Sunday, February 28, 2016

Evolutionary Creationism

I haven't posted on Creationism since 2009, so it's about time to revisit the subject. It came up again today when I had a short Twitter "conversation" with someone. But, it has come up numerous times over the years on blogs and books that I have read. 

First, of all, what happened in 2009? I shared my intellectual and spiritual journey from Young-Earth Creationism to Evolutionary Creationism on my blog. On of the commenters was Ken Ham himself from Answers in Genesis. That led to having several other supporters of the YEC point of view, whom I had no other relationship with, to post comments. Unfortunately, the day after I posted it, I had a terrible migraine. Either that day or the next, Ham wrote a post using me as a cautionary tale of a homeschooling mother who has caved into Evolution whose children are in danger of walking away from faith. Well, Rosie Girl is no longer an Evangelical, but she claims the label of Christian. Wild Man is almost 18 and plans to become a worship leader.

The kerfuffle of 2009 certainly didn't make me any more likely to consider the YEC perspective. In the last seven years, I've actually become more comfortable in my reading of the Bible and the acceptance of the overwhelming scientific evidence of biological evolution and an old cosmos.

The first chapter of Genesis is not intended to provide a literal account of how the cosmos was created. It is, rather, a theological poem telling us that God created the universe. In a world filled with cultures that had multiple gods, Israel's creation story tells them that God was the creator. And that's the importance of the story.

I have read books by Denis Lamoureaux and Peter Enns that I really like and that have helped me understand the Old Testament. Learning to read the Old Testament on it's terms and trying to understand it through the eyes of the original hearers and readers has been invaluable. Genesis is not a science book and should not try to be understood as one. 

Being willing to engage in the science of evolution has lots of advantages. I don't worry about what the recent hominid remains found in a cave in South Africa mean for Creationism. They are far older than the 6000 years that YEC has to use as their cut-off date for biological creation. But, that's just fine for evolution. They fit somewhere on the hominin tree. Are they a human ancestor? I don't think that's been sorted out yet. But, it's fascinating stuff to read and learn about. Science is completely open. We don't have to make it "fit" the Bible. 

What does this do for my faith? Well, it doesn't compromise it. Reading the Bible on it's own terms leads me to an honest faith. When I come to something I don't understand, I consult commentaries and I pray about it. I don't have to make it fit into a pre-determined set of beliefs. When I read books that are poetic, I can read them as poetic. When I read the Gospels, I can read them as Jesus-centered. When I read the Epistles, I read them understanding the background of their writing.

The Bible is a mixture of types of literature that God inspired for us to learn about him. He deserves for us to take it seriously and to read it honestly.

I welcome your comments. And if I have migraine, I'll answer your comments in a day or so ;-)

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