting Genesis as a fall and the introduction of sin and spiritual death in the world might be one of the most erroneous and baseless Christian doctrines there is.

There never was an actual fall. Most of us just sin on our own. We don’t even need enculturation. We have a tendency to do things we know we shouldn’t be. I also believe your point about a lot of what we deem to be some negative characteristics of humans stem from our evolutionary origins. If we are “fallen” we evolved that way. We may simply have to overcome that through Jesus. That may be the whole point.

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I believe we have two natures. A natural that is the result of evolution and a spiritual that is a result of God making us in His image. There was no “fall.” Just the resulting conflict between these two natures.


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