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Biology 160, due 12/3/18

Theological Implications of Human Evolution – Discussion Worksheet

Working in groups of 3-5, complete the following by typing answers to each question.
Answers should be in complete phrases (1st page), or complete sentences. 30 points.

Group members: Nikolai Kuvshinikov

1. Harlow begins his article with four lines of scientific evidence that he thinks challenge a
literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3. What are they?
a. Molecular biology

b. Phylogenetics

c. Sociobiology

d. Primatology

2. What three broad perspectives emerge in response to these evidences?


a. Christians dispute the science.

b. They will mold their own interpretation of the Bible with scientific findings.

c. They divide Biblical knowledge and scientific knowledge into two separate
categories.

Can you think of any additional options? Some Christians simply ignore the science.

What option is taken by most of the Christians you know? Most Christians that I
know are Young Earth creationists, taking a literal view on Genesis and tend to argue the
science.

3. List Professor Harlow’s 5 basic scenarios for understanding Adam and Eve that various
Christians have embraced.
a. First is the literal interpretation, which says that God created Adam and Eve
10,000 years ago. This makes Adam and Eve the common ancestors to all of humanity.

b. There were humans 150,000 years ago, however, Adam and Eve were chosen by
God to represent all of humanity.

c. Next, the third scenario states that Adam and Eve are ancient ancestors, the first
homo. Sapiens, created by God around 150,000 years ago.
d. Fourth scenario states that God revealed Himself to the first group of homo.
Sapiens 150,000 years ago. Adam and Eve are merely the symbols of God’s revelation to this
group.

e. Fifth scenario states the Adam and Eve are no more than literary figures, and they
are used for explaining God’s relationship to mankind.

Which do you find most acceptable and why? I personally find the second one most
acceptable. It’s not as extreme as calling Adam and Eve strictly literary figures, and it also
acknowledges the science, while also taking into account what the Bible actually says.
4. Professor Harlow focuses the rest of his article on the fifth scenario and mentions this
interpretation is the one accepted by most biblical scholars and Christians working in the
sciences, yet it is an interpretation largely unknown in evangelical Christianity. Why do you
think this is the case? I think this scenario is largely unknown because for many, it feels a
little sacrilegious. There’s something odd about calling Adam and Eve just literary figures.
This scenario focuses more on the science, rather than what is written in the Bible.

5. Long before modern genetics and evolutionary biology made discoveries that called into
question a literal reading of Genesis 1-11, many Biblical scholars had already concluded that
this part of scripture is not intended to be a historical account. What led them to this
conclusion? Biblical scholars came to this realization because of scientific data at the time.
This includes evidence of humans being present 150,000 years ago, fossil records, and even
carbon dating. Also, one might say that you can still understand God’s message without
Adam and Eve being actual literal people.

6. What can be learned by comparing the Biblical account with ancient Mesopotamian
Myths? (i.e. why do you think Professor Harlow spends so much time writing about these
other accounts)? Comparing the Biblical accounts and Mesopotamian myths, it is clear the
there are some striking similarities between them. This could be sued as evidence as to why
the Biblical account shouldn’t necessarily be taken literally, since in the ancient times, it was
common for people to take stories from other cultures and fuse their religion into it.
7. Professor Harlow writes about two creation accounts in Genesis.
a. Where are these two accounts found? The first account of creation is found in
Genesis 1:1 – 2:3. The second account can be found in Genesis 2:4b – 2:25.

b. What are some of the main differences of these two accounts? In the first account,
it shows that God created a number of male and females, an unknown number. This
happened after creation of land animals. In the second account, it says that God created one
man, the animals, and then the woman. This all happened the same day.

8. How does the story of Cain and Abel add to the difficulty of reading Genesis 1-11 as
factual history? The first reason that the story of Cain makes it difficult to take on a literal
translation is because God marked Cain so that nobody could kill him as part of his
punishment. But according to the Bible, there were no other men other than Adam and Abel
(who was murdered). So there are no other men to kill Cain. In fact, there are no other
females, besides Eve, who could provide any male descendants with wives, thus, no
population to build a city.

9. Shouldn’t we accept Adam as a historical figure since he is listed in the genealogies


along with other historical figures? What does Professor Harlow say about this? Even
though Adam is listed as a historical figure, many don’t know that genealogies were used
during ancient times as a way to assert people’s cultural important. Because of this,
genealogies shouldn’t be taken literally. They should rather be used as a literary device.
10. What is doctrine? How is it developed? List some elements of Christian doctrine that
Harlow maintains are not Biblically based in Genesis 2-3 (pp 188 ff). A doctrine can be
defined as a set of beliefs held by the church, political party, or a group of people. Doctrines
develop by passing down teachings to future generations, and believing them to be truth.
First, the doctrine of the Fall is when sin first came into the world. This is because Adam and
Eve went against God and decided to eat the fruit. Harlow states that in Genesis 8:21, “as a
concession to the evil inclination of the humans heart”, is not Biblically based in Genesis 2-3.

11. How does Professor Harlow understand references to Adam in the New Testament (by
Luke and by Paul)? According to Harlow, when Adam is referenced to in the New
Testament, he is being used as a symbol of a once pure now fallen humanity. Jesus is the
new version of Adam, bringing life to humanity instead of death. Also, Adam and Eve aren’t
referenced very often in the New Testament. Instead of being used as historical references,
they are used for the purpose of teaching.

12. What do you find most challenging/troubling from Dr, Harlow’s article? In all honesty,
I felt a little off at the end of this article. I can’t really describe it, but this interpretation
doesn’t sit well with me. One of the most troubling things in the article was how similar the
Biblical account was to the Mesopotamian myths. It’s a little unsettling to see scripture
being similar to another culture.
13. What do you appreciate most about this article? I appreciated how open this article
was to multiple perspectives, giving each of them a good description. Even though the focus
was on the fifth scenario, he discusses other options as well. I also appreciated his evidence
in support of his view.

14. What do you think about Professor Harlow’s last paragraph? With the changing times,
Harlow says that as Christians, we should try to reinterpret Scripture as times goes on. We
have a lot more scientific knowledge today, obviously far more advanced than what the
Israelites had in ancient times. It’s our duty to acknowledge science.

15. List some questions you still have related to the topics of human evolution or of the
integration of evolutionary science with Christian faith.

1) How can Christian schools fit evolution into their curriculum without an uproar?
2) What is the best way to have a meaningful discussion with those who adamantly deny
evolution?