I’m an evolutionary creationist. That is, I believe God created through evolution. I have found that I am a minority in the Christian circles I run in, including my family. Sometimes I hear individuals speak about people who do not interpret Genesis literally as people who do not honor God’s Word. This hurts, but it’s also understandable and sort of amusing, because until recently I thought exactly the same way.
I once looked down on anyone who thought the days of Genesis 1 are not literal days. If God said it, I believe it. My grandma thought that the days could be thousands of years, and I thought she was not a very good Christian. Biblical creationists firmly believe, as I did, that we must reject evolution as well as any interpretation of Scripture that attempts to modify God’s Word for the sake of evolution.
Biblical creationists view is valuable because it is founded on a love for God’s Word. Christians are called to be faithful to Scripture. Watering down ancient truth for the sake of modern science is not being faithful to Scripture. God’s Word is not to be trifled with or the meaning changed because of fads or new scientific discoveries. God’s truth is powerful, and nothing can change it.
So, what has changed in me? How can I now affirm evolution and creation and the truth of Scripture? I first began changing my mind about evolution because my dad shared “The Language of God” by Francis Collins with me. My dad hoped that the book would open my mind and I would stop being prideful about young-earth creationism. Collins affirms evolutionary creationism, also known as theistic evolution. My father affirms old-earth creationism, which is somewhere on the spectrum between young-earth creationism and evolutionary creationism.
My dad and I listened to several chapters of “The Language of God” together. I was impressed by Collins’ story and his arguments. I started asking myself and God if evolutionary creationism could be true. I became open to learning more about evolution, and began researching the historicity of Adam.
What I have come to believe is this: a foundational principle for interpreting Scripture is that we should want to understand the truth that the author intended to communicate. John H. Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and author of “The Lost World of Adam and Eve,” says that the creation account in Genesis is a home story, not a house story. That is, if a man designed a house for his family, he could one day tell his kids the home story, i.e. the purpose of their home, and how he designed each room for them. Alternatively, he could tell them the house story, and how the construction workers came and built the frame out of lumber. His kids would probably be more interested in the home story. Walton says that the original audience of Genesis was far more interested in the creation story of why God created than exactly how.
As I read Walton’s book about “The Lost World of Adam and Eve,” I fell more in love with Genesis. I understood how Genesis explains deep theological truths about the nature God’s relationship with humans, creation’s relationship with humans, humans’ relationship with sin, and men and women’s relationships with each other. I care a lot about Adam and Eve and the fruit of knowledge of good and evil, because God has communicated deep truth to me through this story. I do not water down God’s Word for the sake of science, but I seek to understand what the author intended to say to his audience, and thereby to truly honor the truth of Scripture.
I am not concerned with making Genesis 1 match with science, because I no longer impose my questions about “how” on a text that’s trying to tell me “why.” In this way, I find that the truth of God’s Word and God’s world do not conflict.
If you’re a biblical creationist, thank you for loving God’s Word. I invite you to look into John H. Walton’s research and seek to gain a deeper theological understanding of Genesis and learn from Genesis why God created you. (No evolutionary beliefs required.)
I hope that my story can help you to see another way of honoring God’s word. I’m not too concerned with all biblical creationists becoming evolutionary creationists like I did. But I hope that all biblical creationists and evolutionary creationists can be humbler than I was, and seek unity with other believers.