This morning we begin a three week series in Genesis ch’s 1-3. No doubt your curiosity will be aroused about what ‘my position’ will be on the relationship of Gen 1 to evolutionary theory. There are basically four views which Christians make. The first is to reject evolution and assert that the world came into being in six literal days. The second, assert that the evolutionary view negates Gen 1 and therefore science has proved it wrong. The third is to attempt to blend them together in many ingenious ways (Days become evolutionary epochs.) This does no justice to either Gen 1, or the contribution of evolutionary theory. Basically all three views miss what was obvious to the people of God who lived before the development in the 17th and 18th century in the West when the scientific world view developed and a precise, literal reading of literature (including a religious text like Gen 1) began to dominate.
This brings us to a fourth view: Gen 1 is a theological document, virtually a type of creed. It states truths which cannot be scientifically confirmed; but truths which are grasped only by intuition, the result of God’s revelation. Gen 1 tells us that the God who creates this world is the same God who later redeems Israel and revels himself to them as the LORD. Gen 1 states that humanity is not an evolutionary accident, but the pinnacle of God’s work; we are made in his image. This confers value on all of us, irrespective of gender, race or type. In contrast, the ancient kings asserted they were made in the image of their god who protected their cities.
Importantly, Gen 1 teaches us that the gods of the ancient world, the sun, moon and stars which were believed to control human destiny, were created by God. (They are not given names to show God’s power over them.) It is he who controls their destiny and ours. Another teaching of Gen 1 is this creation is good. Christianity is therefore not about escaping from this world, but living in it with our Creator.