The evidence for God is in the universe around us,
In the oceans, in the mountains, in the skies;
You can see His holy fingerprints in galaxies and atoms;
You need only learn to open up your eyes.
The evidence for God is seen in everything in nature—
This has always been accepted by the wise;
But the evidence that shows there was no Adam, and no Eden,
Only tells us all that, now and then, God lies.
Via NPR, a story today, Evangelicals Question The Existence Of Adam And Eve, reminds us that evangelical christians (let alone all christians) are not a monolithic group. Not all evangelicals, for instance, believe the story of Adam and Eve.
[S]ome conservative scholars are saying publicly that they can no longer believe the Genesis account. Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”
Not exactly a radical position to take for those of us who don’t hold the bible as bedrock, but Venema’s position runs counter to central tenets of his church.
And Venema is part of a growing cadre of Christian scholars who say they want their faith to come into the 21st century. Another one is John Schneider, who taught theology at Calvin College in Michigan until recently. He says it’s time to face facts: There was no historical Adam and Eve, no serpent, no apple, no fall that toppled man from a state of innocence.
Now, it’s one thing to question some parts of the bible. But (as the NPR story makes clear) this particular part is the cornerstone of christianity itself. No original sin, no need for redemption, no reason for Jesus. This is a case where many christian sects make a very particular claim, one which if taken literally (which they do) is falsified by research in genetics.
I’ve known christians who believe that “god wrote two books–the bible and the universe”, and that we can reconcile the two by recognizing myth, story, and parable. But literalism does not have this wiggle room. One or the other “book” must be wrong.
It was easier to be a literalist before evolutionary genetics came along.