Re: Evolution wars

From: Keith Miller (
Date: Fri Dec 20 2002 - 11:55:38 EST

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    > It would be poor exegesis to simply point to a single passage in
    > Scripture to prove one's point. Scripture is to be understood as a
    > whole, and in the context of the universal church's understanding of
    > it. In this regard, then, one is able to say that the doctrine of
    > original sin and the imago Dei is incompatible with a gradualistic
    > account of human creation. Paul, himself, presented his point about
    > sin (Romans 5), and simply assumes that Adam was a historical man.
    > Jesus is presented as the 2nd Adam, undoing the work of the first.
    > The geneaology of Jesus goes back to Adam. The reality of original
    > sin in all of us necessitates a single source, and in parallel, the
    > reality of salvation for all of us necessitates a single source,
    > which is Christ. We all (i.e. humans) have to be sons of Adam in
    > order for the need to be saved by the second Adam.

    I have posted this before, but it looks to be relevant again.

    Our physical and genetic continuity with the rest of the
    creation in no way excludes an historical Adam. However, since there
    is a
    continuity of physical form from modern humans to our common ancestors
    the other great apes, there are no physical criteria by which the
    appearance of
    the "image of God" could be identified in the fossil record.

    With regard to the implications of human evolution for the "image of
    God" I
    will quote from an article that I wrote several years ago.

    "We are the image of God in creation - that is why the command against
    making graven images is so powerful. We stand in a unique position
    creation - as God's representative, as His viceroy over the Earth. I
    believe that the basis for that unique position is our dual nature. We
    have at once a kinship with the rest of creation and with the Creator.
    Genesis describes the origin of humankind in precisely the same manner
    that of all other living things (Gen 2:7,9,19). The origin of our
    nature is not different from that of other creatures -- we are made of
    same stuff. If God used and providentially controlled evolutionary
    mechanisms in the creation of plants and animals, I see no reason to
    an evolutionary origin for humankind. In fact, the testimony of both
    scripture and nature is that we share a oneness with the rest of
    Our physical natures are inseparably connected to the rest of life on

    "While Genesis roots our physical origin in the stuff of the Earth, it
    places us firmly in a unique position before God and creation. The
    is to attribute unique status to our physical nature, as though our
    position is founded on something other than God's grace. I believe
    that it
    is our relationship to God more than anything else which distinguishes
      From the dust of the Earth God had raised up a creature and imparted to
    a spiritually conscious soul. By this act of grace God elevated
    to a special position of conscious and willing fellowship with Himself."

       (Keith B. Miller, 1993, Theological implications of an evolving
    creation: Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, vol. 45,

    Paul's comparison of Christ (the second Adam) with the first Adam
    is, I believe quite helpful in sorting through the issues. Sin and
    spiritual death "entered the world" through Adam, but life and
    righteousness through Jesus Christ. It seems that both Adam and Christ
    being presented as respresentative heads of the human race. We bear the
    image of Christ in the same way that we formerly bore the image of Adam.
    We are dealing here, I believe, not with physical realities but with
    spiritual realities. Adam thus need not be the physical ancestor of all
    humans, anymore than Jesus is the physical ancestor of all those who
    believe in Him.

    How was God's "image" imparted to humanity? I think that there are a
    couple of options here. One common position is that God selected a
    particular individual into whom God imparted a spiritually conscious
    A more monist (as opposed to dualist) view might be that God revealed
    himself to Adam thus bringing Adam into personal fellowship in a state
    moral innocence. I am sure there are other approaches to this.

    If Adam is not the genealogical ancestor of all humanity, then how can
    understand the "image" to have been communicated to all humanity?
    this is essentially the problem of the "pre-Adamites" which is hardly a
    consequence of an evolutionary view of human origins. A straightforward
    reading of the Biblical text itself seems to imply that Adam and his
    descendants lived in an already populated world (Gen, 4:13-26). Thus,
    questions have to be answered regardless of whether an evolutionary
    is accepted.

    There are a number of issues here and I won't do justice to any of them.

    One consideration is that the origin of the "Image of God" which is
    associated with the creation of humankind in Genesis 1, is not the
    focus of
    the account of Adam in chapter 2 and following. The issue with Adam is
    the origin of God-likeness but rather the origin of sin. In other words
    the two accounts are dealing with different issues. The representative
    headship of Adam has to do with sin and its consequence - spiritual

    I think that scripture allows us to view the "Image of God" as an act of
    grace poured out on God's chosen creatures when those creatures had in
    effect "come of age." Here the evolutionary origin of humanity provides
    some helpful metaphors. Here's one way to think about it : God
    providentially directed the evolutionary development of humans to the
    at which they possessed the mental and emmotional capacity for conscious
    fellowship with Him. At that point, God revealed Himself and
    established a
    covenant relationship, making them divine representatives to the rest of

    I believe that Adam could have been selected out from the rest of
    for a special covenant relationship. This would be entirely consistent
    with the pattern of God's interaction with the human race revealed
    throughout scripture. God selects a particular individual through whom
    accomplish His redemptive will. There is first Adam, then Noah, Abram,
    Joseph, Moses, and Jesus. God seems to repeatedly focus the entire
    of His will for His chosen on the obedience of a single individual.

    How is the sin condition (original sin) passed on? This question is
    related to the question: How is Christ's righteousness imputed to us? -
    grace through faith.
    There is some act of the will on my part involved. I must willingly
    that offer of grace. What if we make a parallel with the transmission
    sin? When I am born I am innocent (I do not mean righteous). However,
    the first opportunity I choose to be disobedient - I sin and come under
    curse of Adam which is spiritual death. Thus, Adam's curse is imputed
    me by my sharing in his sin, just as Christ's righteousness is imputed
    me by faith. "Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man,
    and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because
    sinned" (Rom 5:12). My reading is that there are none who are without
    except Christ, thus there are none who are morally righteous yet still
    condemned by Adam's sin. We are condemned because we sin. Therefore I
    not understand that sin itself is something that is passed on thru


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