Saturday, December 22, 2007

Christianity and Evolution

A blog debate with my good friend Mr. Christian over at BMEWS.

My position is this;

It is reasonable and logical to be a Christian and to believe in Evolution as a method of creation.

Let me begin this debate by stating that, as a born again Christian, I firmly believe that God created the heavens and the earth as described in Genesis. However, I believe the Genesis story is told to us to relay a message; this is where my friend Mr. Christian and I respectfully disagree. I believe the Genesis message to be one of God’s divine powers, one of love, one of hope, and one of warning.

In my opinion, man will never completely understand the workings of the Universe or the infinite glory of our Lord God. I believe this is by His design and is the basis of faith. It is the very gaps in our understanding that cause us to have faith in a higher power and to believe that the Universe is unfolding as it should. I believe that there are sections of the bible to be taken literally and then I believe that there are sections constructed to relay a message in a form that can be easily understood and put to use in our daily lives. I will save specific examples for our continued debate.

Now to the “genesis” of our debate; how can a Christian believe in evolution? If you believe the Genesis story literally as it is written, then you obviously can’t believe in evolution. I think I can safely say that anyone who believes in evolution believes that it would have taken longer than 6 24-hour days. So then, why do I believe Genesis to be a story rather and a literal accounting of events? I believe there is opportunity to question the literal translation of the bible’s contents based upon the history of the bible itself.

Mr. Christian rightfully points out that the Hebrew word “Yom” may have more than one meaning based upon the context in which it was intended. Consider the United States Constitution or the Declaration of Independence – documents that you should all read, but that’s a different blog post. How many words in these two documents are unfamiliar to you? Have you ever had a conversation with anyone that spoke in this vernacular? I will guess probably not. My point is that the people who wrote these documents are our immediate ancestors, speaking the same language, and compiling these documents less than 250 years ago. The contents of the current bible, regardless of which version you choose, were originally written in Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek over a span of several hundred years. These documents were then translated into Latin and kept from the general public by the church. It was not until Gutenberg invented the printing press in the mid 1400’s that the bible became available to the masses. The first mass printings of the bible were created from a Latin translation known as the “Vulgate”, which itself had been in Latin, translated into Greek, and then back into Latin.

In addition to the translation challenges, there have also been efforts throughout history to edit the bible’s contents and even to keep some of the gospels from being part of the modern bible. I currently use a New American Standard Bible (NASB) in an attempt to have a more literal translation of the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek source documents. Admittedly, the NASB has made edits to the syntax in order to make it more legible according to modern English usage – yet another chance to incorporate opinion rather than fact.

I believe there is opportunity to discuss the literal translation of the book of Genesis. The bible is the Word of God, but it has been written and modified numerous times by man.

So, let’s get started.

##That’s my opinion##


Beth said...

This makes perfect sense to me, man by our nature are not perfect, and so our interpretations and translations are therefore going to be imperfect as well.

chris edwards said...

Well if you were an all powerfull being and created an inquisitive creature like man would'nt you plant the evidence of evolution, or even use it as a method to create man in the first place!!