As a student studying Biology I personally believe in evolution, and I also believe in God. However, I have been struggling to figure out whether I should interpret Genesis chapter 2 literally. I looked at two different prestigious scientists who are both Christians but claim evolutionary creationism or bios logos. The first is Dr. Denis O Lamoureux and the second is Dr. Francis Collins. I’m sure that you’re familiar with both of these scientists, and that you have read some of their published material. After listening to lectures (on youtube) and looking over some material I have two objections to the way these scientists look at evolution. First is that they don’t believe that God continuously intervened throughout evolution and that Adam wasn’t a physical human being. I have been struggling specifically with the second objection. Although there lacks scientific evidence for a first Adam, I was wondering if you could possibly help me come to peace with my belief or direct me to some additional material on taking Genesis 2 literally. I read a recent article stating that Neanderthals mourned death (http://news.discovery.com/history/neanderthal-burial-ground-afterlife-110420.html) how do you explain this to Genesis 2? On a side note I have looked over two of your articles "Review of TLOG" and "The debate between four christian views on evolution". Sorry for the long question but I would really love your input. Thanks.
I have responded to this question many times. You can find my opinion on evolution at my web site by searching the site for articles on evolution. I particularly would suggest you find the articles I have written about our debate "Four Christian Views of Evolution." I have an article by that title, as well as a review of the debate. I am personal friends both of Denis Lamoreaux and Darrel Falk, the head of biologos and have talked to both of them many times. I have also met and chatted briefly with Francis Collins. Denis is in the debate. You can get a copy of the debate by going to www.ipibooks.com. All three of these believers support what I call the random designer position. They believe that completely random processes have been used by God, in his wisdom, to create human beings by a completely natural process which we call evolution. I have stated publicly in many presentations and through articles at my web site that although I definitely believe in evolution as a natural process which God used to create the different life forms on the earth, I do NOT believe in fully random processes. I believe that God directed the process and direction of evolution. I also believe that he may very well have also intervened in major ways to create various species as well. I have stated clearly that I cannot prove God’s intervention by any physical evidence, but believe that fully random processes simply would not create intelligent creatures with a consciousness, the ability to understand the universe, etc. Also, my theology moves me to assume (although to also admit I may be wrong) that God did not leave things fully to random processes.
You seem to lean to this same view. Cool! By the way, in personal chats with Darrel Falk, I was a bit surprised that privately he agrees with my position, although he seems to not have taken this position publicly. I will let him speak for himself on this.
On Neanderthals, I believe that there is evidence for them taking care for their dead. Elephants do so as well. Whether we should anthropomorphise this behavior of elephants and Neanderthals as human "mourning" is debatable. We should always take with a grain of salt the speculative theories of anthropologists who have a completely deterministic view of the world and who do not acknowledge that human consciousness is a real thing, rather than just chemicals and nerve signals.
I believe that Genesis 1 and 2 are scientifically accurate in their broad terms, but that the "days" are not literal 24 hour periods and that the content is not intended as a scientific thesis.
By the way, Lamoreaux and Collins seem to both believe that the creation of Adam and Eve could be thought of as God miraculously creating homo divinus by miraculously putting a soul and a spirit into an already evolved intelligent hominid. I am not sure, but I hold out for Adam and Eve to be a special creation, although I acknowledge that clearly there were relatively intelligent evolved hominids around at the time God created Adam and Eve. You can find a talk on "special creation" and a power point on the topic at my web site.
I hope this helps.