Nelson: On the Swamidass Hypothesis — The Cheese Stands Alone

Taking @jongarvey’s post to heart (similar to those which I raised in the FB group), is it ever appropriate for a particular GAE model to be part of one’s personal confession? As I said earlier, as Christians we are only required to confess what Scripture teaches, which for many of us is embodied more succinctly in the historical creeds and (for some of us) perhaps more specific confessions like the WCF or the Lausanne Covenant. Anything more than that is speculative theology - a hypothesis that we form using a combination of Scripture, philosophy, scientific evidence, and other methods of reasoning, which we then humbly offer to the church for consideration. If that hypothesis turns out to be rejected by the majority of the universal church then that is a sign that we should go back to the drawing board. On the other hand, such a hypothesis could also be affirmed as acceptable, but not the only orthodox option.

Only in very rare cases does a new theological hypothesis becomes codified in one of the historical confessions. Because of the nature of the evidence surrounding the historical Adam, I don’t see that ever likely to happen. There will always be uncertainty and tentativeness, as there are multiple moving parts - genetics, paleontology, biology, biblical studies, and interactions with other theological doctrines such as original sin, creation, and so on. Thus, I don’t quite understand this common criticism of tentativeness applied to the GAE, which has also been somewhat raised by Hans Madueme (another YEC). GAE models are always meant to be “working models”, not the “final word” on something. However, the nice feature about GAE is that it happens to be a working model which seems to be in harmony (instead of conflict) with the latest scientific evidence. Thus Joshua’s “personal agnosticism” on which model is the “best” doesn’t irk me at all, but actually reflects the reality of the evidential and theological situation.