Recently we have hosted the Teen group from our church for their weekly bible study on a Sunday evening. I don’t sit in on it, though my wife has chosen to do so to assist the youth leaders.
After the most recent one my wife informed me that one of the Teens had asked a question linking evolution to the Fall in the Garden of Eden. The basic premise was that evidence showed that snakes evolved from a legged animal, this is visible when you examine the skeleton. Its more obvious on some species than others.
The understanding was that snakes had de-evolved (devolved?) and this was part of the cruse put on snakes in the Garden of Eden.
The first major flaw here is that there is no thing as de-evolved. Species evolve from one to another in a constant meandering sequence of generations. Losing limbs is not de-evolving or evolution in reverse, or whatever spin anyone wishes to put on it. A species will evolve to fill a niche and if you have a glut of lizard type animals and no snakes, its pretty likely that a snake will evolve from at least one of the lizard groups. There are circumstances where a snake has an advantage over a lizard.
My wife didn’t offer an explanation, but I gave her the one above anyway and asked if she’d considered brining me in to answer that question. She didn’t because it was apparently a side comment in a bigger discussion and the subject didn’t stay on the snake for longer than it took to make the comment and acknowledge it. I asked if I should have a conversation with the Teen in question in case there was an issue with evolution. Again, this was seen as not really required.
My wife has very little interest in discussion evolution and certainly not to the depth that I like to. This is not because she disagrees with it, on the contrary, she has always accepted it without question. She just doesn’t have the same (obsessive?) interest that I do. That’s fine.
I do have a concern about the Teen in question though. Are they like the Teen me who struggles to balance evolution with faith and so is teetering on the brink of Creationism? Or are they like my Teen pre-wife, okay with the concept of evolution and will nod at discussions like this but never really take it any further?
I hope it’s the latter because my Creationist experiences do make me concerned that comments like this will confuse Teens and they could eventually default to a position of biblical authority over science. Knowing there are active Creationists in the church only adds to that concern.
I just hope I am wrong.