RE: Human origins and doctrine

From: bivalve (
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 17:04:40 EST

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    Adrian wrote, in part:>Well, the original issue that I raised was that an OEC position is not necessarily any less consistent with the scientifc data than an evolutionary position. From that initial discussion, the question of whether an evolutionary understanding is in conflict with orthodox Christian theology (not necessarily evangelical) came up.<
    >You [Keith]argue that it is not in conflict, and my concern was that an evolutionary understanding fails to offer an adequate account for the original sin of a historical Adam. It may not be a rebuttal, but it was meant to be a serious question.<

    This relates to the question of what is OEC, already raised, by raising the questions of what is evolution and what should be expected of it. Biology cannot define sin, so a biological theory will not help much in accounting for original sin. Activities that appear to be in our evolutionary self-interest could be evolutionarily favored. Some of these activities would be considered sinful, others not. Thus, evolutionary ideas may relate to our tendency to certain sins, especially in light of the intimate relationship between our physical and spiritual aspects. However, evolution does not address the issue of our relationship to God.

    I would agree with you in rejecting the claims of those who would say that religion is simply a product of evolutionary forces. That is clearly a non-Christian viewpoint, as it rejects Christ as providing any factual revelation, much less as being God. However, acceptance of biological evolution as an adequate description of the means by which all organisms are physically created does not require acceptance of attempts at fully explaining all aspects of humanity through evolution. The presence of unique spiritual aspects to humanity tells us nothing about God's choice of physical means in creating us.

    Thus, I think there is a need to distinguish between two premises
    1. Evolution explains everything about all organisms.
    2. Evolution is a good description of the origin of our physical bodies, and is also reflected in our mental inclinations, but God has given us responsibility and free will with regard to how we respond to such inclinations.

    The exact nature of this free will is strongly debated, but as a Calvinist I think that all theological viewpoints acknowledge its existence.

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