Paeter wrote:I think I understand your position. And if I'm correct in that I think we're in the same camp or close to it. The idea of evolution (life adapting and changing over time) doesn't contradict with scripture at all. The question would be "how much does it change?"
Evolution as "adaptive biological change over time" doesn't presuppose all life emerging from a single-celled organism. Although many supporters of naturalistic evolution toss in that assumption.
In other words, I believe in evolution defined as "adaptive biological change over time".
I don't believe in evolution defined as "all life originating from a single organism".
Even granting the poetic nature of the early chapters of Genesis, it's a bit of a leap to make. Additionally, my understanding of the fossil record is that it is far more supportive of the first definition of evolution and contains huge gaps when trying to support the second.
But I'm always open to new data if anyone has some to put on the table.
We probably are close, not that it matters, but I don't really have a problem with common descent
, either. Also the question "how much does it change?" isn't really an issue unless the age of the Earth is in question. Regarding the actual data (astronomy, astrophysics, geology, etc.), it isn't really, though Young-Earthers would disagree. The issue of the leap of common descent
from the poetic rendering of Genesis isn't as much of a problem when we keep in mind that God is outside time (as well as within it). As G.K. Chesterton said, “If evolution simply means that a positive thing called an ape turned very slowly into a positive thing called a man, then it is stingless for the most orthodox; for a personal God might just as well do things slowly as quickly, especially if, like the Christian God, he were outside time.” When that principle extends logically over the last 580 million years, then all life indeed could have evolved from God's first created life-form with its ingenious genetic programming established. As far as gaps in the fossil record, that's to be expected considering the rarity of the conditions required for fossil formation. Although the gaps keep getting filled nonetheless. The evolution of whales from land-based mammals to sea-based is particularly amazing. Modern whales still have the exact same bone count and comparative position as their land-based ancestors... Amazing stuff!
What amazes me the most is something that I've been ruminating on lately regarding an argument against evolution that young-earthers commonly used. In my Christian high school education, I learned that evolution can't possibly have occurred because it violates the second law of thermodynamics, AKA entropy. However, considering a theistic reading of evolution, it makes evolution that much more impressive as God's creation when you understand that it defies and upholds entropy at the same time
! On the micro-level, it upholds it by the 99%+ of mutations that are not beneficial. It defies it by accumulating the <1% beneficial mutations over millions of years to increase biological diversity and complexity. AMAZING! He is so amazing...
I also think that the poetic reading of Genesis isn't the only reading that jives with theistic evolution or old-earth creationism. ;-p
Anyway, the steps I took from young-earth creationism to theistic evolution took a few years, a lot of prayer and consideration and finally the willingness to open my mind to a major paradigm shift in my (limited) understanding of our awesome Creator. (For the record, more than a few feathered dinosaurs and a couple science classes didn't hurt)...
Ultimately, it's a non-salvation issue and I have a great time discussing it. I just tend to back it up a bit if I perceive it's getting downright divisive, since scripture's pretty clear on that