Bryan College in Tennessee was founded to honor William Jennings Bryan, the man who defended creation at the 1925 Scopes trial. Like many Christians of his day, Bryan did not take a position on the earth’s age, but he vigorously opposed human evolution. The school’s longstanding Statement of Belief was intended to reflect his opposition to evolution, but recent developments forced the school to tighten up its wording.
BioLogos and other influential Christian organizations are arguing that Adam came from a race of preexisting creatures. Yet they still believe this view is consistent with Genesis 1.
So last March the president of Bryan College declared he and the board of trustees wanted to tighten the school’s position on the historicity of Adam.
The original statement read: “[We believe] that the origin of man was by fiat of God in the act of creation as related in the Book of Genesis; that he was created in the image of God; that he sinned and thereby incurred physical and spiritual death.”
The new version reads explicitly: “We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve. They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms.”
The college’s clarification that Adam and Eve were direct creations of God is a hopeful sign.
You would expect this to be a non-issue.1 But reportedly, the way it was handled led the faculty to respond with a resounding no-confidence vote. Many instructors said they were bothered, not by the statement itself, but by the process and apparent haste, as well as the timing. Instructors must sign the clarification to renew their contracts, and the change came near the end of the school year, not giving professors who disagree much time to look elsewhere.