Can humans evolve and still be “created in God’s image?”

The topic of theistic evolution (or evolutionary creationism) garners much attention among Christians these days. Reasons to Believe (RTB) does not doubt the faith of Christians who hold this view, but we affirm a different view. We believe that there are significant scientific, biblical, and theological problems with theistic evolution (TE). RTB argues, based on evidence, for more direct divine intervention than most theistic evolutionary models would posit. Despite our skepticism, however, we agree that TE models (and others, such as young-earth creation models) deserve a place at the discussion table where ideas can be developed and tested.

The Genesis 1 narrative begins with God’s creation of the universe and culminates with the special creation of Adam and Eve. Historic Christianity holds that Adam and Eve were the first humans, uniquely made in God’s image, and that all humanity has descended from them. The biblical genealogies (both Old and New Testament), Jesus’s teachings, and Paul’s epistles all refer to Adam as a real individual.

Genetic, linguistic, and pathogen studies support belief in a historical Adam and Eve. This research indicates that humanity arose (1) recently (within the last hundred thousand years or so), (2) at a single location (close to where Bible scholars place the Garden of Eden), and (3) from a small population, arguably as small as a single pair. Much scientific work remains to be done toward refining details, but ample evidence supports the historic Christian idea that all humanity descended from two historical persons, Adam and Eve.