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It would seem that the first part of the book of Genesis contradicts what science teaches about the origin of life on earth. If I am to reconcile evolution and Genesis, it seems that I have a number of options.

  • Accept Genesis as a metaphor for the sinfulness/corruption of mankind
  • Dismiss the story entirely
  • Believe that God picked two early humans and the first that he 'breathed' life into, and these two were Adam and Eve.

These options are not very good in my book because both Jesus and St. Paul, in the New Testament, made it clear they understood the story to have been a historical truth. At the same time I believe God gave us two eyes and a brain, and you cannot reject evolution out of hand.

This is a question that has had quite a heated debate for quite some time, and I do not have expectation that one answer will be 'right'. However, I am asking it anyway since it is one I continue to struggle with.

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It's important to keep in mind that while Genesis speaks of six creative periods and says that they were "called the first/second/etc day," it does not state that any of these "days" were 24 hours in length, or even that they all took as long as each other. Eliminate those two preconceptions and a lot of the apparent conflicts vanish. –  Mason Wheeler Aug 24 '11 at 2:16
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When you say "evolution" do you mean the Theory of Evolution as the origin of species, or just that a species can evolve and change? –  styfle Aug 26 '11 at 3:09
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Could you specify the verses in which Jesus and St. Paul support the Genesis account as historical truth? I can't think of what those would be, but I'd certainly be interested in reading them. –  sapphiremirage Aug 26 '11 at 7:38
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You can believe it and still be a Christian. Should you? I don't believe so. The bible is clear that like begets like. Evidence for evolution is mainly weak speculation and there is a lot of shady stuff going on (like claims to "missing links" that always turn out to not be missing links). –  fungku Apr 11 '13 at 3:42
    
I am voting to leave open because this appears off-topic, however, to someone who knows and understands the answer it is quite on-topic. –  fredsbend Oct 13 '13 at 22:08

18 Answers 18

Here's a pragmatic way out of the dilemma, which is what I use:

God started the process of evolution, perhaps guided or unguided (this doesn't really matter), and allowed complex creatures to evolve. Finally, he intervened and created a literal Adam and Eve, who were made of the similar "stuff" as the other animals, but were meant to live on, but then the Fall happened, and they became like the animals, in that they were subject to death and decay. The rest, as they say, is history.

The bottom line is -- it is not very important how God created Adam and Eve. I do think we need a literal Adam and Eve for the Bible to hold together, since Paul explicitly refers to Adam.

The need to put limitations on the scope of science:

Science doesn't have much to say about the doctrine of creation. First of all, without the Bible, there seems to be no significant distinction between humans and higher apes. So, to take an incomplete body of knowledge and assume that it has all the answers is foolish. In the grand story of evolution, there may still be a twist in the tail. For me, the burden of having to wait until the final pieces of evidence come in is on science, not on the Bible.

I also have to point out that history is littered with scientists who thought they had all the answers, because they stumbled on some new way of looking at the world, while failing to realize that reality is always more surprising than we expect. Evolution may be established theory, but the advent of human beings is not something that science can speak about, at least at this point (and perhaps never).

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You certainly can, and some percentage of believers do believe in some form of (usually theistic) evolution in an effort to reconcile the findings of science with the revelation of God in his word.

The essential breakdown for creation systems is (with lots of co-mingling and blurring):

  1. Naturalism: Old universe with evolution and no God at all, for which evolution is the only game in town to explain the "how" of it. (NE)
  2. Theistic Evolution: Old universe with divine inception and left largely to run itself, with varying though usually quite minor subsequent involvement by God. (TE)
  3. Old Creation: Old universe in which a creator specifically and miraculously creates. (OEC)
  4. Young Creation: Young universe in which a creator specifically and miraculously creates. (YEC)

(where "young" means a few thousand to a few tens of thousand earth years, and "old" means anywhere from 9 to 14 billion earth years).

But in my opinion, and it's just my opinion, the scientific evidence seems to have much more to say about the age of the universe and the fact that time and space has a beginning than whether or not macro evolution occurs.

This is an extensive subject, and I have arrived at my current position (which is that of old-earth creation) after many years of believing differently and after a lot of research and mulling on the matter. If you would like a lot of material on such a model, I strongly recommend Reasons to Believe. Also worth reading is material from Jewish theologian and scientist Gerald Schroeder. Another good source looks to be the Evidence for God website (though I am not as well versed with their material as I am RTB).

I have found old-earth creation to be, on balance, the best interpretation so far of both scientific evidence and Biblical revelation when the anticipation is for both to be true and accurate and in harmony.

For me, the most compelling arguments on the matter are those from scripture along the vein of Romans 1:20, NIV:

For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

and Psalm 19:1, NIV:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

This, to me, says we can and should expect that the revelation of God through creation is consistent with the revelation of God through scripture. If the two seem to be in conflict then we are misunderstanding one or the other (or both).

Furthermore, if what we can discover of God from observing his creation is deliberately misleading (or even downright deceptive), then that seems to put Romans 1:20 in a very bad light in terms of what it says about God's attributes. Consideration of this principle (that we can know God by his creation), which appears to be quite Biblical, seems to render arguments that God created the universe with apparent age (and such arguments as light from distance stars being created in-transit) dubious - and certainly such arguments would not be seem to be the best explanation of the entire body of evidence we currently have.

Keep in mind that the Genesis account is not the only part of Scripture that deals with creation, and therefore your understanding of the mechanics of creation needs to consider the other relevant verses as well as the scientific evidence available.


EDIT: 2011-08-26

Some theological/doctrinal problems that occur with evolution (theistic or otherwise):

  1. Humanity is no longer uniquely created in the image of God, which means we no longer have innate dignity and value as distinct from the rest of creation.
  2. Humanity is no longer created to reign over the rest of creation.
  3. Adam and Eve are no longer historical people. Therefore the doctrine of man's sinful nature inherited from Adam is abolished, since there was no single progenitor from which to inherit a sin-nature. Were Jesus and the apostles mistaken when they spoke of Adam and Eve as real historical individuals - esp. Paul who bases his entire thesis of salvation on Adam's fault in Romans 5?
  4. Genesis must be considered mythological or semi-mythological rather than being regarded as a historical narrative.
  5. Theistic evolution generally limits or eliminates God's providential intervention in the creation that he "set in motion".
  6. Genesis 2:7 in describing the creation of Adam seems to require an intellectual stretch to understand as describing simpler species evolving into humans.
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+1 for pointing out the major views, and explicitly stating what's your opinion. Very good. –  dancek Aug 24 '11 at 7:47
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I think the "problems" you mention are only problems for specific literalist interpretations of the Bible, which are problematic on many levels anyways. The major Christian religion (the Catholics) does not have a problem whatsoever with evolution. I think this is worth mentioning as a major point, but your answer presents it as just another alternative. This is misleading. –  Sklivvz Aug 31 '11 at 10:01
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@Skilwz: You misinterpret the Catholic position, which declines to take a position one way or the other, while affirming similar theological concerns as I have outlined: "For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents." (emphasis mine) –  Lawrence Dol Sep 1 '11 at 3:46
    
Updated link to the Catholic position, quoting Pope Pius XII per my comment above (Humani Generis 37). More fully, "When, however, there is question of another conjectural opinion, namely polygenism, the children of the Church by no means enjoy such liberty. For the faithful cannot embrace that opinion which maintains either that after Adam there existed on this earth true men who did not take their origin through natural generation from him as from the first parents of all, or that Adam represents a certain number of first parents." –  Lawrence Dol Sep 25 '13 at 18:08
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Late to the party here, but I'd add a 7th point, which is that the whole idea of there being a "before death and suffering entered the world" goes out the window too. This appears to me to have ramifications in multiple directions. –  Benjol Dec 9 '13 at 20:07

Short answer: This question should not be answered with a "yes" or a "no". It depends on how much God has revealed to you, and whether you are responding to His revealed word in faith.

Explanation

The topic of origins is very controversial, and there are very passionate people on "all sides" of the debate. However, I would suggest that at its roots, your question isn't so much about origins as it is about what makes a person a Christian, and how much freedom we have in our beliefs as Christians.

In an attempt to provide you with a useful answer (and avoid comment wars) I will generalize your question as follows: "Can I believe in -(insert doctrine here)- and still be a Christian?"

The Token Answer

Before providing a useful answer, I need to address "the token answer", which is "sure you can - lots of people do." The problem with this answer is that it assumes that because people do all sorts of things and call themselves Christians that it is ok to do all sorts of things and call yourself a Christian. I don't think this is a useful answer to any question of this form.

Defining "Christian"

There are many different "Christian" churches in the world, but what is "Christian" to one church may be "Anti-Christian" to another. If we just define Christian as "believing God is real", or "believing Jesus rose from the dead", then there aren't really any limits to what you can believe (after all, even the demons would fall into this category!) I will assume you are referring to the kind of "Christian" who is doing things right according to Scripture. From what I understand, a Christian would then be someone who has turned their life over to Christ and, is now (by necessity) walking by faith.

The Important Question

Biblical faith is not blind, is not based on the opinions of men, and is not based on our own understanding. It is a response to the word of God. So the important question is - "Has God revealed to you the truth about -(insert topic here)-, and if so, how have you chosen to respond?" So, it has less to do with what you believe, and more to do with how you are walking out your decision to live by faith (trusting the word of God.)

Illustration

For the sake of providing an origins-neutral illustration, let's say you're blind, and you are sitting in a chair in a room. Bob and Dan are in the room with you, and you have a sneaking suspicion that Jesus might be standing there as well. Your mom calls on the phone and asks you what color your chair is, but you're blind, so you don't know.

A) You could say "I don't know what color it is", and that would be a good, honest answer.

B) You could say "It's definitely blue, because I don't believe it would be red", but that would just be silly.

Now, suppose it was somewhat important that your mom know the actual color of the chair. You think to yourself "well, Jesus would be the most trustworthy person to ask, but I'm not sure if He's really standing there, and if I ask Him if He's there and it turns out that He's not, I'll look like an idiot to Bob and Dan. Even if it turns out that He is there, He may not answer me." So, you decide to ask Bob and Dan what color the chair is. Bob says it's black and Dan says it's green. But to be honest, you're not entirely sure that they aren't blind also. After thinking it over, you finally decide that in general, Bob is more trustworthy than Dan.

C) You could say "Bob says the chair is black, and I tend to believe him, but I can't say for certain", which would be a good, honest answer.

D) You could say "The chair is definitely black", but you might be on shaky ground with that answer, not knowing if Bob is blind or not, and not knowing if he is telling the truth or not.

Now, suppose that it is absolutely critical that you tell your mom exactly what color the chair is. In your desperation, you cry out to Jesus, asking Him if He is there. It turns out He is, so you ask Him what color the chair is. He says "the chair is yellow".

E) You could combine the answers from Jesus and Bob (considering them the two most reliable people in the room) and say "The chair is dark yellow - almost black", but you might be on shaky ground, because Jesus is perfectly trustworthy and that's not exactly what He said.

F) You could say "I believe the chair is yellow, because Jesus told me, and even though Bob and Dan are telling me something different, I trust the word of Jesus above the word of Bob and Dan". Of course, this would probably upset some folks... Bob and Dan might not like hearing that they are "blind", or "untrustworthy". But at least you would be pleasing your friend Jesus by demonstrating your trust in His word.

Things To Consider

  • How important is it to you to know the truth about this topic?

  • Who do you most trust to teach you the truth about this topic?

  • Have you asked God to reveal the truth to you about this topic?

  • Has He told you the answer?

  • Are you willing to believe Him even if people around you disagree?

Summary

You see, if God hasn't told you the truth about the matter, and you don't have any reason to believe that it is particularly important to Him, it would not be un-Christian to say "I tend to believe X, but I'm not certain", and leave it at that.

On the other hand, if you considered the truth of this topic to be of supreme importance, as a Christian it would only make sense to seek God for the truth. Once you have a clear word from God on the matter, it is our duty to trust what He says about it, despite the opinions of man.

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How far do you take not trusting the opinions of other people? And how do you determine whether their statements are opinions or facts? You seem to be suggesting that the default is to consider everyone to be unreliable. But if that's the case, we wouldn't reliably know much of anything. –  Bruce Alderman Apr 25 '12 at 5:27
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@BruceAlderman The purpose of my post was to challenge the reader to consider these very questions personally, and to point out that while doubting the revealed word of God is sin for a believer, doing the best you can with what you have is not. If you are asking for my personal conclusions, I will share briefly, but be gracious - space is limited. I begin with what I know about God. Anything opposing that, I discard. (2 Corinthians 10:5 + experience.) I do value "human" counsel but I use Biblical criteria for assessing the credibility of counselors. (Best explained in a separate question) –  Jas 3.1 Apr 25 '12 at 7:18
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@Jas3.1 Excellent. This should be on auto respond to everything. –  2tim424 Jan 14 '13 at 22:40

Open the Bible to the first book, first chapter, first line. Notice: it says nothing about Christ dying for our sins, nothing about the Second Coming, nothing about His bodily resurrection from the grave. It says nothing about the state of the dead or the Day of Atonement.

The first words of the Bible don’t talk about these teachings because they, and the truths associated with them, are meaningless apart from what the first words of the Bible do talk about—and that is, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Creation is the foundational truth of Scripture. All other biblical teachings—the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Second Coming—are founded upon the truth that our world was created by the Lord.

That’s why Creation appears not only in the opening pages of the Bible but in the first five books of Moses, in the prophets, in the Psalms, in the Gospels, in the Epistles, in Acts, and in Revelation. And, in almost all cases, the theological context demands that it be taken literally.

For instance, Paul wrote that

“death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those who had not sinned according to the likeness of the transgression of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come” (Rom. 5:14, NKJV).

Paul not only links a literal Adam to a literal Jesus, but his context in Romans 5 ties that link to the plan of salvation, a crucial doctrine that we understand in the most literal sense, as well: we are fallen beings who face eternal destruction or eternal life.

And here’s Jesus Himself quoting from Genesis 1 and 2:

“And He answered and said to them, ‘Have you not read that He who made them at the beginning “made them male and female,” and said, “For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh”? So then, they are no longer two but one flesh’ ” (Matt. 19:4–6, NKJV).

If Jesus accepted and taught the Creation account as literal, how can those who claim to be His followers do otherwise? Although working on the assumption that the story is basis of the gospel literal, the central message of the Bible is built upon the historical and the teachings that make us what truth of the Creation story.

Take, for instance, the gospel. According to Scripture, we are humans were created better than we are now. Jesus came to rescue us from death brought by the sin of Adam and Eve. But in an evolutionary model, the Lord creates through the vicious and pain-fully murderous cycle of natural selection, all in order to abolish death, “the last enemy”(1 Cor. 15:26).

But how can death be the “enemy” if it was one of God’s chosen means for creating humans? The Lord must have expended plenty of dead Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, and Homo neanderthalensis in order to finally get one in His own image (Homo sapiens). If evolution were true, then Jesus came to save humankind from the process that God used to create it in the first place. We can see here that mixing biblical truths with nonbiblical views generates logical absurdities that should be of concern to the honest seeker of truth.

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Short answer: Yes.

I feel like this question requires much more in-dept answer then it has received. Christianity is a super-set of many religions all of which share a common belief in Jesus Christ.

Believes of different Christianities varies greatly. You are definitely a Christian if you believe that Jesus Christ is a Son of God and the savior of humanity.

However:

  • Some specific churches would not call you a true believer of their doctrine if you accepted that evolution is a fact. (that doesn't mean you cannot call yourself part of their church but you might be excommunicated if you admit to believing in evolution publicly)
  • Some churches would still call you part of their church they would just claim you are wrong about evolution.
  • Other Christian churches accept evolution as a fact

Its also important to point out that evolution (the fact that species change over time and can become new species) is different from abiogenesis (chemicals becoming first life forms which has to do with genesis as the name suggests). Evolution says nothing about how life originated so it does not contradict creation.

And there are different believes even within evolution.

  • Micro-evolution - which name is misleading but it's evolution where no speciation (formation of new species) takes place. This is like dog breeding. (notice that different breeds of dogs can look very different. The changes in microevolution can be profound and they can take place over long periods of time. Thats why the name is misleading)

  • Macro-evolution - which is a formation of new species. This evolution takes place when there is a separation within one specie. Micro-evolution can take place over quite small periods of time and changes might be minute. (two species of frogs can be indistinguishable in looks but will not be able to breed so they are two species) This evolution is not accepted by many Christians and Christian Churches.

  • There are also those that accept that (some form of) evolution is happening right now but was not happening in the past (or at least was not the origin of animals). Animals were created by God and then they begun to evolve. So humans are not the result of evolution but literal creation of God. Those man still believe in evolution they simply deny theory of Common Descent which is also proposed by Darwin at the same time as evolution in his book "The Origin of Species". For this reason Common Descent is commonly confused as same thing as evolution. Yet its possible to not accept Common Descent and still believe in evolution.

So its important to realize that you might not be called a true Christian by your church, if you believe in some forms of evolution. This does not mean that that church forbids belief in all forms of evolution. But by definition a Christian is someone who believes in Jesus Christ so You can definitely be a Christian and believe in evolution, but you might not be called a true Christian by some communities. This doesn't mean you are not!

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This answer will repeat some of what is already covered in other answers for purposes of flow and completeness, and so I'll try to keep those segments brief, but I'll cover some new ground as well:

God has the power to "fake" the evolution evidence if he wants to, but that would be completely outside his nature. Most Christians understand the creation account in Genesis to originate with God, through Moses, from God's point of view. To discount God's own account of things undermines essential points of His nature: namely, that he does not lie. It therefore speaks to the core of Christianity, and can only have a negative impact on the faith of an individual Christian.

However, through a combination of carefully reading the account and critically examining the science surrounding evolution, it may be possible to reconcile the literal Creation account with the scientific evidence.

My own opinion based on my personal studies is that the real scientific evidence for macro-Evolution itself is incredibly weak, and instead what we often see in reported media and among scientists is a sort of group-think, where scientists in individual fields have something, but they know it's weak. Each assumes that the other guy has the really good stuff because anything else would fall utterly outside their world view.

This is not to say there is no evidence in favor of Evolution at all anywhere, but rather that it's not as conclusive as some would have us believe. Personally, I think the geologic evidence for an Old-Earth is far more compelling and challenging, but this a separate thing from Evolution, and again: my personal opinion.

If you allow for an Old Earth, Evolution is not that bad or contrary to biblical teachings. It can then be taken as one tool God used in creating the diverse species we have today. It even follows the general progression of species described in Genesis 1 (ie: starting with plants, then fish, and ending with Man). You can allow that many species have evolved over time... under God's direction. Some species may have evolved, others (like man) may have been designed directly, or several "root" species may have been prepared and a form of natural selection allowed to take over from there, with perhaps a "bump" or two in the right places. This fits with my personal findings that evidence for Evolution is there, but generally weak.

While the Genesis 1 passage can easily be taken as using an allegorical 6 days, there are other references to the six days (quoted in other answers here) that may ask us to interpret it more literally. However, his needs to be reconciled with the Old-Earth geologic evidence.

This can be easily done when you remember three things. The first is how a day is really defined. A day is not 24 hours; a day is one rotation of the Earth. The second is that the sun is not created until it's already the third day, with the purpose of marking "sacred times, and days and years". The third is that God is a being outside of time, even created time, and in at least two recorded biblical incidents directly manipulated time and/or the movements of planets.

Put those three things together, and it's clear that it was likely a lot longer than 24 hours for each "day", especially for those first three days. It could also be that God manipulated time itself, so that a millennium of development happened in what would appear to an outsider as a 24 hour span. Plants and animals could live and die and experience much longer spans, but an observer might see it as watching an old vhs tape fast forward.

Again, as a personal matter I find this at not something worth getting worked up over. God has the power to do it either way, including the manipulation of time. I expect the creation of an entire universe to be something outside of what man can understand, anything else is laughable; man is smart, but we're not that smart. The important thing to understand is that God is the instigator and creator, he remains in control of the process to this day.

This leads to the problem of Man's dominion over other species. If man evolved, he is not "special". I believe this is best explained in Genesis 2. Man (the beast) has first been created, likely in a direct way that supersedes Evolution, and then (in a sequence) a "special life" is breathed into him.

Finally, I think it is useful to pare this whole thing down to what is necessary. I believe in a Sovereign God, and so it is not my job to say what is and what is not, so I will use "probably" and "probably not" in my responses:

Is it necessary to believe that God created the universe? Probably
Is it necessary to believe He did it in a literal six-days? Probably not.
Is it necessary to believe he could have done it in a literal six days? Probably
Is it necessary to believe that God created each species individually in one go? Probably not
Is it necessary to believe that God guides the creation of all species? Probably
Is it necessary to believe that God set man apart from other species? Probably

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1. The theory of Evolution is not weak, it's accepted among almost any scientist, either religious or not. 2. Natural selection is a process that by definition does not need any direction from outside. –  Sven Sep 16 '11 at 16:15
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@sven Your statement is not accurate. There are a growing number of scientists who recognize the insufficiency of the evidence for evolution. Any internet search of scientific evidence against evolution or questioning evolution will return tons of good, credible, scientific information. You can reject that, but others can accept. Carbon Dating, for instance, dated the shell of a living snail at 27,000 years. That suggests there's a problem with the dating method. There are a ton of great books that present the scientific evidence against evolution. –  Narnian Dec 29 '11 at 15:08
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One or a few other cases of wrong results by dating does not invalidate evolution, especcially if there are literally millions of cases were different dating methods result have similiary results. Do you have any sources about that growing number? This article talks about the really small fraction of scientists who believe in creationism. –  Sven Dec 29 '11 at 17:31
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"it's accepted among almost any scientist" isn't really evidence to support the claim. That same statement could have been made about numerous scientific theories, now proved untrue. –  Flimzy May 1 '12 at 14:30

In the New Testament, Jesus endorses the Torah except in cases where it is reformed (which would arguably be consistent with the Old Testament due to the fulfillment of supposed prophecies relating to Jesus meaning that we are now in a period of grace and not law).

He is recorded as saying in Matthew 5:17 "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them"; in Matthew 5:20 he says: "For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

This would mean he certainly endorses the Torah including Deuteronomy 4:2 "Do not add to what I command you and do not subtract from it, but keep the commands of the LORD your God that I give you." and Proverbs 30:6 "Do not add to his words, or he will rebuke you and prove you a liar."

You could believe in evolution and still be a Christian I think - I'm not aware of the Torah saying anything that would say that the process of evolution cannot happen.

However, the order of events described in Genesis for one thing would hugely contradict what is known to have happened on account of the fossil record, genetic studies, lab experiments etc.

There is also the story of Genesis 30 where Jacob (one of his god's favorites) believes that putting wooden rods in front of mating cattle would lead to an increased number of speckled cattle - God took credit for this insight through a dream. This shows a clear lack of understanding of how genetic characteristics are passed on to offspring which might show that God has no stock with evolution (he never mentions it).

Jesus doesn't categorically say that he believes the Genesis account to be true rather than figurative but he does believe in parts of Scripture which say that God's recorded word is the truth. This also means however that he believes parts where it is stated that God can and does deceive and cause people to lie, e.g. Ezekiel 14:9 "And if the prophet be deceived when he hath spoken a thing, I the LORD have deceived that prophet, and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and will destroy him from the midst of my people Israel."

Of course Jesus would say that God wouldn't lie in his own book which also has many instances where it is said that God cannot lie.

There is the problem though that anything attributed to Jesus in the New Testament may not have been said at all, so you could still be a Christian and believe in the implications of the evidence for evolution, if you for example have an account of Jesus directly from your own conversations with him.

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While I have very strong beliefs on this subject, I cannot dogmatically say that if you believe evolution you cannot be truly saved.

I am convinced that if you discount God's own eye-witness account of what He did during creation that you're greatly undermining your faith, but while it is an important truth to comprehend, I do not believe it is vital to salvation.

The reasoning behind the 4th Commandment makes little or no sense if the account in Genesis 1 is not correct, too:

Exodus 20:11:

For in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.

Exodus 16:26-29:

Six days you shall gather it, but on the seventh day, the sabbath, there will be [a]none. It came about on the seventh day that some of the people went out to gather, but they found none. Then the LORD said to Moses, "How long do you refuse to keep My commandments and My instructions? See, the LORD has given you the sabbath; therefore He gives you bread for two days on the sixth day. Remain every man in his place; let no man go out of his place on the seventh day."

The Mosaic covenant does not make sense without the literal creation week.

God says in Exodus 31:17 he made the world in 6 days and rested the 7th:

for in six days the LORD made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day He ceased

Jesus Himself declared that He was 'Lord of the Sabbath', since He is the Son of God. Declaring Himself to be 'Lord of the Sabbath' would have been irrational if the creation days are merely figurative and do not reflect accurately the amount of time God spent to create the universe.

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+1 Great answer!! –  daviesgeek Aug 24 '11 at 22:13
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Thanks for the expansion. I feel it's a bit of a stretch to say that because Jesus said that he is the Lord of the Sabbath that this implies he literally interprets the creation account. He may well, but this doesn't seem to demonstrate it. Jesus, after all, uses parables but we don't say that this implies they are literal. Hope I'm not being to divisive - this is a contentious topic and one I'm unsure about myself. –  Tom Duckering Aug 25 '11 at 0:47
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Using "Lord of the Sabbath" to prove that Jesus believed in six-day creation is one of the weakest arguments I've heard. –  DJClayworth Jul 18 '12 at 13:26
    
My understanding was that God is still in his 7th day... –  Benjol Dec 9 '13 at 20:09

I haven't yet seen someone put this issue on the table yet, so if I may:

Evolution requires death to iterate through possible species. Death doesn't enter the world until after all the types of animals are established. Therefore, while I see no problem with evolution occurring today, it does conflict with Genesis.

Might Genesis be a metaphor? The text doesn't give us that option. While there is a style change, there is no content break. You also have texts such as Romans treating Adam as a historical person. If you insist on applying evolution to the first few moments of history, you break your scriptures badly.

Do you need to believe this, though, to be saved? I don't think so. The result is a very shattered theology based on a shattered witness.

Also, consider that many of Bible's claims are based on, or authenticated by, miracles. If these claims are true, then who cares if Genesis has one more miracle in it? It seems a very minor point of contention unless the goal of the opponent is to deny God. If the argument is to deny God, then move off the ground of evolution because your opponent claims a lot more bits of data as supporting his position than you can. Evidentialism, as an apologetic method, cedes a lot of ground to the opponent but calls it neutral ground. It is not.

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The view that physical death entered the world at the fall is actually a minority view throughout Christian history. And it's certainly not a view held by all Christians today. Anyway, I think it's a valid viewpoint, and +1 for acknowledging that this is not a salvation issue. –  Flimzy Apr 26 '12 at 4:36
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If you have a citation for death-at-fall being a minority view, I would be thankful for it. –  sam Apr 26 '12 at 12:06
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Related question here. The 'death at the fall' view is generally considered to be part of the 'young-earth-creationist' view, which did not exist until very recently (last 100-150 years), as a rebuttal to Darwinism. See the meaning of 'day' question, too. Prior, the entire creation account was considered by most Bible scholars to be entirely figurative, thus the issue of death occurring before the fall never came up. –  Flimzy Apr 26 '12 at 13:28
    
But that's anachronism? How is that valid? –  sam Apr 27 '12 at 14:27
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@Flimzy - It does not help either of us to cite positive arguments forumated 1500 to support the existence of negative views in the preceding 1500 years. Specifically, you need to cite something in around 300AD or before to support that early Christian History views Genesis as figurative. Otherwise you're arguing from a vacuum. As for arguing from the majority, the majority of biblical scholars also think the whole book is myth. ;) I think I see where you're coming from, though, and I don't believe I agree. Thanks for the comment, though! –  sam Apr 27 '12 at 20:44

Of course you can.

Being Christian has nothing to do with your belief in evolution or another scientific theory.

Christian means Christ-like. So as long as you mimic Jesus, i.e. do what Jesus would do, you are Christian.

"You can believe in evolution while at the same time love thy self, love thy neighbor and love thy God." Then YOU can proudly call yourself a Christian.

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets. (KJV) Matthew 22:37-40

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I've edited your post a bit for clarity and to remove things that don't belong on an expert Q&A site. However, I still have some serious questions about it. First and foremost you use quotation marks, but don't cite a source, is that a real quote or are they for emphasis? Second, how does this line up with scripture or doctrinal teachings of a Christian sect? I'd like to see some references. –  wax eagle Apr 24 '12 at 15:02
    
I'm sorry and thank you for fixing my error. Your edit will be my guideline. Answering your questions: First, yes it's only emphasis. It's my error using quotation mark but the "Love thy self, neighbor and God" part is real quote from Matthew 22:37-40. Second, I'm not belong to certain sect because Jesus didn't invent any nor He Himself invent religion but I believe in doctrine of Jesus: love. It does line up with Jesus' teaching as long as, lets say, our belief or faith in evolution or another belief whatsoever didn't hinder us from loving one another i.e. Christ-like. See 1 Cor 13:13. –  user1569 Apr 25 '12 at 5:13
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I think "love thyself, love thy neighbor and love thy God" is horribly out of touch with both what the scripture you quote says and what it means. You might want to take another look at it. What I take that scripture to mean is "Love God. (full stop). Love your neighbor like you love your self (Because we all know you love yourself way more than you really should)." –  wax eagle Apr 25 '12 at 10:51
    
You missing this important part: And the second is like unto it,.... We can't say we love our invisible God without love our neighbor like we love ourselves. Once we know how to love ourselves we must step into the next level that is to love our neighbor as if they were ourselves, that way we can be sure we love our invisible God. Please also consider read my similar explanation here christianity.stackexchange.com/a/7299/1569 –  user1569 Apr 25 '12 at 15:03

After looking through most of the comments and answers, I have seen at least a couple talk about the fact that "day" may be interpreted as "age" or "period". I have to say this doesn't make any sense if you read the story.

First, let me say that you can probably believe in evolution and be saved. You don't have to know everything that ever happened in the world to be saved. You need to have a relationship with Christ. Nothing can separate you from Him. Solomon said it is the glory of kings to search out mysteries so it is fine if you are seeking and trying to figure things out.

But, if your question is, "How does the Bible say the universe was created?", the answer is God created it in 7 days. And, even if you want to say, "That word could be interpreted as age or period, and doesn't have to be day", it's easy from the context to see exactly what the Bible meant.

Read the story. After every single day, it says, "And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." (and second day, third day, and so on). So, what does evening mean? It is defined in the text, "God called the light Day, and the darkness he called Night. And there was evening and there was morning, the first day." So, there was a period of darkness, only one each day, and that darkness was caused by absence of the sun which God created on the first day. If the word for "day" stands for 1 million years, then the earth was dark for 300,000-400,000 straight years or something like that. Under those circumstances, everything would die each night. So, there would be no life left. And, less importantly, that would mean that God slowed the rotation of the earth so much that it took 1 million years for it to spin one time. And, then later on, he decided to speed it up to only take 24 hours? Why would He do that? It makes no sense.

This is my point. If you take the story to be literal, that word MUST mean day. There's no way around it. It makes absolutely no sense. And, if you don't take it literally, there's no reason to try to figure out what that word means because it's just symbolic any way.

Now, there is much more to this question than just that. Here are a bunch of other very important things all of you should consider.

  1. Scientists have never created life. They can't do it. If life was created by some bolt of lightning striking a pool of proteins as some believe, then scientists should be able to recreate it. It could be that they will do it 20 years from now, but maybe they won't. Until it happens, scientists believe BY FAITH that this is what happened just as I believe BY FAITH that it didn't. This isn't some small thing. People assume it is entirely possible for something to happen that no one has ever seen or been able to recreate. If life wasn't created in this way, then the entire process of evolving from one-celled organisms to complex beings could never have started. In fact, I find it MUCH easier to believe by faith that God created life than to believe by faith that it was created out of nonlife.

  2. Scientists are not free to believe evolution is not true. If a biologist has evidence against evolution, it will never get published and he will be shunned by a large portion of scientists. In Ben Stein's documentary, there are stories of professors being fired for not believing in evolution, even ones that were not studying biology at all. I have a friend who applied to a medical school and he was told that he didn't get in because he didn't believe in evolution. What does that have to do with going to medical school? The point is, even if people disagree, they are not allowed to speak out. This implies people are not trying to find truth when they are trying to show evolution happened. They have already made up their mind on the conclusion and now they are trying to make everything they see fit that.

  3. A scientist that is an atheist believes there is no god BY FAITH. Based on his or her assumption that there is no god, there is no possible way for life to have started except from nonlife, and life would clearly start as a small one-celled organism. As unlikely as it is for that to happen, it's incredibly more unlikely that a human being, or some other complex organism, was created from nonlife. It must have started small. Then, based on the fact that we are here, you would have to conclude that large amounts of evolution took place after that. So, for an atheist to say anything against evolution would mean they would HAVE to believe in God. I think it is clear that this "science" is definitely biased.

  4. If you don't believe in a literal story in Genesis, it screws up a bunch of the rest of the Bible too. Consider Paul. He was a pharisee among pharisees. He studied the Scriptures his entire life. He and the other Jews of his time were 2000 years closer to the stories in the OT, and they passed on the Scriptures and meanings from generation to generation. And, Paul actually talked with Jesus. So, Paul would understand much better than we would what the story in Genesis is intended to mean. And, how does he interpret it? Literally! He uses the fact that man was created first to make decisions about how things should work in the church. So, you might say, "But, he didn't have the advances in science that we do now." But, then I would say, if he didn't know what he was talking about, then the Bible is not God breathed. Since I believe by faith that the Bible is God breathed, I must believe by faith that Paul was not in error in taking the story literally.

  5. The Bible doesn't say evolution can't happen. The problem is, what do we mean by evolution. For many people, evolution is a huge process where life started as small and simple and evolved to much more complex. But, as I pointed out in 1, you would need to figure out how life started first for this to make any sense. I see nothing in the Bible that says no evolution ever occurred after God created the world. Speciation, fine, nothing in the Bible says that can't happen. Shifts in the genome, yea, so what. Bible says nothing against it. We know mutations occur. I'm not saying they don't. Bible certainly doesn't say mutations never occur. So, when I say evolution is possible, I mean it. But, what I believe about the origin of life is not the same as your standard atheist who MUST believe in "evolution", which includes as an assumption life started in a certain way.

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Point 3 is deeply flawed; non-belief in evolution does not imply (last few lines) a belief in God - that is a false dichotomy, and excludes other non-supernatural explanations. And although I don't expect you to listen, non-belief in a God is not "by faith", in the same way that non-belief in fairies is not "by faith". –  Marc Gravell Jan 6 '12 at 19:59
    
Under the assumption that God is not real, non-belief in God is not by faith. That's circular logic. –  Graphth Jan 6 '12 at 20:01
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No; it appears so because you are conflating two terms; positiveatheism.org/faq/faith.htm –  Marc Gravell Jan 6 '12 at 20:06
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What I find interesting is that even if scientists (and I think it unlikely) found absolute proof of a supernatural influence, that wouldn't even go any way to show that it is the Abrahamic God. So even without evolution there are alternative non-supernatural and supernatural options. Thus the implication fails. –  Marc Gravell Jan 6 '12 at 20:41
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The first part of the answer, which actually answers the question, is good. The last 90% is a tangential rant that, as others have pointed out, is lacking in facts and reasoning (and also better suited to other questions on this site). I would have +1'ed for the first 2 paragraphs, but had to -1 for the rest, instead :( –  Flimzy May 1 '12 at 14:33

The (Roman) Catholic position is officially in support of evolution (or at least, is not against evolution); Pope Pius XII stated that there was no conflict between science and (Roman) Catholicism, and in 1996 this was explicitly stated (Pope John Paul II) to include evolution. Wikipedia has full details. Of course, there is still a very vague line, where over-stepping that line is decreed to result in excommunication under the Pope Pius IX rules, and variants there-of:

  1. On God the creator of all things
    1. If anyone denies the one true God, creator and lord of things visible and invisible: let him be anathema.
    2. If anyone is so bold as to assert that there exists nothing besides matter: let him be anathema.
    3. If anyone says that the substance or essence of God and that of all things are one and the same: let him be anathema.
    4. If anyone says that finite things, both corporal and spiritual, or at any rate, spiritual, emanated from the divine substance; or that the divine essence, by the manifestation and evolution of itself becomes all things or, finally, that God is a universal or indefinite being which by self determination establishes the totality of things distinct in genera, species and individuals: let him be anathema.
    5. If anyone does not confess that the world and all things which are contained in it, both spiritual and material, were produced, according to their whole substance, out of nothing by God; or holds that God did not create by his will free from all necessity, but as necessarily as he necessarily loves himself; or denies that the world was created for the glory of God: let him be anathema.

So the (Roman) Catholic church says "yes you can believe in both, as long as you believe in religion more" - which is a bit evasive, but is a sensible policy in terms of minimising obvious conflicts of dogma vs evidence. However, this opinion is not necessarily mutual (in terms of science towards religion).

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The most important thing to remember when Christians debate the origins of the world is that the main point of the Genesis creation account is to demonstrate that God created us, and God created the world. And as Creator, he has ultimate authority over all of creation, and over each and every one of us. Regardless of his personal view on evolution, any Christian ought to agree with this.

This moves the debate about evolution into more of an academic realm, than one of great "spiritual" importance, except for the minority of people who have difficultly even considering Christianity as a viable religion without an answer to this question.

Now having said that, let me provide some commentary on evolution, and the Genesis creation account.

First, an important Biblical principle to me is found in Psalm 19:1:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

God is revealed through His creation.

Second, from Hebrews 6:18:

...it is impossible for God to lie...

Together, I take this to mean that God's creation, and his scripture must be reconcilable. This would discount your option #2 "Dismiss the story entirely," and leave us with your other two options.

From a purely Biblical standpoint, I think either of your remaining two options could hold water. We know that much of the Bible is metaphor, and there are many Christians who believe that much or all of the Genesis account of creation is metaphorical.

You struggle with accepting the story as metaphor, because both Jesus and Paul "made it clear they understood the story to have been a historical truth." It is important to understand that around the first century, "historical truth" had a much different meaning than it does in modern western thinking. In modern western thought, for a story to be "historically true", it must have happened exactly and literally as described. In most oral cultures, including the first century Jewish culture, "historically accurate" had more to do with the story having meaningful life truths in it, and describing a historical event.

Furthermore, Christ says many things that, read in a modern western context, appear to affirm things which we now believe were not factually correct. He refers to Jewish mythology, without actively questioning the validity of the mythology. Does this mean he believes the mythology to be true, or simply that he's using it to illustrate his point? I would argue the latter. Example, Christ's reference Hades in Matthew 11:23 and other places--we often interpret this to refer to the Christian concept of Hell, but Hades was its own, specific concept of Hell, taken from Greek mythology. Surely Christ did not mean to affirm the Greek concept of Hades by mentioning it to make his point.

And as a last point, while I believe that God's creation and scripture will never disagree, and therefore science, as the study of God's creation, ought to also agree with scripture, it is abundantly clear that science changes over time. Current scientific understanding is likely to change--as it has throughout the history of Christianity. Only a few hundred years ago, science believed the earth was the center of the universe, the earth was flat, and that all matter was made of earth, wind and fire.

The important thing for a Christian to believe in this debate is that God and his Bible never lie, and that God is revealed through creation, and therefore good science and good Biblical interpretation should not be at odds with each other.

That is the gist of my answer...

But now, I'm going to step out on a limb here, and say that evolution is not good science, and so trying to reconcile evolution with the Bible is a waste of time at best. I'm not going to provide huge amounts of detail here, because I think it's a bit of a tangent. But I believe there is good science to show the universe is tens of billions of years old, and that the moon formed when a planetoid collided with the earth a few short billions of years ago, and dinosaurs roamed the planet several million years ago. In other words, I do believe that science and Young Earth Creatonism are not reconcilable. However, there is practically no direct evidence (see here and here, as well as the two books mentioned below) for macro evolution, on the order necessary to explain humans having evolved from single-celled organisms.*

For further reading, I recommend the author Hugh Ross, and especially his book Creation and Time, which explains how the Biblical creation account actually does match good science (and this is in fact what lead Hugh Ross to faith in Christ in the first place). Another book of his, The Creator and the Cosmos I also recommend.

*I am re-evaluating my view on evolution.

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let us continue this discussion in chat –  mpiktas May 17 '12 at 3:27
    
I think you make many good points, but to say that science "only a few hundred years ago [...] believed the earth was the center of the universe, the earth was flat, and that all matter was made of earth, wind and fire" is more than a stretch. First, geocentrism hasn't been the dominant model in science for half a millenium. Second, the world hasn't been believed to be flat at least as long as we have had boats out to sea (see Skeptics.SE). –  called2voyage Feb 28 at 14:37
    
Third, dominant Western views that the world is made of earth, wind, fire, and water (such as alchemy) were held in a time when science as we understand it today didn't exist. In fact, modern science is generally said to have started roughly around the time that geocentrism was debunked by Copernicus. Before this time the scientific methods were developing but not yet perfected, and what was practiced cannot really be understood as science that we know today. –  called2voyage Feb 28 at 14:37

Theistic evolution is certainly possible.

The theistic evolutionist in the bible finds some problems

Mark 10:6

King James Version (KJV)

6But from the beginning of the creation God made them male and female.

We also find a problem when confronted with the idea that God made us humans in his image and now we introduce evolution who says we have a common ancestry with apes.

And as the passage mentions Genesis teaches us that the plants bring forth their own kind. Which is in stark contras to the theory of evolution.

Genesis 1 - 11

11And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

The thing that I think is the most Un-Christian about the theory of evolution is that is assumes naturalism

Here is a good article about the subject for anyone interested in some extra reading

http://bibleworld.com/balesteg.pdf

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This answer starts to address the actual question asked in that it brings it 'round to the problems raised by being an evolutionist and a Christian. Perhaps this could be expanded to more fully address that particular angle, which is what the question ask driving at... –  Caleb Sep 16 '11 at 10:22

One alternate view that I tend to lean toward, though I don't think understanding how God did what he did is critical, is what I like to call:

The birthday cake method of evolution.

God is very vague in how he creates the universe, and there are verses that say one day to God is like many to us. Essentially, I think the creation of the earth is like God creating a birthday cake and taking it to your house. He then tells you, "I spoke and created you this birthday cake". Now, imagine you've never seen one before! You take the cake, but wonder how it's made. You take it apart, look at the different "layers" of the cake and find carbon date things and scientifically find that this cake was made from just plain old eggs and cake batter! Oh no! God said he spoke it into being, but you can clearly tell that this was a baked cake! This is the predicament that I think many people are in.

Another example are humans and planets. God created Adam and Eve as adults, but if a scientist was to meet them today, they would say they were once children, who were concieved by human parents. However, just because the laws of physics/biology are in place and repeatable doesn't mean that couldn't be a starting point, and that God can't create something that is "older" than what we know to be a birth or beginning.

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This is a good argument. However, by the same argument, the world could just as easily have been invented last Tuesday, or in the moment you started reading here. To me this implies God being deceptive, which is not in His character. –  Wikis Sep 2 '11 at 18:10
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I don't see it as being deceptive so mush as God not really putting an emphasis on details that don't necessarily matter. You're right though the argument could be used for any time and our memories are just placed in our minds. O_O –  Ryan Hayes Sep 2 '11 at 18:23
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@Wikis there are a number of edge-cases there; 2 Thess for example –  Marc Gravell Dec 28 '11 at 16:24
    
@MarcGravell: wow, good verse. That one deserves some thinking about! –  Wikis Dec 28 '11 at 16:31
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@Marc: Though, in context, God sends that delusion after they have already rejected Jesus, "because they refused to love the truth and so be saved". –  Lawrence Dol Mar 13 '12 at 0:35

I believe that the basis behind this belief rests in a question that you need to ask yourself.

Do you believe God or Man?

I'm 100% literal translation Christian. Meaning that I believe in God first, then in man. So how can I reconcile evolution with my beliefs? Well, even I have to agree with some level of evolution, but I do not and will not agree with anything opposite the bible.

God told Noah to take two of each KIND of animal onto the ark. From those two kinds of animals, I believe, came all of the differences within the species that we find today. We know that we're capable of breeding all kinds of new species. Evolution within a species is likely possible.

But evolution from species to species has never been proven and never will.

So yes, I have to submit to the fact that evolution within a species is true

What I do not believe in is an old earth. There's too much evidence that this earth is young. The only so called evidence that old earthers have is the carbon dating. Which has its many many flaws. Some evidence of young earth:

  • Our current population.
  • The earths magnetic field is dying as like all magnets
  • The sun is shrinking. Only a few million years ago and it would nearly be touching us.
  • The moon is drifting away from the earth, as expected
  • Evidence of Dinosaurs living with man

Truth

Jesus said that he came to testify to the truth; He also said that He is the Truth; The Holy Spirit is referred to as the Spirit of Truth; The children of god are referred to as the Side of Truth. Do a study on this word, Truth, when you have time.

What you'll find is that God is the absolute Truth and everything in our society states the exact opposite that God states. So you have to ask yourself.

Who do you believe? God or Man?

To answer your question in my own words

You cannot deny God as the Truth, then turn around and say that He's your LORD and King of your salvation. God's intent is not to deceive his Children, God cannot Lie and did not lie.

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Could you substantiate the claims you make in the points above? Particularly your evidences of a young earth? –  wax eagle Aug 30 '11 at 2:09
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On talkorigins is a rebuttal of your magnetic field, sun and moon arguments, but I don't understand why the current population should be evidence of a young earth. I also haven't seen any convincing evidence of dinosaurs living with men. –  Mad Scientist Aug 31 '11 at 6:14
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Carbon dating is just one form of radiometric dating - other forms of radiometric dating are used to get the age of the Earth. –  CiscoIPPhone Sep 10 '11 at 10:42
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@Narnian 1. No measuring method is 100% accurate. Two people measure something with a ruler, they give answers that are 1cm different. Should you no longer accept ruler measurements? 2. Dating methods actually give confidence values for their measurements, they would never give a single result with absolute confidence. So if two measurements differ yet are inside the expected variance, this is no issue. 3. Dating methods aren't randomly invented, for them to be even considered a means of dating means they have been tested time and time again. –  CiscoIPPhone May 7 '12 at 22:25
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@Narnian "It seems you have put a great deal of faith into suspect dating methods without admitting any possibility of inaccuracy". Wrong. From the very start I admitted no dating method has 100% accuracy. I quote myself: "No measuring method is 100% accurate". The question should be: are dating methods accurate enough to be useful (when used appropriately). The answer is yes. –  CiscoIPPhone May 8 '12 at 19:05

Short answer: Yes.

Longer answer: A theology that requires the early chapters of Genesis to be understood as a literal and historical narrative is not compatible with evolution; however, even in ancient times the first chapters of Genesis were often understood symbolically.

The 2nd century apologist Irenaeus understood the six days of Genesis as six 1000-year spans, via 2 Peter 3:18, "With the Lord a day is like a thousand years."

In the 3rd century, Origen wrote that God put stumbling blocks into the text, so we would notice the "impossibilities" of a literal reading, and be guided toward the spiritual meaning.

Augustine in the 5th century wrote (in "The Literal Interpretation of Genesis" 2.9, not available online) that the Scriptures were written to lead us to salvation, not to teach us about the physical universe, and that we shouldn't take literally anything that contradicts our own observations.

If the early chapters of Genesis are not understood as historical narrative, there shouldn't be a contradiction with evolutionary theory.

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+1 for early church folks, thanks. –  user116 Sep 10 '11 at 11:07
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+1 As my favorite pastor says, we don't take scripture literally, we take it seriously. –  Mike Dunlavey Sep 16 '11 at 2:45
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The bible is a work of literature that speaks absolute truth. However, it is also literature that uses metaphors, similes, parables, and hyperbole. It should be generally understandable by context how the verse you are reading is to be interpreted. –  fungku Apr 11 '13 at 4:05

Though I'm definitely not the greatest authority on this, the Anglican Church (under whom I'm training right now) do indeed teach Evolution. There is a difference between the natural and supernatural, and though the Bible does provide all that is necessary for salvation, it does not necessarily provide all that is necessary for everything else.

I would say, though, even knowing others within the denomination that disagree, that this is obviously a controversial topic. However, it should not get in the way of the main message of the Bible: salvation through the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. You should make your own decision on this one after weighing up both sides.

For a bit more information, give this a read:

http://www.episcopalchurch.org/19021_58398_ENG_HTM.htm

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