Genesis and Evolution: Dealing With It

I've been reading a lot on Christian blogs about the subject of Genesis and evolution. A lot of this conversation has been spurred on by the recent publication of Peter Enns's new book The Evolution of Adam. I've been reading, as have many of you, a lot of comment threads where Christians are arguing back and forth. Should we read Genesis differently in light of evolutionary science? Or should we treat that science as provisional (only a "theory") and stick to a literalist reading of Genesis?

I don't have any great wisdom about this debate. Though I have experienced the tensions within the Christian community. For example, a few years ago I had a phone interview with a premiere evangelical university about me possibly applying for an endowed research position focusing on the integration of psychology and Christianity. During the interview with the chair of the search committee we got around to how the topic of evolution was approached on their campus. At one point I asked, "I've always wanted to write a book about the Sermon on the Mount in light of evolutionary psychology. Could I write that book at your school?" The answer, ultimately, was no.

There are two things that make me tired about this debate.

First, I don't see how it's going to get resolved. Like it or not, there are many Christians who have looked at the scientific evidence and have become convinced. So of course, in light of that, they need books like Peter Enns's to rethink how to approach texts like Genesis and Paul's use of Adam in the New Testament. Other Christians might not like that, might think that evolution isn't really a solid deal, but, hey, this conversation isn't for you. You don't have a problem in this particular regard so step away from the bar. Sure, you might express your worries from a distance that there are those within Christianity who are undermining the authority of Scripture. So what's new? More, your worry isn't helping. There are some Christians who, in order to maintain intellectual integrity, are going to need to read the bible a bit differently than you. Deal with it. It's par for the course. I mean, just flip through the Yellow Pages looking at all the churches in your town. Quit being such a whiner.

But on the other side are those friends of mine who are legitimately distressed by any accommodation to Mr. Darwin, particularly if it affects a literal reading of the bible. Not all these friends are scientific illiterates (Did you know that a whirlwind will not assemble a car by blowing through a junkyard?), some make erudite arguments about the provisional nature of science. Still, I find it hard to believe that they don't feel at least a smidge of tension when they look at the evidence or walk through a natural history museum. But then again, I don't expect everyone to see the world like I see it. So I deal with it.

Which brings me to my self-satisfied and schoolmarmish point. Why is everyone personalizing this? Some Christians are going to need books like The Evolution of Adam. Others will not. So why go at each other? The two groups have more in common than not. Because let's be honest, there is an atheist out there looking at both groups saying, "These Christians are crackpots."

I think we go at each other because everyone feels like a victim. The conservatives feel betrayed by the liberals, like we've gone over to the dark side. More, the conservatives don't like being painted as stupid, as theological country-bumpkins. Liberals, by contrast, don't like to be painted as anti-intellectual by secular intellectuals, and the country-bumpkins in the family are, well, just embarrassing. Like the redneck uncle at the family reunion. These people are giving the family a bad name, messing with my image.

So here's where I end up in this debate. If you believe in evolution, cool. You and I will have a lot of talk about. But if you don't believe in evolution, that's cool as well. I don't think you're an idiot and I appreciate you standing up for what you believe in.

At the end of the day, I'm dealing with it.

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47 thoughts on “Genesis and Evolution: Dealing With It”

  1. Great post. My first take on the Genesis-literalist / Darwinist debate it that it is so far down the pecking order of  stuff worth arguing about that I get a little tired of the debate. I suppose I get more frustrated at those to the theological right of me who want to add a particular version of creation theory as a non-negotiable essential for communion or even salvation, when I don't think its ever been that sort of issue historically. More recently I have become a little more interested in the potential ovelap between the theological (albeit perhaps not Biblical) concept of "Original Sin" and the Darwin / Dawkins concept of the evolutionary drive - to survive, to thrive, to reproduce and to protect one's own - at all costs. I think the evolutionists have really got something there and it makes the message of the Gospel and the work of the Spirit more meaningful in contrast. You don't need a historical Adam for this, but its more powerful to me than a purely metaphorical / mythic account. For me it makes my reading of Romans more vivid and I'm guess from your comment the SoM too.

    I also enjoyed the Darwin stuff in ch 1 of Unclean which was a bit of a "revelation" to me.


  2. Regarding evolution and sin, Peter Enns makes that connection in his book. Recently, theologian James Smith made some criticisms of Enns on this point. Tomorrow's post is some observations I have about Enns and Smith.

  3. One other thought. The thing that makes me tired is that it seems to me that, at root, the issue is if you find evolutionary science credible or not. Some Christians do, some don't. What irritates me in the comment threads is where Christians go back and forth about how one group should or should not be persuaded. Liberals, conservatives contend, have been persuaded to quickly and easily. Conservatives, the liberals contend, are not facing facts. I can't see how this conversation--Christians trying to prove or disprove evolution to each other--is remotely helpful or productive. My "solution" here is totally naive, but I really think people should just learn to deal with these differences and stop personalizing it. Though that is hard when people attack you. My tried and true response in those situations is just to say, "Whatever."

  4. Richard, I agree to a point.  As a Christian and a scientist, I attempt to leave open a great deal of space to "deal" with Christians who don't accept the science in the same way I do.  So long as we can agree to disagree and move on, then I'm very cool with people who choose to remain skeptics after honestly considering the evidence.  Unfortunately, it's rarely that simple.  To those who oppose evolution, it isn't just an alternative version of creation.  In my experience teaching evolution at a large state university, most really express fears of evolution as an attack on the separation of a "soul-bound" humanity from the animals.  Accepting evolution implies that we aren't as "special" as we think.  The arguments often start from a Biblical authority perspective, but when I probe a little deeper about their skepticism, it usually centers on the soul and where that would have come about through evolution.  It's a scary thing to strip away from of the uniqueness of humanity.  Perhaps as a psychologist, you could shed light on that.

    Unfortunately, those who oppose evolution typically aren't content to step back from the bar and voice concerns from a distance.  They wish to censure, or as least emasculate, evolution in science classes.  They attempt to pass off non-scientific approaches as acceptable.  Most troubling, in my opinion, is they eventually resort to very dubious theology to back it all up.  I've spoken with more than one student who seem visibly shaken because they find the evidence so compelling but they were told by their parents, preachers, youth ministers, or others in high school that their faith will be destroyed if they accept evolution.  I'm not sure I can "deal" with that.

  5. Great post, but re:

    Did you know that a whirlwind will not assemble a car by blowing through a junkyard?

    Well, as I'm sure you're aware, that's not what evolutionists even begin to suggest!

  6. Oh, I agree. My post really leans more toward those opposing evolution in asking them to deal with it. What prompted the post was the conservative outcry about Enns's book. My point is simply that Enns's book isn't for conservatives. It's for people who need it. The problem is that conservatives want to go back and argue the science and why it persuades so many. But that ship has sailed. Which might be sad to conservatives, but still, the ship has sailed.

    But to you point, if someone is hijacking a science class I wouldn't say the teacher should let that pass, she/he should defend the science.

    And yes, I do think there is an existential terror underneath a lot of this that is driving the anxiety.

  7. I think Peter Rollins has some ideas on moving forward in his appeal to hold loosely all that you believe the most strongly in. In fact, the ability to do this may be the mark that you do actually believe what you claim to believe. When we hold too tightly it may mean we are in fact in doubt and full of anxiety that our beliefs will be overturned. This particular fear of death looms large in christian circles maybe due to making just about every belief an idol instead of a goal towards love. 
    Thank you Richard for this blog. I have been enjoying Stringfellow for some time and always enjoy when more trained minds than my own explore him for the benefit of all. 

  8. The problem is, to a scientist, evolution is not about "belief".  That is -- they do not "believe" in evolution in the same sense as you might "believe" in Adam and Eve.

    The core of this debate is the gradual replacement of mythology in human history by science as explanation for the natural universe and our perceptions of reality.  The problem, as I see it, has always been about intellectual honesty and the Church.  Belief and faith are different from science to a large degree, although admittedly not completely.  It goes back in history at least as far as Copernicus.  You cannot misrepresent the word "theory" in the scientific community when talking about evolution any more than you can be confused by the term "music theory" in a class on the Baroque period.  See "The Language of God", by Dr. Francis Collins, a top geneticist and (now) a Christian.

    Since the "theory" of evolution and natural selection is settled science in the world scientists inhabit, some Christians do come off as both ignorant and arrogant when they cannot admit to their faith-based assumptions and circular logic.  Worse, they are seen sometimes as impeding further investigation and study.  In this regard, "dealing with it" looks more like an ostrich with its head in the sand.  No meaningful debate can be had if either side is unable to deal honestly with reality at hand.

  9. Karl Barth argued that making the Word of God dependent on any particular worldview was problematic.  He said the Word of God inhabited worldviews, but was never ever dependent upon them or subject to them.  In Genesis the Word inhabits a Babylonian worldview and then eventually exhausts the worldview, only to inhabit another worldview.  Worldviews will always come and go (or shall we say, evolve).  The Word of God is the same yesterday, today and forever.  This has resolved any tension for me.

  10. I wonder whether you aren’t the one personalizing this.You seem to cast the situation primarily in terms of things such as a sense of victimhood, in a manner that risks either trivializing or marginalizing such matters as faithfulness to the scriptures and the tradition. You valorize people’s sense of their personal ‘intellectual integrity’ and the limits of what they feel able to believe, treating these as if they should command some special respect from those who don’t share those struggles, and render their challenges unfitting or inappropriate. Your penultimate paragraph represents a retreat into the comfort of a semi-relativism, which shifts the centre of gravity from contestable public and objective truth to the inviolability of private convictions. And then you conclude by invoking the ‘deal with it’ so beloved by identity politics.Surely all that this is going to produce is an intensification of the ghettoized self-affirming monologues of much contemporary Christianity, a privileging of people’s internal intellectual comfort over the unsettling and challenging claims of Scripture, and a withdrawing from the demanding task of sharp ecclesial conversation that keeps us faithful to Scripture.

    Rather than retreating from difficult and confrontational discourse, I suggest that we need thicker skins, a higher pain tolerance for other people’s discomfort in questions of truth, greater humility concerning our own opinions, and better arguments. We also need more exclusive conversations. Persons who are weaker, overly sensitive, or too concerned about feelings really have no business participating in the sort of challenging and confrontational discourse by which the Church is kept subject to a truth beyond itself, and will consistently tend to derail them.

    We need to have a confrontational discourse on the subject of evolution and the Bible, not just a monologue that settles individuals into an intellectual comfort zone that should supposedly be respected by all other parties. I hold to evolution, but I find most attempts to square evolution with the Bible facile, problematic, or dishonest, Enns' approach included. I appreciate the insistence of creationists on this front. They keep me unsettled, which is exactly what I need to be, forcing me to read the Bible seriously on a matter where it runs up against my scientific prejudices, and to work to provide some sort of satisfactory account that allows for evolution, while doing full justice to the demands of the text.

  11. Here here.  Outstanding!  Stating this as the perfect synthesis might be subjective on my part, but I have rarely seen a better approach to this important topic.  Would that more people of faith had your ability at rigorous and honest reflection and investigation, and the ability, which I lack, to communicate it so cogently to others.

  12. Oh, I do think there is a need for people to push on each other to refine and explore the implications and internal consistency of our beliefs. But I don't think when you point those out you're asking them to revisit evolution per se. That is, it's one thing to try to convince someone like Enns that evolution isn't true versus asking him to squarely face the implications of his theological moves. The former seems pretty futile to me, the latter, as you note, much more likely to happen (and important).

    But at the end of the day, there are not, how shall we say, irreconcilable differences between Christians? Don't you think you and I are good examples of that? For example, I'm unsure if anything I've written, say, about same sex attraction has (or will ever) "unsettle" you or make you wonder about your own views. Not that you should feel unsettled. Just making a point about irreconcilable differences among intelligent Christians of good will.

    But if I ever do change you mind on something please let me know. And I'll do the same. Until that day, I'll stand by the post with you and I as Exhibit A.

  13. Isn't so much of this debacle (as you spell out in the last couple of paragraphs) just jockeying for status?  Its not really about Darwin or Science or Truth, but about who gets perceived to be smarter or more faithful? Unlike moral arguments, shouldn't this really just fall under the meat sacrificed to idols paradigm?

  14. You know, I think you're on to something. There does seem to be a power struggle behind this. Which might be why I'm not hugely interested.

  15. Richard,

    It seems like the main issue is the one you leave hanging in the air at the end -- that is, how to engage one another intellectually and theologically as Christians with different viewpoints. "Dealing with it" sounds oddly like leaving each other alone. But your blog is evidence you don't believe that. So the question seems to me to be, Given our differences, how do we have authentic, stimulating, mutually edifying intellectual debate about core (or even sub-core) Christian theological commitments without personalizing the issues under discussion?

  16. I'll admit that what I wrote sounds a defeatist note. But I don't want to say that there isn't a place for vigorous intellectual discourse.

    What I'm trying to ask for is a bit more tolerance for disagreement. For some reason people are legitimately shocked when others disagree with them. Few people can tolerate disagreement. Disagreement is a problem that must be fixed. Thus, there's a working assumption that people can and should be convinced. And a lot of violence has been done to people in the effort to convince them of the truth. I'm concerned about that violence. My solution here isn't really a solution, more an attempt at calling out the anxiety the fuels a lot of this "evangelizing" of fellow Christians.

    Because at root there is an anxiety beneath these exchanges (an anxiety that I'd trace back to existential issues, the fear of being wrong in the face of death), and it's that anxiety that's the problem. "Deal with it" is my shorthand for "learn to tolerate with the anxiety of existing alongside Otherness."

    And to clarify, what I have in view here are cultural and popular conversations. As I said at the top of the post, the frame is one of Internet conversation. You, I'm thinking, have in view a more academic situation. And, yes, in that frame my post breaks down pretty quickly. Though I've seen academics get angry and anxious when cherished positions are at stake. Academics can be pretty cutting when it comes to characterizing a rival's work. To them I'd also say, "Deal with it."

  17. I'd also add this. My focus here isn't on general theological debate but about the peculiarities of this particular debate (i.e., evolution), which, I'd argue, is unique. That is, it's not really a debate about theology but about the nature of science and the status of evidence in regards to evolutionary theory. Thus, what we see are a bunch of Christians, with widely varying degrees of scientific literacy, arguing about science. Unsurprisingly, this debate is a mess. It's this spectacle of Christians arguing about science that I see as a not very fruitful discussion. Now, Christians arguing about Christianity? I'm more on board with that.

    Here's what I'm saying more simply. Let's say I walk a Creationist friend through the NYC Natural History Museum. Exhibt by exhibt. And at the end I ask, "Don't you think all this evidence argues persuasively for evolution?" Let's say they say, "No, I don't." What are we do at that point? What else could be said?

    Here's what I'd say. I'd say: "Okay. Let's go see a musical on Broadway."

  18. You and me as Exhibit A.

    (Sorry -- neither qb nor I can help ourselves; we are compulsive slaves to the King's English).  The easiest way to remember this is simply to remove the other person.  Would you say "with I as Exhibit A"?

    Sorry for the interruption, but Lionel Ritchie is buzzing me.  ;-O

  19. In another sense, I also think you and I are good exhibits for how to disagree well and sharply. And you do make me reconsider my positions. (Though I remain convinced that there is a bit of partiarchy in the Whore image of Babylon that needs to be called out...grumble, grumble...) :-)

    To clarify a bit more about this post, I agree that Christians need to debate strongly and often on issues of theology, ethics, church practice and doctrine. What I'm speaking to in this post is the spectacle of Christians arguing with other Christians about science.

    BTW, I fear you are going to hate my post tomorrow on Enns and Smith. My apologies in advance.

  20. Again, I'm an idiot.

    And slightly more seriously, you, qb and I are always going to disagree about Obama. We can be Exhibit B!  And David and I--or me?--can be Exhibit C when it comes to Calvinism!

    Plenty of Exhibits to go around.

    I'm dealing with it. :-)

  21. I wouldn't pretend to have completely laid to rest any charge of patriarchy in Revelation. My comments were intended to be a counter-challenge to the position you articulated, but obviously much more needs to be said and no final word on the subject is going to be uttered any time soon. Having dialogue partners pushing sharply in different directions is important for the success of such a conversation, even though I suspect that both of us would acknowledge that we were only representing particular sides of a bigger picture, that neither is without a measure of validity, and that questions remain for both of us.

    I wonder whether most evolution debates really are simply about 'science'. It seems to me that they have more to do with the positioning of science relative to theology, faith, issues of ecclesiastical unity, philosophy, etc. Most concern questions of the philosophy of science, the relationship between science and metaphysics, and deep anthropology. They concern the way that science functions as an authority, the degree to which theology speaks to science, and vice versa. For this reason, I believe that there is a place for meaningful debate to be forged even within the context of the stark differences that we might have concerning particular scientific theories (anthropogenic climate change is another area of difference that could be mentioned in this context). I also believe that recognition of the character of the questions also pit Christians against scientific reductionism in this area, as certain scientists have wedded their science to untenable metaphysical positions. I have had very profitable discussions with both creationists and atheistic materialists in this area.

    On Enns and Smith, have you seen the interaction here?

  22. I found Dr. Collins' book most helpful in clearing up this "mess".  He is as passionate about evolution as he now is about his new-found faith.  His journey is most enlightening.  As far as being unique, I do admit I view the Copernican revolution then (and its impact on both the man and the church) much the same as the Darwinian revolution now.

  23. I think I agree with Alastair - it all comes down to epistemology (including theory of knowledge, philosphy of science etc) if that is what you are saying Alistair, if not then I do apologise.
    But the trouble with epistemology is that few people are really equipped or willing to have the debate there... which leads me to agree with Richard’s original point, at the end of his post – that we’re never going to be able to convince, so lets opt to commune peacefully without having to play the dominating move of asserting unassailable certainty, which is a claim to power-over.

  24. I dislike using "liberals" and "conservatives" as equivalents for "those who believe in evolution" and "those who do not believe in evolution."  There may be a correlation, but it's not a match.

  25. I agree about the issue regarding authority. It's not theology over here and science over there. Some turf is being contested.

    I did see the exchange on Daniel Kirk's blog. It's what prompted tomorrow's post. Though I step away from the issue of Divine authorship and focus on Smith's closing comments in his review regarding theodicy.

  26. Thank you.  I've written and discussed ideas regarding evolution before with friends and it always seems to be a turning point in the relationship and/or another example of "theological ethnocentrism".   At the end of the day the best response from me and from those who seem to oppose my beliefs is a healthy does of just dealing with it where solidarity is ripe and has its future potential and where unity doesn't mean uniformity. 

  27. Yeah, I didn't know what labels to use. For some reason I didn't want to say "Creationists" and "evolutionists." 

  28. I'm just a computer guy. I don't have to speak the same language to 'do science' with the people I work with.

    When it comes to other softer sciences outside of my expertise I often feel like the (formerly) blind man Jesus healed who being interogated by the Illuminati of his day. "All I know is I can see." was his response.

    My answer is close to the same: 'All I know is, with the harder biological science I got eyeglasses and Preparation H. It allows me to see and relieves the pain in my ass. With softer biological sciences, the problems are exacerbated and then my lack of belief become the problem when I mention it.'

  29. I'm moving in the opposite direction from most involved in this debate. That is, I was raised as a liberal/ethical person with some loose connection to Boston Unitarianism, with I think a reasonable educated acquaintance with Evolution, modern cosmology, the scientific method and whatnot.  But I am also one of those people who have a lifelong direct experience of God as active in my life ... I don't really comprehend those that don't, which has led to a lot of confusion and false steps for me.  As I have moved along in my understanding, I have increasingly come to appreciate the Bible and historical Christianity as explanations of what goes on in my heart, in my experience; which is precisely what science is also doing. Whereas dogmatic assertions of "what we must do to be saved" seem to go out of their way to not relate to my actual life, to be impossible to grasp. ("The Trinity is not this, the Trinity is not that ...")

    So Genesis speaks a view of the truth assembled out of parts available to neolithic villagers. Likewise, they plowed with oxen because they had not yet accumulated enough parts to assemble a tractor. Again, *we* can whirl through a junkyard and assemble a working car. Spinoza's "Ethics" is a useful starting point; the man was *not* an atheist.

  30. Yes! 

    I think the way to deal with it is to realize that the only way relief from existential anxiety is to lobotomize yourself, that is, to deface the image of God within. It's part of the human condition since we ate the famous fruit. *And* get on with feeding the hungry, freeing the captives, etc. Who actually cares, day to day, what theory of anthropology our co-workers subscribe to? Makes for good coffee break discussion, is all.

  31. Genesis 1:31  And God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.  2:1  Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.

    Acts 1:11  and they also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into the sky? This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven." 

    My guess is that you have little difficulty believing the Acts passage in a fairly 'literal' sense; but, not so the Genesis passage.  On the other hand, I surmise that science (whatever that might mean??) would have trouble with both.  What criterion do you use to see the plain language of one of these passages as more literally believable than the plain language of the other?

    ps.  I do assume you understand that evolution has nothing to say about the origin of life, right?

  32. Give me a definition of life. It'll help me know what to assume about your level of understanding.

  33. Several weeks ago, I had two extended online discussions –
    one with a vehemently anti-vaccination individual, the other with young-earth
    creationists. The overlap in argumentation logic between these two seemingly disparate
    topics was amazing.


    Interestingly, Wired
    Magazine published this article last week, addressing that exact phenomenon-- the vaccination/evolution debate overlap:


    The six points listed as the “General Manuel for Denial” are
    particularly interesting.


    The article’s author makes this point: “Rejection of
    evolution never had anything to do with a deficiency of facts”.


    Evolution evokes an emotional response like few other
    controversies can among evangelical tribes.


    Here are my top two reasons why I think we can’t just “Let
    it Be”:


    (1)   Biological
    evolution is settled science. It is an established theory just as germ theory and
    gravitational theory are established theories. Do you want your surgeon to
    operate with unwashed hands because germ theory is “just a theory”? Refusing to
    accept the evidence for a very old earth and biological evolution makes
    Christianity look irrelevant more than any other issue in the eyes of the

    (2)   Young
    adults, if confronted with the scientific evidence presented by a non-believer,
    are going to feel betrayed and sold a bill of goods by their teachers/examples
    of faith. How much more preferable to be introduced to evolution by a committed
    believer who can couch the whole elegant process in the context of a creator

  34. I ask a question about criteria for belief and your response is to ask about my understanding of life???

    An amoeba, a rose bush, my dog and I are all examples of living organisms;  a rock is not alive.  I could introduce terms like metabolism and homeostasis and reproduction and adaptation and response to stimuli; but, since we don't seem to agree on what a 'day' is, I don't really think these big words would help that much.  Would you now be so kind as to answer my original question, which by the way, has nothing to do with life or Calvinism, seeing as how I am not a Calvinist and thus would never try to convince you to become one.  ;-)

  35. I was responding to your ps. You asked if I understood the difference between evolution and the origin of life. My response was to see if YOU understood the difference because I'm assuming you actually don't know. I could be wrong about that, assumptions being assumptions, so I asked. And your answer didn't inspire a lot of confidence.

    But good point about the rock. ;-)

  36. I would agree with you more wholeheartedly if people who don't believe in evolution simply considered the evidence and didn't find it convincing.  While I have a few creationist friends who have considered the evidence, the vast majority have not.  That it is because they believe the best way to find truth is from authority figures rather than from inquiry and evidence.  So some trusted pastor or parent somewhere down the line has told them that creationism is a non-negotiable part of Christian belief.  Therefore, it is so.  For me the problem is not their denying evolution per se, but treating all truth claims as a battle between authority figures whom are all seeking power.   Facts can be routinely rejected if the source they are coming from is viewed as an untrustworthy authority (those darn secular humanists! those liberal journalists!).  And well-meaning people with this view of truth can be easily manipulated by authority figures to dismiss or fight against all sorts of things that have no immediate connection to Christian theology at all (global warming comes to mind).   This elevation of authority figures as the arbiters of all truth, regardless of actual wisdom or expertise, is why I occasionally jump into the fray with my friends on the issue of evolution. I think it is dangerous for them and for the church and for our communities.

  37. Nice job Richard. A student alerted me to this post as I usually do not get into blogging. Can't help but noting that the "fundamentalist's anxiety" (as Tatha Wiley put it) regarding whether a non-historical Adam destroys Paul arguments regarding Christ as the second Adam got worked over quite well by Frederick R. Tennant over 100 years ago and yet here we are still bogged down over evolution. If you are ever interested in his working over the concepts of Original Sin in light of Darwinism, here's the web addresses of two articles on him. You might recognize the author.

  38. Yes I felt that reluctance too as I think one can hold to Darwinistic science and have a theology of Creation. I went for "Darwinists" and Genesis-literalists" in my post but I'm still not happy with those descriptors either, partly as they are not the labels prefered by the adherents. 

  39. Hi Richard! Thank you for putting into words what I've been mulling over. Ultimately evolution is not a salvation issue and whether our sister or brother in Christ believes in it or not should not have an effect on our relationship. We can have differences and still be Christians, case closed. I love your blog and it makes me miss ACU and Highland very dearly. Blessings.

  40.  By the way, Richard, did you ever get around to writing that book about the Sermon on the Mount in light of evolutionary psychology?

  41. Not yet. I hope to some day. Some of my ideas for it are sketched out in some posts that can be found on the sidebar.

  42. I thought I was dealing with it.  Turns out I can't just agree to disagree with my fiance on this issue.  Or other culture wars issues.  She wants to understand me, but all I succeed in is making her cry when I try.  I don't feel we are victims of liberals or conservatives, but victims of culture war fallout.  I hope we can figure out a healthy way to deal with it, but every day I loose a little hope.

  43. But what IS a literal reading of Genesis  1? The so-called literalists pick and choose where they are wooden and where they are not.  See this regarding just the first three verses

  44. Dr. Beck,
    I think that your conversational style usually makes your posts more accessible, but in this post the conversational-ism seems to detract from the grammar and readability, which makes me sad.

    I hope this comment isn't out of line; sometimes I care about words too much. But I also care about this blog and the topics that you address and the conversations that you spark, but this post seemed too volatile and nondescript (especially in the second-person stuff in the third paragraph), in a topic where volatility is too common and sentiments are too often misdirected. :\

  45. The Book of Genesis is actually far more logical than the theory of evolution:

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