Are Adam and Eve figurative people?

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

  1. Scottish Knight

    Scottish Knight Well-Known Member

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    Found this article which makes a good point about the use of typology in scripture and the difference between typology and allegory. Thought it might be helpful to the discussion to link it:

    In typology a person or event is regarded as a God-ordained prefiguration of something in the future which is its fulfillment. Allegory, on the other hand, does not necessarily begin with the literal historical text. It seeks to go beyond the text. Allegory searches for a secondary and hidden meaning underlying the obvious meaning of the narrative. This deeper level of meaning may have no connection with the historical framework of revelation. Because the allegorical interpretation is not intimately bound to the framework of salvation history, it has a potential of utterly abusing the biblical text. Allegory divorced from a historical base drifts into artificial and absurd analogies.

    http://www.bible-researcher.com/schmeling.html
     
  2. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    Well, let's put it this way, Origen is the only church father who wholesale used the allegorical method of interpretation and his method led to universalism. Since at least the scholastic period and beyond the universal church, including all three of the major branches--East, West, and Protestant--have rejected the allegorical method in favor of a more critical approach. Protestants in particular have preferred the historical-grammatical approach, although they do not always accept the higher critical methodologies of form criticism or documentary/source criticism.



    If that's so then you do not even accept the more Roman Catholic or Anglo-Catholic view that the Church or Tradition interprets Scripture. No Communion I know of today accepts allegory as the proper way to interpret Scripture.



    Not at all. I don't think you have an adequate understanding of sola Scriptura. The doctrine does not mean solo scriptura, as if individuals alone determine the meaning of the text. There is no "private" interpretation of the biblical text as in lone ranger exegesis. That is what produces cults. The right of private interpretation by individuals is only valid as that is exercised within the local congregation and/or synod/diocese. Of course, there are also general synods and councils. Confessional statements and creeds are the systematic thinking of the church as the church interprets Scripture. These are binding so long as they are proved and warranted by Scripture. Church councils and synods can and do err. But if this is so of the church it is even more true of individuals. Thus, individuals are subject to discipline by the local congregation and beyond. Bishops do not have authority to tell the church what to do except as the church together makes decisions--and even then bishops and church councils can err. The Episcopal Church is in gross error at this time because it has chosen to ordain women and homosexuals and to consecrate women and homosexual bishops. This is clearly a transgression of Scripture AND the creeds and confessions of faith/formularies.


    Obviously the text nowhere says that the Himalayas were under water. The biblical writers were not even aware of the Himalayas or the southern hemisphere for that matter. I am not saying that the flood was not global but only that it is not necessitated by the text. The text says that all the mountains were under water. That is phenomenological language. Does the sun literally "rise" or does it appear that way from the perspective of the uninformed observer? It does not constitute a biblical error to say that the sun rises, even if it more accurate to say that the earth rotates on its axis.



    The word "mystical" as you are using it is undefined. You'll have to define your terms better than that if you want to have anything meaningful to say about the doctrine of biblical inspiration. My view is that God sovereignly guided and determined the exact words of every biblical writer even if those words are in the style of each writer. Verbal-plenary inspiration means that every single word of the Scriptures were determined by God, but not by mechanical dictation. God put the thoughts of each writer in his mind so that he wrote with his own personality and style. Yet every single word, sentence, and proposition is the exact wording God intended. The writings are not mystical, ecstatic or meaningless. They are given in the logical and grammatical form of language, written words. Language without logic is merely glossolalia--meaningless gibberish.


    Odd but what you quoted says that the word means what I said it meant. "metanoia" means "repentance" or "change of heart/mind". The word for heart in Scripture most often is synonymous with the mind. Proverbs 23:7 says, "As he thinketh in his HEART so is he...." Out of the HEART proceed evil thoughts, murder, etc... Jesus said that. If as you quoted above, the heart "perceives one's sinfulness before repenting of it" then the implication is that the heart is rational, not emotional. To divide metanoia into meta plus noia is to change the meaning of the word. Meta by itself means "after". Noia by itself refers to the mind. But when the two words are joined they mean "repentance". Ham plus burger is not pork. It's a beef patty.

    The Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich, and Danker lexicon of the New Testament says:

    μετάνοια, ας, ἡ a change of mind.

    Strongs says the same thing: metanoia.

    I could give a much longer lexical entry but those two are sufficient to show that the basic meaning is "change of mind."


    part 2 next....
     
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  3. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    Pentecostals allegorize. It leads to errors. I never said that Origen and Pentecostals are related in any way. Buddhists speak English and Christians speak English. English is common to both but a Buddhist is a Buddhist and a Christian is a Christian. Simply because both Origen and Pentecostals allegorize does not imply that they have anything else in common whatsoever. Your non sequitur is a straw man because I never said or implied any such relationship. You're off on a rabbit trail.



    Exactly how do you distinguish allegory from historical narrative? Where does it begin and end? The liberal scholars say that Genesis 1-11 is too far out there to be historical narrative, including the flood story, which they say is a "late" Hebrew re-interpretation of other Ancient Near Eastern "myths" like Gilgamesh, etc. They even say the law of Moses borrows from the code of Hammurabi rather than being divinely revealed.


    It might surprise you to learn that Evangelicals are not anti-intellectual or against a good liberal arts education. That does not mean, however, that they will buy into the idea that modern science can give knowledge of anything other than in application of technology. Science is always false.

    You're correct about one thing. The Bible does not conform to modern standards of "historiography". But that does not mean that the historical narratives, including the creation account and the flood, are not historical. They conform to the historical standards of the biblical writers, not modern standards. The text says that Adam and Eve would have lived indefinitely if they had obeyed God's moral law/command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They had access to the tree of life but after the rebellion they were driven out of the garden of Eden and forbidden access to the tree of life.

    Adam was quite literally the head of the human race. As the federal head of all mankind he represented us all and brought a legal curse on himself and all his progeny. That original sin is both legally punished and also a corruption of the divine image and likeness in man so that sin is passed on by natural generation from the parents to the children. Both federal headship and the traducian view are taught in Scripture.

    On the issue of history the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics says:

    Article XX

    WE AFFIRM that since God is the author of all truth, all truths, biblical and extrabiblical, are consistent and cohere, and that the Bible speaks truth when it touches on matters pertaining to nature, history, or anything else. We further affirm that in some cases extra-biblical data have value for clarifying what Scripture teaches, and for prompting correction of faulty interpretations.​
    WE DENY that extrabiblical views ever disprove the teaching of Scripture or hold priority over it.​

    As a consistent Scripturalist and Clarkian presuppositionalist, I don't completely agree with the Chicago Statement when it says that general revelation and special revelation "cohere". I believe that special revelation takes precedence over all general revelation and without special revelation there is no possibility of any knowledge at all in the sphere of general revelation/theology.

    There are many internecine arguments within both Evangelicalism in general and within the Reformed tradition. I am on the conservative end of classical Calvinism. I don't believe that biblical truth is two-fold. What God reveals is true both for us and for God, albeit it is revealed on our level.

    I am glad you are enjoying the conversation. I have much to learn about the broad church and the larger communions.

    God's peace,

    Charlie
     
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  4. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    That's right. A good example of that is Melchizedek in Genesis 14:18; Psalm 110:4; Hebrews 5:6, 10; 7:1, etc. Melchizedek (King of Righteousness) is usually taken to be a type of Christ. He is obviously a historical king of some sort. Some even say that this is a christophany since he has no mother or father. (Hebrew 7:3).

    Charlie
     
  5. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Any creed is subservient to Scripture. What compels any man to believe is the word of God, sealed in our hearts by the Holy Spirit. The testimony of the Church, be it in creeds, formulas, catechisms, liturgy, etc., is dependent on and ought to be corrected by Scripture. If the Virginity of Mary or the Resurrection of Christ were just simple allegories and not factual events, as some modernists maintain, then no confessional formula could compel anyone to believe otherwise.

    Understandably, you're trying hard to hold firmly to one part of revelation (the factual events of the Incarnation), whilst throwing out another (the factual events described in Genesis). However, they're intimately related: if you disbelieve Genesis, you'll eventually disbelieve the Gospel. Christ did not come to atone for the original sin of an allegorical man that never existed. Just as Adam was the real head of the human race, then Christ is the real head of the Church. Both presuppose the factual reality of one another.

    Even Christian monogamy is dependent upon the fact that in the beginning God created Adam and Eve and not an indefinite pool of hominids that would mate with each other until some would eventually "evolve" into what is commonly known today as the homo sapiens sapiens.
     
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  6. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    Simon, I looked up the anathemas against Origen declared at the 5th ecumenical council, they condemn not only his version of Universalism but the greater part of his whole philosophy, which one can infer he developed through his allegorical reading of scripture. Perhaps the practice of allegorical biblical interpretation may not be specifically condemned but his is a cautionary tale for what occurs when one reads the bible allegorically and divorces it from the literal context from which the "allegory" was pulled: animism, reincarnation, preexistence of souls? See: http://www.comparativereligion.com/anathemas.html

    (Note: I was intensely interested in Origen's condemnation and the condemnation of Universalism since I myself believe in and hope for universal reconciliation. Origen's version is a strange one wherein even the devil and his minions would be reconciled. I think that contradicts the plain reading of scripture so I can understand why it was declared heretical. That is not what I espouse.)
     
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  7. Old Christendom

    Old Christendom Well-Known Member

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    Universal reconciliation is flatly denied by Scripture.

    "Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity." (Matthew 7:22-23)

    "When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left. Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in: Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me. Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee? And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me. Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels: For I was an hungred, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not. Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungred, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee? Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me. And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal." (Matthew 25:31-46)
     
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  8. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    There is only one problem with universalism. It's not taught in the Bible. About the only way anyone could defend that one is to cut out great portions of Scripture. I would say that even the Arminian hypothetical atonement for universal redemption is unbiblical. Scripture teaches that Christ died for the elect. If there is no genuine fall, then there is no need to propitiate the wrath of God nor is there a need for Christ to die for the sins of the elect in the whole world.
     
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  9. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Thank you both for the links. Just to make it clear, though: the deeper meaning revealed by an allegorical reading of Adam & Eve is not “abusive, disconnected, artificial, or absurd,” although Scottish Knight’s article suggests it might be. Rather it is perfectly orthodox. What the allegory fundamentally says is that man’s original purpose—to be “an image of God” and reflect pure love—has been corrupted since time immemorial by man’s deliberate turning away from God, fixating instead on self-love and material love. This can be read as a taint, or a curse, or even (if you want to be Romish about it) Original Sin. The Incarnation and Resurrection of Christ were, thusly, intended to restore to man to his original purpose of dwelling (as the figurative Adam did) in the presence of God:“for as in Adam all men die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” In Christ, man finds his transition from the earthly to the spiritual—wherein his conversation is in heaven: “the first Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.

    I can’t see how this particular allegory is, in and of itself, heterodox. If people want to see it as somehow tarnishing the Bible’s reputation as inerrant (as I take it Charlie does), then that’s a different matter and we can discuss it from there.

    Lowly Layman, I didn’t want to repeat myself so I’ve tried to address your point in the first part of my reply to Charlie, who had a similar objection to Origen. See next.
     
  10. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    I think you’re trying to establish a connection that isn’t there. Which portion of scripture did Origen use the allegorical method to arrive at universalism? It’s my understanding that his belief in universal salvation and the reincarnation of souls were holdovers from his immersion in pagan philosophy. While some of Origen’s ideas were condemned and forgotten, it was primarily his allegorical exegesis which remained as his legacy. Not for nothing has he kept his position as a Church Father down through the centuries; everyone from Augustine to Aquinas to Eckhart has drawn from his well.

    Again, though, I’m not arguing for a blanket allegorical reading of all Scripture. Even Origen, as I’ve been at pains to point out, believed in a literal Mary and literal Christ.

    I thought we had established that the biblical writers were inspired by God. Surely God in his omniscience was aware of the Himalayas, not to mention the fact that his revealed religion would persist into the 21st century. Why would an omniscient deity tailor his revelation especially for the ancient Hebrews, with no concession to later readers who would have a finer understanding of geography? Why, if the text is to be read plainly and literally, would God cause trans-millennial confusion? Is this rational?

    My answer is that it’s an allegory: the ark stands in for the Church. A literal reading is just weird, and raises too many questions.

    Not so; the etymologies I quoted say the word can carry both meanings, as it did for many of the Church Fathers. The story of St. Augustine’s conversion demonstrates that his metanoia came about not strictly by cold ratiocination but also by a mystical perception of God working inwardly in his heart—hence, “after perception.”
     
  11. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    Understood now. I read you wrong. You said this:

    In regard to Origen's allegorical method of interpretation, take a look at modern Pentecostalism and the Charismatic movement and you'll see where that leads.

    I took you to mean that Origen’s allegorical method leads to Pentecostalism. I apologize. I’m glad that misunderstanding is cleared up (feu!), although I still don’t think your conclusion is sound. As I said earlier, Origen’s errors do not seem to stem from his allegories of Genesis but from his reliance on pagan philosophy.

    You could probably, if you were ever so inclined, comfortably distinguish allegory from history in the passages where the Bible reads heavily mythological, as it does in Genesis, or in spots where it appears painfully ahistorical. Not that I imagine he's to your liking, but Pope Leo XIII tended towards such a rule in his encyclical Providentissimus Deus, wherein he advises following an idea from St. Augustine:

    "Whatever [pagans, or scientists, or both] can really demonstrate to be true of physical nature, we must show to be capable of reconciliation with our Scriptures; and whatever they assert in their treatises which is contrary to these Scriptures of ours, that is to Catholic faith, we must either prove it as well as we can to be entirely false, or at all events we must, without the smallest hesitation, believe it to be so."

    The problem with that one of course, is that Christians (and even Catholics) remain bitterly divided on the question of whether they've triumphally "proven evolution entirely false" in the first place. As for me, I have to agree with the liberal scholars—as well as Origen, who thought it should be plain to anyone with common sense: Genesis 1-11 simply is, as you've aptly put it, “far too out there.” If I’m reading about flaming swords and towers to the heavens and mighty giants and sacred trees, I might just as well be reading Norse sagas. This all screams out, as far as I’m concerned, for an allegorical interpretation and not a historical reading. But keep in mind that this doesn’t necessarily put it on the same level as a Norse saga. What elevates our allegorical scriptures above pagan lore is that they are a unique and special revelation from God and about God. The Old Testament is, through and through, about Christ, by whom it is perfected and completed. It all comes together quite nicely.

    Hmm; there’s that one again. If you mean that science is always bound to be imperfect and provisional based on the incomplete evidence we mortals have available to us at any given time, then I guess I take your pointbut “provisional” is a better word than “false” for that. If you mean that it’s false because subjectivism and solipsism are irrefutable, then that’s a whole 'nother ball of wax. Subjectivism and solipsism will chew up the Bible as just as quickly as the Qur’an or the Eddas.
     
  12. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    Actually, the universal church has never accepted the Fall of Adam or Original Sin as merely an allegory. And for Anglicans, the Anglican Formularies forbid such a view. And the last part of your statement sounds outright Pelagian since sin is not following Adam's bad example. It is both a legal declaration on the basis of Adam's federal headship of the human race and it is an actual curse placed on humankind by God so that sin is passed on from one generation to the next. The traducian view is that we have all sinned in Adam and that we inherit the curse from Adam by means of natural generation.

    See:

    Article IX


    Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the fault and corruption of the nature of every man that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and is of his own nature inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit; and therefore in every person born into this world, it deserveth God's wrath and damnation. And this infection of nature doth remain, yea, in them that are regenerated, whereby the lust of the flesh, called in Greek phronema sarkos (which some do expound the wisdom, some sensuality, some the affection, some the desire of the flesh), is not subject to the law of God. And although there is no condemnation for them that believe and are baptized, yet the Apostle doth confess that concupiscence and lust hath itself the nature of sin.​


    Figurative Adam? If the first Adam is figurative, so is the second. Basically if there is no Fall there is no original sin. All you have is a lot of people following Adam's bad example. The problem here is that a fairy tale or etiological myth has no power to make anyone actually sinful. On the other hand, if Adam existed and did break God's moral command not to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, then God's sovereignty as King pronounces a curse on mankind and actually brings about that curse. And in fact, that is what the Genesis account says (Genesis 1-3).

    Furthermore, the idea that there was no Fall or Original sin undermines the historical nature of the entire Bible. Moses believed there was a rebellion by Adam. Jesus believed that Moses and Abraham and Adam were real people. Paul speaks about the first Adam as a real person just as he speaks about the second Adam as a real person. He's not using allegory there. Basically, your view of the Bible being an inspired allegory leads to skepticism, irrationalism, and worse.

    By the way, I looked at your link to Origen's views which were condemned. Origen also seemed to have had gnostic tendencies. He also conflated good and evil and said something like God would absorb evil into Himself? That was stated in one of the anathemas.

    Well here's the problem as I see it: you have made a vague statement about what is allegory and what isn't. You still have not said which parts of Genesis 1-11 is allegory and which are not. Yet you state strongly that you do not believe the Bible is all allegory. It seems to me that your decision to label certain things as allegory or not is arbitrary at best. The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy and the Chicago Statement on Biblical Hermeneutics both clearly acknowledge that there are allegories in Scripture. But those allegories are clearly identified by the text. There is nothing in the text indicating that the creation account or the fall of Adam and Eve is an allegory or etiological myth.

    Your quote from 1 Corinthians 15:45 is in reference to the resurrection. In fact, Paul is contrasting the fact that God breathed into Adam's nostrils and gave him a soul and literal breath with the fact that after the resurrection of Christ He as the second Adam has the power to give life:


    And so it is written, "The first man Adam became a living being." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit. (1 Corinthians 15:45 NKJ)​

    Paul is not allegorizing here. He is speaking about a real giving of life by God to the first Adam. If the first Adam is an allegory, then so is the resurrection. It would not be logical to say that Paul is here allegorizing the first Adam and not the second Adam and his power to give life a second time in the resurrection of the dead. (See: zoopoieo. Scroll down to Thayer's Greek Lexicon at the bottom of the page.)

    If there is no resurrection, then we have all had our faith in vain:


    Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up-- if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable. (1 Corinthians 15:15-19 NKJ)​


     
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  13. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    I guess you want to leave it so vague that no one knows what is allegory and what isn't:)


    Again, your decision making is so vague that no one can figure out what you mean. The ark is not an allegory. It is a "type" of the church. It does not mean that the flood never happened. It means that the ark has a secondary application to the church in the New Testament. That type doesn't completely hold up unless the church is invisible, however. The visible church has weeds in it and many who are members of it perish.

    So you believe the flood is an allegory. Isn't that in Genesis 6-9? That would be part of the Genesis 1-11 portion that the liberals say is myth. "Trans-millennial confusion"? What you really mean is that the pre-modern phenomenological descriptions in the Bible are to be interpreted by modern concepts of empirical science and historiography. In that case religion is just a collection of inspiring stories and etiological myths that explain why things are the way they are. Christianity is just one myth among many. You're back to square one and religion is just a human invention meant to help man out psychologically. The implication is that there is no God and this material world is all there is. Your view is basically irrationalism and skepticism rehashed. Either the Bible is the plenary-verbal and inspired Word of God or it is not. There is no in between here. Either Scripture is infallible and inerrant or it is not.



    Maybe Augustine wasn't thinking after all. Maybe he didn't hear the reading of God's Word and think about anything. He was off in lala land and had a "feeling". Maybe he had to go to the restroom or something? And as for the word "cold" here, I don't see what that has to do with ratiocination? Thinking and reasoning is neither cold nor hot. It is a thought process. Are you thinking as you read this? Well, is your thought hot or cold or is it processing the logic of the words? "cold ratiocination" is nothing more than an attempt to propagandize. It adds nothing to the logic of your argument. "metanoia" is not a hamburger:) It means quite literally to change one's thinking. Thayer's lexicon, BAGD lexicon, and even Liddell Scott all say the same thing. (Proverbs 23:7; Romans 12:1-2). Be transformed by the renewing of your mind.

    Peace,

    Charlie
     
  14. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    I often misread things in haste online so I completely understand. I could give you a whole host of examples of Pentecostal misreading of Scripture but I'll forego that since it is off topic.

    Since Christianity is not empirical science there is no need to prove a speculative theory as "false". Christianity is based on special revelation, not empirical science. Further, evolution is fallacious on the basis of the philosophy of science. The theory of evolution depends on a practical regress of cause and effect, slow evolution within species and then a sudden trans-species leap to another species, which cannot be bred with any other species, etc. Here's the problem. Empiricism says that cause and effect is observable. David Hume pointed out that cause and effect can only be observed directly on a case by case basis. Simply because we observe one instance of cause and effect does not mean that cause and effect are universally observable. That would be impossible. In fact, there is no guarantee that there is an infinite regress of multiple multitudinous causes and effects back to a primordial soup. Evolution, like the cosmoslogical argument for God's existence, depends on the idea of an infinite regress of cause and effect back to a presupposed first cause. Since that is a philosophical presupposition and not something that is empirically demonstrable shows clearly that on that basis alone the "theory of evolution" is based on a logical fallacy of universals. Simply because you have never observed anything other than black crows does not mean all crows are black. If there has ever been even one white crow your universal assumption is shot down.

    Evolution is based on a scatter gun theory, basically. There are endless effects, so many going on at once that it is impossible to prove what the relationship is between them. Think of quantum mechanics here.

    Quantum mechanics has pretty much shown that general relativity is wrong. Einstein's static universe was a mistake and thus he could never prove his theory.

    Science can only prove what it can demonstrate and reproduce. Beyond that science is nothing more than philosophical speculation. Thus, science is always false.

    Yes it does. It means that Christianity is based on myth and is merely a human invention meant to help man psychologically deal with the vicissitudes of life. At last we get a concession. You believe Genesis 1-11 is a myth. Why stop there? The resurrection is a myth, too, isn't it? Why if the first Adam never received breath and life and a soul from God by fiat creation then it logically follows that the second Adam is also an allegory for spiritualizing death and an imagined afterlife that helps us all go to the grave with a false hope. Worm dirt is our real destiny.

    Well, since all worldviews, including the materialistic worldview of empirical science, begin with with "self-evident" axioms, why would the Christian be forbidden to do the same thing? Science cannot prove universals by any empirical method whatsoever. Science is by nature inductive. The minute you start to pronounce universal axioms you've left science behind and you have crossed over into philosophy and metaphysics. Science can make an H-bomb but they cannot tell you if it is right or wrong to drop it. Science can speculate about the origins of the universe, life on earth, etc. But since cause and effect is a philosophical concept and not one that can be universally and empirically demonstrated, evolution and the Big Bang and everything else that science "claims" to have proved is not empirical science but a philosophy of materialism and unproven universal assertions.

    If I say the street is wet because it is raining and then say it is raining so the street is wet I have said nothing more than a tautology. The inductive method is at its root tautological. It has proved nothing.

    As for your assertion that logic is solipsistic or subjective, I would agree in at least one aspect. If we begin with reason, then rationalism is the result. Rationalism is the idea that everything can be proven with logic apart from empirical proofs. There is some evidence of this in regards to mathematics but over all rationalism always leads to irrationalism. Immanuel Kant is evidence of this.

    For the Christian, however, our beginning point is the axiom that Scripture is the Word of God. When we begin with special revelation and that revelation is rational and logical, it follows that we can establish a Christian worldview that is internally consistent, rational, logical, congruent, and universally applicable to life, doctrine, philosophy, etc. General revelation or natural theology can only take you so far and the end is always skepticism. Without special revelation there is no possibility of any knowledge whatsoever. Science is a dismal failure if you think it can give meaning to life or explain existence.

    Subjectivism and solipsism are not part of the Scripturalist worldview since the beginning point for all knowledge is the rational revelation of God in the words of Scripture. As John 1:1 says, God is Logic. Man as created in God's image is a logical and rational soul. Ironically, the scientific worldview is the one that winds up in subjectivism, allegory, irrationalism, subjectivism, and solipsism. If this world is all there is, then you're all alone here in it and you cannot even explain your own existence. Jean-Paul Sartre's version of existentialism is atheistic. Even Paul Tillich realized the futility of it all. He wrote a book called, The Courage to Be. The threat of non-being scares the hell out of atheists and existentialists because they know that their view is subjective and solipsistic. Unfortunately, Tillich's solution is based in irrationalism, which is no solution at all.

    Peace,

    Charlie
     
  15. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    I agree with you up to a point. Creeds are indeed "dependent on and ought to be corrected by Scripture," but the purpose of any council which formulates a creed is to provide a clarification or explanation of the Church's own understanding of that Scripture. Language is fallible and open to multiple interpretations. Even Arius found his doctrine in scripture.
     
  16. Simon Magus

    Simon Magus Member

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    The "deliberate turning away from God" that I mentioned was the (figurative) Adam's. The allegory is, of course, referring to our nature, which is (indeed) "inclined to evil, so that the flesh lusteth always contrary to the spirit." So I don't think it fails, or flirts with Pelagianism—at least not on those grounds.

    As for Original Sin, you've got me there. I was not aware that Anglicans were formally bound to that doctrine; I would've thought that had been jettisoned along with the rest of the Romish baggage during the Reformation, but apparently not. I will be the first to concede that an allegorical reading of Genesis is incompatible with the doctrine of Original Sin. That is the obstacle it cannot surmount: ancestral sin, perhaps, but Original Sin whereby the transmission is emphatically biological? Absolutely not. I apologize for wasting everyone's time.
     
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  17. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    True, which is why Tradition is so important. The fathers at the first ecumenical council expressly stated that they were not creating any new doctrines but rather were weeding the garden of innovations and accretions and were stating authoritatively what they had received from their elders going back to the Apostles, which come from the scriptures but also to the disciplines and currency of the early church...this is the substance of the catholic faith.
     
  18. Lowly Layman

    Lowly Layman Well-Known Member

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    don't think you wasted anyone's time Simon. I've enjoyed this discussion immensely and you've given me, at least, a lot of food for thought on this. So I thank you for all your input. And let's not kid ourselves, your view is the majority view of most mainline churches If not most Christians today. I didn't think anybody would agree with me that Genesis actually happened in a literal sense. This has been a rare experience for me. Normally I'm just laughed at.
     
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  19. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    Yes, and Arianism was the official doctrine of the church until Athanasius stood against the whole world. Athanasius finally prevailed and the full and complete deity of Christ was affirmed by the church. The fact that Arianism was for a time affirmed by an ecumenical council proves that church councils could and did commit egregious errors.

    Charlie
     
  20. Charlie J. Ray

    Charlie J. Ray Active Member

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    The majority view was once that Jesus was not fully equal with God but only a little god. Arianism was the official doctrine of the "catholic" church for a time--until Athanasius finally prevailed.

    The idea that Genesis 1-11 is myth or allegory is not necessarily the majority view. Theistic evolution is a religious view, not a scientific view. So you haven't said anything that is going to convince someone who has bought into the materialistic religion of science. So my question is why do we need to accept a speculative theory that is based on a fallacious philosophy of science?

    Charlie