Monday, November 15, 2010

Human origins in PSCF

I'm extremely late with this series, but better late than never. The September issue of the American Scientific Affiliation's journal Perspectives on Science and the Christian Faith published a series of articles on human origins. Of the four, only one addressed the issue from a scientific perspective, and only one (a different one) tried to defend a literal Adam and Eve from Scripture. I found the articles challenging, a bit maddening at times, but always enlightening.

In an editorial introducing the issue, PSCF editor Arie Leegwater confessed,
I have often hoped that I could keep these matters at a studied distance, because, in my opinion, there are many other pressing and important issues which the Christian community needs to address....
And yet, reading through the biblical and theological articles by C. John Collins, Daniel C. Harlow, and John R. Schneider, I was struck by how profoundly fundamental their ideas were. These aren't just some sort of side issues, like whether or not we should have hymns or praise songs in our services. The issue of human origins strikes at the very core of the gospel itself. How we view those first humans and their sin basically sets the stage for our understanding of the fallenness of man and the need for redemption. Those early chapters lead directly to the cross and the empty tomb. I can think of few things more important than that.

This week, I'll examine each paper in turn. Tomorrow, Collins's "Adam and Eve as historical people, and why it matters." Wednesday, Venema's "Genesis and the genome: genomics evidence for human-ape common ancestry and ancestral hominid population sizes." Thursday, Harlow's "After Adam: reading Genesis in an age of evolutionary science." Friday, Schneider's "Recent genetic science and Christian theology on human origins: an 'aesthetic supralapsarianism.'"

Feedback? Email me at toddcharleswood [at] gmail [dot] com.