One of the books we looked at as part of the training track I attended at Together on a Mission was The Reason for God by Tim Keller, who asks the whole creation/evolution question. Keller’s main point is correct, that a lot of Christians appear to be naïve and blind with no care for any scientific evidence.
Historically the church called some scientists heretics for believing that the earth orbited the sun because some verses had been taken out of context. Interestingly enough it was the church that supported Darwin’s theory of evolution rather than the atheists – why has there been a sudden swing in opposition to it?
Well, I’m not going to go into all the details here but Keller’s main point is this: if Genesis 1 can be read as poetry (and it most certainly can), then it may not be a literal description of six days of creation and could very easily not conflict with a belief in evolution. The creation of man in Genesis 2 still stands alone, so biblically speaking you can’t say that humans are related to orang-utans etc.
Two problems can easily be solved, and one still remains unanswered:
- ‘Six days of creation are claimed by other teachers in the Bible including Moses and Jesus.’ This is actually ok because if Genesis 1 is poetry then it still establishes the image, without it needing necessarily to be literally true.
- ‘In evolution, death comes before sin and that’s not biblical.’ This is also ok, so long as you’re happy to accept that death for plants and animals is different, and that death for humans and animals is different. So I can uproot a tree and replant it – it’s dead, but still alive…animals bodies are only temporary…humans, however, are eternal.
- ‘Surely there are still problems with a literal Garden of Eden, creation of a woman from a man’s rib and a talking snake just for starters?’ Yes there are. Keller is able to fully believe in evolution yet still fully believe in a literal interpretation of Genesis 2, 3, and onward – exactly how has not been fully explained but looking forward to that!
There’s still a conversation to be had here, and I still very much believe in a literal six-day creation, but the point still stands that you can believe in evolution and the Bible.
If you’re interested in hearing this full session it’s located here.