A Heated Family Talk

Thank you for the eye-opening and unbiased "The Search for the Historical Adam" [June], and for your editorial, which affirmed a high view of Scripture without implying Christians must bury our heads in the ground. I don't know what to think about the debate—so much theology rests on the earth having been created perfect and subjected to death by sin—but I appreciated Christianity Today's plea for patience and warning against knee-jerk reactions.

Laura Tucker
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Journalist Richard Ostling quoted me with the preface, "Back when genetics played little part in Adam disputes …." Actually, my 1994 Christian Scholar's Review article treated genetic arguments extensively. In the 1980s, Francisco Ayala and others "proved" that the diversity in major genes required a bottleneck population of 100,000 individuals, common ancestors to both chimpanzees and humans. This approach is now discredited, as our understanding of genetic diversity shows that common ancestry does not explain the human-chimp similarity.

The proof for a single-pair origin for Adam and Eve is even stronger now than 20 years ago. We now know that about 25 percent of human-chimp DNA does not align, and that the human and chimp Y chromosomes are very different.

I don't think it is possible to prove more than a narrow bottleneck. But that bottleneck is growing even narrower. Our exploding understanding of the genome, and the layers of ingenious coding it contains, is making the Darwinian assumption of common ancestry less and less obvious.

John A. Bloom, Ph.D.
Academic Director, Graduate Program in Science and Religion
Biola University, La Mirada, California

If we limit the Bible's truth to scientific provability, we have more problems than Adam and Eve. Virgins don't conceive, and dead people aren't raised to life. We must understand that the foolishness of God is wiser than men's wisdom (1 Cor. 1:25). Scientists have been wrong before and will be again. Knowing that "every word of God is flawless" (Prov. 30:5), our efforts are better applied to understanding scientific findings in light of his Word.

Karen M. Cox

Skirting a literal Adam due to genome evidence solves nothing. What about Noah? If the Flood really happened, then all subsequent humanity descended from one man and his sons and their wives.

How far are we willing to go in denying Old Testament events and express New Testament references to them? Jesus himself said, "As it was in the days of Noah …." Are we saying that Jesus was "tied to the [erroneous] views of his day," just like Paul?

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Thomas F. Harkins Jr.
Fort Worth, Texas

CT editorializes, "We don't need another fundamentalist reaction against science." But we also don't need another fundamentalist reaction against the biblical narrative. Francis Collins, brilliant as he appears to be, is fallible. With a presupposition of macro-evolution, it's little surprise that Collins and company see evidence for human descent. Given the same data, would other brilliant people see something different painted on the genome canvas? I think so.

Jerry Pierce
Flower Mound, Texas

A hen lays a fertilized egg, and some weeks later—all because of the DNA embedded in the egg and sperm—a walking, cheeping, seeing chick emerges. As a kid on the farm, I found it incredible. I still do. That's why I have no anxiety about the eventual conclusion of the Adam debate. Whether he was one man, one man who led several thousand, or a name given to the several thousand, it was by Adam that sin entered the world. The problem now is that sin is kept here by me.

And, of course, the Good News is that a remedy has been provided.

Dave W. Reesor
Calgary, Alberta

Worshiping Ourselves

I enjoyed "The Cultural Medium and the Christian message" [June]. Previously on staff at a SoCal megachurch, I invited an unchurched friend to a Sunday worship service. Afterwards I asked, "What did you think?" He replied, "A little too American Idol." I almost spit my coffee on him. Noting the aromatherapy fog, high-tech lighting, and worship leader who "worked the crowd," another friend quipped, "It's as if they are doing everything they can to distract from worship." Cultural accommodation exacts a price.

Jim Golding
Irvine, California

Earthward Bound

I found Matthew Dickerson's "Who Gets Left Behind?" [June] stimulating. I noted at a recent conference that proclaiming the gospel is not just for the salvation of individual souls—though it is that—but also for the reconciliation of the world. Scripture clearly states that Christ came to reconcile all creation to himself (2 Cor. 5:19-20), which makes our message more, not less, compelling.

A lifelong cover-to-cover reader,

Wayne Pederson
President, HCJB Global
Colorado Springs, Colorado

The problem with "Who Gets Left Behind?" is that it completely leaves out the Book of Revelation, specifically chapters 6 to 20, which indicate God's wrath will be poured out on earth's inhabitants. Since we are told that Christians are "to be saved from the wrath to come" (1 Thess. 1:10), the logical, and biblical, conclusion is that we will be taken out of the world in the Rapture, just as Noah was "taken out of the world" into the Ark as earth's inhabitants were destroyed.

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Joseph Ford
Colorado Springs, Colorado

Sloths in the Pulpit

I wholeheartedly agree with Carolyn Arends ["Hardworking Sloths," June]: The difficult foundational work of ministry is spending unhurried, attentive time with the Lord. Church leaders are generally quick to say when a member is unhappy with my performance, but they haven't asked me, "Are you spending time with the Lord?" If the pastor doesn't practice private acts of devotion, the public acts of ministry are hindered. Thank you for reminding us that God is looking for faithful leaders, not efficient ones.

Leon H. Johnston
Lacombe, Alberta

What got the most comments in June's CT

57% The Search for the Historical Adam by Richard N. Ostling

16% No Adam, No Eve, No Gospel by CT Editorial

9% Who Gets Left Behind? by Matthew Dickerson

Readers' Pick

The most praised piece in June's CT

Hardworking Sloths
Carolyn Arends

Worth Repeating

Compiled by Elissa Cooper

"It's fair to express disagreement, but not with generalizations like 'enjoy your sexuality' or 'don't be such a prude.' Those aren't biblical arguments."
Philip, on debates about whether masturbation is sinful for single Christians.
Her.meneutics: "The Cult of the Orgasm," by Anna Broadway

"Given that the cyber world seems somehow less real, Christians are emboldened to cross lines they might not cross in person."
Sharon Miller, on how the Internet has created a "dualistic culture" where people feel comfortable doing things online that they would not do in real life, such as committing adultery.
Her.meneutics: "Anthony Weiner, Gnostic," by Karen Swallow Prior

"Witness the silent holocaust of the Christians in Sudan. This could be stopped. It might have even been avoided."
Mark Miwerds, on how the violence in Sudan is not being widely acknowledged and urging Christians in the U.S. to prompt leaders to act.
CT Liveblog: "'Our friends are being slaughtered,' says advocate for southern Sudanese," by Timothy C. Morgan

"Forgiveness and trust are not one and the same. If someone repeatedly violates their wedding vows, that person should be forgiven, yet not be trusted with an office one has to take an oath to acquire."
John H. Guthrie, discussing why Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich's past marriages and divorces affect his ability to run the country.
CT Politics Blog: "Gingrich Woos Skeptical Evangelical Voters," by Adelle M. Banks

Related Elsewhere:

The June issue is available on our website.

Letters to the editor must include the writer's name and address if intended for publication. They may be edited for space or clarity.

E-mail: cteditor@christianitytoday.com

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