I don’t think that most people on either extreme of the evolution/creation debate have seriously considered the evidence for the middle ground.
In most cases, when people disagree with me, I think it’s likely that they’ve considered the evidence I’ve looked at. I think they understand where I’m coming from. I think they simply come to a different analysis of the evidence. And I’m fine with that.
But the evolution/creation debate is different. The middle ground– the idea that God works through the evolutionary process, and that this is described in the biblical creation account– doesn’t seem to even merit serious consideration from either biblical literalists or secular fundamentalists. These radicals have dominated the discussion and robbed a viable, living position that might otherwise have enriched the lives and faiths of millions.
My faith is deepened by understanding that Genesis is a poetic description of now-understood scientific processes. I am filled with awe that thousands of years ago the ancient Hebrews were able to provide an account that is so consistent with the scientific understanding. The only explanation, as far as I can see, for how right-on Genesis is, is a divine one.
Lots could be said about the creation of the cosmos, the earth, and prehuman life. But for me, the most compelling parallels occur once Adam has entered the scene.
Adam and co. explicitly invent language, discover good and evil, develops nudity taboos, and engage in the first murders resulting from passion not necessity. Genesis less explicitly implies the discovery of monogomy, the shift from a hunter-gatherer to a farming society, the transition from being ruled by instinct and living in harmony with nature and God to looking for dominion and being guided by rationality.
It took the secular world thousands of years to come to grips with these developments being key in what it is to be human. It’s so ironic that the bible gets so misinterpreted as old-fashioned. It is so radical revolutionary and progressive when we look carefully at it.
I recognize that understanding these process metaphorically leads to theological challenges… But failing to understand them leads to an equal number of internal challenges and a tremendous number of external challenges from the scientific world view.
I guess my closing thought on the subject is that taking this view of scripture is not an invitation to a luke-warm faith, to comprimising that which is critical. My prayer is that adopting a view of scripture that allows us to operate in the 21st century calls us out to even greater levels of faith, dedication, and service.