Are Adam and Eve figurative people?

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

  1. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    The word "childish" is a swear word, insulting and totally out of context here. To what or to whom do you mean to be insulting?
     
  2. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    The two are mutually exclusive for one simple reason: the philosophical and theological premises of the two positions are mutually exclusive. Empirical science presupposes atheistic materialism while creation is defined by special revelation in the logical, rational words of Holy Scripture. Science which speaks to metaphysical presuppositions like "theistic" evolution or "intelligent design" is not science but philosophy or theology. Michael Behe found that out the hard way. You cannot advocate "theistic" evolution since that is as "supernatural" and "revelatory" as saying that God created the universe in six 24 hour days by divine fiat and ex nihilo. You decide? Materialistic atheism? Or theistic creation?

    If I go with a literal creation by ex nihilo and divine fiat, why would you complain?
     
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  3. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    Since the philosophy of science has pretty much devastated any idea that empirical science is objective, it would appear that the false superiority of "science" is just that. Thomas Kuhn, Karl Popper, David Hume and others have shown the many fallacies in the scientific "method". Hume, for example, devastated the idea that there is an endless chain of cause and effect extending back to a first cause that science says began the process of evolution from a primordial soup.

    That line of thinking is as fallacious as Aquinas' cosmological argument. A first cause is merely an assertion and cannot be proved either rationally or empirically.

    Hume's point was that an infinite regress of cause and effect is prone to the fallacy of the universal negative. It could never be falsified or verified for that matter.
     
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  4. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    I agree. I was responding to Gordon's use of it in the post that you subsequently quoted and responded to. I would never use that to characterize anyone's opinion on this forum.
     
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  5. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Point taken, but this is still a little shaky. It has a strong whiff of conspiracy theory to it. The idea that many serious scientists must necessarily be hiding their doubts about evolution because a powerful evolutionary lobby holds sway over the scientific community is neither provable nor refutable: it relies overmuch on the supposed secret lives of the scientists in question. We can't know if someone like Dr. Polkinghorne is an occult creationist or not; even if he were to come out and say "I am a committed evolutionist because I accept the science and not because I fear reprisals for being a creationist," you could still make the case that he's only saying that for the sake of his career. It's quite true that any brooking of the evolutionary status quo is generally sneered upon within the scientific community, but I think that's for good reason. Or it's at least understandable. None of the proposed alternatives to evolution are scientific. Creationism is a religious explanation of the appearance of humans on earth, but if you want to say it's scientific then you would have to propose that the very existence of God is, by extension, scientifically verifiable (in case faith would be synonymous with fact, and I'd be surprised and intrigued if you believed that).

    Hmm. I'm not sure I take your meaning here. I try to stay a little bit au courant with modern science, but I don't see how Darwinism is necessarily integral to the origins of single-celled bacteria, seeing as how it concerns itself with the complexity which emerged after that development. I'm aware that scientists are interested in the beginnings of life on earth, but any honest one (including the arch-atheist Richard Dawkins) will openly admit that a good answer to that question is not available at this time. There are several prominent competing theories.

    I believe I successfully refuted that. Willful misreadings and misunderstandings of Darwinism (coupled with unrelated and pre-existing bigotries) were at the heart of the eugenics movement and the Holocaust; this is indeed an historical observable fact. I'll let my previous post stand. Evolution is not a philosophy; it is a scientific explanation for the diverse speciation of life on earth.

    I didn't think I was insulting you, Lowly Layman (it was certainly not my intention), and if I did then I sincerely apologize. I was only trying to refute your assertion that Darwinism is "a lie that leads to death." I don't think it's fair to tarnish a scientific theory with the broad brush of eugenics and Nazism. I'm happy to debate this topic strictly on its merits—and, to get back to the OP, I'm still at a loss to see how evolution is incompatible with Christianity. Why is it de fide that Adam & Eve were literal people?
     
  6. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Because the word of God plainly states it to be so, both in the Old and the New Testaments.
     
  7. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Fair enough Simon.
     
  8. Gordon

    Gordon Well-Known Member

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    Sorry LL that was not meant as a personal attack it was meant to be a comment regarding narrow black/white thinking. Or as Rumi puts it "outside of right and wrong is a field, I will meet you there."
     
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  9. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    Sorry about that. I replied before I saw the context was Gordon's remark. I was surprised by your criticism of modern science and its limitations. Most people today are unaware of the philosophical problems with empirical science and logical positivism. I appreciated your input on that point:)
     
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  10. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    Actually the creation story in Genesis is exactly an inspired myth, in fact so is the resurrection :p

    I know what you meant when you used the word, but really this is a common misuse of the word "myth". A myth doesn't necessarily mean it's unhistorical or untrue. A myth is rather a story that has meaning through which we understand ourselves or the world around us. So Genesis gives us the true myth - the true meaning of who we are and why the world is like it is today

    I'd also been thinking a lot about the meaning of "day" in the Genesis account. The morning and evening would seem to indicate a literal day (ie a period of darkness and a period of light). However to say this definitely means 24 hours seems to me to read too much into it. For example an Antarctic "day" can last for months, days are longer or shorter dependant on the part of the world you are in and the time of the year
     
  11. Spherelink

    Spherelink Active Member

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    Also how can there be a literal morning and evening during the days, e.g. Day One, when there was no light?
     
  12. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    It could be argued that when light was created on the first day it was the first morning :)
     
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  13. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    It does, truly. But I was wondering why these statements about Adam & Eve must necessarily be taken literally.
     
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  14. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    You mean black and white thinking like "Calvinists" are not Anglican?
     
  15. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    I completely and totally disagree. The word "myth" or "fable" in Scripture is never used in any positive sense whatsoever. You have just stated what can only be called the neo-orthodox view. If there is no such thing as univocal revelation in the inspired words of Scripture, then truth claims are irrelevant. Either Adam committed the original sin that brought a curse on all his progeny or he did not. There is no middle ground here. To say that the event is an etiological myth that explains why men are evil but is not really an historical event recorded infallibly in Scripture is to open the door to skepticism, irrationalism and unbelief. How do you deduce the Trinity from natural revelation? Only Scripture can reveal the trinity or creation ex nihilo. Natural reason can never reveal such truths.

    "If He called them gods, to whom the word of God came (and the Scripture cannot be broken), (John 10:35 NKJ)

    By the way, the text does not say "morning and evening". That's the order of the Book of Common Prayer. In Genesis the order is "evening and morning, the first day." The Hebrews start the 24 hour day at sunset, not sunrise. Sunset to sunset is one day. That's also why Jesus could not be buried after sunset on Good Friday. His body had to be removed from the cross and buried before the sun went down, signaling the beginning of the sabbath.
     
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  16. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    That may be so. But St. Paul does explicitly refer to the story of Isaac & Ishmael as "an allegory."
     
  17. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    Galatians 4:22-31 is speaking of the law and the Gospel. And you have accidentally stumbled upon a good biblical principle. When the text identifies something as a parable or symbolic, we can feel free to interpret it that way. When the text does not, then we are obligated to let the text speak for itself. Scripture interprets itself by other Scriptures more plain. The doctrine of the perspicuity of Scripture is that even a child can read and understand the text enough to understand what is necessary for saving faith. (2 Timothy 3:15; 2 Peter 1:19). Jacob and Esau illustrate election and reprobation just as Isaac and Ishmael illustrate the same thing. The law/gospel distinction is an important one as well.
     
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  18. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Because that is the plain meaning of the text in Genesis.

    And because throughout the rest of Scripture, Adam and Eve are always referred to as real people, the original couple from whom we all descend. Since the Scriptures are the word of God, who cannnot deceive nor be deceived, and since Scripture interprets Scripture, this is the only logical conclusion.
     
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  19. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Furthermore, if Isaac and Ishmael were never real people to begin with, then the allegory wouldn't make sense.
     
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  20. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    What can you draw from the context that would lead you to believe it was allegorical? I am certainly one that accepts there are passages in scripture that clearly have allegorical and/or metaphorical meanings and are not to be taken literally, but what is your reason for thinking this is one of them? Do you think God is only a metaphorical creator of the universe and not a literal one?