The issue of Adam, YEC, ID, and the ASA: A PCA youth pastor and Bible college professor define the key problem

I was thinking I should mention something that was re-brought to my attention after spending years swimming in historical and sociological information.

I have realized it is very important to see the controversy about evolution from a street level. This is why teaching history at a community college close to an influential megachurch is so sociologically interesting in Dallas. I see daily the intersection of faith and science among faculty, pastors, and students.

I spent hours with a PCA youth pastor who pointed out that the existence of Adam is at the center of the PCA’s position on science. I assume it is why they don’t ordain individuals who accepts evolution. Both YEC and ID are strongly represented in PCA ranks.

I spent years talking to a professor from Appalachian Bible College, which in WV solely supports YEC. He said there is no need for salvation without the literal existence and sin of Adam as the Bible defines the story.

Spending so much time with ASA folks and biology professors and anti-creationism fighters can blind you to how practical a straightforward reading of the Bible is for parents caught in a deeply secularizing world characterized by sexuality and violence on TV.

Parents who are hoping their children will not fall away from the faith of their ancestors. Salvation theology demands a Fall, and that demands an Adam specially created apart from the animals.

Because Christ is referred to as the second Adam and spoke of the first marriage for example, and because Revelation ties to Genesis being true, the whole structure holds together cleanly.

I forget sometimes how stabilizing this perspective is, for people staring at a chaotic and dark world.


I think this sentence could be the most illuminating. What are they trying to protect, the truth of the Bible or human traditions?

I can understand why people would be afraid of change. That seems to be a very common human foible. For some people, if they find that one piece of what they were taught is false then they jump to the (false) conclusion that all of it must be false. It might help to point out how Christian theology has been constantly changing over the last 2,000 years, beginning with the writings of Paul to the Protestant Reformation to more modern theologians like CS Lewis.

A good example to point to might be the fight over Geocentrism (i.e. the Galileo Affair) within the Roman Catholic Church. I have always found Cardinal Bellarmine’s letter to Foscarini (found here) to be eerily similar to the discussion we have today with respect to creationism and the modern church.

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Indeed. It’s no wonder so many people who come out of hard-core YEC environments feel like their whole world is falling apart when considering accepting evolution.

Your last sentence here reminds me of the Creation Museum’s walk-through exhibit, which really highlights the bleakness of the world. While it does include the gospel, it’s still held together by a YEC view.

Well … not quite ‘practical’ enough, it would seem, given that many conservative Christians (including politically conservative YECs I suppose) have come to easy terms with redemptive violence myths in video games, entertainment, and (as it turns out – real life!) which kind of deflates the moral pretensions we “suddenly remember” again when it comes to other sorts of sins. I’m not casting any rocks here that aren’t landing on my own toes too. I’m only pointing out that just because we’ve managed to stabilize (and acclimate) ourselves to some (even generation-spanning) situation doesn’t mean that situation is therefore Kingdom-worthy.

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What I find interesting is the way in which you’ve managed to keep both your mind and your heart open to what’s going on around you. You seem to have a lot of empathy for others and can hear what their concerns are.

To my way of thinking, this is the basic message Jesus was trying to teach (though goodness knows that message is hard to hear these days through all the layers we’ve added to it).

Kudos to you.

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“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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