Interpreting Genesis in Light of Genetics
Now that Dr Koop has messed with everybody's head again, we should go back the beginning, the book of Genesis, and ask the question: then how do we begin interpreting these texts in the light of modern genetics and evolution?
Theistic Evolution and Intelligent Design proponents all concede the vast age of the universe and the role of evolutionary process in the formation and diversity of species. This raises questions, then, concerning how we should interpret the first eleven chapters of the Book of Genesis. With talking snakes, trees of moral knowledge, and planetary floods, how are we to handle the literal, metaphorical, symbolic meaning that the text may have? What complicates matters is the new worldview that none of us can escape: the finding of modern genetic science. Faithful scholars are wondering how to understand the notion of a primordial pair, Adam and Eve, when genetics shows no such thing. And is it really true that non-literal interpretation of Genesis will send us down a slippery slope that ends with a non-literal Jesus and the destruction of the Christian gospel? If Genesis is the foundation of most of our theology, do the findings of evolutionary science and genetics threaten to undermine it completely. Are we being forced into new interpretations that previous generations would have considered heresy? Our conversation tonight seeks to discover ways that we can retain both the orthodox foundations of our faith in Genesis while at the same time allowing the insights of science to deepen our understanding of the text and of our interpretational principles.