Author Topic: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve  (Read 31954 times)

Offline Daniel

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #30 on: August 25, 2014, 11:48:36 AM »
According to chapter 1 of Genesis.  God starts with lower animals and finishes with Adam. Chapter 2 seems almost opposite. Adam first then the lower animals. What are we to make of that?
The wording seems a little ambiguous but I don't believe that chapter 2 implies that at all.  I think that what's it's saying is something more along the lines of:
Quote from: My paraphrase
And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.  And the Lord God, who had previously formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name.
« Last Edit: August 25, 2014, 11:52:14 AM by Daniel »
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #31 on: August 25, 2014, 02:03:50 PM »
According to chapter 1 of Genesis.  God starts with lower animals and finishes with Adam. Chapter 2 seems almost opposite. Adam first then the lower animals. What are we to make of that?
The wording seems a little ambiguous but I don't believe that chapter 2 implies that at all.  I think that what's it's saying is something more along the lines of:
Quote from: My paraphrase
And the Lord God said: It is not good for man to be alone: let us make him a help like unto himself.  And the Lord God, who had previously formed out of the ground all the beasts of the earth, and all the fowls of the air, brought them to Adam to see what he would call them: for whatsoever Adam called any living creature the same is its name.

Your paraphrase is unfaithful to the text.

In any case, it's not a fatal problem that Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 have different orders.  We don't have to take them 100% literally.  There were two early Church Fathers, Origen and St. Augustine, who did not interpret the creation story literally.  Both of them felt that a literal six-day workweek for God was something of an insult to his omnipotence; they believed that the narrative was mythical in its structure, as a concession to how us humans (who think in terms of time) understand things.  God, they reasoned, was outside of time and needed neither to work nor to rest.  But both Origen and Augustine were creationists: they believed that he created the entire universe in a single instance ex nihilo.  Out of nothing, everything.  And they were faithful to the core of the story, which is that man is a special creation.  Both of them would've been appalled at the theistic evolution narrative, which implies that God took not just six days but millions of years.  None of the Church Fathers could've imagined theistic evolution.  Largely because even a mythical reading doesn't suggest it.
"The sneakiness of prigs, the conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts like hell, like sacrifice of the guiltless, like unio mystica in drinking blood; above all, the slowly fanned fire of revenge, of chandala revenge—all that is what became master over Rome."

Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew
The Caesars became beasts, and God—a Jew!
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #32 on: August 25, 2014, 02:07:00 PM »
There's a myth in Mahayana Buddhism that tells how humans are the descendants of ethereal god-like beings of pure light who fell gradually into the material world by way of desiring material and sensual pleasures, and that at every stage of the fall these angels became uglier and more corporeal.  As Milton would put it: "purest at first, now gross by sinning grown."  But this myth, too, is at variance with evolution.  Mahayana Buddhism, of course, has no absolute doctrine invested in this myth, so (unlike Christianity) the Buddhists can dispense with it.  The Dalai Lama can blithely say, "if science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change."  Our religion, however, cannot.  Our creation story is intertwined with our redemption story.

That sounds like the gnostic myths about the Demiurge and the humans trapped in the material world, having divine elements from the Pleroma. They believed man was a god-like being.

Good catch.  The parallels are indeed interesting.  Gnosticism borrows a lot from the East.
"The sneakiness of prigs, the conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts like hell, like sacrifice of the guiltless, like unio mystica in drinking blood; above all, the slowly fanned fire of revenge, of chandala revenge—all that is what became master over Rome."

Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew
The Caesars became beasts, and God—a Jew!
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #33 on: August 25, 2014, 02:18:40 PM »
My attempt to reconcile the evidence of evolution with Genesis is merely that, an attempt. There is of course no empirical evidence stating that Homo Sapiens were a special creation of God rather than an evolution of earlier hominids. It is complete speculation on my part, but is (to me at least) the only means of reconciling evolution, which reason compels me to believe to be true, with Scripture, which faith compels me to believe is true. Any other attempt is unsatisfactory and requires a denial of something that is empirically verifiable, or requires a repudiation of the Christian religion.

In your attempt to reconcile everything, GloriaPatri, how do you account for God's omnipotence and God's mercy in your narrative? 

In terms of omnipotence, it seems an odd choice for the creator to set in motion a clunky and laborious process, full of evolutionary false starts and dead ends, that takes millions of years to even arrive at the beginning of the biblical account.

And in terms of mercy, how you do you account for the brutal nature of the evolutionary scheme?  You seem to be assuming that for millions of years God sat back and watched impassively as sentient animals just kept on dying from droughts, hunger, disease, and predation.  Why?  Why was all this suffering necessary before man and before sin?  In your scheme, the prelapsarian world looks suspiciously like the fallen world, even before Adam and Eve arrive on the scene.
"The sneakiness of prigs, the conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts like hell, like sacrifice of the guiltless, like unio mystica in drinking blood; above all, the slowly fanned fire of revenge, of chandala revenge—all that is what became master over Rome."

Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew
The Caesars became beasts, and God—a Jew!
 

Offline voxxpopulisuxx

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #34 on: August 25, 2014, 02:22:21 PM »
And Pon snaps the second bear trap....and in many ways the most inescapable.
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Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #35 on: August 25, 2014, 02:29:21 PM »
I've always liked your analogy of a painter.  It would be possible to paint a surface by letting ants walk through paint and then onto the surface, until after a vast amount of time they randomly managed to cover the whole thing, but why would anyone paint that way?

And even if God was some kind of cosmic Jackson Pollock with an ant farm, the Genesis story doesn't hint at it.
"The sneakiness of prigs, the conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts like hell, like sacrifice of the guiltless, like unio mystica in drinking blood; above all, the slowly fanned fire of revenge, of chandala revenge—all that is what became master over Rome."

Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew
The Caesars became beasts, and God—a Jew!
 

Offline red solo cup

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #36 on: August 25, 2014, 02:33:11 PM »
There's a myth in Mahayana Buddhism that tells how humans are the descendants of ethereal god-like beings of pure light who fell gradually into the material world by way of desiring material and sensual pleasures, and that at every stage of the fall these angels became uglier and more corporeal.  As Milton would put it: "purest at first, now gross by sinning grown."  But this myth, too, is at variance with evolution.  Mahayana Buddhism, of course, has no absolute doctrine invested in this myth, so (unlike Christianity) the Buddhists can dispense with it.  The Dalai Lama can blithely say, "if science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change."  Our religion, however, cannot.  Our creation story is intertwined with our redemption story.

That sounds like the gnostic myths about the Demiurge and the humans trapped in the material world, having divine elements from the Pleroma. They believed man was a god-like being.

Good catch.  The parallels are indeed interesting.  Gnosticism borrows a lot from the East.
The last time I mentioned Gnosticism I got yelled at.
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Offline Gardener

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #37 on: August 25, 2014, 02:34:40 PM »
Aquinas actually covers Pon's objection, in that Original Sin had an effect on man alone as regards death. That animals could have died prior to the Fall, as their nature was not changed.

Quote
Reply to Objection 2. In the opinion of some, those animals which now are fierce and kill others, would, in that state, have been tame, not only in regard to man, but also in regard to other animals. But this is quite unreasonable. For the nature of animals was not changed by man's sin, as if those whose nature now it is to devour the flesh of others, would then have lived on herbs, as the lion and falcon. Nor does Bede's gloss on Genesis 1:30, say that trees and herbs were given as food to all animals and birds, but to some. Thus there would have been a natural antipathy between some animals. They would not, however, on this account have been excepted from the mastership of man: as neither at present are they for that reason excepted from the mastership of God, Whose Providence has ordained all this. Of this Providence man would have been the executor, as appears even now in regard to domestic animals, since fowls are given by men as food to the trained falcon.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1096.htm#article1

 

Offline Cesar_Augustus

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #38 on: August 25, 2014, 02:36:11 PM »
There's a myth in Mahayana Buddhism that tells how humans are the descendants of ethereal god-like beings of pure light who fell gradually into the material world by way of desiring material and sensual pleasures, and that at every stage of the fall these angels became uglier and more corporeal.  As Milton would put it: "purest at first, now gross by sinning grown."  But this myth, too, is at variance with evolution.  Mahayana Buddhism, of course, has no absolute doctrine invested in this myth, so (unlike Christianity) the Buddhists can dispense with it.  The Dalai Lama can blithely say, "if science proves some belief of Buddhism wrong, then Buddhism will have to change."  Our religion, however, cannot.  Our creation story is intertwined with our redemption story.

That sounds like the gnostic myths about the Demiurge and the humans trapped in the material world, having divine elements from the Pleroma. They believed man was a god-like being.

Good catch.  The parallels are indeed interesting.  Gnosticism borrows a lot from the East.

Or it could be the other way too?
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #39 on: August 25, 2014, 02:38:54 PM »
The last time I mentioned Gnosticism I got yelled at.

Was it Oldavid who yelled at you?
"The sneakiness of prigs, the conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts like hell, like sacrifice of the guiltless, like unio mystica in drinking blood; above all, the slowly fanned fire of revenge, of chandala revenge—all that is what became master over Rome."

Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew
The Caesars became beasts, and God—a Jew!
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #40 on: August 25, 2014, 02:48:00 PM »
Aquinas actually covers Pon's objection, in that Original Sin had an effect on man alone as regards death. That animals could have died prior to the Fall, as their nature was not changed.

Quote
Reply to Objection 2. In the opinion of some, those animals which now are fierce and kill others, would, in that state, have been tame, not only in regard to man, but also in regard to other animals. But this is quite unreasonable. For the nature of animals was not changed by man's sin, as if those whose nature now it is to devour the flesh of others, would then have lived on herbs, as the lion and falcon. Nor does Bede's gloss on Genesis 1:30, say that trees and herbs were given as food to all animals and birds, but to some. Thus there would have been a natural antipathy between some animals. They would not, however, on this account have been excepted from the mastership of man: as neither at present are they for that reason excepted from the mastership of God, Whose Providence has ordained all this. Of this Providence man would have been the executor, as appears even now in regard to domestic animals, since fowls are given by men as food to the trained falcon.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1096.htm#article1

Correct.  Aquinas covers it, but the objection he responds to is testified in various Fathers of the Eastern Church.  I don't think his response is as entirely "reasonable" as he claims, though.  He fails to mention how Adam & Eve themselves would've escaped being consumed by carnivorous animals.
"The sneakiness of prigs, the conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts like hell, like sacrifice of the guiltless, like unio mystica in drinking blood; above all, the slowly fanned fire of revenge, of chandala revenge—all that is what became master over Rome."

Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew
The Caesars became beasts, and God—a Jew!
 

Offline GloriaPatri

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #41 on: August 25, 2014, 02:57:04 PM »
You ask why would an omnipotent God go through the clunky process of evolution. I respond, why not? God created a vast universe whose observable portion alone contains 100 billion galaxies, each with 100 billion or more stars. Why would God feel the need to create such a vast and complex universe, with its relativistic physics and quantum mechanics? Why would God not simply have made a universe that was solely Newtonian in nature? Hell, why would God feel the need to make the Earth a sphere and grant it plate tectonics and a magnetic field and a whole host of other things that aren't simple? You can question why God would do things that seem unnecessary. I will simply accept that He has done so.
 

Offline Gardener

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #42 on: August 25, 2014, 02:58:53 PM »
Aquinas actually covers Pon's objection, in that Original Sin had an effect on man alone as regards death. That animals could have died prior to the Fall, as their nature was not changed.

Quote
Reply to Objection 2. In the opinion of some, those animals which now are fierce and kill others, would, in that state, have been tame, not only in regard to man, but also in regard to other animals. But this is quite unreasonable. For the nature of animals was not changed by man's sin, as if those whose nature now it is to devour the flesh of others, would then have lived on herbs, as the lion and falcon. Nor does Bede's gloss on Genesis 1:30, say that trees and herbs were given as food to all animals and birds, but to some. Thus there would have been a natural antipathy between some animals. They would not, however, on this account have been excepted from the mastership of man: as neither at present are they for that reason excepted from the mastership of God, Whose Providence has ordained all this. Of this Providence man would have been the executor, as appears even now in regard to domestic animals, since fowls are given by men as food to the trained falcon.

http://www.newadvent.org/summa/1096.htm#article1

Correct.  Aquinas covers it, but the objection he responds to is testified in various Fathers of the Eastern Church.  I don't think his response is as entirely "reasonable" as he claims, though.  He fails to mention how Adam & Eve themselves would've escaped being consumed by carnivorous animals.

Well as he DID explain, in the underlined of the original quote from the Summa, "They would not, however, on this account have been excepted from the mastership of man: as neither at present are they for that reason excepted from the mastership of God, Whose Providence has ordained all this." The lion can eat the lamb before the Fall, but he could not have touched Adam on account of the lack of death and his subjection to man's mastership.

 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #43 on: August 25, 2014, 03:18:19 PM »
Well as he DID explain, in the underlined of the original quote from the Summa, "They would not, however, on this account have been excepted from the mastership of man: as neither at present are they for that reason excepted from the mastership of God, Whose Providence has ordained all this." The lion can eat the lamb before the Fall, but he could not have touched Adam on account of the lack of death and his subjection to man's mastership.

Man still has "mastership" over animals, yet humans nevertheless get eaten by crocodiles and tigers.  I'm not sure what you mean by "lack of death," either.  If the first pair were already immortal before the fall, then why were they banished from Eden so that they "might not take of the fruit of the Tree of Life, and live forever"?  It seems immortality would have been theirs (had they not sinned), but they forsook that gift by their disobedience, and it was put out of their reach.  So they weren't immortal (yet) when Adam was giving names to the lion and the cobra.

It's an interesting take you and Aquinas have, at any rate: that God himself is the author of animal suffering.  Fortunately, differing views are allowed on the subject.  I've always liked Blake's curiosity.

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,
In the forests of the night;
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?
"The sneakiness of prigs, the conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts like hell, like sacrifice of the guiltless, like unio mystica in drinking blood; above all, the slowly fanned fire of revenge, of chandala revenge—all that is what became master over Rome."

Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew
The Caesars became beasts, and God—a Jew!
 

Offline Pon de Replay

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Re: Theistic Evolution: The parents of Adam & Eve
« Reply #44 on: August 25, 2014, 03:22:10 PM »
You ask why would an omnipotent God go through the clunky process of evolution. I respond, why not? God created a vast universe whose observable portion alone contains 100 billion galaxies, each with 100 billion or more stars. Why would God feel the need to create such a vast and complex universe, with its relativistic physics and quantum mechanics? Why would God not simply have made a universe that was solely Newtonian in nature? Hell, why would God feel the need to make the Earth a sphere and grant it plate tectonics and a magnetic field and a whole host of other things that aren't simple? You can question why God would do things that seem unnecessary. I will simply accept that He has done so.

Doesn't answer the question, but thanks.
"The sneakiness of prigs, the conventicle secrecy, gloomy concepts like hell, like sacrifice of the guiltless, like unio mystica in drinking blood; above all, the slowly fanned fire of revenge, of chandala revenge—all that is what became master over Rome."

Rome sank to whoredom and became a stew
The Caesars became beasts, and God—a Jew!