Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
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30-08-2015, 07:41 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(29-08-2015 09:06 PM)Full Circle Wrote:  Read your latest blog entry Zoebion.

The first question that came to mind was, does it really make any difference whether the word meant “create” of “assign meaning” when the reader still has to believe that bronze age man (the author(s) of Genesis) was contacted by a creator to explain what it had done to get things started?

Regardless of the meaning it is hard for me to worry about the nuances of a word when the overall story is completely unbelievable to me.

Maybe I’m missing something but if “all” God did was assign function and is not the creator of all things then whence did the universe come from in your view and if the god being discussed is part of and not outside time and space then he appears to be superfluous and unnecessary.

Please feel free to challenge my understanding of what you wrote.

FC

I'm not arguing that the bible doesn't teach creation ex nihilo. It teaches it elsewhere, but not in Genesis. Like the other ANE text, it teaches creation ex material. The story is ancient Israelite polemic set against the back drop of the other ANE mythologies. The sun, moon, and water were all seen as gods, and the Genesis text is "demythologizing" these elements to show that their God is the creator. As I've written elsewhere, these creation accounts were about assigning functions. The way this was done was through separating and naming, which is what we see in Genesis. We also see that "light" is called "day", not "light", and "darkness" is called "night" not darkness- all referring to the functions they serve. We also have "evening and morning" ,but the sun and moon are not "created" until day 4. This is because they are 1)already in existence, 2)it proves further that the understanding is about assigning functions 3) the phrase is a literary devise. Finally, further implications form the context that show it to be functional oriented is the term "formless and void". This is a bad translation that was set forth by the Septuagint. The phrase actually means something that does not have purpose or function.

There is much more that I will be explaining as the posts go on.

Why is this important? Because it means that Genesis is not referring to the process of how God created the material world. Thus, it has nothing to say about evolution.
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30-08-2015, 07:48 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 07:41 AM)Zoebion Wrote:  Why is this important? Because it means that Genesis is not referring to the process of how God created the material world. Thus, it has nothing to say about evolution.

It might be convincing and I liked what you said about language and context etc but I ain't about to trust *your* interpretation either. Your reference is this bloke who wrote a book on Genesis 1, does he ever state this in so many words? Does he imply it? Is he a well-regarded scholar?

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(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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30-08-2015, 08:05 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(29-08-2015 09:24 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  From a different blog entry of yours this month, but something I'd definitely like to hear more about:

Quote:Now, when people hear that I am an Evolutionary Creationist, the assumption is that I embraced the theory of evolution first. Then because I compromised and sold out to that godless theory, I began to change my interpretation of Genesis to fit this new godless thought process. That's usually how the ad hominems go. For me, this was not how it went. Once I understood the early chapters of Genesis in their context, this then allowed me to investigate biological evolution on its own terms.

In 2010, I got a hold of John Walton's The Lost World of Genesis 1, and my soul found rest. In this book he talks about seeing the creation narratives in their context- that of the Ancient Near East. He discusses how the creation narratives are about functional origins, not material. During this same time, I began to have discussions with other believers who had embraced the theory of biological evolution. They really challenged me to go back and look at the evidence on my own. I did, but was still resistant to it. Finally, during 2010, after I had read and studied more about the ancient cosmology view, I was convinced that Genesis was not addressing material origins, nor was it interested in our current debates. I became convinced that nowhere does Genesis forbid us to look fully into the claims of modern evolutionary biology.

Now I was ready to truly investigate the evidence for biological evolution in an unbiased manner. What I found was that the evidence is both overwhelming and quite conclusive. For me, the most conclusive evidences were the many transitional fossils, and the DNA/genetic evidence. After coming to this realization, I remember sitting down on my couch one day and asking myself, "now what?" Ah yes, now I understand the Genesis text and see the truth about science, so all is well. Not hardly. This began to open a whole other set of questions: "What does this mean for the true historicity of Adam and Eve?" "What are we to make of Paul's use of Adam?" "Where do we place Adam and Eve in human history?" "What are the implications to the doctrine of original sin?" There are more questions, but you get the picture.

The questions at the bottom, in particular, I too am curious to know your thoughts about. It might be helpful to my Beloved, as well as my own understanding of how she conceives of the two fields of thought. We talk about evolution a lot, both being biologists, but I've been hesitant to press too hard on the theological implications of it.

Without fully developing my thoughts here, because they are many, I'll just summarize. However, I am going to be addressing these in detail in the future.

I don't believe Adam and Eve were real people as presented in the Genesis account. I think its debatable if the original audience even thought they were real.

There are some evolutionary creationists who do hold to the historicity of Adam. In my posts on the subject, I am going to outline two models- one that holds to the historicity of Adam and Eve (historicity in some form, not necessarily as is in the text) and one that doesn't (thus, the historically realities that Genesis deals with is sin, death, and God's relationship with humans).

This leads to Paul's Adam. Paul was like the Jewish interpreters of his day, and took certain amounts of freedom with things. Paul's hermeneutic was the resurrection of Christ. It changed how he saw the Old Testament. This means that he went back and read it in a Christ centered view. This is what he did with Adam. I'll get into this more later, but I think that the story of Adam in Genesis 2 is meant to be the story of Israel. Genesis, as a book , reached its final form after the exile of 586 BC. Israel with struggling with national identify. The Genesis account is meant to link Israel back to the very beginning and show that they have always been God's people and always will.

Enter Paul. Because of his resurrection hermeneutic, he interprets the Adam story not as just the story of Israel, but now the story of all mankind. Adam just doesn't represent how Israel has always turned away from God, but how all humans have turned away from God. There's debate as to whether Paul thought Adam and Eve where the first real humans. I think he did.

Enter the discussion of original sin. Again, this is going to be brief, and not a developed argument.There are two ways to view Paul's Adam. 1) Paul was a man of his age. He believed in ancient cosmology and biology. He was limited to the knowledge and stories of his day, so Adam was the only way he could explain the entrance of sin and death. Thus, being an ancient man working within an ancient science, Paul was wrong. He was not wrong about the existence of sin and death and its remedy (Jesus), but he was wrong about how it entered. 2) Paul didn't think Adam was the first man, but the first man who entered into a covenant relationship with God. This view goers on to argue that there never was a "fall". It argues that man was not created "perfect". Rather, what the Genesis text and Paul are arguing is that it isn't about "paradise lost", but about a state that was never gained. Sin "entered" because Adam didn't attain, so humans were left in the state that they were made.

In the first model, original sin now becomes sin of origins. Man is weak and imperfect from the beginning and has always turned away from God, thus the need for redemption.

In the second model, the only difference is that there is an historical Adam that had the chance to obtain life with God, but because he didn't, humanity is now left in a state of separation from God, thus the need for redemption.

As I said, there is more that goes into this, so this is a very meager representation of these views. But at least it will give you an introduction to what I will be talking about.

I hope this helps.
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30-08-2015, 08:06 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 07:48 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(30-08-2015 07:41 AM)Zoebion Wrote:  Why is this important? Because it means that Genesis is not referring to the process of how God created the material world. Thus, it has nothing to say about evolution.

It might be convincing and I liked what you said about language and context etc but I ain't about to trust *your* interpretation either. Your reference is this bloke who wrote a book on Genesis 1, does he ever state this in so many words? Does he imply it? Is he a well-regarded scholar?

Yes, he is one of the top Old Testament and ancient near east scholars in the world.
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30-08-2015, 08:25 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 08:06 AM)Zoebion Wrote:  
(30-08-2015 07:48 AM)morondog Wrote:  It might be convincing and I liked what you said about language and context etc but I ain't about to trust *your* interpretation either. Your reference is this bloke who wrote a book on Genesis 1, does he ever state this in so many words? Does he imply it? Is he a well-regarded scholar?

Yes, he is one of the top Old Testament and ancient near east scholars in the world.

Hah. I decided to use the google machine myself Tongue https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_H._Walton

Quote:He espouses a view of creation that resonates with ancient Near Eastern mindsets
Laughat

I think he probably wrote his Wiki entry.

Anyway, I'll accept that he's some variety of scholar Tongue

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If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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30-08-2015, 08:30 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
Oy Zoebion, link for you here: http://michaelsheiser.com/TheNakedBible/...brew-bara/. Seems like there's some disagreement over Walton's stuff.

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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30-08-2015, 09:01 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
From what I read, Hobbins' initial reaction to the Walton argument was more or less to wave it off because it does not fit the traditional view of this passage, and he saw no reason to take as credible a special pleading for the exclusion of one definition of the word over another.

However, Dr. Tim Bulkeley's blog on the subject originally agreed reflexively with Hobbins, but then withdrew that objection after Walton clarified with further writings and documentary support of the concept. And, of course, Walton himself replied to the original objections article.

These are all linked in the link Morondog provided. I think it will pay to not jump on this until Z has presented his entire case. Leaping in against detail-points in the short run seems counterproductive to me, by potentially derailing the full reveal. Of course, for clarifications and/or requests for details on accidental omissions, I'd venture to derail. Tongue

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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30-08-2015, 09:03 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 09:01 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I think it will pay to not jump on this until Z has presented his entire case.

This is unknowable, since the boy's gonna get jumped Big Grin

Tongue

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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30-08-2015, 09:13 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
My point being that we should listen, then talk.

Since as atheists we base many of our replies to Christians on the fact that we have read the Bible and claim to understand it better than the fundamentalist/literalists with whom we are arguing, I'd say it behooves us to gain the best possible understanding we can manage.

If we simply read it ourselves and say "well this is what I think about the English", then we are doing what Southern Baptists and other literalists do, except in reverse, and I don't think that's a viable approach. Listening to the research on the subject, particularly through the lens of someone whom we know and thus can better-understand in "real-time", will be more beneficial to us by far than a mere attempt to debunk the acceptance of the Biblical passages by a Believer.

I'd prefer to see a debate, when it finally occurs, after the initial case has been presented in its entirety, rather than risking losing part of the argument by leaping straight in with our own preconceptions, which is precisely what happened when Hobbins and Bulkeley attacked prior to Walton's full presentation.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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30-08-2015, 09:14 AM
RE: Christians and Evolution - A resource for those in question
(30-08-2015 09:03 AM)morondog Wrote:  
(30-08-2015 09:01 AM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I think it will pay to not jump on this until Z has presented his entire case.

This is unknowable, since the boy's gonna get jumped Big Grin

Tongue

Rocket is right. But it's ok. I take Krav Maga and train in Navy Seal combatives so I'm used to fighting 5 guys at once Tongue
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