What Does It Mean to Have "Common Ancestry"? with Denis Alexander

Denis Alexander: What Does it Mean to Have "Common Ancestry"? from BioLogos Foundation Inc on Vimeo.

In this brief video “Conversation” Denis Alexander, director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, explains the definition of common ancestry.

Common ancestry does not mean that we are descended from apes, rather, it means that we last shared a common ancestor with them roughly 6 million years ago. While apes have been evolving their way since that time, so too have humans. Alexander is positive about the notion of common ancestry, “it reflects that God in Genesis 1 looks on the whole created order and says this is good,” he says.

Alexander notes that the narrative of Genesis 1 indicates that on every day the material order that God brings into being is a good thing. On the sixth day He says “and it was very good” which shows that there was a special place accorded for human beings because they were created in God’s image.

The fact that we are all linked up in this evolutionary historical way is “wonderful,” says Alexander. “I find it a privilege that I should be linked up with all of these wonderful creatures and that we are all part of the same history.”

Genesis 1 tells us that all of the created order is good—we are all good according to God, “a good creation.”

Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.

John. R. W. Stott, Understanding the Bible

What may we say about the ‘how’ of God’s creative activity. Not many Christians today find it necessary to defend the concept of a literal six-day creation, for the text does not demand it, and scientific discovery appears to contradict it.  The biblical text presents itself not as a scientific treatise but as a highly stylized literary statement (deliberately framed in three pairs, the fourth “day” corresponding to the first, the fifth to the second, and the sixth to the third).  Moreover, the geological evidence for a gradual development over thousands of millions of years seems conclusive. …“ “It is most unfortunate that some who debate this issue (evolution) begin by assuming that the words “creation” and “evolution” are mutually exclusive.

- John. R. W. Stott, Understanding the Bible