@Mike_Gantt something beautiful has happened here.
I think you see here that I am a member of the Church, and you are accepting me as family across what is a great divide. This is correct and natural ecclesial (of the Church) response that is only possible because of the work of Jesus to bring us all into his unlikely family.
Let me quickly address your questions and return to this…
We affirm many of the same beliefs, but the order is also important for me. At times in my belief, I falsely believed:
Because of creation science, I know God created us and now trust the Bible. Because I trust the Bible, I believe in Jesus.
In my “epistemology,” my faith was rooted in man’s effort to study nature. First it was creation science, then it was Intelligent Design. I believed because of man’s effort.
Now, turning from my idolatry, I still believe God created us, but for a different reason. Now my grounding, my ordering goes like this…
God reveals Himself to all people by raising Jesus from the dead. I respond to His act with trust in Jesus. Because of Jesus, I trust that which brought me to Him, the Bible and the Church. Through the Bible, I find out that God created us.
Put more succinctly, I believe that the Creator exists, is good, and wants to be known because Jesus rose from the dead. And the ordering here is important. Placing Jesus at the foundation of my faith, looking to God’s work instead of man’s effort, is what brings me to confident faith in science.
For this, I will ask @Jon_Garvey to respond to your honest and important questions.
Personally, however, I will back off on this one, but I want to explain why. My goal here is not to change your view of Scripture. Personally, I’m okay with whatever you believe about our distant past. Hopefully you can at least see that it is there is at least uncertainty about how to understand Genesis 1-2, and that my view on this is faithful to my understanding of Scripture even if you do not yet see it.
Instead of focusing on what is not clearly seen in Scripture, I’d rather focus for a moment on what you have clearly seen.
I want to suggest that the central problem we face in evolution is not exactly theological or exegetical. Rather we face a fundamentally ecclesial problem, meaning this is a challenge that disorders and divides the Church of all believers.
Because I chose to honestly and publicly affirm evolution, I have been called a “heretic”. I have been told I do “not have a place at the table”. I have had members of the Church and my natural family furious with me for honestly explaining my position. I have been called cowardly and a traitor, because I would not join the war against evolution. I have been disinvited from speaking engagements. I have Christian friends who accept my privately but will not be seen in public with me.
I chose to honestly and publicly affirm evolution, knowing it would have this effect. I did this because of how I saw seekers in science being treated in the Church. They were curious about Jesus, but they were told that a pillar of our faith, a key step in following Jesus, is rejecting evolution. Jesus made sense to them, but our anti-evolutionism did not. I became willing to bear some suffering so that the seeker might encounter a Church that has returned to Jesus from anti-evolutionism.
I believe we face an ecclesial problem. Many in the Church do not know that God’s Spirit is also poured out on those that affirm evolution. I think you have seen something here. I want to ask you to tell the Church what you have seen. Nothing in evolution restrains the Gospel of Jesus. God has placed people here in science, but will we accept them as family in the Church?