To those who have a Christian background: How are New Testament theology and evolution compatible? Two problem cases.
Christianity is founded upon a premise that humanity required salvation from Adam’s sin, which doomed everyone. The so-called plan of salvation required a sacrifice to atone for what was believed to have happened in the Garden of Eden. But if evolution shows us anything, it is that the Genesis story is pure mythology. No Adam, no Eve, no Garden of Eden, no Tree of Knowledge, no talking snakes and no original sin. Mission cancelled, Abort! Abort!
Evolution also works against the idea of an eternal soul. In evolutionary terms, a soul would necessarily be an evolved feature. Did Lucy, a tiny hominid who lived 3.2 million years ago, have a soul? Did Neanderthals possess souls? Did early souls succeed, from the beginning, in the same way contemporary ones are assumed to, upon death of the host? Or did they just get 'stuck on the roof,' to quote the great Frisbeetarian, George Carlin? This entire soul concept isn’t supported by evolution. Christians who appear to accept evolution must confront the question: when did God choose to interfere with evolution and begin imparting souls?
I say soul is an old word for what is now called personality. Each individual soul or personality is unique to that person, even twins have differences.
As to the garden story, wheither truth or fiction it is a work of genius especially when understanding it from original language. English translation really butchers the story in ways.
Here is the best explination I have come across explaining from original language.
There is a belief system in which the soul does evolve in a sense. The mechanism is reincarnation. The "soul" is immortal and experiences multiple lifetimes as a learning experience to evolve toward perfection. It does not have a name as far as I know and is not an organized religion. It is more of a spiritual philosophy. Reincarnation is a concept that is rejected by Christians perhaps even more than evolution.
Those Christians I've known who accepted evolution (to be fair, it's quite a small number) fall into two camps.
One group believed in "Intelligent Design", which is just another name for Creationism, but the most sophisticated of them see ID as "Evolution guided by God" to result in specific end products: beetles, birds, cows, humans. They read the passage about God "breathing life into Adam" as meaning that God imparted a soul to human beings alone, among all the rest of the creatures of the world.
The others believed that humans are a special creation, and everything else randomly evolved, but, again, God made humans specially and gave them souls.
I believe that admitting human evolution would mean admitting we aren't elevated above all the other species in the world, and then they wouldn't feel "special" or "chosen". I suggest that they consider how lucky it is that the chain of events leading merely to one sperm meeting one egg produced each of us as individuals, but that never gets me anywhere.
I don't know as these are formal theories anywhere, or simply what the people I've known had come up with on their own. If the latter, it was a case of convergent evolution in the field of philosophy, where people with no connection to one another evolved the same theories separately. I've never heard of any church anywhere endorsing these ideas, though.
I was raised in a sect of Christianity that believes neither in evolution nor in eternal souls.
If I have understood such Christians correctly, though, Adam was the first "actual" human - the one who was finally human enough to be accountable for sin. Presumably, he was also the first to possess a functional soul (?). I do not know whether they think the soul evolved in him, or if it was bestowed upon him once he was good enough to receive it.
If you consider that Eden was a myth that was meant to describe a pre-material existence you can easily interpret the bible in a way that is consistent with evolution. When you move on to the next story Adam and Eve are given cloaks of skin. Notice however, that no time frame is given for the creation (or evolution) of these bodies.
Evolution theories support the idea that at some point the human brain acquired the ability for higher thought. According to Websters: " When it first entered English, atone meant to reconcile and suggested the restoration of a peaceful and harmonious state between people or groups." Therefore its not too difficult to see that biblical atonement refers to a return to a harmonious state with God. Further the word "Sin" was an archery term which described the separation between the arrow and the bullseye or center. So, biblically "sin" refers to our separation from God caused by the acknowledgment of evil. By the way evil does not exist in nature and neither does it exist in Eden. Only humans create evil , its a byproduct of our own egos (the earth bound serpent). Egos are necessary for survival in a material state of being, or at least they have been necessary so far.
The next evolution of mankind will feature a return to a non egoic state of being (atonement). In other words we will live strictly according to our higher consciousness which the bible symbolically describes as the Christ Spirit (Christian bible). The crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus symbolically describes the transition from our egoic state of being to our new atoned state of being. This atonement with God mind(higher consciousness) is necessary for a return to our Edenic state. We will be neither male or female in this state. as we were before the split into male and female.
Original sin, according to the original definition of sin, simply refers to our original separation and had nothing to do with sex. How could it? Mankind was given skin in the next story. Do animals have souls? Do they have a higher consciousness? They certainly do not recognize or judge events as good or evil, so they aren't like us. In other words I don't know.
By the way, I didn't come up with any of these ideas, its just good, old fashioned, fairly standard mysticism.