Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Craig Keener, "Is Young-Earth Creationism Biblical?"

Credit on the bottom of the photo. Epic.
Even self-identified evangelicals, who tend to read the Bible more conservatively than most other groups, do not speak with a unified voice regarding the process of creation. Clearly, young-earth creationism, which argues that the world was created in six 24-hour days, is widely promoted on a popular level. Less publicized is that a large number of evangelical thinkers prefer a different range of options. Let me briefly survey some options before turning to Genesis.

For example, like many other evangelical scientists, Francis Collins, former director of the Human Genome project, affirms evolution. A 2009 Pew Forum poll suggests that roughly a third of evangelical Protestants agree. More surprisingly, this approach among some evangelicals did not originate recently. For example, one of Darwin's leading U.S. defenders in the 19th century was a committed evangelical. Harvard biologist Asa Gray, featured on a U.S. postal stamp in 2011, never persuaded his friend Darwin that evolution displayed divine design, but Gray defended evolution.

Some prominent evangelical theologians today (such as Alister McGrath) support evolution, but even late 19th- and early 20th-century conservative theologians such as Calvinist B. B. Warfield and Baptist A. H. Strong allowed that God could have used evolution as a mechanism of creation.
For the rest, click HERE.



  1. It sounds like he's arguing that Adam and Eve were not a literal couple, but representative of humanity as a whole, but I wonder how he would interpret the fact that Adam and Eve had genealogies? And that many of the prominent figures in the Bible traced their genealogy all the back to Adam (including Jesus).

    1. It would depend on several things. I'm not sure these answer your questions, but I'm just putting forth a few items that provided me with much thought.

      Is Genesis 1-11 historical?

      Just because the genealogies assume the same of each other doesn't mean they are correct. McGrath, "Genesis 1 treats a dome over the Earth as real. Matthew treats a mountain from which one can see all the kingdoms of the Earth as real. The Bible contains material that does not meet our standards of scientific or historical accuracy, and some of it clearly does not even come close to doing so. By simply pointing to some ancient authors and showing that they shared certain assumptions does not get one any closer to determining whether those assumptions are correct or erroneous."

      It would also depends if Adam represents "himself" or, as Keener and Enns point out, a corporate whole or representative of humanity. The bit about genealogies is indeed pressing.

      Still thinking.


    2. It seems like the primary reason people would draw the line and say "There was no historical Adam and Eve," is because modern science champions an origin myth that doesn't allow for a literal Adam and Eve.

      But here's the question I have. Why are some Christians willing to say:

      "Yeah, ok, science says that life evolved, and therefore the creation account, and Adam and Eve can't possibly be true, so it must be more like a parable than historical fact, and so that's fine, the Bible could have meant that."

      But not:

      "Yeah, ok, science has clearly proven that supernaturally healing people is flat out impossible, as is controlling the weather with a word, and walking on water, and above all being resurrected from the dead, therefore Christ must not have literally done any of those things, and they must all be sort of parables with some spiritual meaning behind them."

    3. It depends on hermeneutics. Genesis (especially 1-11) contains prose and poetic material. The Gospels, on the other hand, do have material that can back up the existence of Jesus beyond Genesis. Beyond Jesus existence and all that.