Tuesday, May 09, 2017

A Conversation with Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight, a New Testament professor at Northern Seminary in Lombard, Illinois, and co-author of Adam and the Genome, with Dennis Venema, recently was interviewed and said that it was a BioLogos conference and the evidence he was told there that changed how he viewed the first three chapters of Genesis.  Baptist News Global has the scoop:
“The number one reason young people walk away from the faith is the conflict of their interpretation of Scripture with their interpretation of science,” he said. “Let it be emphasized that we are dealing here with the interpretation of Scripture, not necessarily Scripture’s truest meaning. And, yes, we are dealing with a theoretical construct called evolution.” McKnight said many people on both sides regard science and faith as “implacable enemies.”

“Some scientists think we are fools for believing in the Bible and therefore in Jesus,” he said, “while for some conservative theologians and pastors and bloggers, scientists are materialists, atheists, and those who think they are Christian and evolutionist are oblivious to the slippery slide they are halfway down.”

McKnight said the question he hears most often when discussing Gen. 1-3 is “do you believe in a historical Adam?” It’s a question “loaded with theological meaning,” he said, including belief that Adam and Eve were real people who had a “biological and procreative relationship with every human being who has ever lived” and that all people living today possess a share of their DNA.
I am about three-quarters of the way through the book and it is worth the read. He is one of a growing chorus of people (notably John Walton also) who are raising the concern that people are walking away from the faith because they get to college and encounter grounded science that conflicts with the non-grounded creationism they were taught in high school or home school.

It is clear that McKnight has read Walton, however.  Here is how he puts it:
McKnight said he doesn’t like the terms “myth,” “fable” and “legend” when applied to Genesis, so he uses “theological narrative.”

“I read the text as a theological narrative about God as creator, about humans assigned by God to a vocation in God’s cosmic temple on God’s sacred time, and I see the tragedy of humans who refuse to do what God said,” he said.
This perspective is absorbed from Walton's The Lost World of Genesis One, another book I am piecing through, which is considerably denser than Adam and the Genome but worthwhile, nonetheless. 

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