Tag Archives: scientific consensus

Scripture or Science?

A commenter (Keith) on my earlier post on the historicity of Adam poses a good question:

Can you comment on the broader theological/hermeneutical/epistemological issues here?

Let’s assume the following for the sake of discussion: (a) there are strong textual (referring to the whole Bible) reasons in favor of a historical Adam; (b) the textual evidence isn’t a “slam dunk” so it is possible that the text doesn’t necessitate a historical Adam; (c) there is a strong scientific consesus that the scientific evidence for evolution is a slam dunk; and (d) somehow evolution strongly undermines belief in a historical Adam. I leave (d) fuzzy because there are probably a number of ways one might think a belief in evolution would undermine belief in a historical Adam. (I can think of at least a couple quickly, but spelling it out isn’t necessary for the question I am asking.)

What should one do in this epistemic situation? The textual evidence is much stronger for a historical Adam (assuming the above assumptions) but it isn’t a slam dunk. Yet the scientific evidence for evolution, which per the illustration undermines belief in a historical Adam, is a slam dunk. Does one count all evidence of the epistemic situation equally or does one first resolve the interpretive issue based on textual reasons and then hold to a historical Adam over against the undermining scientific slam dunk?

I am asking, because I suspect that which side one takes often correlates with how one would resolve the epistemic situation in my illustration.

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