A Christian college has stepped into controversy after formally clarifying its belief that "all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve."
Bryan College in Dayton, Tenn., offered up the clarification to its belief about human origins last month amid renewed national debate over creationism and evolution.
"We believe that all humanity is descended from Adam and Eve," the clarification states. "They are historical persons created by God in a special formative act, and not from previously existing life forms."
The clarification is to the college's existing statement of belief, which cannot be changed because of the school's charter. The statement of belief affirms the stance "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."
"This interpretation of Bryan’s position is in no way a change to the Statement of Belief," the school said in its Feb. 23 statement. "It is the current and historical position of Bryan, an institution founded and existing on a strong Creationist position."
The college is also considering producing a "position paper" on the issue of creation and is inviting the college community to send thoughts and ideas by March 28.
While the board of trustees says that the decision to clarify language was made in order to keep Bryan College on track with its original founding values, some professors and students have concerns about the move.
According to the Chattanooga Times Free Press, professors and staff will need to sign a statement that embraces the notion that "Adam and Eve were created in an instant by God and that humans shared no ancestry with other life forms."
The newspaper reported that some staff members fear for their jobs if they don't sign an agreement affirming the sentiment. Professors were reportedly given employment contract packets Friday and told that signing them means they agree with the new language.
"This is an educational institution," Bryan journalism professor John Carpenter told the Times Free Press. "In order for us to do our jobs, we have to be open to a variety of positions on things and many people would see this as a narrowing of a position that doesn’t need to be narrowed."
According to the report, some fear the clarification will harm the educational process, as some professors will be afraid to teach alternative creation theories. And staffers who spoke on condition of anonymity told the Times Free Press that they may not be able to bring themselves to officially embrace the clarified statement.
Hundreds of students have reportedly signed a petition against the change, with the student government association leading the charge.
"We believe that the manner in which this motion has been carried out threatens the atmosphere of academic freedom at Bryan College," student body president Joseph Murphy stated in a letter. "We believe that the clarification promotes factionalism at the cost of honest debate and discussion."
Bryan College did not return a request for comment from TheBlaze.
(H/T: Friendly Atheist)
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