Genesis and the Evolutionary Paradigm

I’ve often recalled, from my days as a YEC, constantly reading Ken Ham’s assertions about how attempts to blend evolution with Christianity distorts the Gospel. He posits arguments such as:

  1. If animals had died before Adam, it would undermine the idea of death being a consequence of sin.
  2. If evolution results in improvement in lifeforms, what is the point of the curse God placed on nature?
  3. If there was no literal Adam and Eve and no primordial paradise ruined by sin, what was the point of Jesus coming to Earth?
  4. If evolution is true, what will the restored universe be like? Mutations and survival of the fittest?
  5. The foundation of marriage is rooted in a literal Adam and Eve.
  6. All lifeforms on Earth were originally herbivores.
  7. Vegetation is 72-hours older than insects, rather than the two showing up around the same time and evolved through reciprocity.

These days, I believe that when Moses wrote the first chapters of Genesis, he intended those to be understood in apocalyptic terms rather than literal ones. After all, just as John didn’t say Satan was a literal dragon in Revelation, so too does Moses not say he was a literal snake.

Yet I still wonder how stuff like this works out. Can anyone provide a source?


The starting point is like so many other examples where the Christian church co-opted pagan ideas … to make it part of the Christian faith… to swallow up the pagans that believed in the old things. The fit is usually not particularly good. The logic is frequently shaky. But it undeniably becomes part of the fabric of Christianity.

Christmas? Apparently a pagan winter celebration that no longer exists.
Eastar? Eggs laying eggs is a pagan notion… And the Church swallowed up that pagan tradition.
Halloween? And so on !

The Jewish priests had very similar motivations. One of the most famous pagan traditions involved the first humans … and a world flood. The priests tackled those pagan stories … and turned it into a part of Hebrew testament.

Is the fit perfect? No. Is the logic impeccable? Hardly.

While the other questions have also been answered on the site at one time or another, this one just impressed me to suggest asking your friend that if a literal Adam had not sinned, does that mean he would therefore not need Jesus as he is otherwise perfect and holy?

Not so. Romans 5:12 only states that human death was the result of sin, not animal death.

Interesting thought. I’m not sure that evolution necessarily results in the improvement of lifeforms, but merely changes them to adapt to their environment (surely YECs cannot deny that this happens). Not sure what the curse would then be.

This one is common. I personally believe that Adam and Eve were real people (taking the position of John Walton), so there really was an actual, historical Fall, and humans were continually subject to death after that (a la Romans 5). Only Christ can save them. One thing that is often missed, however, is that Jesus came not only to redeem us fallen human beings, but also to redeem the creation itself, and bring it to its full glory. That doesn’t require creation having once been perfect.

I doubt it, but I’m in no position to speculate.

Some may take issue, but yes, I believe that’s absolutely right. Jesus made no bones about it in Matthew 19:4-6.

While that’s certainly defensible from the text of Genesis, I don’t believe that that interpretation is required.

Not sure what this has to do with anything, but as I am not a scientist, I cannot respond adequately.

Hopefully this helps, a little. I too am still working out several issues of my own.


Death was not ushered in by Adam/Eve’s sinful decision.

Death comes because humans were expelled from access to the Tree of Life in Eden.

How do we know this? Because God had to erect a flaming sword to PREVENT the access; if Adam was somehow cosmically barred from eating the fruit of the Tree of Life … the flaming sword would have not been necessary.

God even SAYS that if Adam is ALLOWED to eat from the Tree of Life … he WOULD have immortal life.

Do you think it is impossible for God to re-plant the tree of life and allow all of us sinful people eat from it? Of COURSE he could … if he wanted to… if there was really a tree of life … and if the story of Adam and Eve wasn’t actually a figurative exercise.

But at what point? If humans are part of the animal kingdom, at what point would it have occurred? At what point should we consider the point where hominids became human. It’s doubtful that Austrolopithecines were immortal.

You ought to re-read Romans 5. I wasn’t referring at all to the Adam and Eve story; I was referring to Paul’s inspired interpretation of the story, given in Romans 5.


Jay, here is the key Romans 5 text:

Rom 5:12
… as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned…"

Paul’s text seems more poetic than inspired. Why do I say that? Because it doesn’t actually fit the context of the Genesis story: SIN enters into the world… and Death [enters the world] by Sin.

How else can one possibly interpret it?

Deather “enters” the world when Adam and Eve were EVICTED from Eden … so that they could not eat from the Tree of Life.

SIN is the normal state of humanity. Adam was the first to sin - - but was it Sin’s failing that CONTAMINATED the rest of humanity? How would you explain that? Adam was the FIRST EXAMPLE of a sinner … but not the cause of all humanity’s future sins.

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