Who best reconciles the Bible and Evolution?

I am not being polemic. To be polemic would be to set the Bible and evolution in opposition to each other and then push one side of the argument or the other. I am merely saying that they conflict with one another and I am asking how other people have resolved that conflict.

Now, you may be one of the many people in this forum who say that there is no conflict between the Bible and evolution. I don’t understand how anyone can say this. Yet I won’t doubt your sincerity. I’d appreciate it if you wouldn’t doubt mine.

Thank you very much for your feedback. The key point I was trying to make is that if you read the sequence of the events in the Bible, other men and women are created prior to Adam and Eve and if you remove the link of Adam and Eve being the first Homo sapiens, then you remove the conflict with evolution.

I will use your feedback to try and improve the second edition, thank you again!


So, then, how is it that you can conclude that God is being figurative about snow and hail?

Your statement “cannot be the reconciliation itself. To do that, one must actually give the figurative explanation.”

So what is your figurative explanation for why God tells Job that if he hasn’t seen the treasuries of snow and hail, how can he presume to be as wise as God himself?

How is this section of Job different from Genesis?
I. God speaks in both sections.
2. God uses plain words in both chapters; plain words that would be easily understood in just one or two different ways.
3. Indeed, there is even less “wiggle room” in the Job discussion than there is in Genesis - - because Psalms actually talks about God’s concept of Time being very different from the human concept of time. I know of no Biblical text that explains God’s concept of snow and hail is vastly different from the human concept of precipitation!

What would be the equivalent conundrum in Job? Do you presume to suggest that God’s idea of “cold storage” is sublimely different from the human awareness of “cold storage”? Is God describing some incredibly subtle metaphysical property of “snow and hail” - - that Job could not hope to understand about “snow and hail”.

You have laid out the rules… and you are trapped by them.

You are an honest man. Simply say here and now, that you don’t have any good way to explain why Job is justifiably more figurative than Genesis.

Just admit it. And we will all marvel at the words of an honest man.

You think that God doesn’t know how He makes snow and hail?

I am asking you for your figurative explanation of Genesis 1. Instead of giving it to me, you ask me for my figurative explanation of Job. Do you have a figurative explanation of Genesis 1 which works with evolution? If so, please give it; otherwise, please stop adding bloat to the discussion.

It has become clear to me that it is time to close this topic. (Some of you would say past time - :slight_smile:) Therefore, this will be my last post on it.

That said, I have learned enough from the interaction here to ask a related question, but one that has a much narrower focus. It is about reconciling creatio continua with Genesis 2:1-3 and, if you’re interested, you can find it here.


You write:

“I am asking you for your figurative explanation of Genesis 1. Instead of giving it to me, you ask me for my figurative explanation of Job.”

Ha! You are the one with the unanswerable criterion.

Show me how You justify the Job texts and you will show us all how we can justify the Genesis text!

Right now all it seems you are doing is: “Show me how to make a square circle and I’ll be an Evolutionist!”

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The following question is asked with complete and total sincerity:

How can you expect us to formulate an answer to your question (which many suspect is impossible to satisfy) if you don’t demonstrate the ability to formulate an answer to a verse that you think is ‘Obviously Different’ (I.e., easier to explain!).

Your ongoing failure to demonstrate that your type of question can be answered (with an easier text no less!) is the clincher evidence (!) … that you have indeed posed an impossible question!

Copy: @cwhenderson, @T_aquaticus, @Christy, @Casper_Hesp, @Chris_Falter, @jpm, @BradKramer, @beaglelady

[Special Delivery: @nobodyyouknow , I’m using your logical approach to interpreting scripture using parallel methods << you were the inspiration! ]

Of course! I was just trying to illuminate why natural history is a reasonable and accurate term to use.

The Bible is, perhaps, about how to be human. It’s not about how we became human. It summarizes many things not relevant to the main purpose of the text, or does not mention them at all. Just from reading the Bible, would we have any idea that we are made up of cells, and that these cells have mitochondria and nucleii with DNA in them, and cell membranes and ribosomes and the endoplasmic reticulum? Of course not. All that stuff is left to human ingenuity and perseverance to find out about.

But the Bible tells us not to fall into goofy superstitious explanations, not to worship pagan gods or golden calves or other false idols. It tells us to see reality as it is, not as we would like it to be. And it tells us to be honest with ourselves and others when we seek truth, and without that, how far would science ever have gotten? Even if someone figured out something brilliant, it’s worth nothing if others refuse to see it as true and pass it on.

The Bible doesn’t tell us how many planets there are or the structure of an atom. Nobody expects it to. It would be bizarre if it did.

There are interesting questions in this day and age about what kinds of questions are best solved by computers vs. what kinds of questions the human brain still outperforms computers in. I do not think it is simple hubris to put higher value on the kinds of thinking that a computer cannot do for you, easily or at all. And I think the wisdom of the Bible—the kinds of things God would consider it important to convey—falls almost entirely on this higher, more complex, non-computational level. I think trying to apply nitpicky factoid-based error-searching the way we critique a science paper is so totally pointless and counterproductive to actually getting anything out of the Bible that you might as well be trying to use a jet engine for brain surgery. It’s nothing against jet engines, which are marvels of engineering, and it’s not that we shouldn’t be trying to do brain surgery, either. It’s about recognizing appropriate tools for the job.

I think the ancient Hebrews who wrote the Bible did a remarkably good job of not including a lot of fanciful myths which we know were floating around neighboring cultures at the time. And yet they weren’t perfect, and God didn’t try to make them write like they were all-knowing: that would be ridiculous. Early Genesis in particular is obviously something that went through many generations of (likely oral) transmission before being written down by Moses or even later writers, not something recorded by any human who had any reason to be there. And yet apart from the sea monsters, the talking snake, and the flaming sword—

Ok, I just talked myself out of the argument I was about to make.

Instead, let’s say you take a poll of reputable biologists on the subject of whether snakes can talk. Nearly all of them agree that snake dentition, oral structure, and vocal cords (not to mention brains) are totally unsuitable for talking. Do you:

A. Conclude that the biologists are part of an atheist conspiracy,
B. Conclude that the Bible is wrong and you must become an atheist,
C. Conclude that anything is possible with a miracle from God,
D. Conclude that it is a figurative snake, or
E. Conclude that it is a figurative snake and also it is the Devil.

Here’s the great part about this example: nobody needed modern biologists to tell them that snakes can’t, as a rule, talk, so theologians have a well-established tradition in place that it was not a simple, ordinary snake. We are used to this ‘conflict’ and everybody’s pretty much fine with it.

Ancient Greek science and the early church fathers supposed that future generations were all miniaturized and contained in semen. So it made sense to them that when Adam sinned, we all sinned “in him.” Modern explanations of original sin would do better to reject the biological, genetic idea of sin entirely. Sin is something you do, not something you are.

And the opportunity for sin coincided exactly with the opportunity or capacity for us to be good: for us to be gardeners for God, to care for and cultivate the tree of knowledge, and ultimately to look at and fully absorb what good and evil are, and to choose between them. That didn’t go well the first time around. It continued not going well until Jesus, as the Bible documents extensively. It’s hard to see what relevance the question of whether God made us out of monkeys or mud has to the point of the story.

Adam was called to a higher purpose than his neighbors by God. After an unspecified but presumably short period of time, he fudged it up and lost all opportunity for Life. His descendants continued in cycles of successes and failures, and got thoroughly mixed together with everybody else.

I think the original impetus for seeing Gen 1&2 as the same story probably had a lot to do with wanting to make the theological point that all humans are related to each other and that sin (and the need for redemption) is universal to the human condition. The question we need to ask ourselves is whether we can still arrive at those conclusions without the belief that Adam and Eve are the sole progenitors of the human race. I think science amply demonstrates the relatedness of all humans, and if you believe in sin at all, that, too, has pretty plainly spread univerally, even without being genetically transmittable.

I feel a bit as though I’m swinging in the dark, trying to guess what specific things in Genesis you’re hanging up on currently, but this post has gotten more than long enough and I see you’ve started a new thread now, so I will conclude that means it’s time for me to be done with it and hit post.


@BradKramer - Lynn’s post would make a fine contribution to the Biologos blog, IMHO.


Oh goodness — I felt like I was rambling horribly, but thank you!

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You are spectacularly distorting the fundamental nature of one of them. I suggest that you resolve the conflict by not doing so.

For starters, the idea that “both sides are examining the same evidence” is objectively false.


I’m not “throwing up my hands.” I’m here.

I don’t think either side is presenting hearsay.

I feel like a man accused of racism - it’s one of those charges that can stick even when there’s no merit to it.

Are you really suggesting that “unfiltered evidence” resides only on one side of the argument. It is my perception that scientists are interpreting physical data and exegetes are interpreting biblical data. Both sets of data are being mediated to us.

Maybe I’m just misunderstanding you. If so, please give me another explanation of your thinking - only please don’t tell me again that you know better what I’m thinking than I do.

[quote=“Mike_Gantt, post:304, topic:36078”]
I’m not “throwing up my hands.” I’m here.[/quote]
Your being here in no way precludes your figurative throwing up your hands and pretending that it’s just hearsay vs. hearsay.

You are framing your challenge as hearsay vs. hearsay.

Then why do you repeatedly and falsely present it that way?

I’m not accusing you of racism. I am accurately describing your presentation as a false polemic of hearsay vs. hearsay.

I am accurately stating that virtually all of the unfiltered evidence resides on only one side of the argument.

That is a gross misrepresentation of science. Moreover, you’re not even willing to go to the actual Biblical data in Hebrew!

[quote]Maybe I’m just misunderstanding you. If so, please give me another explanation of your thinking - only please don’t tell me again that you know better what I’m thinking than I do.
[/quote]Where have I made any claim about what you are thinking, Mike? I’m pointing out what you are doing. Maybe you are unaware of what you are doing, but you’re very clearly doing it.

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Then you and I have an insufficient common foundation upon which to build a productive communication.

If anyone should come across this and want to keep up with this conversaion, see this question.

Mike, I’m trying to point out WHY you are avoiding a common foundation. If you’re not going to include science, simply don’t include science instead of misrepresenting it as hearsay or only retroactive interpretation, ignoring its very essence.

I am not discounting the witness of science, but neither am I willing to privilege it. It sounds to me as if you are willing to give greater weight to an interpretation of nature than an interpretation of the Bible. I believe both should be heeded, but in both cases we are dealing with interpretations.

In baseball, it’s “tie goes to the runner.” Here, it’s tie goes to the interpretation of the Bible. This is because through the Bible speaks explicitly whereas as in nature we can only infer.

I don’t think you would agree with me on these things, and that’s why we don’t have a common foundation.

Oh, but you are doing exactly that when you misrepresent it as hearsay or mere retrospective interpretation.

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The problem here is what part of science you think is a matter of interpretation. I can understand the thought that Dark Energy might -currently - be a matter of interpretation.

But Age of the Earth evidence is not eligible for such loosey- goosey categorization!


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