I agree with you here.
This was not my personal story. You might benefit from reading part of my story.
For me there were really several steps.
- I had to understand the science for myself, but this was the last step.
- I had to understand how could fit with the Bible, and this was among the most important questions for me. I need also to know that any adjustments I made were not just to accommodate evolution.
- I had to find a place to put confidence instead of anti-evolution arguments. And this was the most emotionally difficult step, because I was so attached to anti-evolutionism.
In the end, a key step for me was realizing how different YEC and ID arguments were from traditional interpretations of Scripture. Ultimately, it was a return to Jesus-centered orthodoxy that brought me to theistic evolution. For me, it was a process of taking down idols.[quote=“Mike_Gantt, post:83, topic:36078”]
And while we’re at it, let’s be honest that the majority of people who believe in evolution don’t believe in it because of the evidence; rather they believe in it because the weight of the scientific community is behind it.
Maybe that’s true, but not for me. I’ve witnessed the evidence myself.[quote=“Mike_Gantt, post:83, topic:36078”]
Some participants in this forum might say, “Well, Mike, you ought to love Meredith Kline and John Walton because they demonstrate that the Bible is not actually claiming the things that you think it is.” I am willing to be convinced that the Bible is not making the claims that I think it is in this area but neither Kline nor Walton are convincing in their arguments.
Walton is not how I came to my position. There are reasons in the text itself, and also within the traditional interpretations themselves that demonstrate that there is much more ambiguity here, but also real messages that we are to receive. None of this is really a secret, and it just requires some attention to the actual traditional interpretations (rather than what people say is the traditional interpretation). I’m personally not writing off or explaining away Genesis, but evolution has allowed me to embrace it more coherently, more consistent with the early and historical Church.
This, I feel, is one of the great opportunities here. Our faith is not threatened by science. It is not contingent on the human study of nature. It does not need science. The fact we have lost site of this is a testament of the times, and our cultures theological innovation (in the worst sense of the word). For me, evolution was a call back to orthodoxy and Biblically-based faith, rooted in Jesus and God’s sign in history of raising from the dead.
No problem. One of the big turning points of me was reading Augustine’s literal interpretation of Genesis, where he concludes only on an “idiot” (his words) would think that those days are defined as 24hr days because the sun did not exist till the 3rd days. He also makes a brilliant theological point that spiritual death is more literal to God than physical death, and the death it refers to in Genesis caused by the fall, therefore, in his literal interpretation, is spiritual death.
Of course Augustine writes in the pre-science era, based almost entirely on textual analysis. He is not influenced by evolution. This is what tipped me over the edge. The “Traditional interpretations” i was supposedly to affirm without questioning, were not even the traditional interpretations (!!!).[quote=“Mike_Gantt, post:59, topic:36078”]
My question for you on this point is this: If Genesis 2:1-3 does not mean that the original creation was completed, what does it mean?
I think we look to the text to understand it. You emphasize stopping creating = rest, but this is not the whole story. We see in the story that the narrative of rest also includes God taking up residence on our world, in the Garden alongside Adam and Eve. Rest is closely connected to home, relationships and family. I think a better understanding of the rest of the 7th day, is that God had a purpose in creation that centered on creating us, beings that he could build a relationship with. Having created us, He takes up residence with us as the primary work of creation is over.
This is not an absolute statement about never anything new ever being created. This is not, for example, a statement that no new stars will form or species will arise (as we observe in telescopes and in a nature). Rather it is a statement about God’s attention and primary purpose, not a prohibition on new things arise in this world. It is a claim that we are the pinnacle of creation because we are the first thing that God makes that He can bring into his family, and bear His Image.
Now the people who most strongly dispute this are YECs, that will want to take the 6 days as 24 hour periods, and then inexplicably take day 7 as an age with no end. I find rigid inconsistency here really surprising. If this is really a literal week, we should wonder what happens on the 8th day, but they don’t.
Yes I know, but why exactly? Is that really what the passage teaches? How do they reconcile that there belief in the creation of a new heaven and a new earth? Or how God makes a new creation in our souls when we come to Jesus? We all believe these things, even those that take this view. We can all agree that God no longer creates in the same way in the past (even theistic evolutionists like me think this), but this passage isn’t articulating an absolute prohibition on new creations.
In the Church, I would say that this is what evolution is:
Evolution is scientific theory that most living things, including humans, share ancestors in the distant past. Historically, there have been several mechanisms proposed to explain how life changes over time, including natural selection. These mechanisms are the subject of intense and sustained inquiry and debate, and we currently understand evolution to progress by a wide range of genetic, ecological, selective, neutral, development, social, cultural, and contingent processes. No one in biology thinks that natural selection and random mutation is the sum totality of the mechanism, it is much more complex than this, and it is an active area of intense research.
It is important to understand that science never explicitly refers to God’s action or looks for it. From our Christian and non-scientific point of view, we do not believe science can tell us where or how or if God intervened in evolution. So it is reasonable to wonder if God intervened in evolution to inspire mutations or more intently direct our path at times. However, science is blind to God and silent about Him. As Christians, we also believe it is impossible to discern the exact nature of God’s action independent of Him revealing it to us. God does not reveal the exact mechanisms and mutations of creation to us in Scripture, so will never have clarity in on this.
None of this should surprise us, because the way God reveals Himself to all people is by raising this man Jesus from the dead. It is through this act in history that we find the identity of the Creator of all things. It is through the Empty Tomb that we see that God exists, is good, and wants to be known. We are people rooted in this revelation, this revealing, this act of God in history.
Personally, I often say this briefly by saying:
I believe that God created us, He designed us, by a process of evolution. I know this because the Creator of Everything reveals Himself through Jesus, by raising Him from the dead.
Even if I am wrong, this directs people rightly to Jesus. Even if we are wrong about evolution, we can still follow Him. Even if we are right about evolution, nothing compares with the message God has for all of us in Jesus. God’s act to reveal Himself will always be greater than our effort to study nature. Jesus is the Lord of All things, including science.
Honestly curious your thoughts about my journey.