Friday, July 23, 2010

Personal Chronicle on Faith and Evolution

McNewspaper reports on a new book on the creation/evolution controversy, Evolving in Monkey Town. This one is a bit out of the ordinary, the personal memoir of Rachel Held Evans, raised in Dayton, Tennessee (site of the famous Scopes trial) to understand that questioning young-earth creationism indicated failed Christian faith. Finding what she saw as an irreconcilable conflict, she opted for the science. Later, however, she discovered that the reconciliation is highly possible if one considers alternatives besides the young-earth view.

We appreciate the article, as it handles the questions with less inaccuracy and polarization than is common at the shallow end of the media pool.

Notable is the citation, now common among mainstream journalists, of Southern Seminary's Al Mohler. Predicatably, Mohler frames the issue as an either/or question of true commitment:

No one is going to read the Bible and be able to accommodate a natural reading of the biblical text with naturalistic evolution.

Perhaps the key word here is "naturalistic," which would exclude any involvement of God in any way. But Mohler as quoted seems content to imply that there are only two choices, the naturalistic one or "creationism," with all the freight that pertains thereto.

But to Ms. Evans' experience: people like her are the ones that provide SWNIDish motivation to address this issue. There's simply no reason a person should lose faith in the triune God of the Bible because of conflict with science. There is no conflict if one lets the Bible say what it actually says and science say what it does and can.

We don't enjoy scorning creationism. We do want to avoid the utterly unnecessary crises of faith that occur when believers are first grounded in the notion that all evolutionary thinking is antithetical to the Bible and then encounter the considerable evidence for an old earth and the development of life through its pre-history.

So it's very fine with us to hear the story of someone who has been there and back again.


Micah said...

She's a REALLY good writer, too. Plus she's smart... she married the best man at my wedding.

Jon A. Alfred E. Michael J. Wile E. SWNID said...

Yes, she tells us that she knows you. Let's all sing "It's a Small, Small World."

Anonymous said...

Concisely, a standard, non critical reading of the bible always brings the saint to a young earth position.
All of the saints up until the late 18th to early 19th centuries believed such. It wasn't until then when the professing saint began to question the age of the earth. Then again, something was released from the pit around 1820 anyway. Cultist, neo orthothoxy began to abound about then. Legalism, baptism idolatry, false wonders, neo-pelagianism all sprouted their webbed wings and began to fly about then. {Know any "brotherhoods" that started about then?}