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Integration of Evolutionary Theory and the Christian Faith: EvaluationBook Report

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¶ … GLASS'S INTEGRATION of EVOLUTIONARY THEORY and the CHRISTIAN FAITH

The objective of this study is to examine the work of Bruce Glass entitled "Exploring Faith and Reason: The Reconciliation of Christianity and Biological Evolution" published in 2012 by DBG Publishing. According to Glass, the world's religious leaders and their followers alike have been skeptical of the theories posited by Charles Darwin in his work entitled "On the Origin of Species" published in 1859. The reason stated is because the theory of Darwin so greatly conflicted the creation stories of the Bible and these stories, according to the work of Glass (2012) are simply "Far too fundamental to be casually brushed aside." In fact, Glass states that the creation stories of the Bible are some of the passages most widely known since these stories lay the foundation for so much of what follows in the rest of the accounts of the Bible as well as providing "a rather satisfying explanation for the existence of the world, its diversity of creatures and humankind's place within it."

The Christian View

If the fundamentalist Christian view of creation is to be held as the ultimate truth then God created everything on earth specifically with purposeful intent and was actively involved in the process. However, the Book of Genesis read literally has God speaking the world into existence and relating the order in which living things emerged during the seven days of creation but there is some evidence that God was not directly minute-by-minute involved in this process of Creation because by the time that Adam and Eve had been created, all other living forms were already on earth, beginning with the sea life and smaller more simpler organisms and the living forms that emerged from the waters or the creeping things and moving on toward the animals that populate the earth.

Interruption in the Progression of Life on Earth

According to the writings in the Bible, once Adam and Eve were existent, the Bible relates that they went about the earth giving all of the animals names and life for Adam and Eve was progressing along just fine -- that is -- until the Serpent in the garden talked Eve into eating from the 'Tree of Knowledge" and the fruit caused Eve to 'know' something that she previously had been unaware of. Adam too ate of this 'fruit' and the result was that they were cast out of God's garden. Garden may be metaphorically considered in the case of the Garden of Eden as the Bible describes it as a place where Adam and Eve were free and safe as little children in the constant presence of God. However, according to the writings in the Bible, once Adam and Eve had had betrayed the trust of God and eaten of the forbidden fruit, things changed quickly for these two. The theory of evolution proposed in the work of Darwin relates something very different and is a theory based on natural selection of the species, an impersonal and non-intentional progression of life on earth. These two beliefs are contrary to one another or at least they have been until the work of Bruce Glass attempts to bring reconciliation between the two.

Understanding Genesis

Bruce Glass writes that the work of Augustine of Hippo, fourth-century theologian, in his work entitled "The Literal Meaning of Genesis" expressed the idea of multiple depths of understanding Scripture when he asked of a particular passage if, in that instance, Scripture was speaking, 'as is its habit, in a weak and simple style to the weak and simple, and yet all the same suggesting something more profound for those to grasp who have the capacity'. Despite his rather blunt manner of speaking, Augustine wisely expressed the importance of our not overlooking greater depths of meaning than that which can be deduced from merely a literal reading of many Scriptural passages." (2012) Otherwise stated, God provides for those with less knowledge of his kingdom and with less discerning, a simpler version of a greater truth according to the capacity of each individual to comprehend what is being related.

Making Meaning of Genesis

For example, Glass writes that Tertullian, theological in the third-century that Jesus "the Son is to God the Father just as a ray of sun is to the sun. When a ray of the sun is projected from the sun it is a portion of the whole sun; but the sun will be in the ray because it is a ray of the sun; the substance is not separated but extended. So from spirit comes spirit and God from God as light is kindled from light." (Glass, 2012) Glass writes as well that John states in his Gospel that Jesus has said that He and the Father "are one." (John, 10:30) Jesus claimed that if one had seen him then they surely had seen the Father as well and stated "Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me… (John 14:9)." (Glass, 2012)

Son is the word chosen to provide a description for Jesus since Jesus both "was (and is) begotten by God the Father" and as such was not created in the same manner as physical universe creations created. Glass states that it is of critical importance to remember the difference between the 'begotten' Son and the Son incarnate as Jesus of Nazareth. Glass states that there have been several authors of the New Testament and the Old Testament alike. The Old Testament references the Mosaic authorship of the Torah and according to Glass "Given the way ancient Scripture was handed down over many years and through many generations, we can easily imagine that perhaps both are actually true." (2012)

In Genesis it becomes clear that the acts of creation by God "are indirect. God simply allows creation to proceed as He commands: "Let…" certain things happen. In Genesis 2, of course, man is the product of the "dust of the ground," just as science has shown.)." (Glass, 2012) the work of Pittinato (2014) entitled "Is Einstein's Theory of Relativity Jewish Science? -- Part Two" relates the statement of Albert Einstein as follows: "I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details." (p. 1)

Pittinato (2014) also relates the work of Ashley Miller examining Darwin's evolution and creationism and reports Miller stating: "I do believe that the implications of the Darwinian understanding and the biblical account of creation can be brought together in a unified understanding because evolution does not completely eliminate a divine entity if you think outside the box. Yes, in a strict literal sense one could say it completely closes off any chance for a Creator, but what if evolution was the creating force and God was an artistic aid?"(p. 1)

Scholars, Christians, Scientists, and Agnostics, many times hold that evolution and creationism are in opposition to one another however, the reverse is true and science has while attempting many times to disprove God's existence has resulted in providing a higher level of acknowledgement of the existence of God. According to Glass (2012) humankind has been inexistence for 14.5 million years but to assign time to God's timelessness is foolhardy and the 'seven' days of creation, were so accounted as seven days by God presenting a conundrum as it is impossible to know the length of each of these days from the view of God. One could propose however, that each day could have been one million years and if this were the case then Darwin's evolutionary perspective would begin to appear more rationale even to the Christian as the progression of the various forms of life from the most simple building to the most intelligent could have easily progressed in this type of timeframe. This would also align well with the idea that God was not actively participating in each and every stage of growth, development and advancement of the world's species. As stated in the work of Glass "Theologians and Biblical scholars have written countless volumes that purport to explain its meaning and lessons. We need not explore all of the many facets of the book or their various interpretations and implications here. It suffices to note that the fact that the creation stories in Genesis do not fully comport with what we now know about physics, cosmology, geology, and biological evolution does absolutely nothing to compromise the integrity of Biblical truth." (2012) According to Glass, many writers and authors have gone to great lengths "in their attempts to discredit well-founded science because of what they perceive to be pernicious social and moral implications." (2013, p.8) Glass states that because the theory of evolution removes God from the equation and that "this apparent denial of God, has induced some, in defense of Christianity, to deny the legitimate… [END OF PREVIEW]

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