Between evangelicals' passion for adoption and other changing family dynamics, we probably all know someone who has been part of a particular difficult conversation: the man known for years as Dad is not, in fact, the biological father.
Those conversations are often full of grace and love and can end in greater intimacy. But they're also usually fraught with pain and difficult questions: What does this mean? Where do I come from? Who am I?
The recent reshaping of the creation-evolution debate is causing similar discomfort for those of us who emphasize the authority and infallibility of Scripture. Scientists in genomic demography and other fields—as well as their Christian popularizers in groups like the BioLogos Foundation—are essentially sitting us down to have "the talk": Adam, the man you've called your father all these years, isn't who you think he is, they explain.
Few debates in our world have been as impassioned and emotional as those over creation. But now we're not just talking about dating rocks and interpreting fossils. We're talking about family. Nor is the discussion between those who think the Bible's account of creation, fall, and redemption is important and those who find it irrelevant. This is a family meeting.
That is one of the reasons we're covering the discussion multiple times in this issue. First, we wanted our cover story to be the most straightforward, non-partisan report on the de-bate possible. Richard Ostling was our immediate pick. Christianity Today's news editor in the 1960s, Ostling went on to spend nearly three decades with Time magazine and another with the Associated Press. He is universally acclaimed as one of the top religion journalists of our age. We were thrilled when he said yes.
We are a magazine that prides itself on such trustworthy, balanced reporting (for another example that is also somewhat uncomfortable, see "Fleecing the Faithful—Again," which will be posted online at a future date). But we also know our readers want to know where we stand as a magazine. For that, read our editorial on page 61.
As you'll see in the editorial, we find the discussion about the historicity of Adam difficult and, yes, a little painful. But we are also glad to see it happening: We welcome the opportunity to once again ask with wonder, "Where do I come from? Who am I?"—perhaps chiefly because it reminds us of the answer: We have been adopted by a loving Father.
Next month: Focus on the Family's big shift after Dobson, Tim Stafford's account of revival in India, John Witte's take on democracy through Christ the King, and New York City's Christian gardening movement.
Copyright © 2011 Christianity Today. Click for reprint information.
See our cover story on "The Search for the Historical Adam." Check back for more articles from the June issue.
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