Very often it’s put to us as a stark choice: either you accept the biblical account of human origins, or you accept the scientific account. Either you believe that we are all direct descendants of Adam and Eve, or that we are all products of a long evolutionary process, stretching back a million years or more to a (non-human) common ancestor.
But can we have our cake and eat it? Can we hold both to the essential factual historicity of the accounts of creation in Genesis 1 and 2, and to the validity of evolutionary science?…
What options are available for relating the biblical account of Adam and Eve to the scientific account of the evolution of the human race?
1. The historical view
The conservative writer Norman Geisler offers ten reasons for thinking that Adam and Eve were historical persons:-
Genesis 1–2 presents them as actual persons and even narrates the important events in their lives.
They gave birth to literal children who did the same (Genesis 4–5).
The same phrase (“this is the history of”), used to record later history in Genesis (for example, Gen 6:9; 10:1; 11:10, 27; 25:12, 19), is used of the creation account (2:4) and of Adam and Eve and their descendants (Gen.
According to Young Earth Creationists (YEC) the cosmos came into being not more than about 10,000 years ago. I must admit that I have tended to regard this view as unnecessary from a biblical point of view, and implausible from a scientific point of view.
But let me just note, without irony or mockery, what kinds of arguments could be used to support it.
1. YEC regards its theory as theologically coherent.
We tend to associate Creationism (that is to say, Young Earth Creationism) with American fundamentalism. However, it is alive and kicking in Britain too. According to a recent survey carried out on behalf of Theos think-tank, 17% of Britons take the Young Earth position (compared with 11% for Intelligent Design, 28% for Theistic Evolution, and 37% for Atheistic Evolution).
Not long ago, The BBC website carried this article about British creationists. It discusses, among other things, the Genesis Expo museum, set up in Plymouth by the Creation Science Movement.…
“They tell me to burn in hell and good riddance,” said Sir David in a recent interview in Radio Times. And the hate mail bit of the interview was headlined in The Telegraph, The Guardian, and many other newspapers and news sources.
I don’t disbelieve the story for a moment. There are hateful, lunatic minorities in all movements, from the animal rights lobby to the anti-abortion lobby.
There’s a very real danger, I’m sure, of paying so much attention to theoretical questions about the origin of the cosmos that we neglect the much more practical ones about what it means to live as stewards of creation in the here-and-now. But the two things are related, and questions of origin do at least bring cosmology and theology into speaking distance with one another. And, in any case, Scripture itself begins with an account of the origin of the cosmos and so we have good warrant for giving it some air-time.…