The faith card: ‘I know evolution isn’t true because I’m a better Christian than you are’

A "True Christian" at work? (image © visualphotos.com)

A "True Christian" at work? (image © visualphotos.com)

Chances are you know all about the race card, but you may be less familiar with the “faith card.” Generally an evangelical phenomenon, the True Christian™ “plays the faith card” when he or she attempts to bludgeon his or her opponent into submission by the “vastly superior” strength of his or her faith. It’s essentially a trump card, of the theological variety. Here’s how one might use it in a sentence:

I was trying to show Bob that the universe must be more than 6,000 years old because we can see starlight that took billions of years to reach our planet. But he played the faith card, so there was nothing I could do.

In short, it is exactly the kind of spiritual one-upmanship and Pharisaical arm flexing that not only makes me want to facedesk, but really, really turns people off to Christianity.

For a good example of it in action, see young-earth creationist John Hultink’s recent essay in the evangelical magazine World, “Just Say the Word.” Being touted as a “lead story” by the top evangelical news magazine in the country and billed by founder and columnist Joel Belz as “thoughts on how creation bears testimony against theistic evolution,” my expectations were high for Hultink’s article. And by “my expectations were high,” I mean I expected it to not be completely terrible.

I was disappointed. Honestly, I was. I mean, I am a theistic evolutionist, and I could write a better rebuttal of theistic evolution in a Holy Spirit-induced stupor.

Throughout the piece, the author pens some bizarre statements that make me wonder if he reads a different Bible than I do, like, “Metaphors apply to humans but seldom to God, other than to help make God’s acts in history comprehensible.” In the Bible I read, God appears as a burning bush, a whirling cyclone and a towering pillar of fire. In the Bible I read, God is described as a man with white hair, fiery eyes, bronze feet and a sword shooting out of his mouth. Psalms calls God a rock, a shepherd, a fortress, a warrior. And in the parables of Christ, God plays the role of everything from an unjust judge to a vengeful vineyard owner.

To be quite honest, I’m hard-pressed to think of a single instance in all of scripture in which God is not described in metaphorical terms.

So Hultink’s not off to the strongest start in dismantling the theistic evolutionary worldview, and he stumbles yet again in his description of God’s act of creation. In one of the most breathtaking displays of unapologetic (and possibly unrecognized) cognitive dissonance this writer has ever observed, Hultink declares that “how creation came into being” will always be a glorious mystery that exists well outside the feeble reach of science, and then proceeds to explain, “We, the living, can today experience and witness the creative power of the Word.”

As a wolf-like creature “evolves” (evolution within the species) into 600 North American species of dog before our eyes, so it is that the creative Word of God continues to unfold before our eyes. Seven billion people today inhabit the earth, people of different nations, colors, physical appearances. Few of these 7 billion people look alike, as one would expect if they were the product of some mindless cookie-cutter process of evolution. What we actually witness in the world around us is the dynamic potential God placed in creation in the beginning coming to actualization before our eyes.

You might have to read that more than once to grasp the full scope of the author’s argument. Yes, he carefully notes that “evolution within the species” is capable of producing 600 new and different “species,” through a “creative Word of God” whose power human intuition is forever precluded from examining. So, essentially, evolution is proof of creationism. Now, we must spend a little extra time with his statement regarding the diversity of the human race, since that — coupled with his dog comment — represents the entirety of his scientific argument against the theory of evolution. After a few days of study, reflection and meditation, I believe I’ve come up with the perfect response:

Seriously?!

In most basic terms, evolution is the idea that mechanisms like natural selection work on naturally arising genetic variation with populations. So, of course, the facts that there is a lot of variation within the human race, and that it arose naturally, without anyone ever seeing the hands of God magically descend from heaven and make it that way, is somehow evidence for creationism and against evolution.

I have to admit, this is a new one for me. The young-earthers often claim a perceived lack of evidence for evolution as proof positive of their “alternate view,” but this is the first time I’ve seen one of them take clear and powerful evidence for evolution and attempt to argue it is actually evidence against evolution. It’s kind of like saying that, because something you drop from a tall building falls back to earth, we know that there is no such thing as gravity.

But, like any good young-earther, it’s not just the science that bothers Hultink about evolution. You see, in his view, evolution is “a messy process” “birthed by mysterious physic-chemical chance processes resulting in the malfunctioning or malformation of existing perfect genes and driven by a natural selection of whatever it is that is out there to be selected over a period of billions of years.” Evolution makes God into a “subordinate author” (which means what, exactly?) of “design by death and failure and chance and time.” It borders on blasphemy, he declares!

No, Hultink much prefers a God who created a perfect paradise, only to plunge it into a hellish maelstrom of pain, suffering, carnage, corruption, disease and death at the first whisper of human sin, all without mentioning it once in scripture. Hultink prefers a God who is “in control,” even if that means giving him direct credit for the nastiest aspects of the natural world. What a high view of the Almighty he has!

His essay centers on the story of the Roman centurion and his suffering servant. If you’re not familiar with it, and would enjoy seeing it presented in random order and exhaustively rehashed and reiterated multiple times, I’d urge you to read the first page of Hultink’s article. But, in a clever twist that surprised none of his readers, the author turns the story of the centurion’s belief that Jesus could heal his sick servant into an indictment of us Christian theistic evolutionists, whose limp and atrophied faith refuses to accept that God is powerful enough to create the world out of nothing in less than a week. Unfortunately, like science and a good chunk of the Bible, Hultink has this wrong. Allow me to explain.

JOHN, I FULLY AND COMPLETELY BELIEVE GOD IS CAPABLE OF MAKING THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT IN SIX DAYS, SIX HOURS OR SIX SECONDS IF HE WANTED TO. I BELIEVE HE COULD HAVE MADE IT OUT OF NOTHING, PREEXISTING MATERIAL OR GRAPE-FLAVORED JELL-O. AND I BELIEVE HE COULD HAVE DONE IT ALL 6,000 YEARS AGO OR LAST TUESDAY.

However, that is not what the evidence he left for us in creation indicated that he did. And I don’t believe God lied to us to test our faith. I believe he beckons uscommands us, even — to study his work in this amazing cosmos he built, and I don’t think he invites us to do so in the hope that we would ignore the evidence we find in favor of a rigid, modernist interpretation of a deeply symbolic ancient text.

I know I’m not being all that charitable to Mr. Hultink. Fact is, I am sick and tired of the Christian establishment validating YECs’ insistence that their absurd, anti-science beliefs are the only way a True Christian™ can view the world. The centurion’s faith and Jesus’ joy in recognizing it, were not about Genesis, guys. In fact, that whole deal wasn’t really about beliefs at all.

Faith is a verb; it necessitates action. It was not simply the centurion’s beliefs that thrilled the lord, but how he demonstrated that his faith was real by seeking Jesus out and confessing it. Not that good works alone can save any of us, but it is by our works that we and everyone else can see our faith is alive. And so, we are called to love in faith, give and forgive in faith, live in faith and, ultimately, die in faith.

And, I’m sorry, but how you think God created the world doesn’t play a big part in any of that. It just doesn’t. Whether you think the first few chapters of Genesis are primarily symbolic representations of real events and important truths (like the New Testament parables and most of the writings of the prophets) or literal history that contradicts itself almost immediately, does not make us even the tiniest bit more or less capable of following Jesus’ commands to love God first and foremost, love our neighbors as ourselves and otherwise continue the work he was doing in every way we possibly can.

Just to be completely clear, I didn’t start this website because I believe God actually gives a rip about people’s beliefs on the material origin of the universe. I don’t. I started this website because people like Ken Ham, Ray Comfort and, yes, John Hultink and World Magazine, are attempting to damn Christianity into eternal irrelevance by yoking the precious good news of the gospel to scientific ideas that were demonstrably proven false well over a century ago.

Faith is important, dear readers. My hope is that, if you would place your faith in anything, it would be in God, who is closer than you know, and in Christ, who died to save us all. But, if all else fails, put your faith anywhere — anywhere — else but in the words of the words of the young-earth creationists.

Tyler Francke

Category: Culture, Current Events, Latest Developments, The Bible, Theology

  • Dietrich Kessler

    I feel like this is just something we’re going to have to deal with for the next 10 to 15 years, until the millennials are finally able to start taking leadership roles in churches, and then, for the love of God, hopefully, we’ll see a change.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      I hear you, but I think we both agree it’s still important to start confronting these views now in any way we can. In 10 to 15 years, the church could have lost millions more potential hearers of the gospel to those who insist on presenting a false choice between faith or science.

  • Brian Barnes

    While I agree with what you’ve got to say here, in the interest of fairness (after all, you did an awful lot of nitpicking of John Hultink), I’ve got a bit of a nitpick to make. “Faith” is not a verb. It’s a noun, in fact. True, most of your point was correct. Faith should prod the faithful into actively seeking out that in which they trust, but faith itself is not an action.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey Brian! Maybe I was a little too hard on Mr. Hultink, eh? Then again, his article was purported to show “how creation bears testimony against theistic evolution,” so I don’t think it’s really unfair to expect him to be able to at least string a paragraph together without blatantly contradicting himself. But I digress :)

      At any rate, your “nitpick” is right. I gather you understand my point was that the biblical definition of faith implies action (in fact, unless I’m mistaken, the word “faith” actually can be used as a verb in ancient Greek; that’s why modern English translators render the word “have faith” or “believe”). The error was intentional — I wanted to catch the reader’s attention — but you’re right that it is technically incorrect. Thanks for reading!

  • Howe Foo

    Fantastic! I loved your rebuttal (sarcasm made it so much better). I too, believe in theistic evolution. While my church does not condemn it, they do not affirm either… believing that faith in Jesus is more important than the exact process of how the universe was created. They’ve invited speakers who support creation and evolution respectively, so they don’t quite take sides (although most are unofficially Old Earth Creationists). My church still does fine and brings in believers without the whole issue of creation and evolution and it’s a relief to see that potential unbelievers can come and enjoy and learn about God without worrying about whether the church rejects science.

    Even so, I really hope the change for so many others comes sooner. It lifts me up every time I see an article about a church willing to learn about science and other views like evolution.

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Hey man, thanks for reading! Glad to hear you have found a church that is open to the discussion and to various points of view. I think that’s the proper approach, and I agree 100 percent that “faith in Jesus is more important than the exact process of how the universe was created.”

  • Rachel Chastain

    I read the article, more than once… my reflections would need more space than this little box, but is is still kinda long, so get a lemonade or something…

    The conclusion that God REALLY created the world, REALLY in 7 days, REALLY closer that billions of of years ago and this this belief REALLY has an impact on ones understanding of the necessity and power of Christ’s sacrifice isn’t one that I came to with ignorance or arrogance, but rather with awestruck reverence and scientific exploration. “Because I am a better Christian than you” never hit my list of reasons. Orchestrating a mutually exclusive relation between science and faith was not the method.

    The fact that their is more than one species of dog is not an issue for creationists -microevolution is a celebrated part of creation science. All I am saying is that Nia is not changing to another species, her fundamental genetic code is variable within her species. Give me one example of a species that has been observed to change to another species. And if you say Darwin’s finches, actually no, their beaks just got fatter… (and as we all know, getting fatter is pretty easy;)… they adapted with a species for advantageous reasons… but they didn’t change species… there are no examples of that….There is a reason why the ‘missing link’ is called ‘missing’…

    As far as “scientific ideas that were proven demonstrably false well over a century ago” – the concept of spontaneous generation is precisely that. You know, that experiment where Louis Pasteur’s broth with curved necks remained free of microorganisms. The official definition of spontaneous generation is “a theory, widely held in the 19th century and earlier but now discredited, stating that living organisms could arise directly and rapidly from nonliving material”.

    Why is this blog guy so desperate for people to put their faith “anywhere – anywhere – else but in the words of the words of the young-earth creationists”. Anywhere?? – so is that a green light on drinking the cool-aid?

    What I am suggesting is that – it isn’t about ticking seconds, or splitting hair over dates. But is it about REALLY putting your faith on this solid rock. Because it does change things – “SERIOUSLY….”

    If I am REALLY intelligently and purposely created in the imagine of an on purpose God, who started with perfection, and there was no death or suffering, and then paradise was lost because of sin, and then death started, but He didn’t forsake me and is in the process of making all things new, then it “does (TAKE AWAY THE WORD not) make us even the tiniest bit more or less capable of following Jesus’ commands to love God first and foremost, love our neighbors as ourselves and otherwise continue the work he was doing in every way we possibly can”. The suffering of the world isn’t meaningless, the Cross of Christ has power…

    And I don’t have to close my eyes and plug my ears to desperately cling to a fable, for fear of cracking an “irrelevant faith”…. Similar to people like Ken Ham, (who by the way, is not some local yocal, but a scientist who has studied such things for the better part of his life), I can see the creation, study the science, and be left in breathless awe of the creator… I don’t have to check out my brain at the door.

    I mean think about it… evolutionists are always pointing at the Grand Cannon and how it eroded over billions and billions of years… maybe not… maybe it happened in a sudden major event (like a flood…?) If you came into the ER and had a massive gash in your femur, I would conclude that something traumatic happened to your leg, not that you kept it under the kitchen faucet for a few centuries…

    In conclusion, I don’t know alot of creationists who are slapping down the “faith card”…. I feel that the bullying is strongly in the other direction… “I know evolution is true because I am a better scientist and have a stronger and more relevant faith than you….”

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Give me one example of a species that has been observed to change to another species.

      Just one? OK. The Ensatina salamander, a classic ring species. Scientists have found 19 populations of these creatures surrounding the California Central Valley, forming a horseshoe shape. Although the populations that border each other are capable of interbreeding, the populations on the eastern and western ends of the “horseshoe” have evolved to the point that they are no longer capable of breeding with each other. In other words, they have become distinct species. The Greenish Warbler subspecies are another good example scientists can and have observed.

      There is a reason why the ‘missing link’ is called ‘missing’

      We have found intermediate fossils for virtually every major transition life has undergone on this planet. The burden of proof is on you to offer a better explanation than evolution for why the fossil record contains the remains of animals that look similar to life today, yet different, and why the fossils look more and more different the further one goes back into the fossil record. If all life was created and existed at the same time, we should have no trouble finding human bones right next to trilobite fossils, but we’ve never found anything remotely like that.

      As far as “scientific ideas that were proven demonstrably false well over a century ago” – the concept of spontaneous generation is precisely that. You know, that experiment where Louis Pasteur’s broth with curved necks remained free of microorganisms. The official definition of spontaneous generation is “a theory, widely held in the 19th century and earlier but now discredited, stating that living organisms could arise directly and rapidly from nonliving material”.

      The theory of evolution and abiogenesis are two completely different things. Evolution explains how life changed and developed after it began. So scientists’ admitted inability to fully explain how life started does not in any way affect the theory of evolution.

      If I am REALLY intelligently and purposely created in the imagine of an on purpose God, who started with perfection, and there was no death or suffering, and then paradise was lost because of sin, and then death started, but He didn’t forsake me and is in the process of making all things new, then it “does (TAKE AWAY THE WORD not) make us even the tiniest bit more or less capable of following Jesus’ commands to love God first and foremost, love our neighbors as ourselves and otherwise continue the work he was doing in every way we possibly can”. The suffering of the world isn’t meaningless, the Cross of Christ has power…

      I do believe we are all made in the image of a loving and powerful God. I do believe sin is inherently destructive and brings death upon us. I do believe we have corrupted ourselves through sin and are offered restoration and life through the grace and redemption that is in Christ Jesus. And yes, I do believe these are important, life-altering truths. However, I still fail to see how taking Genesis 1-3 literally, rather than symbolically, makes me or anyone else any more capable of following Christ.

      Similar to people like Ken Ham, (who by the way, is not some local yocal, but a scientist who has studied such things for the better part of his life),

      A scientist is one who searches for truth in the natural world, not one who attempts to ignore and obfuscate it, or twist it to his own ends for personal gain. Ken Ham is not a scientist.

      I can see the creation, study the science, and be left in breathless awe of the creator.

      Good for you. Same here.

      I mean think about it… evolutionists are always pointing at the Grand Cannon and how it eroded over billions and billions of years.

      Millions, not billions.

      maybe not… maybe it happened in a sudden major event (like a flood…?)

      You would think a sudden major event like that would leave, I don’t know, evidence?

      If you came into the ER and had a massive gash in your femur, I would conclude that something traumatic happened to your leg, not that you kept it under the kitchen faucet for a few centuries…

      This is a completely inappropriate analogy. Couldn’t I just as easily say it’s like someone coming to the hospital with cancer or massive heart failure because they smoked cigarettes, ate junk food and didn’t exercise for 40 years (i.e., the slow accumulation of repeated, harmful behaviors)?

      • Rachel Chastain

        Though I don’t agree with most of the points of your rebuttal, I appreciate you taking the time to respond… There is scientific evidence that supports a young earth point of view, we could go back and forth a bit on it if you would like =)…

        ….but there is a the underlying issue, from a spiritual perspective, that I would be very interested to know how you navigate –

        If you embrace the concept of evolution, how do you approach a world without death or suffering prior to the introduction of sin, therefore necessitating a Savior?

        • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

          Rachel, I’m sorry, but no, there simply is not scientific evidence that supports a young-earth view. And even if there were, the young-earthers would have to be able to explain even a handful of these 32 lines of evidence against a recent creation. My personal favorite is the starlight problem, essentially the question that asks why we can see stars that are billions of light years away (meaning it took billions of years for that light to reach our planet) if the universe is only a few thousand years old.

          I’ve heard creationists try to answer the starlight problem by saying God made the light in transit, but it’s not that simple. Because it’s not just light we are seeing when we look at those stars. Because they are so far away, when we look at them, we are not seeing them as they are, we’re seeing them as they were billions of years ago. We are, in fact, quite literally looking into the past. And if the universe is only a few thousand years old, and God made the light “in transit,” it means God lied. There’s no way around that. It means he created light photons as evidence of a past that never actually happened.

          So, to answer your question, yes, I’d be happy to discuss the supposed scientific merits of young-earthism if you like, but I’d ask you to first explain the starlight problem in a way that would be consistent with the Bible’s description of God not being capable of lying (Num 23:19).

          If you embrace the concept of evolution, how do you approach a world without death or suffering prior to the introduction of sin, therefore necessitating a Savior?

          I do not believe the Bible teaches that there was ever a time in history where humans and animals were incapable of physical death. I believe scripture’s clear teaching is that sin brings spiritual death. And because this life is temporary but our souls are eternal, spiritual death is a far graver concern than physical death could ever be.

          This is something I’ve written about at length on this site. You can see some of my thoughts here, and here, if you’re interested.

          • Rachel

            Hey Tyler,

            Thanks for taking the time to reply….I am am sorry for my slow reply… I really have been thinking about your comments and this issue in its entirety in relation to the Christian faith…

            I read the posts you suggested, maybe you can elaborate a bit more on physical death always being a reality and spiritual death being introduced by sin…
            Was suffering always a reality? Things like cancer, gangrene, and meningitis?
            Certainly they were not ‘very good’…

            I certainly agree with your point about spiritual death being a great concern as the soul is eternal (what an amazing thought!)… but this raises a serious concern for me…
            At what point did people evolve to the point of having and eternal soul? I mean, did it happen suddenly when the species became fit enough, like over one generation? Or was it more like we slowly mutated into soulfulness?

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Hey Rachel, thanks so much for reading the posts I suggested. You ask some more very good questions, and I will do my best to respond.

            I read the posts you suggested, maybe you can elaborate a bit more on physical death always being a reality and spiritual death being introduced by sin… Was suffering always a reality? Things like cancer, gangrene, and meningitis? Certainly they were not ‘very good’…

            No, they are not very good, I agree with you. I think it’s interesting to note that, in Genesis 1, God does not call everything “very good.” We can often forget that, but it’s true. Instead, he only calls what he made “very good.”

            Now, I affirm that God is the creator of all, and that he made everything that has been made, as scripture teaches consistently throughout both Testaments. However, the questions is, is it possible that God has allowed “not good” things to exist in this universe he has made, in order to facilitate the greatest possible good? And I say, not only is it possible, but it’s the explanation that makes the most sense of both scripture and observed and experienced reality.

            To give a less polarizing example, let’s consider darkness. Darkness is a natural consequence of light. The one could not exist, or at the very least would make no sense, without the other. And we see, even in scripture, that darkness has existed since the beginning: “Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters” (Genesis 1:2).

            Light isn’t mentioned until verse 3, and you’ll notice that, in verse 4, God separates the light from darkness, but it is only the light that he calls “good.” Therefore, it would seem that darkness is “not good,” but that God deemed it a necessary evil in order for the goodness of the light to exist and have its meaning.

            Scripture is less clear about the origins and purpose of biological death and physical suffering existing in the world, and hence, theologians and philosophers have grappled with the “problem of evil” for thousands of years. I don’t have the answer for you. But, based on the simple example above, I would submit that, maybe, evil is a natural and necessary consequence of goodness, and death is a natural and necessary consequence of life — at least so far as the created order is currently established.

            As Christians we have two great hopes: One, that God himself is not disconnected from our suffering, but rather that he willfully chose to leave his place of glory and take the form of a man, walking among us and ultimately suffering beside us as no one had ever suffered before. He does not always explain our pain, but we Christians believe in a God who does understand it.

            And this is where we find our second great hope: That through the completed work of Christ on the cross and faith in his sacrifice, we will one day behold a new order, in which “there will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

            At what point did people evolve to the point of having and eternal soul? I mean, did it happen suddenly when the species became fit enough, like over one generation? Or was it more like we slowly mutated into soulfulness?

            This is a very difficult question, but one that must be acknowledged as an unanswered question for all believers. You will not find any specific answers as to what the soul is or how we obtained it by reading the Bible literally or believing in a young earth.

            Now, as to how my worldview might answer this question, I think there are two good possibilities, and you’ve already named them both. Each one has strengths and each one has weaknesses, but I tend to lean toward the former: That our souls, our spiritual natures, and our unique ability to know and commune with God were a gift he bestowed upon us at one moment in time. This is actually another topic I’ve written about more in-depth, if you’re interested.

          • Rachel

            Tyler,

            Thanks for your reply… I appreciate your time. I read your posts about the beginnings of soulfulness, and I feel like both of them a huge leap – at best. For alot and alot of reasons…

            I notice you do often take scripture literally, as your Revelation example above, and many other passages, even from the old testament in your explanations… so, I wondered, at what point or points do you feel that things are generally literal in scripture, and at what point are they not?

            The comment that specifically got me pondering over this was how you discuss God calling His creations “very good” and not “perfect” – which makes me think that literally believe that God said something in the early Genesis passages. So where does this ‘Genesis-simply-a-theme-containing-story-told-to-people-in-the-dessert-but-never- intended-to-be-literally-considered’ make its switch? Was there a literal Garden of Eden? Did God literally curse the serpent? Was there a literal Ark/ massive flood?Tower of babel? Did people literally live over 900 years? Did Jerichios walls fall? The red sea open, literally? Or how about a literal opening of the resurrection shattered grave?

            My intension is not to engage the logical fallacy of bifurcation – I really have been thinking about this a lot and don’t understand how one might draw that distinction…

          • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

            Thanks for your reply… I appreciate your time. I read your posts about the beginnings of soulfulness, and I feel like both of them a huge leap – at best. For alot and alot of reasons…

            I never said they weren’t speculative. But the fact remains that, when it comes to the origin and nature of the human soul, we really have nothing but our imaginations to rely on regardless of whether we take Genesis 1-3 literally or not. The Bible just does not speak clearly about what the soul is or where it comes from.

            I notice you do often take scripture literally, as your Revelation example above, and many other passages, even from the old testament in your explanations… so, I wondered, at what point or points do you feel that things are generally literal in scripture, and at what point are they not?

            Rachel, I’m not sure you and I have the same understanding of what the word “literal” means. In the above quote from Revelation, I was explicitly interpreting the passage metaphorically — which is the opposite of literally, as far as I’m concerned.

            As for the articles about Genesis, there are a couple things to be said. First of all, I do believe Genesis 1 conveys theological truth about the nature of God and his perspective on various things. I do believe that when Genesis 1 says God thinks light is “good,” and fish are “good,” and birds are “good” and trees are “good,” and so on, it means it. The same for when it says that all of creation, with mankind fulfilling their proper role in obedience to God, is “very good.”

            What do you think? That the only way one can derive any kind of meaning from a particular text is by interpreting it literally? I take quite the opposite view of things. I think it is only digging into a text, beyond the surface reading, that we can really learn something.

            Consider the parables of Christ. Read them literally. What knowledge are you left with? Nothing but “Huh, that’s an interesting story.” It’s only when you start asking questions like, “What does this mean?” and “What does this tell us about God?” that you really begin to grasp at the truth Jesus is conveying.

            With that in mind, I don’t find that your other questions are particularly helpful. Instead of asking, “Was there a literal garden of Eden?” consider asking, “What does it really matter if there was a literal garden of Eden or not?” Does it change your view of God, or your understanding of mankind and our relation to God, if you interpret Genesis 2 as a history textbook rather than a symbolic story about real events, primarily intended to teach theological truth?

  • http://opensauce.no-ip.biz/ Rick Allen

    Amen

    • http://godofevolution.com/ Tyler Francke

      Thanks, Rick!