SciELO - Scientific Electronic Library Online

vol.25 número1Joakim, Uzziah, and Bagoas: A literary analysis of selected secondary characters in the Book of JudithMaking things from the heart: On works of beauty in the Old Testament índice de autoresíndice de assuntospesquisa de artigos
Home Pagelista alfabética de periódicos  

Serviços Personalizados



Links relacionados

  • Em processo de indexaçãoCitado por Google
  • Em processo de indexaçãoSimilares em Google


Old Testament Essays

versão On-line ISSN 2312-3621
versão impressa ISSN 1010-9919

Old testam. essays vol.25 no.1 Pretoria  2012


Evangelism of young children: Is an evolutionary understanding of "original sin" possible?



Annette Evans

University of the Free State





Children's bibles have always been "pretexts for passing along values,"1 but the consequences of children reading the bible urgently need to be researched. A recent pilot study revealed that most of the young subjects had little conceptual impression of "sin, " thus also raising the issue of "original sin. " The latter is important in the context of knowledge transfer between adult and child in a religious climate of strong contention between religion and science and the emergent popularity of "Scientific Creationism" or "Intelligent Design. " The challenge today is to encourage young people to share in a tradition which is continuously being rethought and reapplied. In our predominantly secular environment, religious insistence on the ideal of purity and integrity tends towards resistance of any revision of the tradition. However, the conundrum of Anselm's dictum of "believing to understand and understanding to believe" must be considered. In modern scientific thought the idea that there was ever a historical state of innocence, or a literal Adam and Eve is unacceptable. "Original sin" can still express meaningfully the sense of humanity's estrangement from the deity, but the "ideal" world is the enlivening new creation yet to come, not a once perfect world to which we now seek nostalgically to return. This article offers an alternative understanding of God's relation to creation than "The Fall. " It is proposed that the Adam and Eve story is about the awakening of self-consciousness, and the concomitant responsibility to recognize temptation and exercise choice. Coherence between such contraries as science and religion, reasoning and spiritual susceptibility, even for young children, is promoted by an accepting ethical environment in which "fideistic assertion" is tested by imaginative questioning and exploration of the limits of dogma.



“Full text available only in PDF format” 




Adamo, David Tuesday. "Reading Psalm 109 in African Christianity." Old Testament Essays 21/3 (2008): 572-592.         [ Links ]

Astley, Jeff and Lesley J. Francis, eds. Christian theology and Religious Education: Connections and Contradictions. London: SPCK, 1996.         [ Links ]

Barr, James. The Garden of Eden and the Hope of Immortality. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1992.         [ Links ]

Beckwith, Ivy. Postmodern Children's Ministry: Ministering to Children in the 21st Century. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2004.         [ Links ]

Berra, Tim M. Evolution and the Myth of Creationism: A Basic Guide to the Facts in the Evolution Debate. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1990.         [ Links ]

Bottigheimer, Ruth B. The Bible for Children: From the Age of Gutenberg to the Present. New Haven/ London: York University Press, 1996.         [ Links ]

Bouteneff, Peter. Ancient Christian Readings of the Biblical Creation Narratives. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2008.         [ Links ]

Brueggemann, Walter. Genesis. Interpretation: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching. Atlanta: John Knox, 1982.         [ Links ]

Brink, Theodora P. "Vertaalteoretiese Benaderings by Kinderbybelvertaling." M.Phil diss., Stellenbosch University, 2010.         [ Links ]

Bruce, Steve. "The Demise of Christianity." Pages 53-63 in Predicting Religion: Christian, Secular and Alternative Futures. Edited by Grace Davie, Paul Heelas & Linda Woodhead. Aldershot/Burlington: Aldershot Publishing Ltd, 2009.         [ Links ]

Burns, Lanier. "From Ordered Soul to Corrupted Nature: Calvin's View of Sin." Pages 85-106 in John Calvin and Evangelical Theology: Legacy and Prospect. Edited by Sung W. Chung. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009.         [ Links ]

Calle, José M. "Catholic Education as Evangelization." Pages 58-65 in Youth Ministry: A Book of Readings. Edited by Michael Warren. New York/Romney/Toronto: Paulist Press, 1977.         [ Links ]

Cameron, Ron and Merrill P. Miller. "Introduction: Ancient Myths and Modern Theories of Christian Origins." Pages 1-32 in Redescribing Christian Origins. Society of Biblical Literature Symposium Series. Edited by Ron Cameron and Merrill P. Miller. Atlanta: SBL, 2004.         [ Links ]

Collins, Francis. The Language of God: a Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief. New York/London/Toronto/Sydney: Free Press, 2006.         [ Links ]

Conradie, Erns. "Evolusie en Christelike Geloof - Wat is die Vraag nou Eintlik?" No Pages. Cited 4 December 2009. Online:         [ Links ]

Coyne, Jerry A. Why Evolution is True. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2009.         [ Links ]

Crisp, Oliver, D. "Calvin on Creation and Providence." Pages 43-65 in John Calvin and Evangelical Theology: Legacy and Prospect. Edited by Sung W. Chung. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2009.         [ Links ]

Du Toit, Jaqueline S. At Lamprech and Nick F. Schmidt, "Children and the Transfer of Religious Instruction in Oral, Visual and Literary Texts." Journal for Semitics 16/2 (2007): 289-296.         [ Links ]

Gold, Penny S. Making the Bible Modern: Children's Bibles and Jewish Education in Twentieth-Century America. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2004.         [ Links ]

Goldstein, David S. T. The Evolution of the Doctrines of Sin and Repentance in Classical Jewish Thought. Ann Arbor, Mich./London: University Microfilms International, 1974.         [ Links ]

Gous, Ignatius G. "Snakes and Ladders: Mind Games in Genesis 2 and 3." Journal for Semitics 19/1 (2010): 208-225.         [ Links ]

Haught, John T. God after Darwin: A Theology of Evolution. Boulder: Westorian Press, 2008.         [ Links ]

Heilman, Samuel. Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra Orthodox Jewry. New York: Schocken Books, 1992.         [ Links ]

Hodgson, Peter E. Theology and Modern Physics. Ashgate Science and Religion Series. Aldershot, UK/Burlington, USA: Ashgate Publishing Limited, 2005.         [ Links ]

Hrdy Sarah B. Mothers and Others: The Evolutionary Origin of Mutual Understanding. Cambridge, Mass./London. The Bellknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2009.         [ Links ]

Küng, Hans. Christianity: The Religious Situation of Our Time. London: SCM Press Ltd, 1995.         [ Links ]

Lategan, Bernard C. s.v. "Hermeneutics." Pages 149-154 in The Anchor Bible Dictionary. Edited by David N. Freedman. New York: Doubleday, 1992.         [ Links ]

Lapide, Pinchus and Peter Stuhlmacher. Paul: Rabbi and Apostle. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing House, 1984.         [ Links ]

Masters, Jill. Lessons for Life: Book 1. London: Wakeman Trust, 1991.         [ Links ]

McGrath, Alister. Development from the Victorians to the Second Vatican Council. Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1990.         [ Links ]

Morris, Simon C. Hoe het leven de dingen regelt: De mens als noodzakelijke uitkomst van de evolutie: (Life's solution). Diemen: Uitgeverij Veen Magazines B.V., 2009.         [ Links ]

Murray, Andrew. How to Bring Your Children to Christ. Springdale, Pa.: Whitaker House, 1984 reprint (formerly "Children for Christ").         [ Links ]

Nebreda S. J., Alfonso M. "Education for Faith." Pages 39-46 in Youth Ministry. A Book of Readings. Edited by Michael Warren. New York/Romney/Toronto: Paulist Press, 1997.         [ Links ]

Nürnberger, Klaus. "Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion: An Atheist Science Confronts a Superstitious Faith." Scriptura 2 (2009): 301-313.         [ Links ]

Perry, Whitall N. The Widening Breach: Evolution in the Mirror of Cosmology. Cambridge: Quinta Essentia, 1995.         [ Links ]

Peters, Ted and Martinez Hewlett. Can you Believe in God and Evolution? A Guide for the Perplexed. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2006.         [ Links ]

Petersen, John. Maps of Meaning: the Architecture of Belief. New York: Routledge, 1999.         [ Links ]

Polkinghorne, John C. Quantum Physics and Theology: An Unexpected Kinship. London: Yale University Press, 2007.         [ Links ]

Pyper, Hugh S. An Unsuitable Book: The Bible as Scandalous Text. Sheffield: Sheffield Phoenix Press, 2005.         [ Links ]

Räisänen, Heikki. The Rise of Christian Beliefs: the Thought World of Early Christians. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2010.         [ Links ]

Rees, Brinley R. Pelagius: A Reluctant Heretic. Woodbury, Suffolk/Rochester N.Y.: The Boydell Press, 1988.         [ Links ]

Rowland, Christopher and Jonathan Roberts. The Bible for Sinners: Interpretation in the Present Time. London: SPCK, 2008.         [ Links ]

Rob J. Russel, "A New View on Evolution and Catholic Faith: Report from the 2009 Conference at the Gregorian University," Theology and Science 8/1, (2010): 1-6.         [ Links ]

Shuster, Marguerite. The Fall and Sin: What We Have Become as Sinners. Grand Rapids, Mich./Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2004.         [ Links ]

Spangenberg, Isak J. J. "Can a Major Religion Change? Reading Genesis 1-3 in the Twenty-First Century." Verbum et Ecclesia 28/1 (2007): 259-279.         [ Links ]

_____ . "The Doctrines of Original Sin and the Virgin Birth: Divine Revelation or Human Construct?" Verbum et Ecclesia 30/1 (2009): 221-242.         [ Links ]

Storms, Samuel C. Tragedy in Eden: Original Sin in the Theology of Jonathan Edwards. Lanham/New York/London: University Press of America, 1985.         [ Links ]

Taylor, John. The Scripture and Doctrine of Original Sin, Proposed to Free and Candid Examination. No publisher, 1767 (1738).         [ Links ]

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre. Science and Christ. Translated by René Hague. London: Collins, 1968.         [ Links ]

Vandervelde, George. Original Sin: Two Major Trends in Contemporary Roman Catholic Reinterpretation. Amsterdam: Rodopi N.V., 1975.         [ Links ]

Van Huyssteen, Wentzel J. Alone in the World? Human Uniqueness in Science and Theology: The Gifford Lectures, University of Edinburgh, Spring 2004. Grand Rapids, Mich.:Wm B Eerdmans Publishing Company Ltd, 2006.         [ Links ]

Venter, Riaan 2009. "God after Darwin: The Promise of Trinitarian Theology." Paper presented at the Joint Conference of Academic Societies in the Fields of Religion and Theology. Stellenbosch, June 22-26, 2009.         [ Links ]

Ward, Keith. Rethinking Christianity. Oxford: OneWorld Publications, 2007.         [ Links ]

Westermann, Claus. Creation. Translated by John J. Scullion, S.J. London: SPCK, 1974.         [ Links ]

Woodhead, Linda. A Sociology of Religious Emotion. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010.         [ Links ]



Dr. Annette Evans
Research Associate, International Institute for the Study of Race
Reconciliation and Social Justice, University of the Free State



1 Samuel Heilman, Defenders of the Faith: Inside Ultra Orthodox Jewry (New York: Schocken Books, 1992), 225.

Creative Commons License Todo o conteúdo deste periódico, exceto onde está identificado, está licenciado sob uma Licença Creative Commons