« One Less God (Video) | Main | Graphic Abortion Images on Facebook? »

October 10, 2011

Comments

I'm a TE, though a fairly conservative one at that. But I do think that's where the science points us.

I must say, though, that abandoning a historic Adam and Eve is a dangerous game to play for my fellow TE-ists. This is where I think some theologians go too far. To abandon it threatens the concept of original sin, God's initial creation, and ultimately our need for salvation. If God created us and there was no real "fall" (however that looked!), then there was nothing to fall from and, therefore, nothing to be REdeemed.

I could ultimately care less where one falls on the whole scientific spectrum of things, but at the end of the day chalking all of Genesis 1-11 into the category of fictional myth is dangerous. Is it a myth? Yep. Does that mean it lacks historical truths? Not at all. That's a modernist misconception.

"evidence for Darwinianism is getting weaker?"

Please pardon my ignorance on this, but with the media ablaze with it, athiests still touting it, and still no change in college curriculum, I would hardly say that evolution was on it's last leg. Either these folks are just ignoring it or they are just shout casting over those opposed to it. From the fire I see in media blogs, tv, and regular discussion you could write all the books in the world opposing evolution and it wont make much of a difference.

I've been teaching in a state run/funded secondary school science department in New Zealand for the last 8 years. It seems to me as if some of the hard-core evolutionists are turning more towards an attack on pseudo-science rather than specifically Christian accounts of creation.

It's a very fine/particular difference, because they will still include "Creation Science" as pseudo science, but they don't realise that they are battling with us against pseudo-science at the same time! The principles that take down homeopathy can also take down the bad science "supporting" evolution as an explanation of life's origins.

There will always be the shouters in opposition, but the average person is more willing to listen to reason when they are engaged by thoughtful conversation and debate. Dawkins, et al, do not give thoughtful or reasonable debate because ultimately they can't, and this is why they are gradually losing...

So it seems to me, and if God wills it in any case.

John Bloom from Biola University reports that some theistic evolutionists are questioning whether Adam and Eve were historical. He asks, why are they questioning the Bible when the evidence for Darwinianism is getting weaker?

Well it’s not as though we need to ruminate indefinitely in order to come up with some possible explanations. Perhaps they don’t think the evidence for evolution is on balance becoming weaker. Even if evolutionists have uncovered more anomalies, they may also have uncovered more evidence confirming evolution, in which case the probability of the theory on the total available evidence may have remained stable. Furthermore, anyone familiar with the history of science knows that all of our best theories have faced a multitude of anomalies. The presence of anomalies, therefore, is hardly sufficient by itself to warrant the inference that the theory is junk. No reasonable person rejected a theory as inadequate simply because it faced anomalies.

Additionally, perhaps the theistic evolutionists think that the genetic evidence that we see is on the whole more to be expected by far on the hypothesis that we descended from an original population of around 10,000 than on the hypothesis that we descended from a pair of humans having conversations with garden snakes and the Lord. If so, that sure would explain why some theistic evolutionists are doubting the Adam and Eve story.

It’s important, by the way, to emphasize attending to the total available evidence, since articles like Bloom’s, so typical of folks of his persuasion, are very quick to point out anomalies with respect to evolution but hardly ever present the evidence for evolution in a strong or fair fashion. How often, for instance, do folks like Bloom present in a careful and lucid way the evidence for evolution from biogeography? Bloom certainly hasn’t in that article. Koukl never has. Or consider the genetic evidence that might favor evolution. Is there any mention of that in Bloom's article? No. But it is a fallacy (and plainly self-serving and intellectually lazy) to attend only to the portion of the available data friendly to one’s preconceived notions and to infer that the available evidence (surprise surprise) supports the dogmas one has been unwilling to part with all along.

Bloom says that there are certain aspects of pseudogenes that were not predicted by evolutionists. Unsurprisingly, what he fails to mention are any aspects of anything at all that ID folks or creationists failed to predict. How many ID folks, I wonder, predicted that we would uncover fossils of whales with legs? How many ID folks predicted the distribution of living organisms found in oceanic islands? Predictably, Bloom doesn’t say.

Bloom’s article is hardly worth quoting at length. It is full to the brim of theological paranoia, gives no good reasons to think that the story of Adam and Eve ought to be taken seriously as history, and is a paradigm case of the sort of theological and empirical stubbornness that is not fit for survival in an academically rigorous environment.

I found these articles in The Aquila Report (http://theaquilareport.com/) a few weeks ago that seem to go with this topic. They talk about the genetic evidence and the historicity of Adam and Eve:
http://a-short-saying.blogspot.com/2011/06/who-was-adam.html
http://a-short-saying.blogspot.com/2011/09/adam-and-eve-tale-of-two-cases.html
The author points out that there is more than one way to interpret the genetic data (and even talks about the ambiguity of that phrase, "genetic data") and shows the problems with a Darwinian interpretation.

If humans gradually evolved, and our sinfulness is merely the inherent selfishness resulting from a Darwinian process, then human history is progress, not corruption, so shouldn’t humans ultimately be good enough not to need a savior?

I don't see how that follows. Evolution doesn't predict that we should improve morally. It predicts that we should either improve practically or that we should be weeded out. Natural selection aims at survival and reproduction, not moral superiority. It doesn't predict that any species will improve. After all, most species have become extinct because of their failure to adapt to their changing environments.

Randy, how do you reconcile the existence of an historical Adam and Eve with your view of theistic evolution? If Adam and Eve are historical people, do you think they existed about 6,000 years ago? If so, what happened to all the other humanoids? If not, how do you reconcile that with the chronology in Genesis?

Randy said:
I must say, though, that abandoning a historic Adam and Eve is a dangerous game to play for my fellow TE-ists. This is where I think some theologians go too far. To abandon it threatens the concept of original sin, God's initial creation, and ultimately our need for salvation. If God created us and there was no real "fall" (however that looked!), then there was nothing to fall from and, therefore, nothing to be REdeemed.

Scientific evidence points to meat-eating dinosaurs existing and dying out long before Man appeared. In the Garden account in Genesis, all animals and humans are vegetarian, no? I do not see how that can be reconciled. There were dinosaurs who were nothing if not voracious meat-eaters. Suffering and death occurred in the primeval world. Isn't that considered a result of sin?

I am quite content to accept Genesis as mythological shorthand for the appearance of Man and our need for salvation, but by no means do I accept it literally.

Perry, how do you deal with what appears to be a seamless narrative from Adam to the patriarchs? Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all seems to be historical people, and their genealogy is traced backed to Adam. If Adam isn't an historical person, then at some point the narrative has to transition from myth to history. But there's no clear transition as far as I can see.

Luk 24:25 And He said to them, "O foolish men and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!

Luk 24:26 "Was it not necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and to enter into His glory?"

Luk 24:27 Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures.

Sam, your question presupposes that the Biblical narrative must be literal, and we must reconcile geology and paleontology to fit it. I ask, "Why?" The same thinking occurred when Copernicus and Galileo so offended the Church by positing a scientific view point that "contradicted" Scripture.

I believe Christians appear increasingly foolish the more they try to fit what the scientific evidence indicates into a "literal" Biblical narrative. We end up with the the "Creation Museum," a total scientific disaster that results from this type of thinking.

How do you explain, Sam, the near-scientific certainty that meat-eating dinosaurs that shed blood and lived brutal, miserable lives existed before Man's fall?

Perry, are you saying that NONE of Genesis is literal history? Do you doubt that Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are historical people?

I don't think meat eating was part of the fall.

If you consider Calvin's translation of Hebrews 11:3, first the KJV, "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.

or as Calvin translates the last line "So that they became the visible of things not visible", then it is possible to have billions of years of dinosaurs and sabre tooth tigers eating one another, in the spiritual realm, as the fossil record suggests.

You can also have the creation of time, space, and matter occurring 6-10 thousand years ago as the Biblical record suggests.

Things of the spiritual dimension, perhaps billions of years old, became visible when God created and clothed them with matter.

Matter was truly a creation of something out of nothing, but it served to reveal a creation that was already here.

It is like having a magnet beneath a sheet of paper, and adding iron shavings to expose the magnetic fields.

Just a thought.

Really, on the Gallileo thing?

Are you sure he didn't instigate it by writing it in a form where the pope (who was a supporter of his) was a talking ass, and wasn't his punishment house arrest in a friends palace?

Didn't Copernicus publish something similar years earlier, and wasn't the issue that most scholars still believed the pagan Greek Aristotle and the reasons weren't always necessarily religious, such as the astronomers lack of ability to observe parallax that the new theory would suggest?

But who am I to question a good Atheist myth that the horrible Christians tried their best to keep people as ignorant of science as possible?

Galileo believed that science and scripture must ultimately agree with each other, if both are interpreted correctly:

http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/mod/galileo-tuscany.asp

By the way, though anyone nowadays can in principle make the same observations and confirm the earth actually goes around the sun, it is impossible to directly confirm the hypothesis of common descent (which is essentially a historical claim).

The way I see it is this: go where the evidence leads, even if it blows your pre-conceived notions. I see no reason to fret and try to back-load scientific knowledge into the Bible. We know that the earth is millions of years old, and that a whole other world existed before Man appeared. This conflicts with a literal reading of Genesis. So what? Who says Genesis has to be read literally?

And yes, from my study, meat-eating is believed to be a result of the Fall (at least by Fundamentalists). To explain it as existing in a "spiritual" realm is just more twisting to reconcile the two, unnecessarily.

The machinations I read people going through to shoehorn scientific knowledge into a literal Genesis account appear a waste of effort. Genesis reads like a fable, or shorthand, to explain the creation of the world and get us quickly to Man's history. It is likely the men who wrote it at the time were using available knowledge to draw their conclusions, much like other cultures did to create their Creation myths. It doesn't lessen the impact of the moral or lesson, which is Man's sinfulness and need for God, to read the entire account as allegory.

I also believe that, being written in a Jewish culture, the Bible is an attempt to capture Jewish history, hence the lineages and so forth. The writers no more knew about the physical processes involved in the creation of the world than I know about brain surgery. God, being God, obviously knows, but how could he communicate that to a pre-scientific culture? Hence, we receive a shorthand account.

"Please pardon my ignorance on this, but with the media ablaze with it, athiests still touting it, and still no change in college curriculum, I would hardly say that evolution was on it's last leg. Either these folks are just ignoring it or they are just shout casting over those opposed to it. From the fire I see in media blogs, tv, and regular discussion you could write all the books in the world opposing evolution and it wont make much of a difference."

This is hardly a revelation Randy. Jesus addressed such in Matthew 7:13-14 explaining why all of those that hold to TRUTH will ALWAYS be out numbered.

Matthew 7:13-14
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

The comments to this entry are closed.