The proposal is to read the book on our own but then gather 4 times this summer (probably in the upstairs seating area in the Harvest Market–where fully-vaccinated people do not need to wear masks). This discussion if for those students (and faculty too) who are in town as we will meet in person.
Contact David Suryk saying you want to be in the book discussion. When I get the names of those wanting to be in the discussion, I’ll send out proposals for gathering times.
If you need a book and want me to get one to you for $10, I can order them through IVPress. I have 4 paperback copies with me (as of June 4) for those who want to begin reading ahead of our meeting.
Question: Why should I care to read, discuss, and think about this book? Isn’t it just one more attempt to rearrange the Genesis story to fit into what mainstream evolutionary science says “really happened”? I’ve read many other “science and creation books” that I’m done thinking about it, so why should I think more about it?
Reply: This book is a complete game changer in terms of the discussion of science and the question of origins. In some ways, this book puts to bed the idea that there is a conflict between evolutionary science and traditional understandings of Adam and Eve. That is, this book in many ways makes those other books obsolete. Most of them were written with the conflict as the given, and then seek to come up with “work arounds” to the traditional Genesis account with some notion of Adam and Eve (mythological, poetical, etc) they feel they can live with “in light of genetic science.” This book shows that “work arounds” are unnecessary. It also shows that evolutionary science can do its work and be helpful to the discussion, rather than only providing a challenge. Further, Josh introduces what most other books do not: the role of mainstream genealogical science that both geneticists and Christians alike have mostly ignored. After all, the Bible speaks in terms of genealogies and not genetics. That distinction is the source of the game-changing power of Josh’s book. Please read the book’s description from the book publisher to see how Josh’s book is a real game changer and opens up new conversations across the divides.
Question: I’m not in a STEM field, so why should I care to join this book discussion that will deal a lot with evolutionary and genealogical science?
Reply: Well, non-STEM graduate students are already engaged in this discussion, if you think about it.. If your non-believing STEM friends know you are a Christian, they will perhaps think that you too are one of those naive Christians who just don’t understand that there is an irreconcilable conflict between evolutionary science and the traditional account of Adam and Eve. It would be great if you were able actually to say something to your STEM friends that might create in them some curiosity to revisit what Josh thinks is not a conflict after all. Further, this book involves a lot of looking at what the Scriptures say and do not say, and so people from every discipline should take this book seriously. In particular, there is mystery about people outside the Garden. Scripture hints and perhaps even teaches that there were people outside the Garden who interbred with Adam and Eve’s descendants. In fact, the thinking about people outside the Garden is part of the traditional account of Genesis that is being recovered. People for several thousand years have speculated about where Cain found a wife, and about who the Nephilim are.
Two final overall replies. First, Graduate school is a great place to dig deeply into this important cultural issue that had divided Christian traditions and sent many in the church out of the church. And Summer in Champaign is a great time to have these conversations. Also, you maybe are in churches now and perhaps will be in churches in the future that are very confused about this issue. They have decided perhaps that there really is a conflict between evolutionary science and belief in a traditional reading of Adam and Eve. This illusory (says Josh) conflict has caused many believers to take sides; some Christians stay in the church and are skeptical of mainstream science, while some Christians decide that evolutionary science has won the debate and they are left floundering in their church or they have left the church disillusioned about the Bible. It would be great if you would finally have the resources to host a discussion the would encourage believers and non-believers alike to take seriously a traditional reading of Adam and Eve, the Bible, and also Jesus.
And second, this book helps us reframe our thinking on race and racism. This book is addresses fractures in our culture and church traditions that include fractures on race and racism. Did all humanity today come from a common genealogical ancestral couple such that we are all one human race? Front and center is the notion of monogenesis and polygenesis (which historically has fueled racism).