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The Bible, Science and Human Origins

ERNEST C. LUCAS , DENIS R. ALEXANDER , R.J. (SAM) BERRY , G. ANDREW D. BRIGGS , COLIN J. HUMPHREYS , MALCOLM A. JEEVES , ANTHONY C. THISELTON
S & CB 28 (2)
October 2016

Abstract

This paper considers whether, and how, the current scientific consensus about human origins can be related to the relevant biblical passages. The scientific consensus is outlined, noting points that might seem problematic from a biblical perspective. It is argued that the Bible should be understood using ‘the principle of incarnation’ as a hermeneutic approach. This requires taking seriously the historical and cultural context, and the contemporary literary forms, of its inspired writers. Genesis 1-3, 1 Corinthians 15:21-22, 42-49 and Romans 5:12-21 are discussed, noting theological points that may be relevant with regard to the scientific consensus. It is argued that the Bible’s purpose is not to give us scientific information about human origins but to reveal theological truths about the nature and purpose of humans. How these theological truths might be related to the scientific consensus about human origins is then discussed. Two particular models for relating the biblical story of Adam and Eve and the Fall to the scientific story are presented. These are not the only possible models that are compatible with both the biblical theology of human origins and current scientific evidence. The important thing is that such models are possible.

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