Death is a “Stumbling Block” for Christians Accepting Evolution as the Way God Creates

Over at BioLogos, Dr. Dennis Venema has written an article on how death is both a destructive and creative force in evolutionary history. In “Death and Rebirth: The Role of Extinction in Evolution,” Dr. Venema addresses what he sees as a stumbling block for many Christians in accepting evolution as the way in which God creates:

When they imagine evolution, many Christians picture novelty: new species arising over time, or speciation events. But as the most recent Southern Baptist Voices exchange makes clear, many Christians also focus on the role of death in evolution—something that can be a stumbling block to seeing it as a means by which a good God creates. This is especially true when we imagine the death of individual creatures in fierce competition for limited resources, whether such struggle takes place on the savanna or elsewhere.

Dr. Venema goes on to explain that humans have extinction to thank for our existence now:

For mammals at the KPg boundary, small body size and an omnivorous diet (including the ability to scavenge detritus) were the “winning” combination of traits that allowed them to survive where larger, more specialized animals (think Tyrannosaurus rex) could not. From this rather humble station, mammals would come to dominate the world’s ecosystems over the coming eons – including a lineage that would someday lead to our own species. Far from only a destructive force, extinction is a powerful mechanism to allow evolutionary innovation, and one that was of significant importance to us.

While I can certainly appreciate Dr. Venema’s attempt to help remove a perceived “stumbling block,” his view of death and extinction as beneficial and creative forces just doesn’t fit with what Scripture teaches about death. Death is the last enemy. Death is the wages of sin. Death is to be mourned. Even our Savior wept when told of the death of Lazarus, and He knew what He was about to do. Only a need to accept evolution as the “way God creates” would drive Christians to reject the clear teachings of Scripture on death.

Now if Christ is proclaimed as raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain. We are even found to be misrepresenting God, because we testified about God that he raised Christ, whom he did not raise if it is true that the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. If in Christ we have hope in this life only, we are of all people most to be pitied.

But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For as by a man came death, by a man has come also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive. But each in his own order: Christ the firstfruits, then at his coming those who belong to Christ. Then comes the end, when he delivers the kingdom to God the Father after destroying every rule and every authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For “God has put all things in subjection under his feet.” But when it says, “all things are put in subjection,” it is plain that he is excepted who put all things in subjection under him. When all things are subjected to him, then the Son himself will also be subjected to him who put all things in subjection under him, that God may be all in all. 1 Corinthians 15:12-28

Even Evolutionists Know: There is No Reconciling Evolution with Christianity

Last week, Dr. Darrel Falk announced his upcoming resignation as President of BioLogos. Dr. Falk became President of BioLogos after Dr. Francis Collins stepped down to take the position of Director of the National Institutes of Health. Dr. Falk’s resignation follows the departures of Dr. Karl Giberson, formerly Executive Vice-President of BioLogos, and former Senior Fellow Dr. Peter Enns.

What is interesting is Dr. Jerry Coyne’s take on Dr. Falk’s resignation and on the purpose of BioLogos. Dr. Coyne writes at the blog, Why Evolution is True, and is a professor of Ecology and Evolution at the University of Chicago. Here’s what Dr. Coyne had to say:

Do have a look at Falk’s account of BioLogos‘s “accomplishments,” none of which actually include converting science-averse evangelical Christians to evolution. They’ve had workshops, meetings, and a big website for three years, as well as tons of funding from the Templeton Foundation and, I suspect, wealthy evangelicals. But they have no record of actually doing what they set out to do: reconciling science with evangelical Christianity.

The reason is palpably clear of course: those “ways of knowing” are incompatible. But Falk seems cluelessly puzzled by BioLogos‘s failure:

But as thankful as I am for that support, no straddling ought to be required. Science studies God’s creation, which places it on sacred ground, not foreign territory. And if it is sacred ground, then Christians ought to be right there providing tours of the landscape, not out on the fringes looking in. True, there are sections of the science landscape that need to be redeemed from the scientism Richard Dawkins and others use to surface-mine and subtly rearrange the terrain for their own philosophical purposes, but the fact that they have been able to do this may be partly due to our near-absence from the territory. We have been far too hesitant to enter this world, and sometimes it seems we have simply preferred to cast stones from the outside.

Elaine Eklund has shown that Evangelicals are fourteen-fold under-represented among the scientists at the nation’s leading universities. Is this a result of what Mark Noll (almost twenty years ago) described as a scandal—“the scandal of the evangelical mind?” Could it be that the territory seems foreign because we have stayed away and failed to adequately understand how science works and why it is such a dependable way of revealing truth about the physical and biological world that God has created?

Oh for crying out loud! Evangelicals and other hyper-religious people are underrepresented in science because it threatens their faith. It’s not an inadequate understanding of how science works, but a realization that the findings of science, if taken seriously, make the idea of a god superfluous. And, in the end, this is why all efforts like those of BioLogos will fail.

I probably don’t agree with much of what Dr. Coyne believes, but I think he’s absolutely correct about one thing: evolution and Christianity are completely incompatible. If BioLogos exists to make Christianity palatable for evolutionists, it doesn’t appear that they have removed the offense of the Gospel for those committed to an atheistic, evolutionary worldview. I hope that more Christians will realize that compromising Scripture to gain acceptance is dangerous and ultimately unsuccessful.

GA Seminar: No Room in the PCA for Young Earth Creationism?

In 2000, the Creation Study Committee submitted a report to the 28th General Assembly on the issue of creation. The report is extensive and covers many topics including various views of the length of the creation days and the original intent of the Westminster Assembly in regards to interpreting Genesis 1–3. The most important part of the report comes from the advice and counsel portion at the end of the report. While acknowledging there to be different opinions within the PCA regarding the nature and length of the creation days, they found considerable unity on the issues of “vital importance to our Reformed testimony.” Here is the statement from the committee:

All the Committee members join in these affirmations: The Scriptures, and hence Genesis 1–3, are the inerrant word of God. That Genesis 1–3 is a coherent account from the hand of Moses. That history, not myth, is the proper category for describing these chapters; and furthermore that their history is true. In these chapters we find the record of God’s creation of the heavens and the earth ex nihilo; of the special creation of Adam and Eve as actual human beings, the parents of all humanity (hence they are not the products of evolution from lower forms of life). We further find the account of an historical fall, that brought all humanity into an estate of sin and misery, and of God’s sure promise of a Redeemer. Because the Bible is the word of the Creator and Governor of all there is, it is right for us to find it speaking authoritatively to matters studied by historical and scientific research. We also believe that acceptance of, say, non-geocentric astronomy is consistent with full submission to Biblical authority. We recognize that a naturalistic worldview and true Christian faith are impossible to reconcile, and gladly take our stand with Biblical supernaturalism.

The report explains, in great detail, four main interpretations of creation that are common within the PCA. These views are: the Calendar Day interpretation (also known as Young Earth Creationism), the Day-Age interpretation, the Framework interpretation, and the Analogical Days interpretation. According to the committee, these views are all different, but all are in agreement with the affirmations made by the committee. The conclusion one can draw from the report is that there is room in the PCA for a diversity of opinions on the age of the earth and the length of the creation days. Or, at least, there used to be room.

Apparently, some in the denomination believe that it’s time to reinterpret the Creation Study Report based on the “scientific evidence for an ancient earth.” At the upcoming General Assembly, there will be a seminar on this topic: The PCA Creation Study Committee a Dozen Years Later: What Does Science Say Now? Dr. Gregg Davidson and Dr. Ken Wolgemuth of Solid Rock Lectures will be speaking on why we must accept the scientific consensus for the age of the earth:

This seminar will provide an update on the scientific evidence for an ancient earth using examples non-scientists can easily apprehend. Pastors and theologians are generally familiar with the biblical arguments surrounding questions of the age of the earth, but few have access to scientific data that they can understand. Most rely on information from young earth organizations that do not adequately or accurately reflect conventional scientific understanding. When information from these sources is passed on to students and congregations, Christ, as the author of truth, is poorly represented. More importantly, our members are inadequately prepared to wrestle with challenges to their faith when encountering the actual scientific evidence. Church leaders need to be aware of the evidence even if convinced it is wrong. The seminar will explicitly acknowledge the authority and preeminence of scripture over natural evidence, while also recognizing that God’s natural creation can sometimes aid in choosing between plausible biblical interpretations.

What’s interesting about this seminar is that while the PCA Creation Study Report does not take a position on the age of the earth, the speakers at this seminar do. The implication from the summary is that the science is settled, and therefore, we need to accept that Young Earth Creationism is not a viable position. According to the summary, not only is YEC bad science, it also reflects badly on Christ as the author of truth. This is a very disturbing statement.

Why is the PCA having only one side of this issue represented? Is there not anyone in the PCA who can represent the Young Earth position? Given the diversity of opinions represented in the Creation Study Report on the age of the earth, it seems odd that one position would be promoted in this way.

The other very disturbing part of this seminar is who Dr. Davidson and Dr. Wolgemuth are and what they believe. Drs. Davidson and Wolgemuth are the founders of Solid Rock Lectures. Solid Rock Lectures provides resources on “understanding evidence for Old Earth Creation and its Biblical basis.” Their website describes the problem facing the modern church this way:

Young people raised in many churches are told that the Bible teaches a recent six-day earth or evolution is weak. When confronted with the actual evidence in college or later in life, they often experience a crisis of faith. The scientific evidence is so overwhelming, many determine it must be their faith that was mistaken. Questioning non-believers likewise face a monumental obstacle to faith when told that to accept Christ they must reject what seems to be reason itself.

As geologists, the theme of their work seems to be correcting the false (according to them) Young Earth Creationism belief “that the Flood can account for the earth’s complex geology, and that all genuine Christians should accept this viewpoint.” In the essay that Drs. Davidson and Wolgemuth wrote for BioLogos, “Biblical and Scientific Shortcomings of Flood Geology,” they lament the number of people they’ve met who have had their faith shaken when they began to be confronted with the scientific evidence for evolution and millions of years. Their goal in writing is to remove this “stumbling block” to the faith:

It is our conviction that these stories of strained or lost faith derive not from an inherent unwillingness to trust the Bible, but rather from misguided teaching on the message of Scripture. Those insisting the earth is young are not simply putting their faith in God’s Word, they are putting their faith in their own particular interpretation of that Word. As such, an entirely unnecessary stumbling block to faith is created, where faith in Christ first requires rejection of sound science. As we have prayed and studied this subject, we have felt God’s call to speak out against this misplaced stumbling block.

Obviously, Drs. Davidson and Wolgemuth deny that Noah’s flood was global and believe that the earth was formed over millions of years, but their accommodation to naturalistic science goes further. In his book, When Faith and Science Collide: A Biblical Approach to Evaluating Evolution, Creationism, Intelligent Design, and the Age of the Earth, Dr. Davidson explains why we should be open to evolution:

Rather than defining evolution as Darwinism, evolution should be defined as the name man has given to the study of what God’s creativity looks like. God does not guide, mimic, prod, or adjust evolution as if it is an independent force that God must rein in. God creates. Evolution is merely the physical, chemical, and biological description of what that creation looks like. (90-91)

Along with accepting evolution as the way God created, Dr. Davidson believes in common descent of man:

If our creative nature is truly a reflection of god’s nature, then it is entirely consistent that God would start with a lump of clay (earth materials), and begin to form and shape life through myriad generations until he arrived at what he was ultimately after. (63)

When Dr. Davidson professes a belief in a literal Adam and Eve, he qualifies it this way:

[I]t is conceivable that the Eve and Adam of scripture are genuinely mitochondrial Eve and her mate, selected by God from a population of hominids and endowed with a soul. (65)

In summary, despite the previous acceptance of a diversity of opinions on the age of the earth and length of creation days, there appears to be a move to kick Young Earth Creationists out of the PCA tent. The BioLogos workshop held in NYC in March concluded with an “urgent desire to bring about change.” It would seem that that same desire for change has reached the PCA.

BioLogos’ “Vision for Change”

In March, Dr. Tim Keller hosted BioLogos’ third Theology of Celebration workshop at the Harvard Club in New York City. Unlike the previous workshops, this workship did not conclude with a statement but with an “urgent desire to bring about change.” What needs to change? The sentiment at the workshop was that the church is in danger because so many pastors believe or even accept the possibility that the earth is less than 10,000 years old. Apparently, young earth creationism is the new “great evangelical disaster.”

While BioLogos states that they value “gracious dialogue with those who hold other views,” in their articles and interviews, they often seem quite dismissive or even hostile towards those who disagree, especially proponents of Young Earth Creation (YEC) and Intelligent Design (ID). They are especially distressed that despite all the “evidence” in favor of evolution so many evangelicals are still clinging to literalistic interpretations of Genesis.

BioLogos defines Young Earth Creationists (YEC) as denying “the revelation of God in nature and the gift of science.” Dr. Karl Giberson, formerly VP of BioLogos, believes that Young Earth Creationists represent an “intellectually impoverished parallel culture” that drives the “best and brightest evangelicals out of the church”:

Survey results recently reported by Christianity Today clarify once again the sober truth that evangelicals are not making much progress in accepting well-established mainstream scientific ideas about origins. Particularly disturbing is the finding that only 27 percent of evangelical pastors “strongly disagree” with the statement that the earth is 6,000 years old. A higher number “strongly agree” that the earth is just 6,000 years old, a conclusion refuted by mountains of evidence. Seven in 10 evangelical pastors “strongly disagree” that “God used evolution to create people.” …

The dismissive and even hostile approach to science taken by evangelical leaders like Ken Ham accounts for the Barna finding above. In the name of protecting Christianity from a secularism perceived as corrosive to the faith, the creationists are unwittingly driving the best and brightest evangelicals out of the church — or at least into the arms of the compromising Episcopalians, whom they despise. What remains after their exodus is an even more intellectually impoverished parallel culture, with even fewer resources to think about complex issues.

According to BioLogos, it’s not just the YEC that deny “science.” In an interview between Dr. Karl Giberson and Dr. Francis Collins, they dismiss the idea that proponents of Intelligent Design are conducting research:

Karl Giberson: What do you think of this project that the Discovery Institute has launched, with a laboratory where they want to do genuine scientific research, with their own in-house scientists? That’s a very strange development.

Francis Collins: It is very hard for me to imagine what they will do. Science by its very nature ought to be unfettered by any particular perspective on what these right answers are supposed to be. And yet here you are setting up this scientific circumstance that has as its goal to support intelligent design theory. That is counter to the way that science has to be conducted. And furthermore, as everybody has pointed out, intelligent design has this major fundamental flaw. It has no predictive value that anyone can discern. And it has no scientific strategy to demonstrate the correctness of its position because it’s implying divine supernatural intervention, which by definition science isn’t really able to establish. It’s the wrong set of tools.

So, rather than viewing those who disagree as “partners in the conversation,” proponents of YEC and ID are seen as barriers to the BioLogos goal of harmonizing evolutionary science and Christianity. As Dr. Falk wrote:

Should we try to convince all of the non-scientifically inclined evangelicals to cease believing that Adam and Eve are the first human beings? That would almost certainly be futile at this time—there is no point in trying. Besides it could harm their faith. What the church can, and in my opinion must do, however, is to make it clear that there are two ways in which evangelicals view this story. One is historical, the other, allegorical. To publicly acknowledge that and to make it clear that the latter view does not in any way disengage an evangelical from their faith would be of considerable significance. Let’s allow both views to co-exist in evangelicalism for now. I am convinced that we can eliminate the barrier by simply admitting that there are many deeply committed Christians who believe that many elements of the story of Adam and Eve is not historical. I think we need to tell our children that at a young age and I think we need to show them why there are committed Christians on both sides. It also would be good to show them why the historicity of Adam and Eve is not foundational to faith. (emphasis added)

Dr. Tim Keller, host of the most recent BioLogos Theology of Celebration workshop, said that it’s “the job of pastors” to develop a BioLogos narrative to combat YEC:

Few Christian colleges or seminaries teach young earth creationism (YEC), participants noted during discussion groups. But less formal, grassroots educational initiatives, often centered on homeschooling, have won over the majority of evangelicals. “We have arguments, but they have a narrative,” noted Tim Keller. Both young earth creationists and atheistic evolutionists tell a story tapping into an existing cultural narrative of decline. To develop a Biologos narrative is “the job of pastors,” Keller said.

Along those lines, BioLogos has recently announced a new grants program, Vision for Change, to focus on ways pastors and other church leaders can help their congregations learn to accept the “truth of evolution”:

As our regular readers well know, the majority of evangelical Christians reject one of the most well-established of scientific theories—evolution. Evolution lies at the heart of many scientific disciplines; it is as fundamental to biology as 2 + 2 = 4 is to mathematics or as E = mc2 is to physics. If these basic truths were found to be false, entire disciplines would collapse. To the majority of Evangelicals, however, an anti-evolutionary view of origins is equally fundamental. In their view, it affects how we read Scripture and understand the Gospel itself—the very heart of our identity as Christians. If evolution were found to be true, it would be disturbing indeed.

While Christian scholars and scientists have actively worked on evolutionary creation and related topics for decades, their work has mostly failed to leave the ivory tower, creating a vacuum in the church. Well-meaning public figures have moved into the vacuum to proclaim that much is at stake if Christians ever yield to mainstream science. These figures preach that scriptural authority, Christian theology, and Christian morals and values will all collapse if believers accommodate their thinking to the discoveries of “man’s historical science.”

It’s time for things to change.

Why is it time for things to change? Because BioLogos believes that if the church doesn’t begin to accept evolution as fact and work to reconcile this “truth” with the Bible, then the church will lose its relevance and impact on the culture. It may even drive believers from the church. In light of the March meeting in NYC and these other statements, it appears very clearly that Biologos has an agenda. Dr. Falk sums it up this way:

We in the BioLogos community urge the Church not to surrender the evangelicalism tent to American fundamentalism. There is far too much at stake. …

We’ll exist within the tent together for awhile. Eventually, I think even the fundamentalists will come to see that they need to allow science books in their library and fundamentalism will undergo its own evolution.

Biologos may want to dialogue for a while, but what they really want is to enshrine evolution as a new dogma for evangelicals.

BioLogos Conference: Hosted by Dr. Tim Keller

I guess that answers the question about whether or not he supports them. From the BioLogos newsletter:

On March 20–22, 2012, noted evangelical pastor Dr. Timothy Keller hosted the meetings at the Harvard Club in New York City. That in itself has symbolic significance. Harvard University was founded on principles firmly grounded in the Word of God in its pursuit of truth. But since then, Harvard has lost its way. Some wonder if a segment of the church is now in danger of losing its way too.

A statement emerged from each of the first two “Theology of Celebration” meetings, which were held in November 2009 and November 2010. The third meeting, held in March 2012, showed that the conversation has reached a new level of maturity. Given data that was presented at the meeting—which convincingly showed that almost half of America’s protestant pastors hold or strongly lean toward a belief in a universe less than 10,000 years old—there was a deep concern for the church not only in America, but also worldwide. This time, leading evangelical Christians left with not so much a statement as an urgent desire to bring about change. The church of the coming decades cannot divorce itself from matters about which there is scientific certainty.

BioLogos, Evolution, and the Resurrection of Jesus

As I’ve noted before, BioLogos is dogmatic about evolution and flexible about everything else. What happens when that approach is applied to the Resurrection? Michael Ruse, a contributor at BioLogos, writes about how to reconcile evolution with Christianity. While he is not a believer, he does believe that evolution and Christianity are compatible. In his book, Darwinism and Its Discontents, Ruse discusses how the Resurrection of Christ can be reconciled with a naturalistic worldview:

The Christian believes that humans can be saved by the death of Christ on the Cross and his subsequent Resurrection. The Christian believes that this salvation will come after death — or at the Second Coming. On these matters, Darwinism is silent. But what about the Resurrection, and indeed all of the other miracles surrounding the Christian story? What about the feeding of the five thousand and Christ walking on water? What about the subsequent miracles of the Apostles, or the miracles supposedly still occurring — the marks the Catholic Church seeks for admission to sainthood? Some supposed miracles are by their very nature put beyond the bounds of science. The appearance of souls — whether it occurred just once and then was transmitted, or occurs for each individual — is something about which science can say nothing. The same is true of transubstantiation, the miracle that occurs in the Catholic mass, when the water and wine is turned into the body and blood of Christ. No amount of microscopic examination of the host is going to reveal red corpuscles. It is just not that sort of miracle.

But what about rising from the dead and turning water into wine? Darwinism is a scientific theory, and scientific theories exclude miracles — that is what they are all about, working through laws. There are two (traditional) approaches one can take. The first, stemming from Saint Augustine, interprets miracles for their spiritual meaning rather than seeing them as violations of law. Thus, to take the miracle at Cana (water into wine), the real miracle was not some jiggery pokery that was shortcutting the fermenting process, but the fact that the man throwing the party supplied his guests fully, even bringing out his very best wine when they had no reason to expect it. Jesus filled him with such love that he went against his usual nature. (Can any one of my readers deny having brought out the cheap plonk when the guests were well lubricated?) Even the miracle of the Resurrection can be treated this way. The real miracle was not some reversal of life-death processes, but that, on the third day, the disciples who were downcast and lonely suddenly felt a great lift and that life was meaningful for them — that Jesus had left a message and example that they wanted to promulgate. If some psychologist explains this in terms of mass hysteria or whatever, so be it. There will always be a natural explanation. This leaves the meaning of the event untouched. (Michael Ruse, Darwinism and Its Discontents, New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006, 280)

Dogmatic on Evolution, Flexible on Everything Else

One of BioLogos’ stated purposes is to help the church develop a worldview that reflects the harmony they believe exists between evolutionary science and faith. They:

value gracious dialogue with those who hold other views, and our ever-expanding conversation includes academic and other professionals in the fields of biology, chemistry, physics, mathematics, business and medicine, but also theology, biblical studies, philosophy, history, literature, education and the arts.

While they are open to dialogue and conversation on a number of subjects, there are a handful of beliefs that are not open for debate. Dr. Francis Collins, Director of the NIH and founder of BioLogos, said in an interview with Dr. Karl Giberson:

Again, evolution may seem from the outside to have a lot of complexities and components and, certainly, lots of details—some of which we haven’t worked out—and for anybody to say there are no arguments would be a total mistake. There’s lots of stuff we don’t agree upon. But we do agree upon descent from a common ancestor, gradual change over a long period of time, and natural selection operating to produce the diversity of living species. There is no question that those are correct. Those are three cardinal pillars of Darwin’s theory that have been under-girded by data coming from multiple directions and they are not going to go away. Evolution is not a theory that is going to be discarded next week or next year or a hundred or a thousand years from now. It is true.

Another area that is settled, as far as BioLogos is concerned, is the issue of human ancestry. BioLogos does not believe that the human population was ever just two people:

Evangelical Christians have long suspected there are allegorical components to the Genesis story—a talking snake, for example—but as to whether Adam and Eve were not real people, there has been much more hesitancy–and for theologically important reasons. The science itself is silent—the most it can say is that there were never just two individuals who were the sole genetic progenitors of the entire human race. Several independent lines of genetic evidence unambiguously point to this conclusion. Science also make it very clear that humans developed through an evolutionary process.

So if these are the absolutes, what are the topics that are open for discussion? Here are a few examples:

Where Adam and Eve historical people?

One option is to view Adam and Eve as a historical pair living among many 10,000 years ago, chosen to represent the rest of humanity before God. Another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an allegory in which Adam and Eve symbolize the large group of ancestors who lived 150,000 years ago. Yet another option is to view Genesis 2-4 as an “everyman” story, a parable of each person’s individual rejection of God. BioLogos does not take a particular view and encourages scholarly work on these questions.

Was there death before the Fall?

Humans appear very late in the history of life. The fossil record clearly shows that many creatures died before humans appeared. In fact, many entire species had already become extinct. This appears to conflict with Genesis 3, which describes death as a punishment for human sinfulness. However, the curse of Genesis 3 was that Adam and Eve, not the animals, should die for their disobedience. Therefore, animal death before the Fall is compatible with Christian doctrine. For humans, Genesis 3 and New Testament passages may be speaking primarily of spiritual death, not physical death.

How does original sin fit into the evolutionary history of man?

Original sin often refers simply to the current state of humanity, in that all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Evolution does not raise questions about our current state of sinfulness. It does, however, raise questions about how and when the first sin occurred, and how this fallen state was transmitted to all people. The sciences of evolution and archaeology can provide some insight into these questions but are not equipped to answer them. These questions are theological, and over the centuries the church has considered many possible answers. Some of these options are consistent with the scientific evidence currently available.

Did evolution have to result in humans?

Because evolution involves seemingly “random” mutations, it seems that the Earth could have been the home of a different assortment of creatures. But belief in a supernatural creator leaves the possibility that human beings were fully intended. An omniscient creator could also have created the Universe’s natural laws so as to inevitably result in human beings.

What about Noah’s flood?

Genesis 6-9 tells the fascinating story of Noah, the Ark, and the Flood. Some Christians interpret the text to mean that the biblical flood must have covered the entire globe. They also work to explain the evidence in rocks and fossils in terms of this world-wide flood. Other Christians do not feel the text requires that the flood be global, but could have covered the small region of earth known to Noah. The scientific and historical evidence does not support a global flood, but is consistent with a catastrophic regional flood. Beyond its place in history, the Genesis flood teaches us about human depravity, faith, obedience, divine judgment, grace and mercy.

It seems clear to me that while BioLogos states that:

Properly interpreted, scripture and nature are complementary and faithful witnesses to their common Author.

what they mean is that Scripture must be reinterpreted in light of their understanding of science. I think Francis Schaeffer said it best:

What the Bible teaches where it touches history and the cosmos, and what science teaches where it touches the same areas do not stand in a discontinuity. There indeed must be a place for the study of general revelation (the universe and its form, and man in his “mannishness”) – that is, a place for true science. But on the other side, it must be understood that there is no automatic need to accommodate the Bible to the statements of science. There is a tendency for some who are Christians and scientists to always place special revelation (the teaching of the Bible) under the control of general revelation and science, and never or rarely to place general revelation and what science teaches under the control of the Bible’s teaching. That is, though they think of that which the Bible teaches as true and that which science teaches as true, in reality they tend to end with the truth of science as more true than the truth of the Bible. (Francis A. Schaeffer, The Complete Works of Francis A. Schaeffer, A Christian Worldview, Volume Two, [Wheaton: Crossway, 1982], 154-155).