I’m now about 25% through Scot McKnight and Dennis Venema’s book, Adam and the Genome. The authors divide the book into two parts: the first part discusses the science of human genetics and the second part “assumes the correctness of the first part and seeks to explain Adam and Eve as they were intended to be understood in the ancient world” (loc. 173). Apparently, “as they were intended to be understood” means using 21st Century understanding of genetic science as the starting point!
The book has been challenging so far. There is the standard errors such as using modern scientific classifications as the basis for understanding Biblical data: particularly the use of “species” as a synonym for the Biblical term, “kinds.” This is not necessarily the case. There is also an elevation of general revelation to the level of equality with special revelation. “One of God’s books is Scripture, and we interpret and apply its truths through interpretation (exegesis and hermeneutics). The second book is the natural world, which we interpret through the scientific method” (p. 8). This is a shocking admission given that “the fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” (Proverbs 1:7), not the scientific method. Adam and Eve (and us!) could never have come to a true understanding of their environment, especially concerning the two trees, using only the scientific method. Charlie Clough’s wonderful thought experiment (pgs. 115-116) gives a striking illustration of this.
Most interesting so far has been Venema’s quote of Jonathan Edwards’ defense of the geocentric view the universe (pgs. 8-10). The point being: Christians have been wrong before about not accepting clear scientific clarifications on the universe, we should not repeat those mistakes. That is a point well-taken; I would be interested to see if there are cases where science has insisted on an understanding that wasn’t yet fully developed, and if there were Christians who urged caution. Venema also emphasizes the idea that evolution is a highly regarded scientific theory, and he does so by quoting a Christian biologists who rejects evolution. Brilliant! On Todd Wood’s blog, I also came across this video, where he explains why he remains a creationist. It is great. His point: I don’t have it all figured out. While I was being challenged with very strong evidence pointing in favor of evolution, I remained connected to a body of believers. Apparently because of God’s grace expressed in my life, I didn’t think I had to figure it all out on my own. I still don’t have all of the answers but I know that what keeps me grounded is fellow Christians and a life committed to Christ, not me on my own against the world.
The 12 minute video is a great encouragement for me and I am thankful for Venema quoting his colleague in his book.