Hi, my name is Emily, and I am a student at Montana Bible College. I’m looking for a volunteer to help me with a school assignment on this topic! I am taking a science and origins class, and my professor wants us to find two Christians with a different viewpoint on science and origins than I have and ask a couple of questions to better understand their views! Our professor wants us to get a broader understanding of some of the other viewpoints that are prevalent today. I anyone would be willing to help, I can just post the questions in a forum, or email you directly. Any help is very appreciated!
Hi Emily, I moved your topic to its own thread so more people would see it.
I talked with one of your classmates a few weeks ago.
Hopefully someone else will chime in here and volunteer to be your interview subject.
Thank you so much! I appreciate it! Yeah, Alec really enjoyed the conversation, so I figured it was worth a shot to try this out!
I don’t participate in the BioLogos Forum as much as I used to, but I happened to glance at it today, and yours was the first post that caught my eye.
I don’t know if I qualify as one whose views differ from yours, but if so I’m willing to help. You can read a mini-bio that I wrote a few years ago on the homeschool forum and then let me know if you are interested in further discussion.
Welcome Emmily. I dont know if i can be of much help but im glad to provide some if i can. Take care!
If you do end up posting it in here their may be several that responds and then you can see which one best shows a contrasting view to the other one. You can probably find a handful here to provide their thoughts. Or is there is a specific requirement for scientific understanding like a degree in a scientific field there are a handful here as well. I’m not 100% certain on theologians in here as in someone with a degree in theology. But I imagine there is a good chance someone has one in here as well.
Well, I can just post the questions on here then! They do not require a degree of any kind to answer, I’m just looking for points of view and why you believe what you believe!
What scripture could you present that backs up evolutionary creation (God creating through the use of evolution as a tool)?
What sort of implications would evolutionary creation have on salvation? As far as like, if God used evolution to create, especially humans, then what would’ve happened to the transitional forms before humans were fully-formed? Could they have been part of the plan of salvation?
If evolutionary creation is correct, was there a historical Adam and Eve as the Bible says, or are we to take everything about Adam figuratively?
Those are my three main questions! If there are follow up ones with your responses, I’ll just post them later on! Thank you all so much for the help! This is taking a huge load off my mind with finals coming up!
Sounds like a fun assignment! I’m happy to help with one perspective.
I don’t think the Bible reveals that God used evolution, but some verses fit well with that idea. God commands “let the earth bring forth” plants and animals and in response “the earth brought forth” (Genesis 1:11–12, 20, 24). That meshes well with an earth that by its created nature is able to do what God wants it to do rather than God needing to do every act directly. In the following chapter, the way both animals and humans are made from the same stuff – dirt – supports that the gulf between us isn’t due to our material origin (Genesis 2:7, 19; see also Ecclesiastes 3:19–21). One psalmist invites us to see that God raised us to a position over other creatures despite there being nothing special about humans (Psalm 8:4–8): this suggests we don’t have a physical nature that in itself demands such special treatment.
But more than this, when the Bible uses contradictory physical imagery for the same thing, I think that suggests something that is beyond words or simply not revealed. So when God is described as a lion, a man, an eagle, a wind, a cloud – then obviously God’s physical nature can’t be reduced to any of these. And when creation is described as happening through God’s speech (Genesis 1), God’s pottering about (Genesis 2) and God’s architectural construction (Job 38), I again think the reality transcends any of these pictures. In this way, I think the Bible makes room for us to discover the how and the when through exploring creation itself. We are, after all, created to rule as God’s image-bearers, and “It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out” (Proverbs 25:2).
Yes, we could wonder about how much saving creatures like Neandertals and Naledis needed. But since those creatures existed, any position that doesn’t simply deny reality will have to grapple with where they fit. The main change, perhaps, is that rather than wondering where to draw a sharp line, we’re wondering where to draw a fuzzy line. But hopefully it convinces us that such questions are above our paygrade and draws us to trust that the judge of all the earth will do what is good.
Evolutionary creation is compatible with a historical Adam and Eve, but that’s not how I read Genesis. The Hebrew word adam means humanity. Both Genesis 1:27 and 5:1–2 use adam to refer to humanity, not a single person. In between we get a story of the adam that also has lots of obvious symbolism (one flesh being split into two flesh that come back into one flesh; a talking serpent; fruit that gives eternal life or knowledge). The way Genesis frames it, I think we’re intended to view it as our story – the human story. That also seems to be Paul’s key takeaway, since he speaks of how we can be in Adam or in Christ. The point isn’t who our ancestor was, it’s whose story we’re inhabiting.
My favourite example of where something like this happens elsewhere is the book of Ezekiel. The book talks quite a bit about Jerusalem, and we know Jerusalem is both a city and a way of referring to the remaining Judahites. But right in the middle of this, Jerusalem becomes a woman with parents and sisters in the ugly story that is Ezekiel 16. This doesn’t reveal that Jerusalem was also a real woman. Instead, it tells the nation their story through personifying them as a woman. In the same way, Genesis 2–3 tells our story. Not only is it the story of the human species over time, it’s a story each one of us can find ourselves in. But as Paul later makes clear, Jesus makes a way for Adam’s story of rebellion and fall and death to not be our final chapter.
I know that probably prompts questions about the genealogies and Eve and other stuff, but I’ll leave it at that rather than trying to anticipate every response. Hope this helps!
I’ll address the first question. The third is pretty well addressed in a current active post, but we can discuss it here also.
As to the first question, I believe that no scripture “backs up” evolutionary creation, as that is not the purpose of scripture. Science as we know it did not exist when scripture was written, so it could not address it even if that was within its domain. Some people here and elsewhere look at Genesis 1:12 and the “brought forth” terminology to say that supports evolution, but I think that is a stretch to say it was to talking about the specific method God was using to create.
However, it is consistent with God allowing evolution as a mechanism of creation, and when you look at the whole of scripture, it is repeatedly seen that God allows his plan to develop with time, and we see “evolution” of the nation of Israel through the patriarchs, with false starts, dead ends and the awkward use of imperfect men to achieve his ultimate goal of salvation through Jesus. We also see Proverbs16:33 where chance is seen as one way God can be manifest NLT: We may throw the dice, but the LORD determines how they fall.
We see the parable of the sower where some seed thrive, and some wither and die. N. T Wright uses this as an example of how God might work not only in the gospel, but in the physical world, and is consistent with God’s use of evolution as a creative mechanism. You might want to read his article here: https://biologos.org/resources/if-creation-is-through-christ-evolution-is-what-you-would-expect
that should be a start. Please feel free to ask me or others any follow up questions. It can be a lot to absorb if you are not familiar with these topics, but ultimately I feel evolutionary creationism integrates science with a vibrant faith.
- What scripture do I believe supports evolution? None. But that’s simply because the question is setting up unfair parameters. It would be similar to me asking someone to show me in scripture meteorology? It’s not there. A literalist interpretation of the verses concerning weather takes away all scientific reasoning behind it and leaves it up solely to the whims of God. But we know that we can see the scientific data behind the weather and that’s why we can predict it and see how things like our choices as a species can affect the climate. But none of that is evident in scripture and would contradict what scripture does say about weather if we were forced to a literalist interpretation of every verse.
I think a better question with a more fair set of parameters would be how can evolution be compatible with the Bible. The way it’s compatible is not a verse by verse approach, but by understanding the literary styles and techniques being used by the the author(s) of genesis 1-11. When you compare the chapters there against other parts like any 11 chapters of exodus, Leviticus, 1 Samuel, 2 Kings, Matthew or Acts you’ll notice they wrote very differently. They are conveying knowledge very differently. It’s completely different genres. Exodus , Leviticus, and Acts are wrote as histories. Matthew is wrote as a sort of biography. But when we look at some other books like psalms and revelation we see literature that presents truth in the forms of highly symbolic, hyperbolic narratives. Revelation is not a book of lies, but it is not a book to be interpreted literally. Almost no one believes that two sea monsters are coming out of the ocean, or that four spiritual beings, including death incarnated and given personhood will ride about the earth killing people or that Satan is a giant dragon. So here a literalist view would not go over very well. Then consider psalms. Some chapters seem quite historical in nature. The prayers of David in psalms 17 but we also see chapters like 74 where it says in the middle of creation sometime that week God battled a multi headed giant sea dragon named Levithan and that He crushed its heads. Again, almost no one reads that and believes just like Thor or Hercules that Yahweh manifested himself physically and went to war with. Sea monster.
So when reading genesis 1-11 what I see is a clear writing style one full of a disc shaped earth with a dome protecting it from space water, one with a mud man being ripped apart after being made human and its blood and flesh turned into a partner and a world where dinosaurs would be living alongside of humans. If very hyperbolic and seems to be a Jewish mythology that’s focus is not on history or science but is there to paint a picture that we have a god who loves us and a enemy about hates us and we have to make a choice and choose God or choose the devil which is anything that’s opposed to God as well as our real enemy.
So why I don’t believe a single verse directly leads one to evolution what I do see is the Bible being wrote in a manner within those first few chapters that allows us to learn from it without demanding a literal interpretation.
- I also believe that we can develop a answer from scripture about this depending on how far back we pull out shot.
In order for someone to need to be saved we need something to be saved from. Humans need to be saved from sin. Christ’s death allows us to have eternal life because we are freed from sin and grafted to the tree of life, Jesus Christ. So what happens if someone is not in bondage to sin? First we need to see was there ever a world without sin. Well until genesis 3 there is a world without sin. Furthermore we see this.
Romans 5:13 NASB
13 for until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not counted against anyone when there is no law.
That verse says that before the law was wrote, there was sin but that prior to the law no one was held accountable to sin. We know that the law does not just constitute the Torah, but envelopes any command God gave. If people were not accountable to sin until Moses then Adam and Eve would not have been punished and Cain would not have ben guilty of murder. But they were accountable for their sins and punished for them. So that means prior to that sin existed as well but no one was held accountable to it because God had not yet drawn a line in the sand. So on the same way that dogs and spiders are not in need of forgiveness of sins, neither were our ancestors required to be forgiven before God reached out and have his first commands.
- There are many ideas about this one in here. I am one of the ones that believe in a historical Adam and Eve. But again, since I don’t see any reason to take genesis 1-3 as literal history, I instead see it as a sort of historical fiction. Much like Jonah, Job and Esther. What I do see are patterns in scripture again and again that shows Gods interactions with different groups of humans.
I see Abraham and Sarah being promised good things and led by God to a better place.
I see Lot being saved from destruction and led to a better place.
I see Moses and the Israelites being led from the destruction of the Egyptians and lead towards a promised land.
I see the Israelites repeatedly brought out of exile and from the hands of their enemies and lead back to a better place.
We see God finally sending Jesus Christ to lead anyone who chooses to follow him to a better place.
So with that in mind , and believing in a literal Adam and Eve, though their story was told as historical fiction I believe that God choose a righteous couple out of the world to be his chosen people and lead them to a promised land, a garden paradise to be with him. It fits the narrative of almost every story in the Bible. Almost every story is about God picking a righteous person(s) and leading them on a path of salvation of one kind or another. Some of the things I consider is Adam and Eve and the tree of life. If Adam and Eve was immortal, why would their be a tree of life that sustains eternal life? They would not need it. If they only needed it because they messed up, but once they sinned they would not be allowed to eat it, then it would mean that the tree served no purpose. However, if God lead a early righteous couple to a promised land where they could remain in Him and be sustained by his gift , the tree of life, it would mean they were not ever immortal and scripturally I only see God called immortal. Not even angels are called immortal.
1 Timothy 6:16
New American Standard Bible
16 who alone possesses immortality and dwells in unapproachable light, whom [a]no one has seen or can see. To Him be honor and eternal dominion! Amen.
I know that those were not as simple as answers as maybe you were looking for but it’s the best answers , though a simplified and very shortened version, of my answers.
Emily, @Emily_Decker, Hopefully we have provided enough info for you to work with, but if not, let us know.
If you would be so kind, I am interested in your views and the views of your peers in class, and perhaps a little insight at to how your science and origins class addresses the subject. We are a pretty friendly bunch, and you can rest assured we will respect your position, even if we are not in agreement. Or heads will roll. Thanks!
There are in general three evangelical views of origins: Young Earth Creationists, Old Earth Creationists, and Evolutionary Creationists:
- What all evangelical views affirm:
a. The historic doctrines of the Christian faith.
i. Salvation is by faith alone through grace alone and in Christ alone. One’s view on creation is not a salvation issue, but an improper view of creation can create distrust in the accuracy of the Bible and raise barriers to faith.
ii. The Bible is God’s Word and is inspired.
- The evidence from science properly interpreted and scripture properly understood are not in conflict.
- Genesis 1-11 is foundational to understanding the whole of scripture and biblical theology.
- The Bible is not primarily a book of science. (EC—the Bible contributes nothing to science.)
- All three positions assert that scripture is primary—scripture first.
a. The evidence of science can help inform our understanding of scripture.
b. All three positions provide a biblical basis for their position, at least plausible enough for their adherents.
iii. God is the creator and sustainer of the universe and all things.
- Creation demonstrates God’s nature, power, wisdom and character.
- Because we see law in nature, we believe in a Lawgiver.
- The creation account also informs us of the purposes of God:
a. God desires a relationship with us. He created the universe and specifically the earth as a place where he could dwell with humans—with people. He created the universe and people for his glory and pleasure.
b. God created the world (and the universe) for us to enjoy and to provide for all of our needs.
- The universe is uniquely designed for life.
- The creation account is also about God’s ordering the universe.
- Each view claims to share a common purpose: removing barriers to coming to faith in Jesus Christ and presenting the Gospel.
- What all claim to reject: Naturalism and Materialism; Scientism, Humanism, all of which erect barriers to coming to faith in Jesus Christ. In this way, we are not only all brothers and sisters in Christ, but we are also co-belligerents in defending the Biblical worldview, removing barriers to coming to faith in Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:15-18. (But EC does embrace Philosophical Naturalism—addressed later.)
- What these positions disagree about:
a. The nature of the Genesis account—is it history? Is it consistent with the evidence of science?
b. The age of the earth and the universe and when life first arose
c. God’s method of creation
Note: This overview is for Evangelical Christian views. It is intended to accurately represent the primary position of each group. This is by design a limited presentation. There are many variations within each view that are not included. Theologically liberal Christian groups often do not agree with the affirmations listed above, and their views are not included in this document, although their views on science are generally closest to EC.
Craig, instead of trying to speak for all positions, why not tackle the three questions from your perspective?
What Young Earth Creationists believe (YEC)
Overview God created everything 6000 years ago. Rejects biological evolution, the big bang, and an old universe.
Theology Historical Christian beliefs
Bible God’s Word—Inerrant in all that it affirms; Genesis is historical; God performed the miracles described throughout Genesis 1; Adam and Eve were specially created (and were the progenitors of all humanity); that sin came into the world and all humanity when Adam disobeyed God; and that God judged all humanity in the flood. God may simplify his revelation but does not embrace error.
The Bible is clear to its readers, particularly in areas related to salvation.
Genesis 1-11 Historical account—it is written as history, not poetry, and we don’t need to decide where in Genesis history starts. These chapters can also inform the way we do science. The genealogies are complete and accurate and can be used to determine the time of creation.
Day-What is the meaning of the Hebrew word “Yom” in Genesis 1 & 2? Yom has a broad semantic range, but in the context and with the use of ordinal numbers, (second, third, etc.), and because “evening and morning” are used, the six creation days in Genesis must be ordinary 24 hour days.
Meaning of Create – “bara” Created matter out of nothing, “ex nihilo,” and also means assigning function. Both, not “either/or.”
How is science done? Look for evidence of both natural and supernatural causes. Rejects philosophical naturalism, which was developed by Charles Darwin as a method “required” to do science. When the best explanation for the evidence is super-natural (above nature), that should be used as the explanation for the evidence. “God is not a ‘God of the gaps’; he is God of the whole show.” (John Lennox)
Cosmology Universe is 6000 years old based on the biblical account and its genealogies. Can’t explain all observations, but neither can any other view.
Origin of Life God created life and the information for life by speaking—“And God said.” Genesis 1 and John 1:1-5.
When did life first appear? About 6000 years ago on the third through sixth days of the creation week, with humans as the last of God’s biological creation, and the pinnacle, created in the image of God.
A brief history of evolutionary theory The concept of evolution did not begin with Charles Darwin. It is thousands of years old. What Darwin did was to supply a plausible sounding mechanism for biological evolution—common descent with modification (gradual changes) over vast periods of time occurring through random variations with natural selection. The organisms that were most fit survived and reproduced. Darwin had no concept of the complexity of the cell and considered it as a gelatinous blob contained within a membrane. Modern genetics and mutations were also unknown to Darwin. Gregor Mendel, a monk and contemporary of Darwin, laid the foundation for modern genetics. It is unlikely that Darwin had any access to Mendel’s work.
Origin of Species God directly created “kinds” with all the genetic information needed for all the species. Species develop through natural selection, geographical isolation, adaptation to varying environments, etc. Speciation results from a loss of genetic diversity, not an increase. The genome is also deteriorating through genetic entropy at a rate inconsistent with creation even a few hundreds of thousands of years ago. YEC recognizes that “fixity of species” is not a Biblical concept or consistent with biological evidence.
Origin of Humans God created Adam and Eve “de novo” (anew) and in the image of God (Imago Dei) on day six of the creation week, about 6000 years ago. This is consistent with biblical evidence from the genealogies and chronologies. There is also supporting scientific data, such as genetic entropy. Adam and Eve were the sole parents (sole progenitors) of the human race.
There were no pre-humans or hominids. All fossils identified as “hominid” are either fully human or extinct non-human species.
Who was Adam? Adam and Eve were the sole parents of the entire human race, created by God from the dust—preexisting material.
Was there death before Adam sinned (the Fall)? There was no death of sentient creatures before the Fall—Adam’s sin. There may have been death of insects and other lower forms of animal life. And certainly, plant “death” is not included—plants were eaten as food. But if the world is 4.5 billion years old, there was a lot of death and suffering before Adam and Eve sinned, which is unbiblical.
Geology and fossils The landforms and geological features and the sometimes continent wide sedimentary layers that we see were largely created during the flood (geological catastrophism). Fossils were laid down in the order in which the organisms were buried during the flood. What would we expect to see if there was a worldwide flood?: “Billions of dead things, buried in rock layers, laid down by water, all over the earth.
Flood of Noah’s time Historical event—a universal flood covering the entire earth and destroying all humans and all land based animal and insect life.
Geological interpretation principles Most of the landforms and strata that we see today were formed during the catastrophic events of the flood of Noah’s day, including a single ice age beginning a few hundred years after the flood.
Ice Ages/glaciations periods There was a single ice age beginning a few hundred years after the flood and lasting about 500 years. Very specific conditions are required for an ice age to develop, including warm oceans for adequate moisture falling as snow, year round cold land masses for hundreds of years to allow ice caps to build up and significant volcanic activity. (For more detail on the YEC view, see books by Michael Oard.)
Fossils Most were created through rapid burial during the Flood. Very little or no fossilization is occurring now, as rapid burial is required.
Greatest weaknesses—My editorial opinion
• YEC doesn’t have all the answers yet about starlight and time and radiometric dating.
• YEC focuses on Genesis as an account of God’s physical creation, often making the theological implications secondary. YEC needs to also emphasize theological truths arising from creation:
o God desiring to be in relationship with us.
o The ordering of the universe and society
o God and distinctions such as male and female, light and darkness, good and evil.
o Creation as God’s good provision and our responsibility as stewards
How each YEC sees the other views As compromisers, OEC and EC create barriers to accepting the authority and truth of the Bible, therefore driving people away from believing the Bible. Teaching YEC is important in removing these barriers so that people can come to faith in Jesus Christ.
The EC view of biblical interpretation in Genesis approaches Gnosticism. God is not the god of the gaps. He is the God of everything, both what we know and what we don’t understand.
Strengths and Weakness from a secular perspective
Uses a straightforward reading of the Biblical account
• Rejects standard cosmology
• Rejects evolutionary paradigm
• Starlight and time
• Rejects geological column and fossil record
• Rejects radiometric dating as accurate
Who is it reaching?
• Mission work overseas
• Internet presence
• Museums, Ark Encounter
Primary organizations and spokesmen Creation Ministries International – Gary Bates
Answers in Genesis – Ken Ham
Institute for Creation Research
Search for the Truth – Bruce Malone
Cornerstone Origins Television—“It’s God’s view that he created you, and that should be your view too”—excellent 25 minute presentations.
Note: A primary focus of these YEC organizations is evangelism and the gospel, not just creationism.
Done that. But I think it is important to not only understand our differences, but what we agree on.
This is exactly what I was looking for! Your responses have been super helpful! And I do really appreciate how gracious everyone has been with different views. It seems like so many people get combative online, so I was honestly worried about posting anything in the first place! But y’all have been a huge help!
My personal view is that Genesis 1-11 is to be taken as literal history, just like the rest of the book of Genesis. I believe in a 7-day creation period where God rested on the 7th day. I don’t think there is enough in scripture to support a strong argument for evolutionary creation. I haven’t been studying this topic for very long, so I am by no means an expert, but the implications of evolutionary creation don’t sit well with me.
That being said, I think a deeper reading of Genesis is necessary, because, much like the rest of the Bible, if you only take the words at the surface level you are bound to find some strange ideas! Careful attention the the original language, context, and grammatical structure of the first 11 chapters of Genesis leads to a vastly different view than the traditional reading that many of us learned in Sunday school, yet it still takes it literally without trying to stretch for explanations of things that may not make sense at first glance. A literal reading fits in very well with science, and honestly, I believe that if science and the Bible don’t match up, then science and its methods should come into question rather than how we are interpreting the Bible. Scripture is God’s authoritative, all-sufficient word, and when we question it rather than science (an institution of man), we are trying to lean on our own understanding.
I do think careful observation is important, and science is a wonderful tool God has given us in order to study his creation! But sometimes, I think there are things we can’t explain, we must simply have faith and trust in what God says to be true.
1 Thessalonians 5:21 (NKJV) says: “Test all things; hold fast what is good.”
I thoroughly believe in the sufficiency of scripture, and also that we should be careful to observe and understand as much as we can. But not 100% of this world can be explained by science. So in those cases, I lean towards scripture.
I hope that’s pretty clear! This is something I’ve been working out and working through this semester, so trying to communicate my thoughts on it can be hard sometimes! Thank you all again for your responses!
I think you are in very good company here as there are many who felt exactly as you do at the same stage of their education. Best of luck with your studies.
Oh, and as one of a couple of non Christians who like it here, I agree with you that people here are very helpful and gracious. Heck, they even allow me to hang around.
One question I like to pose to those with a literalist understanding of Genesis 1-2 and 9 is that it requires them to believe humans and dinosaurs lived together at the same time and that we were all here fully formed immediately. If we were all here at the time of the flood then that would mean 1 of three things would have happened.
In the fossil record created by the flood we would see a combination of every species mixed together. There would not be distinct species in each layer of every size.
We would see all the species layered by largest to smallest.
We would see all the species layered smallest to largest.
But when we see the fossil record, we see these layers that have distinct species within them, even if there is overlap. We for example never find humans in the same layer as T Rex. We never see scars on the bones created by human tools on dinosaurs. We see small and large species mixed together in each layer. We also see morphological development in the layers. Such as with the earliest primates waking on all fours to the development of many species including our own walking on two.
We see fossils in the order that they were buried during the flood. Most fossils are marine fossils, and very few are land animals. And yes, there is lots of evidence from historical records of humans and dinosaurs living together.
Hi from the Olde Worlde Emily.
- The same ones used for YEC and all modern creationism. But not mine.
- Salvation is universal, of all infinite creation from eternity.
- The latter, in fact take everything metaphoric, figurative, that is a story, that begins ‘once upon a time’, as that as you would with any other literature; none of it as woodenly literal, which loops back to the first *