(eg Evolution / Intelligent Design movement). Theories about the
Can the Genesis narratives be
reconciled with modern
Conclusions for and against
Against – no reconciliation
• If the narratives in Genesis are taken literally
then they conflict with scientific data (e.g. Rock
strata, carbon dating, ice layers).
• Macro evolution has gaps that are far too large
to say it definitely occurred.
• Human evolution from common ancestor with
apes- very little evidence and largely guess
work, artistic impressions.
• Human evolution conflicts with belief that
humans created in God’s image.
• Genesis says animals created according to their
‘kinds’ – conflicts with view of common ancestor
Against – no reconciliation
• Scientific opinion is often changing in line
with new discoveries.
• Scientific opinion is divided (e.g. Evolution /
Intelligent Design movement).
• Theories about the spontaneous creation of
the universe and unguided evolution conflict
with belief in God’s creation.
• Humans are a ‘special creation’ (i.e. unique)
so could not have evolved from common
ancestor with animals.
For – views on the Genesis
• Many Christians, e.g. Catholic, Orthodox, view
the Genesis account as a teaching document
with the moral more important than the event.
• The narratives in Genesis are ‘tradition’ rather
• Jesus said He came to ‘complete the Torah and
the Prophets’ (i.e. The Old Testament) so for
Christians it is the NEW TESTAMENT that is the
• The Old Testament is to prepare the way for
For – views on Genesis
• Progressive creationists / OEC can view the
Bible’s account as based on earlier events and
traditions while accepting scientific discoveries.
• Genesis gives us the fundamentals of Christian
belief about creation, not the process: e.g.
God created the universe lovingly,
humans created in image of God,
stewardship of the planet,
Humans dominion over the animals
Humans have rebelled against God’s plan (original
sin – Adam and Eve, Cain and Abel, Tower of Babel)
God is involved in human history but gave humans
For – scientific views
• The Big Bang can be seen as God’s first act of creation
(e.g. ‘Day one’ – Light)
• The Anthropic principle – i.e. God created the conditions
for life to develop.
• Micro evolution shows development of species, does not
conflict with Genesis
• Intelligent design points to a designer
• Continuous creation - God is creating constantly so
creation was not a one off event
• Evolution – even if the human body evolved it is the soul
that is the ‘image of God’.
• Theistic evolution – i.e. God could be guiding evolution
• Science gives us the process of creation, not the reason
Conclusion – can Creation and science
• No – if Genesis account is taken literally and
as basis for scientific understanding.
• No - if scientific theories are created to
deliberately exclude religious belief (e.g.
‘spontaneous’ creation / evolution by
• Yes - if Genesis narratives are seen as moral
traditions, not ‘history’.
• Yes – if science is seen as God at work – i.e.
Jesus said “My Father is constantly at work”.