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What I Would Like To Hear A Young-Earth Creationist Say

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October 20, 2012 Tags: Christian Unity
What I Would Like To Hear A Young-Earth Creationist Say

Today's post features Dennis Venema. Please note the views expressed here are those of the author, not necessarily of BioLogos. You can read more about what we believe here.

As The BioLogos Foundation’s Senior Fellow of Biology, Dr. Dennis Venema is no stranger to the many arguments against and misconceptions about evolutionary theory. In fact many of his over 40 posts for The BioLogos Forum deal with clarifying wrong assumptions about evolution, including the evidence for common descent in our genes, and the mechanisms of speciation. So it may come as a surprise that when asked by The Colossian Forum what one thing he would like to hear Young Earth Creationists say, his answer had nothing to do with scientific statements at all. Rather, his hope is to hear a single simple phrase: “We’re both part of the same family.”

As a scientist at a Christian university, Dr. Venema has experienced first-hand the breakdown of fellowship that can happen over disagreements about creation. Sometimes it can be a large falling out, but other times it can be as simple as a look-- when Christian brothers or sisters appear incredulous upon learning that your views about origins differ from theirs, as if they’re reassessing your place in the family of God.

Dr. Venema notes this breakdown can come from both sides: from YECs who view those who accept evolution as “compromisers” and “wolves in sheep’s clothing” as well as from ECs who view those hold YEC beliefs as “ignorant” or “fundamentalists”.

That’s not to say that science-and-faith discussions aren’t important. As Dr. Venema puts it:

Is it an important issue for Christians to discuss? Yes. Does the issue serve as a catalyst for a wide-ranging discussion on exegesis and hermeneutics? Certainly, and that in and of itself can be very healthy. Is it acceptable for believers to hold either opinion and be within the people of God? I would say yes. It is my conviction that the mechanism by which God created is an issue of secondary importance compared to the underlying primary issue of holding God as the Creator and sustainer of all things. As a secondary issue, then, the only danger is making one of the options an essential, and dividing over it. Is it a problem if my brother or sister at church is a YEC? No. Is it a problem if I won’t share fellowship with them because of their views? Absolutely. Our difference of opinion on the mechanism of creation is not a gospel issue, but breaking fellowship over a secondary matter is a gospel issue. It hinders the love and fellowship that we are called to be known for, and raises an unnecessary barrier to those who would consider joining us.

You can read his full response at The Colossian Forum.

What is the Colossian Forum?

Based in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the Colossian Forum's mission is to make concrete the unity all Christians have in Jesus--particularly in the science and faith conversation. Through retreats, a website, curricula, and scholarly research, the Forum seeks to promote growth, transformation, and unity in Christ. In their own words, "they aim make a new way forward together" by bringing people into "serious discussion of the deep riches of our Christian intellectual tradition—riches that shed light on the hard questions of science, culture and Christian faith.”

Dennis Venema is professor of biology at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. He holds a B.Sc. (with Honors) from the University of British Columbia (1996), and received his Ph.D. from the University of British Columbia in 2003. His research is focused on the genetics of pattern formation and signaling using the common fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster as a model organism. Dennis is a gifted thinker and writer on matters of science and faith, but also an award-winning biology teacher—he won the 2008 College Biology Teaching Award from the National Association of Biology Teachers. He and his family enjoy numerous outdoor activities that the Canadian Pacific coast region has to offer. Dennis writes regularly for the BioLogos Forum about the biological evidence for evolution.

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marklynn.buchanan - #73815

October 20th 2012

Thanks Dennis for such a good article.

My answer to the question would be ‘Please understand me(or us - meaning all Christians who accept evolution).’

Just this past week I did something that I never thought I woulddo - I terminated a conversation with a YECs. The conversation was amicable enough on the surface but became unpalatable for me for a couple of reasons.

First, because I was perceived to be approaching things from ‘atheistic assumptions’ nothing I said would be considered valid. There was no explanation, no evidence, no logic, nothing at all that would be accepted. On this basis I couldn’t even explain why I didn’t want to continue the conversation - there was no reason even that would be accepted.

Second, the absolute conviction that the other person was completely right carried with it a smugness and condemnation that was unstated but very palpable.  

I pleaded with my debating partner to understand why I took the position that I did. I wasn’t asking for agreement just understanding. When I realized this simply wasn’t going to happen I had to give up.


Skl - #73821

October 20th 2012

To Dennis,

I’m a YEC and will fulfill your wish. I will say “We’re both part of the same family.”

But I must provide some partial “exegetics” on the meaning of my statement. By “family” I mean something akin to “the family of man” or to our being “children of God”. Everyone falls in this category, including Buddhists, Catholics, atheists, Protestants and pantheists.  

In the Colossians Forum article you wrote “Without minimizing the importance of the exegetical issues that the creation/evolution controversy raises, let’s first and foremost sit at the Lord’s table and break bread together, recognizing each other as brothers and sisters in Christ and members of the same body.”

Even apart from disagreements over origins issues, unfortunately, the above is not currently possible. Because, among many other things, those who say they follow Christ disagree over the meaning of ‘breaking bread at the Lord’s table’ and of ‘being a member of the same body’. Frankly, some atheists are “closer” to being full-fledged “family members” than some who call themselves Christian.

You note problems caused by “secondary” issues. Maybe the primary issue is who determines what qualifies as “secondary”.

Tim - #73823

October 20th 2012


I think the Pharisees had very much the same concern.  Determining what was of primary importance in doctrinal purity was very much critical to their position.

Jesus of course didn’t seem to follow in those footsteps.  Seemed more about meeting people where they were at.  And if boundaries were brought up, they seemed more often than not to deal with how you treated other people, and what personal qualities of the heart you were carrying.  I think meekness of spirit (as opposed to a haughty heart) was a big one.  Compassion too.  Fellowship and graciousness as well.  Not so much doctrinal lines in the sand.

But from what I read of your post you’ve taken the doctrinal route.  What is or is not critical to believe.  Who is or is not a brother or sister in Christ based on such beliefs.  And it doesn’t seem like you’re keeping it to just the basic Apostle’s Creed stuff either.  Nor anything Jesus or the Apostles mentioned as being critical.

But hey, we all have free will right?  And, of course we’ll all be held to account.  So best of luck with all that.

Michael Gulker - #73861

October 23rd 2012

Ski, as The Executive Director of the Colossian Forum, I wanted to thank you so much for your comment and for your pressing the importance of the “secondary” questions.  I agree with you that often the importance of these secondary issues gets lost.  When this is the case, it seems to me that the very point of getting the “primary” issues correct are likewise diminished.  

The point of unity and communion is so that we can seek to love God and one another more deeply.  This means true unity ought open up a forum for honest and edifying conversation on those secondary issues - or even a discussion of how primary and secondary issues are determined.  

If unity is invoke as a way to silence those secondary issues (which I think you are rightfully highlighting), what kind of unity is there?  Yet when we grant, as you have, Dennis’ wish to be recognized as family, we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to pursue our understanding of God, his scriptues, his world and one another  as a family, as members of Christ and his body.  

Skl - #73831

October 21st 2012

My comment above was factual, not a matter of opinion and not a case of judging the heart of another. If it was not factual, then I would expect, for example, to see Dennis having no problem worshipping at a Catholic church this Sunday and a First Baptist church the next, or Tim to proclaim that all of the Christian churches in his town are fully and equally valid theologically and morally.

I think the word “secondary” is too often confused with “unimportant”, and worse, with “untrue”. Some matters are more important than others. But that doesn’t mean the “lesser” are any less true. And to deny the importance and the truth of the “lesser” is not only wrong, it ultimately jeopardizes the respect and appreciation one has for the “greater”.

In regards to Christianity, for the “greater” and “lesser” I was thinking about how, for example, Christ is the greater, the sacraments He instituted are the lesser. Even beyond doctrine, in the Bible some things which might be considered “secondary” or even silly might actually be critical (cf. Joshua 6:2-5; 2 Kings 5:10-14; Mark 5:27-30.)

One should not be dismissive of his little toe just because it’s not an eye or brain. That toe is part of the one body; all the parts work together, and each can have an effect on the others. (As for me and my body, the toe of a chimp is a very different matter.)

One might say he loves his wife, and think he actually means it. He may provide for her and even give her a kiss or hug now and then. But he may protest what he considers “secondary” trappings of marriage: wearing his ring, celebrating her birthday and their anniversary, spending time together, doing some things just because she’d like him to, etc.

He may deny the importance and truthfulness of such “secondary” things and stop them altogether.   

Best of luck with all that.

Tim - #73832

October 21st 2012


To be clear, I was responding to your statement, “[I’ll] fulfill your wish [and]....say ‘We’re both part of the same family’...By ‘family’ I mean something akin to ‘the family of man’ or to our being ‘children of God’. Everyone falls in this category, including Buddhists, Catholics, atheists, Protestants and pantheists. “

I read this as your acknowledging Densis’ belonging to the same “family” as you ONLY insofar as he is a member of the human race.  To be contrasted with the more specific “family” of the Body of Christ, for which you offer no such acknowledgement.

It is this which I am addressing.  At no point did I equivicate on theological terms.  I never suggested that all competing doctrines have equally valid truth claims or any such thing.  I didn’t even discuss young earth creationism for that matter.

I am merely acknowledging your use of doctrinal boundaries (irrespective of whether your particular doctrinal claims happen to be true) as a means of excluding others from being recognzied as a brother or sister in Christ.  And you seem to be doing so with issues that, while I’m sure you consider them to be very important, are not identified by either Jesus or the Apostles as determining who is or is not a disciple of Christ.

I wonder if you had lived back two millenia ago if you would have felt as strongly about eating food sacrificed during the various Roman festivals (which for many of the poor would have been their only means to come by meat they otherwise would not be able to afford).  Perhaps you would have felt the need to draw a doctrinal line in the sand, and say “everyone on this side is my brother and sister in Christ, and everyone on the other side is not.”  I wonder what words Paul would have had for you.

Skl - #73833

October 21st 2012

To Tim,

Here are some words I hope Paul would have for me:

“I commend you because you remember me in everything and maintain the traditions even as I have delivered them to you.” [1 Cor 11:2]

Regarding one of those traditions – or what some might call “secondary” issues, “doctrinal lines in the sand” – Paul later in the chapter writes

“For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread,
and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.”
In the same way also the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.”
For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes.
Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty of profaning the body and blood of the Lord.

Let a man examine himself, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup.
For any one who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment upon himself.”


Such a soul will not be guilty of bad table manners or of fouling fellowship. Such a soul will be guilty of sin, but not just any old sin against the Spirit. A sin also against the very body and blood of Jesus Christ.

If someone wants to call this a “doctrinal line in the sand”, then I’d say this is a line I would insist upon. And it’s a line I feel obligated to tell people about.

And as one poor beggar telling another poor beggar where the “bread” is, I’d add that the only Church which teaches this and has taught this for the last 2,000 years is the Catholic Church.

PNG - #73858

October 23rd 2012

If Dennis were a Catholic, would his pro-evolution position alone prevent you from acknowledging him as a fellow Christian?

Darach - #73838

October 22nd 2012

Darach - #73839

October 22nd 2012

Not sure what happened my post, but here it is again.

First I want to thank you for getting to the heart of the problem. The biggest problem with secondary issues dividing us is the usually the person doing the dividing doesn’t think they are secondary. For most people who see the Lord’s supper as symbolic it isn’t a problem if others believe in the real presence, that they. Yet for some who believe they are really eating the flesh and blood of Jesus Christ, the doctrine may be crucial. John 6:53  So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.

Yet there really are issues that were secondary Paul himself told us Romans 14. Are eating meat and observing one day holier than others the only divisions that are secondary, or were they simply the issues that came up at the time? If new issues come up over the centuries how can we tell if they are secondary or not? It isn’t enough to divide over every issue Paul hasn’t labelled as secondary, because if we treat it as a doctrine to divide the church over if it isn’t a vital doctrine, then we are going against Paul’s teaching about division.

We need to understand as Paul did that our knowledge and understanding are only partial, 1Cor 13:12  For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. We are still only learning and will be until we meet the Lord face to face. Until then we need the humility to realise we don’t have everything right ourselves, and if our brother in the Lord is wrong one something, even if it is something I am absolutely convinced I have the right doctrine on, I can still cut my brother some slack on the issue because even if I am right on this issue, I know I have blind spots in other areas.

I find your use of 1Cor 11 very interesting. What was the issue bringing judgement on the believers in Corinth? It cannot be neglecting Paul’s teaching about the Lord’s supper, because as you quoted from 1Cor 11:2, Paul commended the Corinthians for maintaining these traditions. No the problem was the bad table manners as you put it, not the table manners as such but the divisions in the church that lay behind it, divisions that Paul spent so much of the letter addressing: ‘I am of Paul’; ‘I am of Apollos’; and the really smug, ‘I am of Christ’. They broke the bread not recognising the body of Christ gathered around the table. That wretched faction of Apollos who were causing so much trouble were member of Christ’s broken body just as they were, people redeemed through Jesus’ death on the cross, the death they were supposedly commemorating at the meal.


HornSpiel - #73840

October 22nd 2012

A nice article, which I think gets to the heart of the matter,

The paradox is that deciding which issues are secondary is not a secondary issue. However it is subsumed under the rubric of the primacy of Love. If we cannot love one another, how will anyone believe?

This issue is deeply troubling for evangelicals (like me) who have been taught and believe that a conversion experience based on a wrong (unorthodox) belief does not truly save. The question is: Are you in or out? And so where you draw the line is very important. So can one be saved through the RC Church, the United Methodist church, the American Episcopal church, the MCCLDSJWs, Unification, Orthodox JudaismIslamGetting people to accept a minimally orthodox belief is seen as crucial.

Another way of looking at it however, is not one of position but of direction. It can be seen as a vector pointing either towards Christ (orthodox belief) or away. In this view even a person not positionally within orthodox belief may be saved. (c.f the Centurion’s faith, the Samaritan woman at the well, and the Syrophoenician Woman’s FaithConversely positionally someone within the orthodox circle may not be (I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’).

So what are the defining characteristic of saving faith? Trust in Jesus and love for others, especially other believers and the poor and marginalized.
Joriss - #73842

October 22nd 2012

Though I am a creationist, I disagree with you.
Everybody who has been born again by the Spirit of Jesus Christ and has the Spirit dwelling in him or her, is a child of God, and by definition God’s family and - I suppose you are one of them - your brother or sister, whether you like it or not.
The sin you refered to from 1 Cor. 11 is the sin of not discerning the body of Christ, which they were demonstrating by not having respect for one another as members of Christ’s body, not waiting for one another, being drunk and letting the rest hungry. That was a big shame and was evidence they didn’t discern the body of Christ.
So it is Christ’s will that we recognize and respect any other true christian because he/she is a member of his body. So the question you have to ask yourself is:
Can a person outside the Catholic church be a true Christ-loving person with the Spirit of God dwelling in him/her?

If you say: No, then I’m afraid, that although being a member of the traditional church, you are a little sectarian….

If you say: Yes, then you have to admit thay many members of other churches are your family.

And in that case, you could also ask yourself if the wish of TE’s to be recognized as members of God’s family by YECs could be a sincere and legitimate one.
Can a person be a fully committed disciple of Jesus Christ and at the same time be an apologist of the evolution theory?
Or is the mere fact that he is a defender of that theory proof that he is not committed to Christ?

That’s what you and I have to ask ourselves. And our answers should be honest and in submission to Christ, who is the only One, who perfectly knows if and where a line has to be drawn.

James - #73844

October 22nd 2012

I’m not a YEC (or even a ID advocate) - but his suggestion would be a good start IF he would reciprocate.  Quite honestly, I tend to skip Venema’s articles no matter how scientifically sound or interesting they are.  I don’t sense a humility about his articles and I do not feel that they are kind/respectful of others view points.  It seems to me that he comes out in an attack mode of another Christian scientist’s view point.  It would seem to make sense to vet the article ahead of time with them so as to prevent the heated exchanges - or just deal with it up front. Maybe I’m over sensitive, but there seems to be an attitude of publish now, deal with the fall out later, and thereby making any sense of unity at any level difficult.

PNG - #73856

October 23rd 2012

I’ve been reading Dennis’ articles for quite a while now and I don’t sense what you do about them. Perhaps his articles seem overly pointed to you because he does the lion’s share of presenting the scientific evidence to support the Biologos perspective, but I’m not getting the sense of not accepting believers of other persuasions that you are.

Merv - #73845

October 22nd 2012

Hornspiel wrote:

This issue is deeply troubling for evangelicals (like me) who have been taught and believe that a conversion experience based on a wrong (unorthodox) belief does not truly save. The question is: Are you in or out? And so where you draw the line is very important. 

...It may not be so important where we draw the line as where God draws it.  Scriptures seem to be bristling with God blowing right through all our line-drawing efforts.  The thief on the cross got a pass with no doctrinal assent whatsoever—just a desperate heart.  Samaritans, gentile women, lepers and cripples who barely know him…  It reminds me of First Samuel 16:7:  God looks at the heart while we only see outward appearance.  What we say or think we believe may qualify more as “outward appearance” than a heart matter, especially in light of Matthew 7:22.  So I think you are right, Hornspiel, to hold the doctrinal checklists at arm’s length spiritually.  While we are busy searching scriptures, creeds, and mounting mini-inquisitions, Jesus cuts through all that like warm butter and asks ...so did you notice me as you drove by yesterday? ...I was holding the cardboard sign that said “will work for food”.     (Personal dismay on my part ...  and the excuses start…)


PNG - #73855

October 23rd 2012

Don’t forget the Good Samaritan. The whole point of the parable is that someone (the Samaritan) who Jesus and his listeners would agree had things wrong with his theology (they worshiped in the wrong place, for starters) could be spiritually closer to the truth (love) than the theologically correct rabbi who ignored the man in need. These familiar stories should actually be shocking to everyone who is obsessing about getting theology (or science) correct, regardless of what institution they identify with.

zhouya - #73846

October 22nd 2012

Thanks for the article. I agree - hearing the words, “We’re all in the same family.” would be a huge bridge builder. I’ve personally yet to hear it from the YEC camp, and I’ve been on both sides.

The thing is, I’ve tweaked or completely changed my views on nearly every topic in Christianity. I don’t look back and think I wasn’t a Christian then because now I have a different interpretation. I’m always on the forward march, looking to understand better and better. Humility requires that I recognize others with different interpretations as fellow believers. How can I possibly think that I have it all figured out this time? How can act as if having the right theology is the ticket to heaven? Jesus saves. Jesus saves those who love and trust Him for their salvation, even if they have bad theology. I think we’d be hard pressed to find any two people with identical theologies. All of us believers are being sanctified - that includes our minds, too. None of us has arrived at just the right interpretations yet and we won’t in this lifetime.

Skl - #73848

October 22nd 2012

To Joriss,

I do not think the thrust of 1 Corinthians 11 is the condemnation of inappropriate or sinful behavior, especially between and among Christians. They were no doubt already aware of proscriptions against gluttony, drunkenness, greed and lack of charity. And I think they had already heard that as Christians they were mystically members of Christ’s body.

The thrust is the shock that Paul feels, and his listeners should feel, at the context of the sinful behavior. The shocking context is that this sin is being manifested during the individual and communal encounter with and reception of the very body, blood, soul and divinity of Jesus Christ in the Eucharist.

Analogously, Jesus often spoke out against dishonesty, cheating and thievery, but his anger reached new heights when he saw such occurring in the holy context of the temple (cf. John 2: 14-17).

Regarding who is or isn’t a real Christian, or a child of God, or in God’s family, or a brother or sister in Christ, or a member of Christ’s body, or a committed disciple of Jesus Christ - let me put it this way: I don’t care primarily about any of those particular labels. I care primarily about where we are going to spend eternity after this short life on earth. The Catholic Church says that even those who never hear of Jesus Christ or of His Church can be saved. But it also says “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.”

Since I need all the help I can get, I’m forever grateful to be in the Catholic Church.



I pray for many things and for many people. I especially pray for those who know, or suspect, that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ, but for whatever reason remain apart from it. For the Catechism of the Catholic Church states “…they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.”

Dunemeister - #73852

October 22nd 2012

Well, here’s my two bits. Who gets to decide what is primary or secondary? The Church (capital “C”). How does she decide? She convenes an ecumenical council on the authority of Matthew 18. It is noteworthy that at no point has the historical Church decided between literalistic and metaphorical uses of Genesis. The Fathers seem quite at home in both worlds.

It’s also noteworthy that the pre-schism Church had no problem excluding people based on doctrine. Wanna be Arian? Fine, just don’t do it in the Church. Wanna get rid of icons? Fine, just don’t call yourself faithful to the apostolic tradition. Wanna abandon collegiality and exalt one bishop above the rest? Go ahead… You get the picture.

Michael Gulker - #73862

October 23rd 2012

By the way, Dennis’ article is only one of a pair of articles on The Colossian Forum website along these lines.  The other is one by the YEC Todd Wood who asks “What I would like to hear an evolutionary creationist say.”  

Merv - #73870

October 23rd 2012

Thanks, Michael—too bad that essay isn’t posted here as well.  I wanted to comment on it over there, but perhaps here is as good a place as any since we’re speaking of how to build bridges, or whether that’s even feasible or a good idea in the first place.

Todd indicated that he would love to hear from evolutionary creationists those words of humility:  “I don’t know” when faced with some of the tough questions like “Are evolution and christianity compatible?”  Instead he has heard confident assertions of exactly what is true even when people from within the same camp don’t all agree even about those answers (e.g.  were Adam and Eve historically real?)  And Todd has much more worth reading in his essay that I haven’t summarized here, so hopefully others will use the link above and read it for themselves.

One question I have for Todd or others here is:  When does something attain a wide enough consensus that we should assert it with confidence?  (And of course the obvious answer to give after reading is “I don’t know”).  Yet the question is one that each of us has answered for ourselves—and more than that: we’ve presumed an answer that we think has a ring of objective and universal truth.  E.g.  I assert with confidence that the earth moves around the sun.  While we may not have 100% unanimity on this, we are close enough (and I’ll wager every one of us here agrees on this) that we would not give the answer “I don’t know” to the moving earth “fact”.   What threshold of confidence did we all cross to move into this realm of confidence on this piece of knowledge?  Did it just take a couple centuries for us to get used to it, and then we’re fine?  

I venture that Todd has plenty of knowledge that we is basically confident about and would not say “I don’t know”  (Or would be showing a deceitful modesty if he did).   Humility is good, but if it means we stop searching for an answer or refuse to accept a reasonably proposed answer, I think it becomes a false humility.  Now one can refrain from railroading their confidence into a discussion (and right on out the other side, usually).  That certainly is a model for what not to do if one wants to stay engaged.  How to stay engaged and engaging while holding to a confident position may be another question worth addressing.   I’ve noticed that Bible studies often have two strong flavors: “strong leadership”  (answers are forthcoming and stray opinions will be reigned in towards right answers probably sooner rather than later), and “permanent seekerhood” (hard and fast answers frowned upon, everybody’s opinion and interpretation matters, and anybody who proposes an objective answer to something is met with uncomfortable silence and realizes—usually not quickly enough—that he is in the wrong group.)  

And everybody flocks to the one that best floats their theological boat.  You don’t see crossover in this—but really notice it (and are annoyed by it) when you do.

How do you help the “I don’t know” people to become less afraid of answers, and how do you help the “know it alls” become less afraid of open-ended consideration that their answers might be wrong?  I think what Todd says about a stance of humility is one of the great and needed keys.  It may not unlock answers, but it invites relationships.


Merv - #73871

October 23rd 2012

Sorry about all my bad-habit “you-statements” in the last post.  Let me reword my 2nd-to-last paragraph as “*I*don’t see crossover in this.” 


Darach - #73880

October 24th 2012

Maybe it is because the conversations have are about how evolutionary creationists understand the Original Sin and the fall. The young earth understanding of these issues isn’t questioned and a wide variety of views doesn’t come to light. Is our fallen nature passed on biologically in the genetic changes young earth creationists claim happened with the fall? Is it something spiritual passed on at the same time as our biological nature is passed on? One of the earliest explanation of how Original Sin is inherited was that it was passed on by concupiscence, the sin of lust in the act of procreation that even married couples cannot avoid. Thankfully that view has long been abandoned. Others believe that we were all there in Adam’s loins when he sinned and because we took part in his sin we share his guilt and condemnation. Another explanation that has deep roots especially in Reformed theology is that Adam was Covenantal or Federal head of the human race, and when he fell the whole human race under his headship fell too.

This last explanation is the one that the simplest for evolutionary creationists, as long as you have a historical individual Adam he can still be our federal head even if he wasn’t the first human. There are other possibilities including Adam and Eve being the first human God gave a soul to. But really, the reason for the diversity of answers among on both sides is that we are looking for explanations to questions the bible doesn’t tell explain.

But there is another reason TE explanations are even more diverse. The question of drives us back not just to our theology to see how it fits with evolution, but to the bible and re-examining what it teaches us about Original Sin and our whole relationship with Adam and Eve. After all, while the bible clearly says we all have sinned, it never actually says we inherited this nature from Adam.


Joriss - #73901

October 24th 2012


You wrote:

The thrust is the shock that Paul feels, and his listeners should feel, at the context of the sinful behavior.

Yes, the Lord’s supper is the ultimate place where christians should experience their oneness with Him and with each other in the body of Christ, all eating from the one bread and drinking from the one cup, that he has provided for us by his sacrifice for us. And if lack of respect and understanding of this holy event is shown by the demonstration of their dividedness and greed even in this place, then that is really awful, you are right. We should be shocked by this indeed.
But one of Paul’s griefs is - you should read the text from verse 17 to the end of chapter 11 - : that they had not real fellowship with the Lord and with each other, but went ahead with their own private supper (verse 21), thus demonstrating they didn’t discern the body of Christ. And again in verse 33 Paul returns to this issue and emphasizes that they should eat together. The togetherness and fellowship in love with the Lord and with each other is a major proof that we discern the body of Christ and that we love Him.

Regarding who is or isn’t a real Christian, or a child of God, or in God’s family, or a brother or sister in Christ, or a member of Christ’s body, or a committed disciple of Jesus Christ - let me put it this way: I don’t care primarily about any of those particular labels. I care primarily about where we are going to spend eternity after this short life on earth.

Well, these aren’t labels. These are names God and Jesus himself give and are immediately connected with what you call your primary care: where to spend eternity.

Child of God means to be born of God: John 1:13.
To be born of God makes us brothers and sisters with ANY person that has be born of God too. That is as simple as can be. Children of ONE Father are brothers and sisters and OF COURSE family.

A member of Christ’s body:
I should have said: part of His body.
Of course again we are all baptized into one body by one Spirit as said in 1 Cor. 12 : 12-14. And as parts of his body we can’t say to other parts: I don’t need you. We ALL need each other, also the ones in other christian churches. Or do we want to make his body cripple? Or deaf?

Disciples of Christ: this is shown by our staying in Him and having love for one another.

So children of God ARE going to spend the eternity with the Lord! Where else? Could He leave his toe or thumb behind?

But it also says “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church alone, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.”
Since I need all the help I can get, I’m forever grateful to be in the Catholic Church.

I agree in this sense that the catholic church, which means general church, is the worldwide body of Christ of all ages and of all places, which is present everywhere where children of God worship Him in Spirit and truth. Christ is the Head of the body, his church, which is formed by ALL persons that are baptized into his body by the Holy Spirit. It is not simply identical with the Catholic Church, nor with another christian “church”. It is an organis not an organisation or institute.

It is a privilege to be part of
it and in this sense I share your gratefulness to be in the “catholic church!”

Joriss - #73902

October 24th 2012

“organis” should be: “organism” of course, that is what the body of Christ is.

zeb62 - #73927

October 26th 2012


I was a little disappointed by the tone of this article. It feigns an interest in promoting Christian harmony but uses emotional and careless sweeping generalisations to criticise the stance of Biblical creationists.

Young earth creationists are Biblical creationists and that is one of the concerns held by people such as myself when dealing with Christians who do not hold to a literal or Biblical view. That whatever they may say about themselves, the view they hold has to lean heavily if not wholly on extra-Biblical sources for their belief.

The article starts with a list of some scientific sounding questions about the geologic column, human-chimp DNA similarities, transitional fossils (not that I knew that there were any left) and later, varves, ice-core layers, etc. Why would you want to ask a YEC about these when you could go on on almost any creationist website and find answers to these questions from respected scientists in a jiffy.

And as for the poor students who have to go home with their new found faith in theistic evolution, I would be far more worried about the droves that are abandoning the faith because they rightly perceive that belief in the Bible and belief in evolution are incompatible.

And once again, Dennis proves that scientists dont necessarily make for great theologians. Stick to the day job mate.

If you were really interested in finding the answers to those questions, why not visit Answers In Genesis or Creation Ministries International websites to name but two.

PS I have friends, brothers and sisters in Christ, who do hold to a theistic evolutionary belief. We break bread, we have fun together and we even go to the cinema together.

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