In his essay “Creation, Evolution, and Christian Laypeople” (the fifth white paper from our November conference to be posted), Pastor Tim Keller considers three main questions laypeople raise when they learn of anyone teaching that biological evolution and biblical orthodoxy can be compatible:
Question #1: If God used evolution to create, then we can’t take Genesis 1 literally, and if we can’t do that, why take any other part of the Bible literally?
Question#2: If biological evolution is true, does that mean that we are just animals driven by our genes, and everything about us can be explained by natural selection?
Question #3: If biological evolution is true and there was no historical Adam and Eve how can we know where sin and suffering came from?
Keller offers potential answers to these questions in his paper. For example, he responds to question two by noting that accepting that human life came through evolutionary biological processes is not the same as accepting the Grand Theory of Evolution, which holds that evolution can explain every aspect of human nature.
However, Keller also notes that his answers to these questions should not be viewed as the only way to deal with the theological issues that evolution raises among congregations. Rather, it is the job of pastors to explore these questions in order to help their congregations. As he writes:
In short, if I as a pastor want to help both believers and inquirers to relate science and faith coherently, I must read the works of scientists, exegetes, philosophers, and theologians and then interpret them for my people. Someone might counter that this is too great a burden to put on pastors, that instead they should simply refer their laypeople to the works of scholars. But if pastors are not ‘up to the job’ of distilling and understanding the writings of scholars in various disciplines, how will our laypeople do it?
Furthermore, Keller urges us to be open to a variety of answers to these questions. Christians seeking to correlate Scripture and science must be a “bigger tent” so as to include the multiple ways that one can reconcile scripture with evolutionary theory.