Creation and Evolution (Part 2 of 3)
Can one believe in divine creation, the authority of the Bible, and in some form of evolution? Many believers and unbelievers think that’s like mixing oil and water. Many Christians trust scientific advances for their physical ailments and technological advances to make life easier. Yet, they totally reject what science says about the beginnings of the universe and life on earth. Many others, however, have a faith that embraces both science and Christianity. They think God could use evolution as an instrument in the development of life on earth.
Pastor Tim Keller believes that what current science tells us about evolution produces several challenges for Bible-believing Christians.1 First, to allow for evolution, believers can’t take at least Genesis 1 literally. Second, evolutionists such as Richard Dawkins expand the evolutionary biological process into an all-encompassing atheistic worldview that explains the meaning and purpose of life on earth and why humans behave as they do. Third, not taking Adam and Eve as real historical figures threatens the authority of Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 that teach that human sinfulness traces back to humanity’s connection with Adam.
Regarding the first challenge, not taking Genesis 1 literally doesn’t mean we can’t take any of the Bible literally. We treat the Bible as authoritative best when we take the biblical authors as they intend to be taken. For example, we must not take metaphorical language literally. Jesus calls himself the gate and invites us to enter through Him and promises we will find pasture. We shouldn’t look for hinges on the gate or conclude we will be eating grass (John 10:9). By contrast, Luke 1 assures us that Luke wants us to take his carefully researched account of events literally.
There’s no consensus among Christians how the biblical author intended Genesis 1 to be understood. That chapter is neither purely prose nor purely poetry. It’s a mixture of the two. Like Hebrew poetry, it repeats various statements over and over. For example, “let there be” and “it was so.” That is outside the scope of merely telling us exactly what happened. You can refer to Keller’s paper for other aspects of Genesis 1 that are not typical of prose writing. Perhaps the strongest evidence the author of Genesis 1 didn’t want us to take him literally is that the creative events described are not in logical order. In Genesis 2:5 they are. Keller’s conclusion is that Genesis 1 doesn’t teach that creation necessarily happened in six 24-hour days. It doesn’t say God did it through evolution either. How He did it is not explained. It raises the possibility that the earth could be very old. #freechristiandiscipleshipresources #freechristianleadershipresources
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