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A Thought About Christianity and Evolution

I’ve been collaborating for years in discussions about evolution and Christianity, and I feel I see extra clearly what accounts for the deeply held, visceral, variations of opinion about whether or not Adam was the primary man or whether or not Adam is a personality in a narrative.

The rationale for the variations shouldn’t be merely that folks have completely different theological techniques or alternative ways of studying the Bible. A extra elementary distinction lies on the root.

Christians truly consider in numerous gods.

The God we examine within the Bible doesn’t hesitate to take part within the human drama and to come across humanity throughout the limits of the human expertise. This God even turned enfleshed within the thriller of the incarnation. That’s how God is basically described within the Christian religion.

That’s one large purpose why I haven’t any problem—zero, zip—in seeing the biblical writers as writing in regards to the God they encountered as they understood God inside their cultural limitations.

Encounters with God, interpreted by and expressed in actually human, cultural, phrases.

That’s why I’ve no downside studying the Adam story in Genesis as an historical origins story like different origins tales of the traditional world, or understanding Paul’s tackle Adam in Romans as an outworking of his Jewish world (the place biblical texts are molded to suit an argument).

The Gospel teaches me that this sort of Bible displays the character of God. And that is the sort of Bible I’ve come to count on and in reality encounter every time I open it.

The Gospel does noteducate me that it’s a downside for God to enter into the human expertise and permit that human expertise to form—from starting to finish—how the Bible behaves. The Gospel teaches me precisely the alternative.

And the Gospel definitely does not educate me that God is up there, at a distance, guiding (micromanaging) the manufacturing of a remarkably numerous assortment of writings that nonetheless accommodates buried deep inside one single finely-tuned system of theology that we’re charged to excavate and guard.

So in relation to debates over the historic Adam and evolution, the query I’ve come to ask myself is, “What sort of God are you considering of while you say X….?” Is it

an incarnating God—Immanuel, God with us, or

a Platonic god—the place it’s important to peel off the obscuring “down right here” hindrances to get to the untainted “up there” god, with the Bible as an encoded inerrant guidebook to get you there.

I don’t just like the platonic god.

I don’t suppose Jesus did both.

You’ll be able to inform one thing in regards to the god folks consider in by taking note of how they speak about controversial problems with the Bible—like Adam.  Do you see a system-dispensing administrator who retains his distance or “God with us”?

In the event you hold your eyes open, my wager is that you will notice one or the opposite coming by loud and clear.

***A model of this submit final appeared in August 2013. I’ve written extra about evolution in The Evolution of Adam (Baker, 2012) and the Bible generally in The Bible Tells Me So (HarperOne, 2014) and  Inspiration and Incarnation (Baker 2005/2015). Try additionally my most up-to-date e-book, The Sin of Certainty (HarperOne, 2016).***

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