Genesis 1 & Evolution

By Will Barlow

Genesis 1 and Evolution

• Review of evolution
• YEC and evolution
• OEC and evolution
• Non-literal views and evolution

Review of evolution

Misconception #1: “It’s just a theory!”
Misconception #2: It means to explain how life began
Misconception #3: Evolution says that humans evolved from apes
Misconception #4: Evolution is a progression from simpler organisms to more complex organisms

YEC and Evolution

How does YEC view evolution?

• In short, YEC reject the theory of evolution
• YEC make both Scriptural and scientific arguments to defend their position - we will focus on the Scriptural arguments for now

Scriptural Objection #1

“Adam and Eve are no longer the first humans, and original sin goes out the window. This does irreparable damage to the biblical redemption narrative. The Bible says that death came into the world because of man’s sin (Romans 5:12) and that all of creation labors under a curse because of sin (Romans 8:22). Scripture also says that Christ is the last Adam, come to redeem us from the sin brought into the world through the first man, Adam (1 Corinthians 15:22, 45).”

“If Adam were a mythical figure, which is what evolution demands, even in a Christianized form, the entire parallel between the two Adams and the kinsman redeemer concept is destroyed. By advocating evolution, theistic evolutionists are undermining the very tenets of Christianity.”

Scriptural Objection #2

“Jesus, when explaining marriage to the Sadducees, referred to Adam and Eve as existing from the beginning of creation (Mark 10:6). According to those who accept millions of years, Adam and Eve only existed after billions and millions of years of death: this makes Jesus either ignorant or a liar.”
Scriptural Objection #3

“Further, when God finished his creation he called everything very good (Genesis 1:31). In order for the millions of years to be true, God would have to be calling the fossil record, which records disease, death, violence, and suffering, very good. That is inconsistent with the character of God revealed throughout the rest of Scripture.”

Answering YEC Scriptural Objections

Genesis 1:26   Then God said, "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness. And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

Genesis 1:27   So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them.

Nothing in Genesis 1 or 2 says how God created man (or for that matter, any other plant or animal).

Objection #1: No Literal Adam and Eve

• Day-Age: Can fit a lot of evolutionary evidence, but believe in special creation of humans
• Gap: Reconstitution of life; could hold to evolution in the “gap” period; believe in special creation of humans
• Walton: Ancients unaware of the problem

Objection #2: Adam and Eve existed from the “beginning of creation”

• “Beginning,” in this context, can refer more to the institution of marriage than the physical creation of the Universe and Earth

Objection #3: God called death in the fossil record “very good”

• The original audience of Genesis would have had no concept of the fossil record, so we do not have to assume knowledge of it in our reading of this text

OEC and Evolution

In general, most OEC views still end up rejecting evolution

• Most OEC view accept YEC critique #1 but refute critiques #2 and #3
• The primary OEC view that does not reject evolution is Collins’ non-literal view (which he calls BioLogos)

Collins’ View on Adam

“In the first place, the biblical texts themselves seem to suggest that there were other humans present at the same time that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden. Otherwise, where did Cain’s wife, mentioned only after he left Eden to live in the land of Nod (Genesis 4:16-17), come from?”

“Some biblical literalists insist that the wives of Cain and Seth must have been their own sisters, but that is both in serious conflict with subsequent prohibitions against incest, and incompatible with a straightforward reading of the text.”

“The real dilemma for the believer comes down to whether Genesis 2 is describing a special act of miraculous creation that applied to a historic couple, making them biologically different from all other creatures that had walked the earth, or whether this is a poetic and powerful allegory of God’s plan for the entrance of the spiritual nature (the soul) and the Moral Law into humanity.”
-Francis Collins, The Language of God, pg. 207

Day-Age and Evolution

Most Day-Age advocates reject evolution

• I believe, however, that evolution could mostly work with Day-Age
• The main sticking point is the origin of humans

Gap Theory and Evolution

Most Gap Theory advocates reject evolution

• I believe, however, that evolution could mostly work with Gap Theory
• The main sticking point is the origin of humans
• The additional point of discontinuity would be the catastrophic event between verses 1 and 2

“According to its kind” and Evolution

Some creationists have asserted that the phrase “according to its kind” would preclude evolution

• Genesis 1:11-12 - Vegetation “according to its kind”
• Genesis 1:21 - Sea creatures and birds
• Genesis 1:26 - beasts of the earth

Genesis 1:21   So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

However, in Genesis 1, “kind” appears to be a loose biological grouping

• We still see this today
• Species can only procreate within a genus
• Often, offspring cannot procreate

Does “according to its kind” mean that these animals will always stay inside of that “kind”?

• Evolution suggests that animals can only procreate within a genus
• Genesis 1 is talking about procreation
• Thus, there is no difficulty here
Genesis 1 and Evolution

Where does the text disagree with evolution?

• YEC: all over the place
• Day-Age: Just the origin or humans
• Gap Theory: Origin of humans and the need to reconstitute life

Origin of Humans

Questions to consider as we examine the options:

• Why do human life and civilization seem to advance suddenly approximately 10,000 years ago?
• Language
• Cities

What about the genetic evidence?

How do we address the evidence for the evolution of man presented by Francis Collins?

• Even Collins admits that an efficient Creator could resolve much of the evidence
• Mutations over the past 6,000 years could explain the non-functioning gene evidence

Does the Bible preclude evolution?

Not necessarily.
In my judgment, the biggest issue Biblically is with the origin of humanity.
What do you believe about Adam?

The Tree of Life

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Genesis 1 & Evolution
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