evidence for earth's age

Discussion in 'The Commons' started by Rexlion, Aug 6, 2023.

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  1. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    Myth does not mean untrue. Myth does not mean having no basis in history. However, myth and history are different. The truth of a myth may well be different to the truth of history. I do not need to read Genesis 1-5 as a history book, nor even as National Geographic. Genesis 1-5 for me are stories of origin which are the accounts that represent the self-understanding of the community, and the various aspects of the community, and in this case specifically in relation to the understanding of themselves as God's people.

    None of that rules our revelation, as the only way we can comprehend anything of God is if God chooses to reveal something of the divine nature.

    Some people find the need to confine the creative purpose and activity of God to a seven-day period. I prefer to understand the importance of the story to understand the divine impetus, the divine purpose, and something of our own nature and our relationship to the whole inhabited earth (œcumenenos).

    I don't have to believe science, for in the main it is pragmatically true, and whilst with the accumulation of more evidence it may be that there is a better answer down the track, it does not require faith. Myth per see does require some level of faith in its acceptance, even where the essence of that belief is in the message that the story carries rather than simply the story itself.

    There is a lot of untidiness in the Genesis accounts, which we should either be embarrassed about or celebrate. Attempts to justify and explain away these untidinesses are ultimately unhelpful.
     
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  2. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I would add to this that the true abiding value of any myth is in its telling and retelling being the occasion for the community to gather in friendship, solidarity, celebration, and solace. The purpose of such a community (the Church, in this case), on the other hand, is not to tell stories but to realize the kingdom of heaven/God on earth, by exhorting ourselves and those around us, by word and example, to live selflessly. This is why our liturgy is structured the way it is, with the liturgy of the readings preparing the way for communion, which in turn sends us back out into the world with renewed strength.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2023
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  3. Admin

    Admin Administrator Staff Member Typist Anglican

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    Remember to keep it civil, everyone.
     
  4. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    I for one would love to know whether this view of the creation account in Genesis as 'mythic' is the prevailing view among the majority of Anglicans, or whether the prevailing view is to take the account more factually or literally. Does anyone know?

    We can be certain that Jesus viewed it in the latter sense. Matt. 19:4-6 . Jesus frequently quoted the Old Testament scriptures as solidly authoritative writings, but not once is He ever recorded as having interpreted any of those scriptures as "mythic."
     
  5. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    It’s contextually credible, at the very least. We know from the writings of Philo, Josephus, and Paul that 1st century Jews understood Genesis to be speaking (at least partially) on an allegorical or philosophical level. It also would not have been an ‘either/or’ proposition for them. The character of Adam completely disappears from the Hebrew Bible after the first several chapters, and there is no mention of him throughout the rest of Tanakh (aside from one reference in the Chronicles). He seems to have played no role in the Israelites’ historic self-understanding. The stories about Abraham on the other hand were probably taken as actual history, and as symbolic. The tendency for accounts chronologically situated prior to that was to look for ‘hidden meanings’ in the text itself. They assumed the intended meaning was obscure. Jesus’ saying about the resurrection of dead to the Sadducees is a good example of this, since nothing about the plain sense of the phrase “the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” implies a future, bodily resurrection.

    The account of Genesis 1 is also privileged by its location in the canon, assigned at some point by the scribal class responsible for editing and copying the Pentateuch, and by the peculiar way it has often been translated into English. There are other biblical accounts of creation that are not only much older than Genesis 1 - e.g., Genesis 2, Psalm 74, possibly Job 38, etc. - but also were not originally situated alongside it or written with it in mind. If we want to interpret Genesis 1 according to the order in which these accounts were written, we should be reading it in light of the earliest creation accounts (in the Psalms and then the Prophets), rather than the other way around.
     
  6. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    Only with the 'certainty' of someone who thinks he knows exactly what was in Jesus' head when he quoted Genesis 2:24. Especially since he was not endorsing the factualness of Adams existence as a historical reality, but using the character as an example of marriage fidelity. In the same way I could refer to Romeo and Juliet as 'star-crossed lovers' in a conversation about teenage love, but I wouldn't be trying to establish their historical reality as real people, only citing them as an example of tragic teenage infatuation.
    Actually, when Jesus usually quoted the Old Testament it was in refutation of the Pharisees or Sadducees over a theological or practical issue about which he had been criticised by them. We can't actually be sure about the extent to which Jesus of Nazareth regarded each book of the Old Testament as being factually historical. We can infer though that he knew the Pharisee and the Sadducee regarded them as so, which explains why Jesus refuted their assertions concerning himself using the Old Testament scriptures as his irrefutable authority, because it was also theirs.

    He was using the authority that they themselves attributed to the scriptures to destroy their own hypocritical arguments. Far from actually declaring the whole of Old Testament scripture historically accurate, Jesus was using that same Old Testament scripture to demonstrate to the Pharisees, Sadducees and other 'religiously pious' but naive interpreters of it how little they actually understood it all and how badly they were interpreting its meaning while inflicting their ignorance of it upon everyone else, with their inhumane applications of God's Law. Matt. 19:4-6 is a prime example of his debating strategy.
    .
     
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  7. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    I don’t think we can infer too much from these passages either way. In the Synoptics, we have sayings that are inserted within a narrative framework that often varies from Gospel to Gospel. The preponderance of the evidence from the ancient world points to the conclusion that the Pharisees generally were not, and were not thought of as, either hypocritical or politically powerful. And we have to take into account that the Gospel accounts likely reflect post-70 Jewish-Christian polemics. We do not have a direct view of what these debates actually might have looked like in the 20s and 30s. What we have are isolated sayings and quotations, given to us in a language other than the one that Jesus is known to have spoken. From a canonical perspective, all such passages really tell us is how Jesus applied specific verses to specific questions or situations; they do not tell us what he thought these passages meant, abstracted from all practical considerations.
     
  8. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Macroevolutionary theory teaches that plants and animals lived and died for perhaps millions of years, that some animal evolved into various homonid species, and that from one of those homonids came homo sapiens. Death was present during all that time. Theistic evolutionists would add that the first examples of homo sapiens sinned, but the theory holds that death was already happening.

    The Bible indicates that death did not exist until the sin of Adam.

    Gen 2:16-17 And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.

    Gen 3:17-19 And unto Adam he said, Because thou hast hearkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree, of which I commanded thee, saying, Thou shalt not eat of it: cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; Thorns also and thistles shall it bring forth to thee; and thou shalt eat the herb of the field; In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return unto the ground; for out of it wast thou taken: for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return.

    Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:

    1Co 15:21-22 For since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.

    Our God is the God of life, not of death. He upholds all things by the power of His word. He created a world free from sin, suffering, and death. But death came into the world because of Adam's sin.

    In the beginning, man and animals alike were vegetarians (by God's command). This suggests that animals did not die before Adam's sin.

    Gen 1:29-30 And God said, Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in the which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every green herb for meat: and it was so.

    The fossil record which evolutionists and old-earth creationists believe to be millions of years old shows something contradictory to scripture. The animals in those rock layers had the remains of other animals in their stomachs. The rock layers also show the existence of "thorns and thistles" types of plant life, long before homo sapiens could have existed.
     
  9. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    The solution is very simple: if a particular interpretation of a text contradicts what are known to be facts from other disciplines, then that interpretation is simply wrong and must be changed to account for those facts.

    The Augustinian theory of original sin and the Anselmian theory of atonement came under heavy criticism within Anglicanism in the 19th century, and the 1928 revision of the American BCP was the Episcopal Church’s expression of her rejection of those theories. Theologians at the time had no trouble recognizing that death has been present on this earth for many millions of years longer than man, and the assertion that all death has been the result solely of human evil has been generally recognized as untenable for over a century.

    At the same time, it also seems likely that in the epistle to the Romans Paul was making a literary argument rather than a strictly logical or historical one. Paul reasoned from the experience of the resurrected Jesus to the reality of the human condition, not vice versa. What was certain to him was that Jesus was raised from the dead, and that God’s judgment of the world was near. What he was not certain about was why these events had unfolded in a way rather different from what the few prophecies about the future king of Israel in the Tanakh/OT seemed to predict. The parallel with Adam was simply one attempt among many at such an explanation.

    In any case, Paul’s opinion on the matter does not absolve us of the more basic duty to pursue the truth for its own sake, nor does it negate the findings of modern science which were unknown to him.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2023
  10. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Dating methods involve measurements, but those measurements are then subjected to interpretation based upon assumptions. Many "scientific facts" have, through the years, been found to be in error. I'll stick to trusting my Bible, thanks.

    So glad I'm not an Episcopalian.
     
  11. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Ironically, you are yourself laboring under false assumptions about how radiometric dating actually works and why it is so widely used, but the only thing that will fix that misunderstanding is a genuine desire on your part to learn it for its own sake, and that does not appear to be in evidence. The view you are endorsing amounts to an unfalsifiable conspiracy theory.

    What can I say? Common sense appears to have an Episcopalian bias. :cool:
     
  12. Tiffy

    Tiffy Well-Known Member

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    There is also the difficulty raised by the text of Genesis itself which implies that death of the flesh at least was a fact before the 'so termed' fall had happened.

    Mankind was not made equivalent to God, only in God's likeness and image. This can't mean that God looks like us or is like us. WE are made in God's image, not He in ours. God is Spirit and we are flesh and blood & Spirit. WE are not immortal, neither have the human race from Adam, Eve and all that have followed on, ever been, IMMORTAL while still, in the flesh. The first and so far only human being to become immortal was/is Jesus Christ, and that because Jesus Christ is God and God is immortal.

    We, the human race, Adam/Eve (who symbolically represent the human race), were never granted immortality. WE never LOST immortality because scripture does not claim 'we' were ever awarded immortality in the flesh. Flesh and blood cannot go to heaven, flesh and blood therefore have never, until Jesus Christ been changed into such a state as to be able to exist in the kingdom of God.

    Clearly death in the physical sense existed before mankind existed as a species. Clearly Genesis tells us that God was at pains to prevent us from 'eating the fruit of the tree of life', though it had not been previously forbidden, just not sampled by any of the human race, until the resurrection that is.
    .
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2023
  13. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    Homo sapiens has been on the earth for over 2,000 centuries. We are lucky to have any intelligible artifacts at all that have been extant for even a fraction of that time. As biblical scholars like Hermann Gunkel noted nearly 150 years ago, it also seems clear that the story comprising most of Genesis 2 was not originally related to its current canonical context at all. The stories of the serpent and the tree, and Cain and Abel, were also originally separate legends, woven together into one cohesive and overarching narrative. Why else would Cain be concerned that people would take vengeance on him, if he, Adam, and Eve were the only people on earth? The purpose of these stories is clearly etiological. They are not about “the first humans.” Their purpose was originally to illustrate some feature of ancient Israelite society, and they were later incorporated into a body of sacred texts and transformed by such inclusion in order to teach a moral, or to elucidate a truth about the law of God. Compared to Jesus’ teaching, this makes the early chapters of Genesis more akin to the Parables than to the Sermon on the Mount or the Olivet Discourse.

    I don’t think we need to create any elaborate theories to explain these discrepancies. A ‘sacred text’ is just that: a text employed for sacred purposes. If one of those purposes were to create a parallel epistemology to scientific empiricism, that would be one thing, but it seems clear that the Church’s mission in the world is altogether different from this. The Church’s raison d’etre is to sustain a community for the mutual encouragement of its members to live lives of selflessness and compassion. The fulfillment of such a mission is best done in partnership with science, not opposition to it.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2023
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  14. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. And now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; and the greatest of these is love.​
     
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  15. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    If it is so "clear", why do you omit to quote the scripture which allegedly supports your claim that animals died prior to Adam's fall? The only verses in Genesis I know of indicate that humans and animals ate fruits, vegetables, and grasses, all of which can grow back; nothing about animals dying, or even plants necessarily. Surely the power of God was not insufficient to sustain all living things in the Garden of Eden?
     
  16. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Such a claim necessarily requires that Adam of the Bible was not the first, then; it requires belief that he had ancestors stretching back for a practically uncountable time. Adam is specifically stated to have been a literal human being, and a specified number of generations of named descendants ensued which covered merely a few thousand years. Either one believes those stated facts in the Bible, or else one cannot believe there was a literal Adam or a literal Original Sin, in which case you've just ditched several Church doctrines.

    Like I've said, I am a believer in the Bible. Whereas you place more belief in science (as you've stated, if there is a conflict between the two, in your opinion the science takes precedence).

    Doubt and unbelief. Is this the best that Anglicanism has to offer? If you guys are the typical representatives of Anglicanism, I'm fed up.
     
  17. Botolph

    Botolph Well-Known Member

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    son of the red Earth

    A well-known Hebrew name, Adam means "son of the red Earth." Its meaning comes from the Hebrew word "adamah" meaning "earth," from which Adam is said to be formed. The name also refers to the reddish colour associated with human skin.

    Adam does not need to be an actual person for the story to be truth.
     
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  18. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Adam needs to be an actual person for the Gospel to be truth!

    Rom 5:12 Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
    Rom 5:13 (For until the law sin was in the world: but sin is not imputed when there is no law.
    Rom 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over them that had not sinned after the similitude of Adam's transgression, who is the figure of him that was to come.
    Rom 5:15 But not as the offence, so also is the free gift. For if through the offence of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many.
    Rom 5:16 And not as it was by one that sinned, so is the gift: for the judgment was by one to condemnation, but the free gift is of many offences unto justification.
    Rom 5:17 For if by one man's offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.)
    Rom 5:18 Therefore as by the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life.
    Rom 5:19 For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous.

    1Co 15:45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit.
    1Co 15:46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual.
    1Co 15:47 The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second man is the Lord from heaven
    .

    If there were no actual man named Adam, as Genesis states, then there was no sin of "one man," Adam. Humans could conceivably live perfect sinless lives and redeem themselves. And Jesus cannot be the second Adam. The literalness of the Genesis creation account is foundational to the Christian religion and to the Gospel of Jesus' atonement/redemption of utterly depraved human beings.

    I am astonished that I am the only one on this forum who is defending the Gospel message and the integrity of the Bible. Am I left alone to fend off the circling wolves of modern theology?

    Anglicans claim to follow the faith of their fathers, the faith once held by the early church. Show me any scripture or any early church father's writing from the first 500 years AD which say that the creation account of Genesis is mythic or not to be taken literally.

    Ah, well. Mea culpa. I am sometimes a hypocrite also.
     
    Last edited: Aug 11, 2023
  19. Invictus

    Invictus Well-Known Member

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    There was no actual Adam. The remedy for sin is repentance. A person cannot literally die for someone else’s sins. Atonement is effected by Jesus’ teaching and example, not occult entities being subdued by sacrifice and magic. The atonement is for this world, not some alternate plane of existence or future life.
     
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  20. Rexlion

    Rexlion Well-Known Member

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    Wow. Thank you for making your beliefs so clear.

    Personally, I will continue believing that Jesus literally died for my sins and made atonement by His shed blood. But I won't force anyone else to believe that. Freedom of religion.
     
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