...some conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account. Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: "That would be against all the genomic evidence that we've assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all."I've been pondering this story all day and I'm not really sure what to make of it. My first thoughts were, this is what happens when you take your eyes off of the prize. The central pillar of Christianity is the healing of the relationship between man and God through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ the son of God. Arguing about the literal interpretation of the Genesis account takes our eyes off of that world and life changing fact.
"Evolution makes it pretty clear that in nature, and in the moral experience of human beings, there never was any such paradise to be lost," Schneider says. "So Christians, I think, have a challenge, have a job on their hands to reformulate some of their tradition about human beginnings."
To many evangelicals, this is heresy.
"From my viewpoint, a historical Adam and Eve is absolutely central to the truth claims of the Christian faith," says Fazale Rana, vice president of Reasons To Believe, an evangelical think tank that questions evolution. Rana, who has a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Ohio University, readily admits that small details of Scripture could be wrong.
Rana and others believe in a literal, historical Adam and Eve for many reasons. One is that the Genesis account makes man unique, created in the image of God — not a descendant of lower primates. Second, it tells a story of how evil came into the world, and it's not a story in which God introduced evil through the process of evolution, but one in which Adam and Eve decided to disobey God and eat the forbidden fruit.
My second thoughts were, Genesis isn't about the nitty gritty of how God created everything we know. That's what science is for, to the best of the abilities of limited human understanding. Genesis is about the fact that God did create us and why he created us.
My third thoughts were, why does this insistence on a literal interpretation of the creation story in Genesis exist? Where did it come from? Whose bright idea was it to use this as a litmus test for whether one has genuine belief in God and a proper respect for God's authority? What's the real prevalence of this belief in the Christian community?
Then I came back around to my first thoughts again. This is a distraction from the gospel of salvation. What do I think about evolution with respect to the Christian faith? I don't care about evolution with respect to faith. As a science geek I know it's the best theory that science can come up with. I'm not going to begrudge them that. As a Christian I know that it doesn't even begin to tell the whole story and it really can't because of the nature of what science is and because of what faith is. The drive to hold up the literal interpretation of the Genesis account as a fundamental tenet of Christian faith is, I think, purely a reaction to what some see as an incursion of science and evolution into their sphere of influence. For my part evolutionary theory holds no power over me as a Christian and it holds no real power over any other Christian either. I don't understand why people keep acting like it does.
First tell me who you think Jesus Christ is and then maybe we can argue about how to interpret Genesis. Maybe.