10 April 2014

Hermeneutical difficulties related to not believing in the creation of the world

Just as I have argued that there are hermeneutical difficulties with claiming that the formation of the world necessarily happened through the six days of creation, I would also argue that there are hermeneutical difficulties in not believing that the world could have been created without evolution.

The biggest challenge relates to how much we as Christians ought to be able to explain things (scientifically). Those advocating for evolution make it sound almost like one has to have a logical explanation for how things were formed. This makes it sound like it's not okay to claim that there is much we do not understand (i.e., mystery) in the formation of the world. Furthermore, some things in the Bible are not scientifically explainable: the biggest, most obvious one being the resurrection. The resurection of Christ is fundamental to Christian belief (1 Cor 15). There is no scientific explanation for Jesus being really dead and then rising again. The Bible thus seems to make the claim that some things cannot be explained and must simply be taken by faith.

I also don't know how understanding the world (and humans) as being formed through evolution explains how sin and death came into the world. Although I don't have an answer for this question, I find this a less difficult hermeneutical issue than the above, partly because I know that not all Chistian traditions hold to the same teachings with regard to original sin and because I believe some have already been addressing this question. (If you do have an explanation, please do let me know! update: one possible explanation can be found here: http://blog.calvinincommon.org/2014/06/27/the-fall-of-historical-adam-and-eve/)

When I said that I think Christians can't believe that the world had to be created in 6-days, I can see how that might be interpreted as me saying that I believe that the world had to be formed through evolution. Except that's not really what I believe.
I want to honour and respect the God-given gifts of the intelligent science folk around me who do believe that evolution is very much part of the process of how the world has been formed, especially as Christianity often gives those advocating for evolution the hardest time. At the same time, I also believe that all we can definitely say about the issue on the basis of the Bible is that God was very much involved in the world's formation. I believe that to claim to know exactly how the world came into being - or to say that those holding more to the creation side OR to the evolution side are obviously wrong or, worse yet, not even Christians - is a mockery to faith and makes our God too small.

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