If Christadelphian Evolutionary Creationists like the Berea-Portal team (BPT) are right, that:
"Biblical literalism is an untenable exegetical option, as the view of the world it obliges a consistent exegete to hold is flatly contradicted by observable reality. The Earth is approximately 4600 million years old, orbits the sun and does not have a solid firmament overhead. Life on earth did not begin suddenly approximately 6000 years ago, but began over 3000 million years ago, and has been steadily diversifying since then." (Click here for source.)
"The fact that the cosmological view of the Bible reflects that of the Ancient Near East (ANE) raises the possibility that God has accommodated His revelation to fit the worldview of the original audience.......The Bible needs to couch its message in terms that its audience understands." (Click here for source.)
- Then it raises the question: 'What else in the Bible is not literally true?'
"The gospel narratives for example talk about demonic possession in a way that makes it clear elements of ancient Jewish society believed in the literality of demon possession, and saw them as the cause of diseases such as epilepsy and mental illnesses. What the narratives also show is that Jesus never bothered to correct the patently false belief, but accommodated it."
This "Divine Accommodation" theory propounded by the BPT is used by them to show that much of the Bible is not literally true. For example they think that large parts of the Old Testament was either not literally true; or was exaggeration by the writers. (Click here for source.)
They are arguing that God did not inspire truth in his Bible. That the Scriptures are not
"profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness" - (2 Timothy 3:16)
Instead they are claiming that God merely shaped his message according to "human limitations" and that
"God has accommodated His revelation to fit the worldview of the original audience.......The Bible needs to couch its message in terms that its audience understand." (Click here for source.)
This is a radically different view to traditional Christadelphian thinking that has always maintained that the Bible is God's handbook for mankind to teach them truth and to instruct them how to behave.
The BPT are saying that primitive, erroneous, unenlightened human knowledge and understanding was deliberately inserted into the Bible by God to satisfy the demands of its audience and to prevent them rejecting Bible teaching. Far from enlightening mankind, they think that the Bible was re-enforcing error and superstition in its readers.
This is ridiculous for a religion that claims that every word of the Bible is inspired by God. He should be telling humans what to think; not shaping his message to what they already believe.
However it makes perfect sense to us Unbelievers; because we think that humans wrote the Bible and that there is no God. The fact that the Bible only portrays faulty, unenlightened human thinking and morality is exactly what we would expect from a book written in ancient times by human authors.
If the Bible is full of "Divine Accommodation" to erroneous human belief; then Christadelphians will have no way of telling what is truth and what is fiction. They know that early Genesis is fiction and has to be interpreted differently because science tells us that it never happened the way that the Bible describes. But what about the Adam and Eve story? If that never happened then the whole concept of sin and atonement is shown to be fantasy; because sin did not enter the world through Adam. Are we to imagine that Genesis only starts to become literally true from chapter 2:7 onwards?
But what if we are wrong and that section should also to be treated like Genesis chapter 1 and given a new, non-literal meaning? How do we differentiate between what might, or might not be literally true?
What about the Exodus narrative and the conquest of Canaan that Israeli archaeologists say never happened and for which there is no evidence? What about the promises to Abraham and David? Did those promises contain hyperbole and exaggeration? Were they not to be taken literally and that is why the Jews have been persecuted and abused ever since?
What about the many prophecies of prophets like Ezekiel that never came true? Tyre was not conquered by Nebuchadnezzar; Egypt was not conquered by him either; nor was Egypt laid waste. Ezekiel's prophecies about latter day Israel bear little or no resemblance to what has actually happened in modern times. Are we to conclude that Bible prophecy is also not to be taken literally? Who decides? If Christadelphians decide; where does that leave their concept of divine inspiration?
My conclusion is that the theory of Evolutionary Creationism is the start of a slippery slope that leads to deconversion. If you read Rob Hyndman's blog that's exactly what happened to him. It took him two and a half years to get from Evolutionary Creationism to becoming an Unbeliever. That's the two and a half years on the graph at the start of this article.
Educated, intelligent, academically minded Christadelphians have a choice:
1. Accept the theory of Evolutionary Creationism and begin your slide down the slippery slope to Unbelief.
2. Reject Evolutionary Creationism and instead believe in Young Earth Creationism, Old Earth Creationism, or some other obsolete theory of how God created everything and watch your faith being destroyed by the many wonderful discoveries of modern science.
I don't mind which choice you make; because both choices lead to Unbelief.
However I will say this: In my opinion the fastest route to Unbelief is to accept Evolutionary Creationism and to slide down the slippery slope. Because at the heart of that theory is the principle that empirical evidence is sacrosanct and that even the words on the pages of the Bible cannot usurp the facts of observable reality. That is the first major step on the road to deconversion. I believe in that principle with all my heart.