« Topic #6: Evangelicalism and Scientific Models of Humanity and Cosmic and Human Origins »

Launch Date for the Conversation: October 1, 2013

Recent decades have seen a solidifying scientific consensus concerning the evolutionary origin of human life over a long period of time that stands in significant tension with common readings of Genesis 1-3. It can also impinge on the Creation-Fall-Redemption-Consummation metanarrative that frames much evangelical theology. Polls of the American public indicate significant resistance to the scientific consensus, with Gallup reporting in 2012 that 46% of the general population agrees with the statement “God created human beings pretty much in their present form at one time within the last 10,000 years or so.” Agreement rises to 67% for those reporting weekly church attendance but drops to 25% for those reporting not attending church. In light of this, some “leading questions” are

  1. How do scientific study and biblical study inform an understanding of past events? To what extent are these two forms of inquiry in conversation, or are they wholly separate?
  2. Why is there such an apparent disparity between the views of scientific specialists and both the general public and American evangelical Christians on this topic?
  3. Why are questions of origins seen as so important to people of many different religious commitments?
  4. What is the relationship between questions of the history of origins and other key events of biblical history that are also questioned by many, such as the exodus from Egypt and the resurrection of Jesus?
  5. How do biblical accounts of past events relate to the lived faith of Christians today?
  6. Is the reconciling of scientific and biblical accounts of origins only a problem to be solved, or can a conversation between the two be positive and helpful?
  7. Do you see scientific and biblical accounts of origins—along with the positions and people holding them—moving increasingly apart or closer together in the future?

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