When I first heard of the primal lifestyle and began to consider it, I will freely confess that there were a few stumbling blocks. One of the biggies was evolution. You see, I am a Christian and a fairly hardcore creationist.
Questions arose: How can a Christian be primal? Doesn’t it take God out of the picture by basing itself on evolution?
For anyone with a naturalistic worldview, the above questions probably seem like fundamentalist drivel. In fact, you may be thinking that I’m about to slip into a rant about the evils of evolution.
Well, I’m not.
This is not to say that I agree with the naturalistic interpretation of the available data. I disagree with the interpretation. Still, the data are the data.
Data versus interpretation: adaptation by genetic variation
Too often the data are taken as the key issue. Some foolish creationists deny adaptation by genetic variation, even as they purchase one of hundreds of varieties of apple from the local farmer’s market and then go home and play with their genetically adapted canine. It is sheer silliness to deny adaptation by genetic variation: the evidence is obvious.
The question is not one of data, but one of context and interpretation. Here’s the deal: if God is real and he is creator, then we cannot understand his creation apart from understanding him. In other words, to interpret the data from a naturalistic perspective eliminates the foundational piece of data: the Creator.
How then should we interpret the data as Christians who are creationists? Here’s a quote from a bit I wrote last year:
God created the initial types and kinds of living things (Gen 1) and the continuing processes of adaptation by genetic variation. I hold that these continuing processes occur within type and kind, rather than between type and kind.
Adaptation as God’s Gift for Human Thriving
Over the centuries of human existence, our species has adapted to the changing environment. This adaptation has to do with human thriving, not merely with human survival. Humans make volitional choices to care for themselves and for those in their family or village. We are not subject to the impersonal forces of nature; we have some control.
We can exercise this control in the decision to work with the way things work (for example, by following a primal lifestyle) or to do what we wish despite how things work (for example, the standard American diet). Our decisions have consequences for our health. If we strive to live according to our divine design and subsequent adaptation, we will be healthier, more God-glorifying persons. If we strive to do as we wish and do not live according to our divine design and subsequent adaptation, we will be increasingly unhealthy and less God-glorifying than we ought to be.
Glorifying God by Living Primal
There are a couple of ways that living primal can glorify God. First, living primal glorifies God by caring for his creation: our bodies. God is pleased when we care for our physical health and the physical health of our loved ones and neighbors.
Second, living primal glorifies God by recognizing him as Lord of the material and immaterial world. If God designed humanity with processes inherent in adaptation by genetic variation, eating and moving according to those processes is part of living according to the will of our Creator.