Member (Idle past 3826 days)
Message 1 of 2 (368924)
12-11-2006 2:27 AM
Not sure if something along these lines have been proposed before, I am relatively new here. But this recently came up, so I wnat to bring it up.
At the Beyond Belief 2006 conference (http://beyondbelief2006.org/Watch/) there was a very interesting exchange between Joan Roughgarden and Richard Dawkins (which I would recommend watching if you have time). What I would like to focus on are two comments made by Joan in her recent book "Evolution and Christian Faith." (http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Christian-Faith-Reflections-Evolutionary/dp/1597260983)
She describes two passages in the Bible that report evolution.
1) Genesis 30:30- 31:12
Jacob and Laban get into a bit of a skiff, and come to the agreement that Jacob will take care of Laban's sheep, and as payment will be able to keep all of the brown or speckled sheep in the herd. And then the sheep all become brown and speckled, thus Jacob get holy recompensation for his suffering under Laban. God speaks to Jacob (through his angel, Gen 31 11-12) " Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are... speckled... for I have seen all that Jacob has done unto thee." The implication that God influenced which sheep interbreed in order to steer the course of evolution in Jacob's favor. Here, God accepts natural selection and uses it to achieve his goals. He does not simply wave his hand and cause all the sheep to become speckled- rather, he used the subtle process of selective breeding over 7 years to cause all the sheep to become brown.
2) Jesus's parable of the mustard seed. Matthew 13. I won't quote this directly, cause it is a bit long, but the point is, Jesus describes how a farmer spreads mustard seeds along the ground. Some fall on rocks, and are eaten by crows, some fall on bad soil and spring up quickly to be scorched, but a few fall on good soil, and those few spring up 30-fold, or 60-fold, or 100-fold. He compares this to how his words are recieved by listeners, and how he does not expect to convince everyone of his teachings, but those that he does convince will be extremely fruitful. What is interesting to note here is what Jesus is describing is essentially genetic drift- a random process of fixation of some genes over others when the total number of surviving individuals in a population is low. The mustard seeds are spread, and only a few survive, but those few that survive spring up like mad. In other words, Jesus accepts that a random process of gene spreading can lead to fixation of a few of these genes. Emphasis on random, since many creationists seem to have problems with that word.
Not really sure what category this belongs to...