A Progressive Creation theory:
Many in the Christian world view are unaware that it does not have to be in opposition to scientific discovery.
Here is an example of a “progressive creationistic” theory that uses the scriptural account as a foundation. I don’t blame anyone else for this theory – it is entirely mine. I enjoy thinking about this things – and honestly even musing over it…
I used to spend more time delving into the debate with my best friend, but since he died, I am less passionate about trying to uncover the right answer and now more enjoy just considering these questions of biblical insight and scientific thought. Since very often, this conversation leads to creation questions, I enjoy speculating on that topic.
And it is speculation… I am not trying to create doctrine or even a defense (though I would love feedback and criticism). I just enjoy the conversation. If you find it offensive, feel free to dismiss it and move on to some other article that won’t raise blood pressure.
I came up with it when I was more interested in answering this specific question was an attempt to use the findings of biologists and geologists to explain some of the questions left open in scripture – so let me pose these are questions to you:
- Could the origin in the dust (or “soil,” or “earth” Gen 2:7) to man been a lengthy (m/ billions of years) process? If so, could this not reflect the secular thought of the “primordial soup” from which sprang the first single celled organisms? God seems to like recapitulating His ways – maybe He started the first person with a single cell and started it on His loving cultivation path toward humanity.
- Could Adam have been the first physical Homo Erectus, Sapiens, whatever, in the sense that he was the first with an eternal “Spirit.” In the Hebrew phrase (Gen 2:7) “breathed the breath of life,” two different words are used for breath. The first one means “blow or puff;” the second is:
neshamah (nesh-aw-maw’)a puff, i.e. wind, angry or vital breath, divine inspiration, intellect. or (concretely) an animal:
KJV – blast, (that) breath (-eth), inspiration, soul, spirit.
(Biblesoft’s New Exhaustive Strong’s Numbers and Concordance with Expanded Greek-Hebrew Dictionary. Copyright (c) 1994, Biblesoft and International Bible Translators, Inc.)
Could it be that the breath of life that God breathed into Him made him human, rather than being the first thing to look human? (aka was the final step to true humanity internal rather than external or spiritual rather than physical?)
The idea would be that God crafted humans starting with the dirt of creating man and then spent millennia moving this life through the stages of development through a process like evolution… which would explain the stages of development of the human fetus as well as the stages of creation in Genesis 1.
The idea of “after their own kind” would represent the genetic changes that God was working into their generations.
The world would have been populated with many different animals and creatures… and over the time, many would have gone extinct, evolved into other species, etc.
I am of the opinion that the “death” described in Genesis 1-3 and Romans 5 is the spiritual death of Eph 2. It is not physical death that was ushered in for the first time at the fall of man (after all, neither Adam nor Eve died immediately) but a spiritual death. It was not the first breath (see above) that stopped for the first time, but the second.
Thus, at the time of Adam, the world would have been populated by many different creatures that looked relatively human. Perhaps Homo erectus, Homo heidelbergensis, or Cro-Magnon… maybe something like “Omo1” type creatures would have been around.
If this were the case, it would answer the question of Cain’s concern: Cain could have feared all of these other “people” (animal/humans – “humans” without the breathe of divinity in them) who could kill him without God’s divine protection. Basically, before Adam, humans were morally no different from animals (is the theory).
This could also answer where Cain’s and Seth’s wives came from, as well as explain why God passed all of the animal by Adam for him to name, but through the naming process, Adam discovered “there was no suitable helpmeet for Adam.” In other words, all the animals did not mean just dogs and lions, but things that looked quite a bit like a person as well. It was not the physical differences that made them “unsuitable,” it was also the spiritual intimacy.
In time, or perhaps after the flood incident, animal/humans would have died out or been competed out by these humans with self-knowledge and a two-way relationship with God, as well as the cultivation He had taught Adam?
I see no scriptural problem with man evolving from single celled organisms – we each were single celled organisms at one point – perhaps the process of growth in the womb is a picture of the original plan? (phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny).
There is an inappropriate emotional response by many Christians to the word “evolution.” This is as inappropriate as the initial response by us to the concept of “The Big Bang.” As mentioned before, both are merely an effort by scientists to describe a process. There should be no moral implications connected (granted there often are, as many “scientists” now treat these processes as a form of religion).
However, we should not be offended by the idea of God making use of a process, like evolution, to create and change His creation any more than of Him using the water cycle to create rain, gravitational pull to create a day, the light spectrum to create a rainbow, or even the process of statistics to guide the rolling of dice! Understanding a process does not steal away anything Divine, but only the superstitious version of religion. These in depth and complicated processes should do nothing more than prove a designer! The more complex a process, the better the proof!
In fact, to dismiss a designer for no better reason than understanding the process makes little logical sense… if I understand the process for how an airplane is built, does that dismiss Boeing from existence? To me, this has seemed similar to finding a murder scene and deciding the more I learn about the murder process, the more I become convinced that there was no murderer. I think investigation should move us in the opposite direction.
I do have a problem with the secular view that man is essentially no different that animals, and the view that evolution is random – precisely because of what I wrote above, and just from the statistical issues involved. This seems unlikely from a statistical view and from a final outcome view.
But, could their be a designer involved?