This an excerpt taken from Rav Triebitz's introduction to Rav Soloveitchik's as of yet unpublished lectures on Bereishis
The Rav’s view of incommensurability, however, goes only so far. While discussing the Biblical account of the creation of man and its relationship with the modern scientific theory of evolution, the Rav actually appears to be seeking commensurability.
“Indeed, one of the most annoying scientific facts which the religious man encounters isthe problem of evolution and creation. However, this is not the real problem. Whatactually is irreconcilable is the concept of man as the bearer of a divine image and the idea of man as an intelligent animal in science. Evolution and creation can be reconciledmerely by saying that six days is not absolutely so, but is indefinite and may be longer. Maimonides spoke of Creation in terms of phases and the Kabbalah in terms of sefiros, the time of which may be indefinite. However, our conflict is man as a unique being and man as a friend of the animal. Science can never explain how being came into being, for it is out of the realm of science, while the Bible is concerned with the problem of ex-nihilo. Aristotle could not accept evolution because he believed in the eternity of forms.” (Lecture XII).
These statements, while delivered orally, are an almost verbatim quote of a passage written by the Rav himself in the recently published posthumous work The Emergence of Ethical Man. As is clear from the above quote, the Rav is clearly not satisfied with incommensurability, but is apparently adopting the commensurable approach of Rambam in chapter 30 of section II of the Guide for the Perplexed where he seeks to interpret the first chapter of Genesis in accordance with Aristotelian science, and which the Rav himself criticized in lecture I. Clearly the Rav is not dismissing the contradiction between evolution and the Biblical account of creation by declaring incommensurability. The reference to the Guide where an Aristotelian physical interpretation of the first two chapters of Genesis is presented is clearly intended to set a precedent for a scientifically commensurable interpretation of Scripture. The other example cited, the kabbalistic interpretation of Bereishis in terms of sefiros, is also being cited as a precedent for a nonliteral interpretation of natural terms, thereby avoiding a clash with scientific theory. The Rav’s assertion at the beginning of lecture II that the Bible will employ ancient outdated theories of science for the purpose of communicating the historical event of revelation is apparently being abandoned. For if the nature of revelation is only to reveal the Will of God, and the details of that revelation will therefore be relative to the science and culture of the time, why does the Rav feel the necessity to invoke non-literal readings of the text?
It appears to me that the Rav’s remarks concerning evolution are an attempt to achieve what I would call ‘halachic commensurability’ and not, merely, ‘scientific commensurability’. While Judaism views man as the “bearer of a divine image” and therefore endowed with the capacity for transcendence, this transcendence, in the Rav’s words, “was always seen against the background of naturalness. The canvas was man’s immanence; transcendence was just projected on it as a display of colors” (Emergence of Ethical Man p. 9). The Rav is clearly speaking from the standpoint of the halachah. In contradistinction, “Christianity succeeded in isolating them and reducing the element of naturalness to a state of corruption” (ibid.). This has to be seen as a consequence of Christianity’s rejection of the halacha
The issue of evolution and its seeming irreconciliation with the Bible “troubled Christian theologians more than Jewish scholars. The naturalistic formula of man was to a certain extent common knowledge among the Jewish sages, who did not resent it, whereas Christian theologians are still struggling with the secularization of human existence by scientific research. The reason lies in the discrepancy between the Jewish Bible and the Christian Gospels, the ‘Old’ and ‘New’ Testaments (Emergence of Ethical Man).The Rav’s desire to find commensurability between evolution and the Torah is therefore motivated by halachic reasons as opposed to scientific ones. The struggle waged by creationists’ against Darwin is in essence, according to the Rav, a Christian crusade which is in contradistinction to the Halachic conception of man. While Judaism’s objection is to the reductionist interpretation of evolution which reduces man to an animal, it equally objects to the Christian antinomy to evolution which views any naturalistic description of man to be sacrilege. The establishment of commensurability between evolution and the Bible is therefore motivated by a desire to adhere to the true philosophy of Judaism, the halacha, and to thereby exorcise it of Christian and Greek influences. The Rav clearly saw the reconciliation of evolution with the Biblical texts as being vital to Jewish interests.