It seems to me that the biggest problem with evolutionary creation is how to reconcile the Adam and Eve story with the theological significance of that story in the Bible. Deborah and Loren Haarsma rightfully acknowledge that there are either scientific or theological problems with each of the five ways of thinking about the Adam and Eve story in their final Origins video.
You can go the way of seeing Genesis 1-11 as figurative, but that leaves the question of where does ‘original sin,’ death, and the need for a savior, as well as how Paul’s apparent reference to a literal Adam fit in. You can go the route that the Adam and Eve story is all literal, but that totally contradicts mainstream scientific evidence. What remains is some mix of literal and figurative. I don’t think we have to ‘know’ exactly what that story was, but I think we need to have a ‘plausible’ answer to avoid the idea that evolutionary creationism doesn’t have a clue as to how science and faith can really reconcile.
I offer a ‘plausible’ reconciliation of this problem, which leaves room for variation to those who want to see it in different ways. You can read in lots of literal aspects or minimal literal aspects:
First, all homo sapiens, quite possibly including early ‘anatomically modern homo sapiens,’ were essentially advanced animals. They acted out of instinct, not any awareness of good or evil.
Sometime between 100,000 and 50,000 years ago, possibly after what science calls the “population bottleneck” leaving only 1,000 to 15,000 of them left, God could have completed the creation which He began billions of years before, by deeply interacting with a couple of chosen homo s. sapiens. While the story could have had lots of figurative and spiritual elements (including the beginning of ‘souls’, sin, spiritual life and spiritual death), it also could conceivably have a number of the literal elements that Genesis portrays.
As a result of the encounter with God, Adam & Eve ‘jumped the line’ to consciousness, symbolic thinking, language development, and an awareness of good and evil and free will, including to disobey God, which ultimately resulted in the first sin. They then influenced the surrounding homo s. sapiens, where their new excitement, behaviors, and story about God, would have spread, leading the others to also have an awareness of a new way of thinking, moral and immoral behavior, and free will - effectively ‘jumping the line’ to spiritual life as well, including sin and potential spiritual death. Eventually, this spread to all surviving lines of homo s. sapiens and all other hominids died out. It ultimately contributed to a big growth in symbolic thinking, consciousness, language, religious behavior, ability to make more advanced tools, ability to work together more, and to migrate more successfully. This was part of what scientists call “behaviorally modern homo sapiens,” “the Great Leap Forward” into modern behavior, and the “Out of Africa” migration to the rest of the world. Leading secular scientists like Ian Tattersall say that the speed of these changes (not counting the spiritual aspects which scientists don’t recognize) is “almost unimaginable.”
Adam and Eve in this way, become the spiritual father and mother of all soul based humans (who ultimately were the only humans left). For those who like the idea of Adam being the ‘proto-Israel,’ this could allow for that as well, although it is not required.
We tend to think of the introduction of evil and spiritual death as making it a pretty negative story, and it certainly is to some extent. However, there is huge beautiful step forward into spiritual life that took them way beyond animals in their earthly lives. Also, although it’s a little foggy here, but perhaps there is a way - for those who believed in the one God of Adam and Eve and/or sought to be ‘righteous’ – that they could be part of the ultimate resurrection.
By the way, @aleo has a somewhat similar theory told from the point of view of a Catholic.
What do you think?