Debates about Dust, DNA, and Death

Debates about Dust, DNA, and Death May 10, 2014

Given the release of the controversial volume by Ronald E. Osborne, Death Before the Fall: Biblical Literalism and the Problem of Animal Suffering (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2014), I’ve been reading up on a bit of Genesis 1 stuff. Along the way I found this provocative quote from Jack Collins:

“Each of us is, ultimately, ‘formed of dust,’ even if the dust has gone through a few intermediate (genetic) steps.” Cited from C. John Collins, “A Historical Adam: Old-Earth Creation View,” in Four Views on the Historical Adam, eds. M. Barrett and A.B. Caneday (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2013), 170.

Do you think that such a statement by Jack Collins provides an explanation that is both biblical and yet open to an evolutionary account of human origins?

FYI, I have to say that Barrett’s and Caneday’s volume Four Views on the Historical Adam is a very good read!

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  • Patrick

    It wouldn’t be a theological problem, IMO, except for a hardcore fundamentalist reading/interpretation. Collins is a firm believer in historic Adam, I’ve seen him give a presentation on ancient cosmology. His view easily bridges any intellectual gap in seeing the text as historic and that God may have used a process different than “boom”! to create us.

    John,

    You can’t date the earth or mankind using the bible even if we didn’t have science. The OT geneaologies have been demonstrated to be theological constructs and the Adam/Eve passages don’t even appear to be about the first humans.

    Check this article out on that angle:

    http://michaelsheiser.com/TheNakedBible/2012/07/genesis-13-face-compatible-genome-research/

  • If we only had the Bible would we come up with anything other than a young earth and an historical Adam as the probable even only interpretation? Without a young earth death must be present as must ‘nature red in tooth and claw’ yet does Genesis permit this? Animals do not seem to have been killed or eaten until post-fall and in Isaiah’s edenic vision of a restored creation the lion lies down with the lamb. There’s no point in saying this is merely symbolic or metaphor rather we must ask why this symbol or metaphor. Whether there is a lion and lamb in the new creation is irrelevant the point is their peaceful co-habitation signals a re- creation without evolutionary savagery and death; a return to the original and more.