If you are someone who is struggling to make sense of this debate, then this final thought is for you, and the message is simple. Don’t focus on Adam, focus on Christ.
Many have struggled with this topic because they accept the evidence for evolution but have been given ultimatums to reject it or be considered outcasts. Their choice boils down to compliance or condemnation. Others might struggle because they have faith in the resurrection of Jesus, and yet risk ridicule from peers and colleagues who don’t. In both cases, the choices push the conversation underground where it can never really be properly dealt with.
I chose speak out for two reasons.
Firstly, because the other side of the story needs to be told in a positive light. Those of us who accept the evidence for an evolutionary creation need to be mindful to demonstrate this in a positive way that promotes praise and worship of our creator. Telling the world about God’s creative acts can be uplifting for all.
Secondly, I feel it’s important to reach out to those who are grappling with this subject. To those who are, you need to know that it is not necessary to make a trade-off between faith and science – and in particular the evolutionary sciences.
Those who understand evolution, understand it as nothing more than a biological process. Those of us who view it as a biological process – but through a lens of faith – see it as the process that has resulted in a diverse and wonderful creation that shouts God’s praises.
In coming to that realisation, it makes it easy to focus on Christ. After millions of years of life that gradually become more diverse and more complex, it would all be for nothing if not for Christ. “For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him”.
By accepting the evidence for an evolutionary creation, we are not dismissing God’s handiwork; we are simply discovering details he chose not to reveal 4,000 years ago. Our journey through Section Three has shown that we don’t have to succumb to the ‘faith-or-science’ dichotomy because there is harmony between God’s two modes of expression. Therefore, a ‘faith AND science’ conversation is quite possible.
Respecting the authority of the Bible is fundamental to this is, and that means NOT using it for purposes it was never written to serve. When we respect the purpose of the text, and stop trying to read our twenty-first century perspectives into it, the tensions between Biblical interpretations and scientific conclusions lessen, and we have structured, defensible, scenarios that are in harmony with the written word and the natural evidence.
Instead of contradicting the Bible accounts, an evolutionary view of creation compliments them perfectly by echoing the recurring scriptural theme of growing and preparing ourselves to the point at which we’re able to separate from our worldly origins and reflect God’s image to the world around us. Even though we may speak of evolutionary origins, we are no less creations of God who share the same flesh as Adam. Yet like Adam we should bear our punishment for sin with humility and faith. Towards our fellow men we should acknowledge that we share the same God, and we have a life-purpose to seek him, for he is always near us.
And we continue to humbly offer ourselves at feet of the master, whose sacrifice and resurrection is our hope.
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He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.1
1 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2016), Col 1:15–20.