Are Adam and Eve figurative people?

Discussion in 'Sacred Scripture' started by Pax_Christi, Mar 27, 2013.

  1. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    You're right. 99.99% was a hyperbolic estimate. Although I don't think 9 out 10 would be an exaggeration; in fact I think that's pretty safe.

    I would say evolution makes the grade among scientists simply because it rests on the soundest available scientific evidence. It does indeed challenge the Christian creation story if you take that story literally, and (admittedly) that's the way it's largely been taken throughout the Church's history. So whether the Church can adapt remains to be seen. I think Western theology has the toughest hurdle to overcome due to its unique doctrine of Original Sin, which evolution reduces to the level of a fairy tale. The Eastern Churches don't have to deal with this so much, but their theologians bristle at evolution anyway since they've always had such an innate conservatism and traditionalism.
     
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  2. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Well, I wasn't arguing for dogmatic scientism. Your claim that "science is always false," however, is somewhat misleading. Science is always provisional; it is not infallible and it doesn't make any such claim. Facts are simply conclusions drawn from examining & testing the best available evidence. Anything and everything could be overturned tomorrow by a better explanation based on better evidence. If you've read your Hume you doubtless know this already.

    Personally, I'm fine with having every empirical and dogmatic claim ever made by mortal man be devoured by subjectivism and solipsism, those great monsters of the abyss which are unstoppable and irrefutable, swallowing up everything in their path. I quite agree with you that all arguments are circular and nothing is objective, yet if this is the case then the Bible's testimony of its divine origin is no better than the Qur'an's, and the individual Christian must be infallible herself to perceive it; illuminated by the Holy Ghost, perhaps—but then there's that old-time Gnosticism again!
     
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  3. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    I think there are more scientific problems that arise from rejecting evolution than there are in accepting it. Particularly in vestigial biology. This is really long, but it's a terrific talk given by Jerry Coyne while promoting his book, Why Evolution Is True. He covers a lot of the problems that evolution deniers must necessarily fashion scientific explanations for (supposing that evolution is, as you say, "pseudo-science").

     
  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I don't deny your estimate, since it is evolutionist who are the gatekeepers of biology. My wife walked away from a pre-med degree because when she took Biology for premeds it was taught by a man who started the class with a vote of students who believed in Darwinian Evolution and those who did not. When she raised her hand that she did not along with others he laughed very mockingly and said they would never graduate with a degree in science no matter how well their grades were. He would make sure of that. She graduated summa cum laud with only one "B" in her academic career from kindergarten to her BS. It was from that teacher, who also was the academic advisor of all premeds. She had 100s on everything she turned in for him....but he claimed there was a curve, which is why she walked out with an 89.4%. What a jerk. I've run into those smug (censored) every time I've had dealings with academics in the science world. They claim to follow the facts but it's all too clear they have no problem resorting to the ugliest means of intimidation and career/character assassination for anyone who dares not follow lock step in line with the creed of the Darwinists. jme

    There are huge gaps and inconsistencies in Darwinism. Ben Stein's documentary Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed discusses this in detail. Personally, I don't see why it is the Church that should budge on this. Prior to Columbus, medieval scientists believed the earth was flat. The bible, in Isaiah 40:22, declared the earth to be a schere and the church had to wait over 2000yrs to catch up. I feel confident the same is true today. 90% of scientists may disagree with the Bible so what? Romans 3:4 declares "let God be true, but every man a liar; as it is written, That you might be justified in your sayings, and might overcome when you are judged". I think it comes down to what you establish as your ultimate authority. Science and scripture can coexist very nicely, but where the twain must part, who you go with is your ultimate master.
     
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  5. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    I hate smug insufferable scientists, too, but I don't think their existence is sufficient for a rejection of evolution, which itself is nothing more than an impersonal set of observations, hypotheses, and conclusions. I certainly respect your wife for standing on principle. I can sympathize with the hostility of the scientific community towards creationism, but I don't think it justifies anyone behaving like a jerk.
     
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  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I've actually had the opportunity to watch this video before. It makes some fair points. Perhaps, it is the fact that I am in the legal profession, but I am more persuaded by Lee Strobel's book "The Case for Creation". I say this as one who grew up a Darwinist and continued to espouse it right along with Christianity for many years. Sadly the more I studied it the more I was convinced that the two were incompatible and that the center could not hold in Darwinism. After all, science can only comment on things it can observe and measure, things within nature, material things. God is supernatural and spiritual, he cannot be directly observed or measured as he is both infinite and invisible. Therefore, Darwin, and the host of his followers, had no way of commenting on the level of guidance or aid God provided in the creation or evolution of life, either in the positive or negative. And yet he makes this monumental leap of hubris to declare definitively that God had no hand in the creation of life. That is a statement of faith (or faithlessness) that was not, indeed cannot be backed up by scientific evidence. Furthermore, Darwinism is locked into a mechanistic, 18th Century understanding of life, that organisms are nothing more than biological machines that run on plumbing, cogs and wheels. Physics and chemistry debunk this understanding as much as any creation scientist can. Darwinism has no place for Quantum theory or Meta-genetics and yet these theories are still sound science, more sound in my opinion.

    Again I recognize some aspects of evolution, especially intra-species evolution, but the central myth of Darwinism, that life came into existence from nonliving matter spontaneously, unaided, and unguided, by accident or coincidence is not something that can be verified by the evidence available and thus must be classified as an unscientific editorializing of facts into a godless "atheology" that requires a strict and unbending mental obedience that is far more draconian than any other religion I've ever come across (including Calvinism ;)). It is the philosophical basis for the Holocaust as well as the Eugenics movement during the Progressive era, and since Margaret Sanger was an adherent, I can confidently blame Darwinism for the nearly 300,000 instances of murder committed per year in the US by Planned Parenthood and it's abortion clinics. Darwinism is a lie that leads to death.
     
  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Here's a video that sums up my position on Darwinism ( Don't worry it's much shorter than Jerry Coyne's). It's short but you get the drift.
     
  8. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    "The idea that educated men at the time of Columbus believed that the earth was flat, and that this belief was one of the obstacles to be overcome by Columbus before he could get his project sanctioned, remains one of the hardiest errors in teaching." - Members of the Historical Association, in 1945.

    Read the myth of the flat earth.
     
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  9. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    I believe that they are real, and I also believe that the Earth is old & that God worked through evolution. I do not spend time trying to reconcile the two. God knows how they fit together. God revealed truth to us in Genesis, and we discover other truths about his creation as we study the universe & the past. All of it is God's truth. The Bible is not wrong, but our interpretations can be. Science is not perfect, but an anti-intellectual approach to it might cause us to miss truths about God's creation.
     
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  10. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Read Spherical Earth

    The concept of a spherical earth was not uniformly accepted even in the middle ages, and was not completely overthrown until Columbus and company began proving it wrong. The theory came later to some areas of the "Old World" than others to be sure.
     
  11. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    ...as will an blind and anti-intellectual acceptance of Darwinism merely because it is repeated again and again by academia. Everyone should study the topic thoroughly, origins have implications on the destinations.
     
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  12. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    And yet, most scientists who make quantum theory their chosen field of study nevertheless accept the theory of evolution. That should tell you something; evolution is not "locked into" a nineteenth-century mindset. Science is constantly correcting and refining Darwin, but the essential theory remains workable and sound. Consider John Polkinghorne, a theoretical physicist who is also one the Anglican Church's most prominent theologians.

    I'm kind of surprised at you on this one, Lowly Layman. For someone who once accepted the theory of evolution, you seem to have a misunderstanding of Darwin. The Origin of Species does not attempt to explain the origin of life itself, but rather (simply) how species evolve. The taxonomical tree of life can be diagrammed all the way back to its root, which is single-celled bacteria. Evolution can account for how life evolved from this earliest form to the complexity we see today. But science does not yet have an answer for how single-celled bacteria came into being. That is an entirely different question. Evolution is concerned with diversity and complexity.

    This is rhetorical excess. The eugenics movement was based on a woeful misunderstanding of evolution: that "survival of the fittest" should be the whole of the law. First of all, this is not evolutionary theory. Precisely speaking, natural selection favors the most adaptable, not the "fittest." It is not necessarily the strongest or the smartest that survives; such attributes might take you to the top of the food chain, but nature is not a stasis. The world is in flux. Carnivorous dinosaurs were fearsome monsters who ruled the roost in their time, but when a radical environmental change came along, it was the small nocturnal mammals who survived to take their spot. The "fittest" got wiped out. Eugenics is irrelevant to evolution, especially since the survival of homo sapiens isn't threatened by the species having mentally or physically disabled people among its numbers, nor by exhibiting a plurality of ethnicities. Eugenics was an idiotic and morally bankrupt system—its own stupidity is betrayed by its willful ignorance of natural selection. And I'm not sure how you managed to get all the way to Planned Parenthood, but that's a massive stretch. I despise infanticide, but abortion is not based on eugenics; as you know, it's based on the so-called "right to choose," which extends itself to everyone regardless of race or class. Poor women still have tons of babies, while plenty of educated and financially well-off women are murdering their babies in the womb. If you want to call this eugenics, it doesn't seem to be a successful program.

    Neither did the Holocaust have evolution as its philosophical basis; on one hand it drew from the anti-Semitism which had been making the rounds in Europe long before Darwin ever drew breath, and on the other hand it extolled a notion of Nordic-Germanic "Aryan" stock as the master race, based on as profound a misreading of Nietzsche as Darwin. Again, a scientific theory (which cannot say anything about ethics) is not culpable for any thugs who twist it to malevolent ends. Let's keep the discussion innocent of fear-mongering.
     
  13. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    I completely agree.

    But Genesis (like all of the Old Testament) is incomplete without Christ. Isn't the most important aspect of the story of Adam & Eve their spiritual estrangement from God? And isn't the fundamental purpose of the Incarnation to heal this fracture and restore our lost innocence? "For as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive." I'm not convinced that it's deathly important for us to believe that man was literally fashioned by God out of the ground as a potter wields clay, or that woman was brought forth from his rib. I think the essence of the story is preserved whether one accepts evolution or opts for creationism.
     
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  14. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    I honestly don't get this mindset that creation and evolution are somehow mutually exclusive, it is childish thinking in my opinion.
     
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  15. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    Yah, it's not "really" a divinely inspired, infallible, and inerrant account of creation. It's just another creation story like those of other cultures around the world.
     
  16. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Childish? Thanks Gordon.
     
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  17. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Accepting a premise merely because others, including influential people, accept it without resolving the gaps and inconsistencies of the evidence, is antiscientific and superstitious. I recently read CS Lewis's book The World's Last Night. In one essay, "The Obstinacy of Faith", he points out that the blind faith that unscientific people have for scientific declarations far exceeds the faith scientific people have for the same things. Skepticism and rigorous analysis of the evidence is the constant companion of a truly scientific mind. Besides, I've pointed out that to get anywhere in scientific professions, one must accept Darwinism as absolute truth, or risk being persona non grata. Scientists know all too well the failed experiments of bucking the Darwinist creed and what it will do to your career. When acceptance of Darwinism is the gate one must pass through to become a scientist, it's no surprise that most if not all scientists espouse it.

    Friend, you have a very antiquated idea of Darwinism. Origin of the Species was only the first step in Darwinist system. Today Darwinism has grown way beyond Darwin's initial theoretical conclusions. Anyone who believes that Darwinists only confine how species evolve and do not comment on the beginnings of life have simply not read the current trends in the science. Evolution is concerned with change over time, but Darwinism does much more. To say otherwise is just not accurate.

    Philosophies have consequences. That Darwinism was the root intellectual driving force between Eugenics and the Holocaust is a historical observable fact, which is much more than can be said for Darwinism's claims.

    Lastly, you need to look up what fear-mongering means before you accuse me of it. Please don't resort to insulting me, I haven't done that with you. If Darwinism is true then it doesn't need insults to defend it. If it is false, then no amount of insults will retrieve it from its just place in the history's trash bin of humbugs and bad theories.
     
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  18. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    That's fair. And I should clarify - in no way was I accusing anyone here of being anti-intellectual in regards to Creation. There are good and not-so-good ways to approach any belief in this area.
     
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  19. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Very true DK, I wasn't accusing you of doing that. I just wanted to flesh out the idea and show that extremes on both sides are untenable. I apologize if I came across that way. I have the utmost of respect for you and would never think that.
     
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  20. The Dark Knight

    The Dark Knight Active Member

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    It's all good! :D