by John R. Schneider
Recent genomic science strongly supports the theory of common ancestry. To classical Protestants, particularly, this theory seems incompatible with Scripture, most especially with the “historical Fall,” which Protestants presume to be manifestly biblical and so have cemented it securely into their confessions and theology as a whole. Nevertheless, John Schneider proposes that it is important for traditional Protestants to consider alternatives to this essentially “Augustinian” view. He invites readers to examine Eastern thinking (mainly in Irenaeus of Lyon) together with a minority of Protestants (such as Karl Barth and supralapsarian Calvinists), for whom the Incarnation and Atonement are the purpose of creation from the beginning. Their understanding differs from the execution of divine “Plan B,” as implied by the Augustinian western version of an unintended “fall” from utopian first conditions. Schneider appeals to a fresh reading of the book of Job in support of an “aesthetic supralapsarianism,” which sustains Protestant virtues of biblical authority, divine sovereignty, and grace, while opening avenues to compatibility with evolutionary science.