Introducing Troendle

My name is Nicholas Troendle and I’m an Assistant Professor at a small, Christian, liberal arts university called MidAmerica Nazarene University. I was raised as a conservative 6-day creationist, but today, I teach biology, genetics and evolution here at MNU. Obviously, this means I have had some inner (and sometimes outer) conflict over my faith and science. But I have come to a place where I no longer feel that conflict exists between scripture/faith and science, but rather the conflict exists between our proper interpretation of the two. Because of my history of grappling with this topic, integration of science and faith in the classroom is one of my greatest passions. Knowing how difficult it can be to reconcile these two ideas on your own has given me the desire to help my students engage in these conversations with someone to help and guide them through the sometimes murky water.

For that reason, I’m very excited about this forum. Not only to engage in these conversations, but to learn from all of you. I feel that we learn the most when we openly engage with people with new and different perspectives. So, I look forward to some great conversations.


I have actually worked with students from a local Nazarene college in a summer research internship program. I have nothing but good things to say about those students. We may grumble about “kids nowadays”, but I am actually quite encouraged by the next generation of young scientists coming up through the ranks, and that includes those from conservative christian backgrounds.

I wish you all the luck in your pursuits, and keep that passion alive.


I’m thrilled that you have not only worked with Nazarene students but that it’s been a good experience. I have also found that they are typically excited and curious. Often they just haven’t been exposed to evolutionary science due to their backgrounds.


Welcome Nicholas! I’m curious as to where you have ended up in regards to the literal six days of creation, how your science has affected the outcome, and how the outcome has affected your faith.


Thank you for the welcome Michael. I like to say that my position on the topic has evolved, but that’s because I like cheesy jokes. But in honesty, I have been through several iterations of my belief, or rather understanding of the subject. Initially, I couldn’t reconcile the scientific evidence for evolution with my faith because I was tied to a literal interpretation of Genesis and I had what I believe is a misconception, that if this one thing wasn’t true then I had to discard my entire faith. Talk about baby with the bathwater. But my love of biology and genetics brought me face to face daily with, what I have interpreted as irrefutable evidence for evolution. So I was forced to seriously question my faith (a distressing idea at the time, but I’ve come to believe that it’s necessary for growth). As I studied more about science and the bible I realized that not every Christian out there was tied to a literal interpretation of Genesis. Eventually, I reasoned that it doesn’t actually make sense for God to explain every detail of His process of creation to humanity. It’s not how He seems to do most things and we’re talking a process so complex that (I believe) only God could fully understand it anyway. (I realize I’m rambling a little).

To get to the point. I decided that Genesis wasn’t about how God created, but that he DID create. That if God did create then His creation should point to truth. And that if we sincerely seek that truth, it is honoring to God.

So if you’re going to label me, I’d most closely fit in with the Theistic Evolution side. But I consider myself a Christian first so I prefer the term Evolved Christian.


Welcome to the forum! You are at the same university as @Jordan, right?

I do not think you are rambling at all. Thanks very much for your explanation! Yours is a very interesting path, indeed.


That’s correct. Jordan and I are in the same department.


Have you seen the reconciliations between evolution and literalism?

Welcome, Nicholas. Thank you for providing so many interesting details about your path of discovery and change. That kind of introduction helps a lot in our better understanding of where our Peaceful Science participants are coming from.

I too came from a conservative 6-day creationist background, driven heavily by my fascination with The Genesis Flood not so long after it was first published. (I was still a young man when I heard John Whitcomb preach on the subject of the age of the earth and his George M. Price type of Noahic geology.) I understand what it is like to start from a very literalistic hermeneutic of Genesis and gradually being confronted with enormous quantities of evidence requiring re-evaluation of one’s theology.

This forum truly is a great place to learn. We have such a broad range of expertise and experiences represented.

POSTSCRIPT: I really appreciate it when our forum participants share not just their facts and analysis but also their personal experiences and reflections on the changes of mind they have undergone—whatever that direction may be. (Indeed, some here describe their paths away from faith positions. Others explain how the same types of evidence led them in the opposite direction. Either way, we learn a lot about the human experience.)


You say it’s the conversation, but I think it was @AndyWalsh’s X-Men simulation that brought you in :smile:.

I haven’t read this post but I will. I did read your paper on Genealogical Adam and found it an interesting read. I don’t know that with my current understanding of your work, that a genealogical Adam necessarily equates to a literal interpretation of human creation. I agree that the idea of a genealogical Adam and Eve, to whom we can all trace ancestry is not only feasible, but likely, but if I read Genesis literally, I interpret Adam and Eve as genetic progenitors, rather than genealogical. Definitely interested to hear perspectives on the topic though.

You’re not wrong. Jordan told me about this forum several months ago and I told him then, “I really want to get on there, but I know it’s going to be a time sink that I can’t afford right now.” I knew if I started there would be no slowing my descent down the rabbit hole. But yes, the x-men link was more than I could resist.

1 Like

If you read Genesis literally, it doesn’t talk about DNA, and it hints at people outside the Garden. So a literal reading hints at a GAE. Yes, the YEC interpretation of Genesis deviates from the literal reading at this point, but we have to keep the YEC antievolution readings at lower authority than the text of Genesis itself.

1 Like

Thank you Allen. I’ve found that some of the best conversations I’ve had are with people who disagree but are willing to have the conversations and, like you said, bring their experience into the discussion as well as the data. We are not only biological beings but relational and we experience the world through more than just our biological senses. So I agree that our path matters.


Agreed. There is nothing of DNA in the Genesis account, and I have always thought that Cain’s fear of being hunted as a murderer was good evidence for the existence of other people. I was referring more to the special creation of Adam and Eve from dust and Adam’s rib (the Genesis 2 account).

1 Like

That fits in a GAE too, and does not imply genetic progentitorship. Have you seen this yet? BioLogos Edits Their Response to Keller

Of course, literalism may not be the best way to read Genesis. I’m just not sure science shows us it’s wrong.

I see your line of reasoning there. Question though. Under the assumption that Adam and Eve were the product of special creation at some point in time 1. Would all humans be the product of that special creation or the others “outside the garden” be different? 2. If the latter, wouldn’t there be detectible genetic differences between genes introduced through Adam and Eve and the other populations that existed at the time? (Barring God creating them with identical genetics to the existing populations).

1 Like

They would all be monophyletic, the same biological type though they have different origins.

So that would mean that their special creation would be through God creating two new humans, unrelated at that time to the other humans on earth, but with identical gene and chromosome structures, though maybe new alleles?