Evolution and Theology– part one

By Peter Nelson

So Monday I awoke to the sound of my alarm going off and pain shooting down from my shoulder to the middle of my back. Crawling out of bed I made it to the phone and let work know I wouldn’t be in. Downing some OTC pain killers (as I type this the pain has settled in my shoulder/neck and so I am doing this one handed) I settled into my chair and picked up the copy of the interview of Francis Collins by Discover.

My friend Alan who is a big reader of Discover had happened to have the magazine lying on his desk and so I saw the article about Collins being a devout Christen and a believer in stem cell research so I decided to take a minute and read it.

Now let me state that I hold to what I would call a modified young earth creationist view. Something that the folks at Discover would probably refer to as a myth. So I was a bit surprised to see an article that would seem to be pro-Christian in this magazine. Well I needn’t worry, Francis Collins is Discover’s type of Christian. He believes in theistic evolution and the use of embryonic stem cells.

ABERNETHY: What do you say to your fellow Christians who say, “Evolution is just a theory, and I can’t put that together with my idea of a creator God”?

COLLINS: Well, evolution is a theory. It’s a very compelling one. As somebody who studies DNA, the fact that we are 98.4 percent identical at the DNA level to a chimpanzee, it’s pretty hard to ignore the fact that when I am studying a particular gene, I can go to the mouse and find it’s the similar gene, and it’s 90 percent the same. It’s certainly compatible with the theory of evolution, although it will always be a theory that we cannot actually prove. I’m a theistic evolutionist. I take the view that God, in His wisdom, used evolution as His creative scheme. I don’t see why that’s such a bad idea. That’s pretty amazingly creative on His part. And what is wrong with that as a way of putting together in a synthetic way the view of God who is interested in creating a group of individuals that He can have fellowship with — us? Why is evolution not an appropriate way to get to that goal? I don’t see a problem with that. The only problems that get put forward are by those who would interpret Genesis 1 in a very literal way. And that interpretation in many ways is a — is a modern one. Saint Augustine in 400 AD, without any reasons to try to be an apologist to Charles Darwin, agreed that that was not a particularly appropriate way to interpret the words that are written in that first chapter of the Bible. {Religion & Ethics}

Yet at the same time Collins says that he believes in Christ’s death and resurrection.

BOB ABERNETHY: Are you a mainline Protestant? An Evangelical Protestant? What are you?

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS: I guess I’d call myself a serious Christian. That is someone who believes in the reality of Christ’s death and resurrection, and who tries to integrate that into daily life and not just relegate it to something you talk about on Sunday morning. {Religion & Ethics}

Now what I have always been unable to reconcile are those two statements. Why do we need a Savior if Adam didn’t really exist?


Filed under creation, evolution, Peter Nelson

2 responses to “Evolution and Theology– part one

  1. Jeremy Weaver

    Right Peter. If the first three chapters of Genesis are not historical, then how do we explain the universal corruption of the humn race?

  2. pilgrim

    “Why do we need a Savior if Adam didn’t really exist?

    Well, what would we do with all the churches…

    Seriously though, DNA research should lead him away from evolution…

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