Yeah… these are things which people like me who started with evolution and the scientific worldview built into their understanding of Christianity from the beginning. Though some of it is not so much a contradiction to the traditional understanding but seeing how it doesn’t have to change them all that much. I’d like to pull these seven challenges into a list and comment on them – which combined two of them giving only 6 challenges, both chance and natural selection being the evolutionary alternative to divine design.
- literal treatment of creation narrative.
- understanding of why living organisms are as they are.
- understanding of the difference between man and animals.
- understanding of death and natural suffering.
- understanding of the origin of evil.
- understanding of the origin of morality and religion.
When you start with a scientific worldview as part of how you understand what you read in a text like the Bible…
- You don’t even imagine taking the creation narrative literally and perhaps you don’t even look so closely at the details of the chapter one narrative.
- Not being a matter of divine design helps a great deal with the problem of evil and suffering.
- Knowing life isn’t something simply added to non-living material, you look for a different meaning of the divine breath such as inspiration which speaks more to this difference between man and animals than how God actually created human beings.
- Knowing physical death and natural suffering couldn’t be a result of the fall, you look for other meanings of what the Bible describes as the result of sin and the separation of man from God.
- This is a more tricky issue, for most people see evil as a problem peculiar to people. So even I didn’t see this as something which had any part of the natural world until much later. But it only requires less of an absolute distinction, the fall having more to do with God’s hope for what we could become in a relationship with Him rather than an invention of the very idea of evil itself.
- Starting with a scientific worldview you are more likely to connect morality to reasons why some things are good or evil rather than seeing them purely as a product of divine command. In that case you have less resistance to the idea of morality evolving in animals than you would otherwise.