This passage is so very foundational to my faith – almost the bedrock of it. God made Adam and Eve and placed them in the garden and everything was good. That was God’s own declaration, not mine. Adam and Eve were innocent and naive until the serpent tempted Eve with the forbidden fruit. Let’s just bypass the talking snake, forget that apparently snakes used to do that. The fact is according to Genesis that there was no death before they did the dirty deed and brought sin into the world and thrust upon us all the curse that needed, demanded, an atonement. And that a benevolent God sent His righteous Son into the world to be the propitiation of our sins. No longer separated and at enmity with a Holy God would we be if only we conjured up the right words and repented of our unrighteous deeds. The basis for this belief begins in the garden where there is no death and no separation. God comes and walks with Adam and Eve in the cool of the day because they too are Holy and He can be in their presence. They do the unthinkable, the break the one rule God gave them and then have the ability to feel shame and know good from evil. They are banished from the garden and sentenced to certain death apart from some form of atonement, one which God provides to them at that time as well.
Here is where I begin to have a problem. It’s at the very beginning. If I accept a literal creation account just as it’s spoken of in Genesis I can follow along through the atoning sacrifice of Jesus without questioning much, because essentially I’m questioning nothing. To go along with this I need to start with a lot of presuppositions, not the least of which is that the Bible is indeed the inspired, inerrant word of God. I’m at a loss for how to reconcile any other explanation of the origins of the earth and life as we know it. There are lots of folks that somehow count the creation story and the first 3 chapters of Genesis as allegory. Maybe it’s my fundamentalist, conservative background, but I have trouble doing that. It seems to me that to account for it in any other way scripture must be twisted and bent and stretched to fit that world view.
If I’m honest with myself at some level I’ve always questioned that account in Genesis. I’ve always wondered why if things were so fantastic in the garden Eve would have succumbed to the temptations of a talking snake. It’s always puzzled me that God created Adam and Eve and called them good even though He obviously created them with a sin nature. If He created us with a sin nature why are we punished for having it? Why make sin so tempting? God surely created that too.
That brings me to evolution and/or intelligent design. I’ve tried to defend the literal creation account always having wondered about the age of the earth. I felt it was something I must believe as foundational to the entire rest of the Bible and I’ve turned a blind eye to the reality intentionally. I’ve tried to subscribe to the Ken Ham school of science. If I remove that foundational principal then I’m left to ponder the existence of Adam and Eve. If there’s no Adam and Eve, there’s no fall of man. If there’s no fall of man, no need for a Savior, at least not based on the scripture above.
I’m not a scientist, I’m not even a college graduate. But the more I learn about evolution the more I can see that it’s the truth of how we got here. I’m sure someone with far more expertise than I could read this and laugh at it’s simplicity. What can I say? I’m a simple girl. I look at the fossil record, one which YEC’s try to use to substantiate the global flood. Makes me wonder though why the different layers appear to be different ages. And does a flood cause the biggest bones to settle at the bottom? Why don’t we find modern human fossils in the same layer as dinosaurs? What of intelligent design? That leaves me wondering why God would use evolution as a mechanism for some developments and then decide some things were just too complicated for that. Either way, short of a young earth and literal creation, death was a certainty and requirement for the development of life.
I had a Sunday School teacher once who said, we believe the earth to only be about 6,000 years old. The question was posed to her about radioactive dating and her response was “God is sovereign, He can make things look as old as He wants to”. The question was dropped and I bought into that ideology without even thinking about it much. I thought to myself “yeah, God can do what He wants”. And that was that. Now I have burning questions. Like why would a God who wants love and devotion and worship try to trick people into not believing in Him? Why would He intentionally make the earth look older than it is to deceive people into the untruth? It makes no sense. I thought the Bible says that God doesn’t tempt us. Then why would He make the truth so obscure? Does He want to see just who will follow Him with undying allegiance beyond a preponderance of evidence to the contrary?