It was announced today that the oldest human skeleton–a four foot female, named “Ardi” by scientist, who walked upright about four million years ago–offers new clues to the evolution of humanity (read CNN article here). For Darwinian Evolutionist this is another “ah-ha” moment disproving the Judeo-Christian creation narrative. For young earth creationist this is another hoax; it is another attempt to disprove that God created everything that will eventually pass away like previous “missing links”. What about those of us who reside somewhere in the middle? We have been dubbed ‘theistic evolutionist’. What do we think of Ardi?
About a week ago Nick Norelli raised this question in response to a video by Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III (see here). In the video Longman suggest that Genesis 1 & 2 do not prevent Christians from accepting the evolutionary hypothesis about the origins of humanity. Rather, Adam may be the first “human” that evolved from a lower species and at some point in the process God did something powerful and creative that distinguished us from the rest of the created, evolving order (my view). Or maybe “Adam” and “Eve” are meant to serve as representatives of the earliest humans (plural), but not literally one man and one woman (Nick’s view here). Longman himself has not settled on either one of these possibilities, but as Nick and I would both agree, there is plenty of room for either in one’s reading of Genesis 1 & 2.
Earlier Jay Bakker asked via his Twitter account if this changed anyone’s opinion on Adam and Eve. My answer: No. When Gen. 2:7 says that God formed Adam from the dust of the ground it does not say how this occurred, only that it occurred. Did it happen in a moment? Over a longer period of time? Whatever the case may be I do not see how “from the ground” is any better than “from the same species that apes also evolved”. It is as if many read Gen. 2:7 as saying God created humanity ex nihlo–from nothing! It does not say that. Therefore, it is not incompatible with evolution.
I must say though that if Eve looks like Ardi it is a miracle that Adam found her so attractive (see 2:22-23)!
Also: For humor watch Steven Colbert’s recent interview with Richard Dawkins here.
Update: Scot McKnight is discussing the subject here.
Update: Alister McGrath on Augustine of Hippo’s view of Genesis 1 & 2 here.
Update: We were shunned by the ‘The Biblioblogers Carnival of Ardi” over at Dr. Jim’s blog! See here. It may be because ‘Near Emmaus’ is not a top 50 blog, but hey, we have 113 comments! HT: Jim West.
UPDATE on the last UPDATE! Dr. Jim includes us! And he even dedicated a YouTube video of a country song written by Adam himself.
A miracle indeed!
Dude, it is a hominid skeleton, not a human skeleton.
You get it wrong in your first sentence ! You might want to fix it.
I am not sure how I got it “wrong”. The Webster Dictionary definition of ‘hominid’ is: “any of a family (Hominidae) of erect bipedal primate mammals comprising recent humans together with extinct ancestral and related forms”. If this is the definition then I am only repeating what is being said by CNN. Huffington Post, and so forth that this is an ‘early’ human (ancestor?). Please explain why you think I am in error.
Actually, the exact words of Jamie Shreeve, the ‘National Geographic Magazine’ Science Editor is this:
“The big news in the journal Science tomorrow is the discovery of the oldest human skeleton — a small-brained, 110-pound female of the species Ardipithecus ramidus, nicknamed “Ardi.” ”
If she can say “human” how am I wrong for saying “human”?
Read more at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2009/10/01/ardi-oldest-human-skeleto_n_306033.html
You can be right, if you like !
Perhaps the term is used loosely. Here is Webster.
I am use to the term “hominid” to refer to a larger group: humans, other great apes (gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos, and orangutans).
Humans are then just one of the hominids.
By showing the picture and saying “oldest human skeleton” you (and the Nat. Geo editor) are furthering the classic confusion of lineage.
But perhaps it is a term that is generally used sloppily. But hopefully you see what I am trying to emphasize.
I admit to knowing very little about whether or not this is a loose usage of terminology. It very well might be that. All I am trying to say is that if the skeleton furthers the hypothesis that humans evolved, at all, this does not, or should not, ruin Christian faith. Even as a fairly conservative evangelical I find plenty of room for evolution in Gen. 1-2.
I am extremely glad that some evangelicals are no longer taking evolution as a threat — one less obstacle to good science. All we need now is for homosexuality to be understood and not viewed as default sin.
One step at a time.
There are many evangelicals who do not hold to six-day creationism. In fact, there have been for some time now. There has been a lot of wrestling with Gen. 1 & 2. Although I won’t go as far as to say that I know for sure that six day creationist and young earth creationist are in the minority I would say that it is close enough that this could be the case.
As regards homosexuality I think this is an issue with which evangelicals are currently wrestling. Like the creation-evolution discussion there are particular passages that are being discussed. Rom. 1 is of utmost importance in this discussion.
Some like Tony Jones, Doug Pagitt, and Brian McLaren–the emergent church evangelicals which you mentioned on your blog–appear to be moving toward a more open position on that matter. Others are trying to find a way to balance what we read in Scriptures with the practicality of loving others as ourselves as Jesus instructed us to do. Then there are those who isolate homosexuality as the worse sin of all sins thereby conveying the image that you appear to be concerned by.
This find is about as human as my dog. Every creature, presently living or prehistoric and departed from the planet, that looks somewhat human is not necessarily human or even related to humanity. Those who have set their sights on interpreting appearances as truth will find what they are looking for. This creature would have great difficulty walking on two legs with feet with an opposeable toe foot structure, certainly creating an enormous disadvantage in running. And the nose structure they are showing in the illustration would subject the creature to potential drowning conditions during heavy rain storms with the nostrils open and facing straight ahead. No living creature which walks upright and straight I have seen has this nose structure. All are designed to shed water and to keep it out of the breathing passages. Either their head in set on their bodies angling the nostrils down or the nostrils are open at an angle toward the ground. Looks to me like a hybridized creation from someone’s wishful thinking. Time will tell; though to the true believer in ‘nothing creating everything’ it won’t matter.
i just want to debate the evolutionary thought from a Christian view.
have you thought about Gen 2:20-23 where no “suitable helper” was found for Adam. implying even if Adam and eve are plural, eve didn’t even exist..?!?! she was made from his rib or side..
when God created man in Gen 2:7 he created Adam not eve which is who you are comparing to this Ardi…
so if eve didn’t exist who did Adam evolve with? therefore doesn’t it kind of defeat evolution from a Christian perspective?
LOL. My thought exactly.
Scientists find one partial skeleton and say this proves we evolved from apes. Sorry guys more proof needed. One partial skeleton proves diddly-squat! There should be thousands upon thousands of fossilised remains of this one species.
It seems to me that key to the Genesis Issue, the Homosexuality Issue, the Gender Role issue, the Demonology Issue ….. is The Role/Nature of Scripture (is there a phrase for this? Some call it the “Theology of Scripture”).
And some Evangelicals, as you know, are ‘wrestling’ with that too:
1. God’s Word in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical Scholarship — By Kenton L. Sparks (2008)
2. Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament — by Peter Enns (2005)
I find such changes very hopeful. Conservatives, of course, will be rightfully alarmed by these. Have you read these? What do you think?
Hey, thanks for looking at my site.
Oooops, could you fix the second link: http://www.amazon.com/Inspiration-Incarnation-Evangelicals-Problem-Testament/dp/0801027306/ref=pd_bxgy_b_img_b
Wait a minute. Why is this the “ancestor” of humans? Could it not, just as easily, be the ancestor of Chimpanzees, or even some other species that has become extinct? What makes this creature an ancestor of humans? How do you know it’s not the ancestor of a baboon?
And if “evolution” is going on, then “devolution” by the same token MUST be going on as well, that is, a species is devolving back to the primordial goo. Or is the “evolution” debate a one way street with species becoming more advanced instead of less as time goes by? And if that were the case, how come reptiles aren’t the most advanced species on the planet since they have been here longer than we have by at least 600 million years?
Here is one thing you can count on – DEATH. You WILL die, just as God said. If there are people that want to believe their ancestors were amoebas, then so be it. But I reserve the Right to believe my ancestor is God, and when we all are dead, I guess we’ll finally know the answer.
“Live for something, rather than die for nothing” ~ Patton
She was a gay lesbeian
“Scientists believe that the fossilized remains, which were discovered in 1994 in Ethiopia and studied for years by an international team of researchers, support beliefs that humans and chimpanzees evolved separately from a common ancestor.”
While I agree with the excitement over this new discovery and what this could mean for evolutionists and creationists alike, I must ask…did anyone else notice this statement in the early part of the article? Note the use of the word “Scientists BELIEVE…”
If this is science, why can’t they PROVE this? Bottom line, sure this is an interesting find and perhaps it does open up some questions that need answers.
But to say that this proves evolution is misguided. Its basing a whole theory and PROVING it with some things that scientists have pieced together based on what they are assuming. I think we need more evidence before we can claim evolution IS TRUE. Or is the belief in evolution just as “faith based” as creationism?
I am wondering how scientists were able to determine that this was a link in the evolutionary chain and not a new species. Seems to me we find a piece of chewed gum on the sidewalk and we immediately decide it has something to do with evolution.
The Theory of evolution is not a “hypothesis”. Your use of the word “Human” was not some big blunder as someone pointed out but calling the Theory of Evolution a “hypothesis” was a huge blunder! The more this kind of thinking is promoted the longer it will take the American public to realize evolution is a fact that has more evidence supporting it than almost any other topic in science.
Calling evolution a “hypothesis” is no different than saying the idea that the Earth is a sphere is simply a “hypothesis” or the idea that the earth revolves around the Sun is also just a “hypothesis”…There are huge differences in a Scientific “hypothesis” and a Scientific “Theory”. One more thing, a Scientific “Theory” is not the same as simple “theory”.
You think Adam was buff handsome guy that could choose who he mated with?
The lack of imagination is staggering…
AMEN!!!! This is a joke.
I swear some people waste so much time trying to discredit GOD, but nothing they do or say will ever discredit him. People there is a GOD who created heaven and earth live with it. Quit wasting your time and money on something that you will never be able to prove geez. Take that money and feed the poor and make a difference.
Interesting observations. Of course, I am not qualified to affirm or object. All I am saying is that if this affirms evolution of humans it does not destroy the biblical narrative.
I guess this would depend on how literal a reading we give the “rib” creation. Woman comes from man’s side. It symbolizes equality of being to some extent. Does it hint at how humanity “developed”? Is it meant to be a literal picture of how woman came from man? I do not know.
I am not opposed to this understanding. Again, I am only saying that if, by chance, evolutionary theory turns near fact because of new data this will not destroy the Gen. narrative.
I have read Enns and I thought it was a great book and that it fit well within the evangelical understanding of Scripture. I have not read Sparks. Enns does not deny inspiration; Enns suggest that inspiration occurred in the language of the people of the time when the particular documents were written. So God could use Egyptian or Babylonian creation mythology language to convey the truth that God alone, the God of Israel, is the creator God and not the false gods of Egypt or Babylon.
Some evangelicals do not like this and they have the right to be heard. But I do not think it is outside the confines of evangelicalism.
You are welcome. Thank you for reading the site as well!
It may not be the ancestor of humanity. All I am saying is that you can affirm that humans are made in the image of God while leaving room for the possibility that God brought this about through the process we call “evolution”. What I am not saying is that I think this is a bullet-proof theory. I am just saying it is compatible.
I agree. For science to make something a fact it has to be observable and repeatable. Neither creation nor evolution are observable or repeatable. So we are stuck with theories.
We can observe that the earth is a sphere. We can observe that the earth revolved around the sun. We cannot observe evolution. We can only take what we have and attempt to reconstruct history. Reconstructing history is not “provable” therefore it remains a hypothesis. Though it may be a very good one!
(1) Suggestion: you might want to remove the heirarchy levels in comments — it makes it much easier to find comments and to follow them when they appear it our e-mail. Just a suggestion.
(2) Could you please state what you feel the “Theory of Evolution” is? That way, I could be understand if your statements about it are accurate. Thank you.
(1) I will take that into consideration. What is the other option? How do I change it?
(2) The theory of evolution, as I understand it, is that over a long, long period of time–millions on millions of year–things of lesser complexity became more and more complex as particular things of complexity “survived” passing along the positive genetic “mutations” that caused it to thrive and survive on this planet.
“I find such changes very hopeful. Conservatives, of course, will be rightfully alarmed by these. ”
If you find these changes necessary, why be evangelical in the first place?
I found this post via CNN. I would suggest that a naturalistic/materialistic alternative to understanding the world is an essential component of freewill, certainly once mankind advanced scientifically enough to explore such origins systematically. I see no reason to reject supernatural intervention in Creation simply because the Creator did not orchestrate it in a way that is materialistically demonstrable.
A non literal approach is an ad hoc justification to avoid falsifying Geneses 1 and 2 by conflicting evidence. But when one realizes that although not explicit, implicit in the narrative itself would be the appearance of a prior/longer existence of the world itself such a justification is really superfluous.
It is altogether possible that Gen. 1 does not teach creation ‘ex nihlo’. This has been argued by plenty of evangelicals as well. Even J. Sailhamer has suggested that the “days” of creation refer to the organizing of the “Promise Land”.
” We cannot observe evolution. ”
Sorry, back to science class for you!
That is was not Creation ex nihlo would not change that it was creation. Despite some generic similarities the material record does not coincide with the Biblical narrative, even if we view the latter evolutionarily.
I’m unclear on your second point and how it would effect the discussion?
I will be more specific: We cannot observe macro-evolution. Micro-evolution is observable. But the kind that six day creationist cannot accept has not been observed in some time.
If the biblical record is read as being six literal “days” then it may be that it cannot be reconciled to the material record. If it is mnemonic categorizing creation rather than explaining exactly “how” it happened it can be reconciled.
The Sailhamer hypothesis is an example of how Gen. 1 can be read without referring, at all, to how the earth may have actually come into existence.
Dude, humans are hominids! Hominid is the “human family”
Actually, gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans aren’t hominids.
The term “hominid” refers to creatures that walk upright most of the time. Humans are the only living example.
You are alone in using the term that way. The term Hominid was first used by Linneus to decribe humans and then he apes placed in the Pongid family. Recent fossils and genetic evidence has moved great apes into the Hominid family. So if you want to deny the relationship between humans and apes and least try to use words so that you can be understood by readers.
Even if one can find basis to suggest otherwise, the term “evening” and “morning” are highly indicative of an intent to use “yom” in its conventional meaning.
Here ya go:
(1) Turning Off Nested[confusing] Comments
Go to your DASHBOARD left menu –> Settings –> Discussion __> “Other comment settings” –> then uncheck the “enable threaded(nested) comments
(2) Turning of “Possibly Related Posts” (I suggest you do this too) — distracting
Go to your DASHBOARD left menu –> Appearance –> Extras –> Then check “Hide related links on this blog” — it cleans up your page with links you many not want anyway ! Much nicer.
Just my thoughts, but because you asked.
BTW, I really enjoy your writing — good style, great emotional maturity — thank you
“…live with it.” “…there is a God…” Why, because you say so? Sorry I will stick with the science. Evolution does not mix with the bible in any way shape or form. Trying to fit your beliefs into every new scientific discovery that comes along is the mental equivalent of the square peg in the round hole. I really get tired of someone or some group trying to tell me that things are the way they are just because they say so.
Evolution is a fact, see Darwin’s finches. It is how it came about that is theory: one can follow the Darwin path or the Creation path on that one. They only believe as the research is not done.
Humans are hominids. Hominids are not humans.
Chihuahuas are dogs. Dogs are not chihuahuas.
Bananas are fruits. Fruits are not bananas.
It is not a human. It is not of the genus Homo (as in Homo sapiens), or even the older genus Australopithecus.
It is as much human as it is chimpanzee.
Sure, but ‘yom’ is not limited to a 24 hour day so there is room for other interpretations.
There’s only room for evolution in Genesis if you read words that are not written there. If you’re essentially making up the Bible as you go to fit your preconceptions, what’s the point of following it?
Wow, it sounds like the evolution of the word “hominids” is complex ! Smile.
Sounds like lots of various uses out there. Bob, thanx for the Linneus history of the word.
We know that woman did not come from man. Sexual reproduction was not the original form of reproduction. Sexual reproduction is a later evolution that came about as a means of increasing genetic diversity and simplifying the body plans required for reproduction (e.g. reducing the number of organs required per individual).
Brian, ‘yom’ never means anything but a 24-hour day. Hence, Yom Kippur.
What level of ‘macro’ are you looking for? We’ve observed lizards evolving totally new organs in response to dietary pressure.
There is a difference between micro and macro evolution.
Macro as to the extreme that an ape would become a human.
By the way, if you’re wondering where I came from, CNN had your blog listed on their story in the ‘blogs linking to us’ section.
So the fact that we observed a new organ forming in 30 years doesn’t, in your mind, lend credence to the idea that an ape could gradually become a human over, say, 30 million years?
I considered it and I changed it but it made non-sense out of a lot of the comments posted. I could not tell who was responding to who. So I think it was a good idea, but I will stick with nested so I can tell who is responding to who on this page.
Thank you by the way. I try to be calm when I write!
I did my major in biology at UCLA, so this is something I’ve been wrestling with for a long time… Hope others don’t mind me chiming in. While I guess AJ may be right in saying we should probably not use the word “hypothesis”, I also think he may miss the point of why you were saying that in the first place. I found it interesting that initially, evolutionists followed what is called “gradualism”, that over millions of years, new species would be forming slowly, but after finding an overwhelming fossile record support saying otherwise, they switched to punctuated equilibrium, in which new species basically “pops out” suddenly, so to speak.
Furthermore, I’d like to at least make a distinction between macro and microevolution. I have no problems saying that some type of dog way back when gone through speciation in a way that made all the different type of dog species today, but I still find no convincing support for that uber-famous picture of an animal slowly developing into a monkey that slowly turns into an upright humanoid creature into homo sapiens today. I was scared at first that my Christian faith would take a huge hit from doing such in-depth studies into the theory of evolution, but rather the opposite occurred. The more I studied the intricacies of one cell, the structure of a plant, and DNA replication and the such, it became clear to me that much of what is proposed as true in the field of science was mostly theories without substantial support.
All that being said, I still haven’t come to terms with how all that fits in with Adam and Eve and “theistic evolution”. There’s still some problems with that system that I haven’t fully worked out, but I guess more time and studying will tell.
Thanks Brian for posting this, I’m glad my undergrad studies haven’t been a complete waste of time for a biblioblogger! 🙂
Except they didn’t “switch” to it. They determined what could have caused it an incorporated it into the theory. Natural selection is now no longer the sole accepted cause of evolution. Gradualism was not discarded.
Apart from the fact that scientists are constantly producing working results based on the theories.
And you are abusing the word “theory.” A theory without substantial support is a hypothesis.
Only when being discussed by people who have a theistic reason for not believing in speciation.
(1) Nested Comments
Brian, can you see how hard it is to come here and find comments and reply with all this nested stuff going on here ?
(a) Complexity FYI, “Complexity” is one of the many common misunderstandings of “evolution”. Organism when they are very small appear to get more complex because there ain’t no other direction to go. But as organism become more complex, some then go backwards in complexity so as to have an adaptive advantage.
(b) Survival: Indeed, it is about survival. Random mutation, preserved by a non-random process called selection.
(c) Time Evolution does not need tied to long periods of time. We have observed it on very short scales in fast replicating micro-organisms. But long periods of time do allow for diversity of organism to become blatantly apparent.
So given a correct definition of Evolution, we have lots of observable evidence of the mechanism. But I think your contention is the whole species evolution thing — that has actually been answered too. To be honest with you, you sound a little weak on your biology and might enjoy reading Dawkin’s new book — I haven’t read it myself but I am sure it will be good. But I have read many evolutionary science texts and if you are going to argue it, it would be good to read these instead of reading the synopsises by apologetics, if that is your source. Just my impression. I know you are pro-evolution but you might need some more polishing — seems like you still have some old 6-day mentality that is hanging on. A little study will help clarify, I think.
Yeah, turing off comments now will confuse things.
On future posts, you may want to.
Then commentors can preface their comment with:
@ so and so
for each commentor they are responding to — it works well.
If you like.
For instance, on my Blackberry I see your response to my comment but I can only scroll up and down this page so many times before I give up trying to find your response and where to responds.
‘Yom’ can mean something other than a 24 hour day. E.g. Prov. 25:13– ‘yom’ is a period of time, a season. If I was not at work I would take more time to explore this, but yes, it can be a period of time longer than 24 hours. Maybe I’ll write a post on it or if JohnDave has time he can do so.
It does lend credence, but it hasn’t been shown to happen. This is why I feel more comfortable with hypothesis than fact.
I noticed that. I feel kind of special. Thanks CNN.
Maybe. All I am saying is that we haven’t seen that drastic of a change in our observations.
I think I am interested in reading Dawkins’ book. If anyone has access to a review copy I’d take it! Maybe it will be part of my Winter reading when classes are out. This one looks a lot more interesting than his dip into theology/philosophy in ‘The God Delusion’.
I disagree. I think there is plenty of room because Gen. 1 is not addressing the how within the how. We can affirm God created by means of evolution while affirming Gen 1 & 2.
Ok, so maybe I should move form ‘hypothesis’ to ‘theory’ since there does seem to be substantial support.
How on earth can you claim to reconcile evolution with the idea that man was formed from dust and woman was formed from man’s rib?
If ‘yom’ does not mean 24-hour day, you’re telling me that the sun rose and set only six times throughout all the ages that Genesis describes. You cannot reconcile a non-24-hour ‘yom’ with “And the evening and the morning were the [nth] day” – ‘evening’ and ‘morning’ there translate only to words meaning evening and morning and nothing metaphorical.
(1) Gen. 1 &2 are using figurative language (ie. woman comes from the same place as man or the side of man showing ontological equality).
(2) God used the evolutionary process to lead the creative order to a point and at that point did something a bit extraordinary by making one of these beings an exceptionally intelligent being (a human) a made this being into two with the other including a second gender.
Notice that while “day and night” are created in day 1 those things that actually make day and night as we understand it–sun, moons, stars–do not appear until day 4. Whatever the author intended he could not have intended for us to understand it as we do from our existence hear on earth where the planet turns and the sun “rises” and the planet continues to turn until it “sets”. There was no sun in days 1 through 3.
Brian, you say evangelicals are wrestling with homosexuality. what exactly is your view on homosexuality? I am gay, and I’m curious what the evangelicals are saying about me now.
does your comment apply to Mike T, just because he said it…..
and john the bible does speak of people like you in Romans 1:18-24
18The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of men who suppress the truth by their wickedness, 19since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them. 20For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
21For although they knew God, they neither glorified him as God nor gave thanks to him, but their thinking became futile and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22Although they claimed to be wise, they became fools 23and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images made to look like mortal man and birds and animals and reptiles.
24Therefore God gave them over in the sinful desires of their hearts to sexual impurity for the degrading of their bodies with one another. 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
you can think what you want but the Bible, Word of God says that i have no excuse when i look into nature and science for that matter… look how complex it is ???
i dont know what to say to you mike T…. where do you get that thought??? its weird??
but then again you might just not get what i have quoted from the Bible without the illumination of the Word through the Holy Spirit … but i pray that you will be open to it.
I would say that one of the most prominent apologist for compatibility between evangelical Christianity and homosexuality would be Tony Jones (see blog: http://blog.beliefnet.com/tonyjones). At this juncture I think Jones still sees himself as an evangelical. The argument he would make is that there are only a few passages in the Bible that appear to make homosexuality one of those consistent practices that could prevent someone from declaring themselves a genuine Christian. He discounts all the OT statements against homosexuality (rightly, for the most part) and then deals with the NT passages from his perspective.
My own perspective would be that middle ground where I said “we” above. We who are trying to wrestle with those passages like Rom. 1 where we feel homosexual activity is presented as contrary to Christian behavior. Yet we understand that it is not singled out the way many evangelicals single it out–as if it is the worst of all lifestyles or some sort of “super” sin.
I know because I am friends who are both homosexual and confessing Christians that my viewpoint is not acceptable to them. On the other hand I think it is something that can be discussed and debated peacefully without there being a war of words. We can even come to different views on Rom. 1 and other passages while maintaining civility. I also know that this is hard because if I affirm Rom. 1 to say what I think it says, and then I affirm that I agree with it, it appears as if I am by default attacking those who are homosexual. This is not intended, but it is a difficult rope to walk.
In other words, Genesis says something it doesn’t mean, and though it doesn’t provide any guidance to tell you that it’s meant to be figurative, you take it figuratively. Why?
So because the Bible says that God’s presence is obvious, it must actually be?
Frankly, I think the beauty of nature is proof of Poseidon. And I can state that claim with just as much justification.
So now you’re claiming that the meaning of ‘yom’ is different between Day 3 and Day 4?
You do know that observation of current events isn’t the only method of scientific observation, right? If you’re going to toss out examination of historical evidence as invalid, then we’re no longer able to solve unobserved crimes.
The lack of understanding of science in general, and evolution in particular, in this thread is staggering.
The blame must be placed on science educators, for clearly not instilling the basics in people, and also on the media for constantly feeling the need to use the term ‘missing link’ every time a fossil find is announced.
Would you be willing to present some working definitions of ‘kind’ as it pertains to taxonomic classifications and where the line between micro- and macro-evolution is drawn, according to your understanding of it?
Genesis 1 does say what the author intended to say: God is the creative force behind the universe. It does not say how God accomplished this feat. It simply connects the God of creation with the God who comes into covenant with Abraham later in the text and henceforth his descendants. That is the central point of Gen 1.
The days are a mnemonic device. The text would have likely been read aloud. It serves as a reminder that God is the creator behind all things. But to read it from a fundamentalist perspective saying that days 1-6 must be depictions of “how” this occurred like ‘Orgin of Species’ is incorrect. It is simply saying that it did occur and God is behind the whole thing.
I am claiming that the meaning of ‘yom’ throughout Gen. 1 is consistent, yet it should not be understood as “when the sun rises, when the sun sets” since there is no sun until “day” 4. Therefore days 1-6 cannot be understood as literal 24 hour periods since the means by which 24 hours is “measured” doesn’t even exist until day 4.
That is a good point Mike.
Let me restrict this to evolution. We have not seen the type of “leap” needed to affirm without a doubt that something like an ape can become something like a human. Or have we? Is there something I am missing?
This is why people keep searching for the so-called missing “link” because for all the similarities there is a large enough gap between the two species for us to wonder how A turned into B.
Let me try to say it someone who hasn’t say in a legitimate science class in years, if ever:
I understand that a lizard can evolve into another type of lizard, a dog into a different type of dog, birds into different birds, and so forth. I do not know where we find rational for, well, a ape into a man. Similar, yes. But there is a large enough gap for us to continue asking for this “missing link” because we all know that there is still something missing in the theory.
ummm verse 25 if i may… 25They exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen.
what is it that you believe? poseiden?… like greek mythology? do you think he evolved from ardi here?
@expatmatt (EPM): You know EPM, science is tough. It goes against the grain of many human intuitions (heuristic algorithms) which themselves are the product of selective pressures. Thus the really enemy of evolution is evolution. How is that for irony !
My point, to really understand evolution takes a lot of discipline and desire to undo normal inaccurate intuitions. People have to be motivated to understand evolutions, economics, statistics and themselves — why do that when they are getting along just fine without the effort and there are lots of folks to support them.
Remember, Humans (“man”) and Apes had common ancestors — Humans did not come from apes. I’d go out and buy Dawkins now !
Smile !! My theology sucks too, that is why I ask you when unsure.
Brian, sorry, I give up searching comments to find this, but somewhere you wrote:
Again, you need to study about ancestors and lineage.
But here is something else you may not be aware of. We can not see the changes for obvious reasons, we don’t live long enough, but we have predicted with incredible accuracy where to find transitional fossils and at what level of rocks. Coyne’s book “Why Evolution is True” has a good section on that. Also genetics is confirming the exact same timing patterns. So of course we can’t see them happening, but nonetheless we have cleverly been able to test and confirm again and again and again that it is “true” — (as true as any theory gets). Again, Dawkins or Coyne may help.
I ought to direct my responses regarding my own understanding of how evolution actually works here: https://nearemmaus.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/what-i-can-say-and-what-i-cannot-say-the-book-of-genesis-and-evolution/
See, here is the old misunderstanding of “evolved from apes”. Guys, you got a lot of homework to do. But I am sure you’d rather not — but then why blog on the issue. It only sounds like pure defensiveness which is a poor “testimony”, no?
Thanks for trying, but here you’ve already shown that you’re swinging blind.
You’re talking about one thing evolving into another thing, but the things you are fine with don’t correspond to any kind of sensible rationale;
Just for context, here’s the taxonomic ‘ladder’ (abridged); domain, kingdom, phylum, sub-phylum, superclass, class, subclass, order, suborder, family, subfamily, genus, species, subspecies.
Each ‘level’ has specific criteria for placing organisms in that level. Once a species is identified with being in a specific kingdom (say) none of it’s descendants will ever be outside of that kingdom. Once a species is placed in a specific order, it’s descendants will all be in that order too. Get it? So yes, a bird will always be a bird and a dog will always be a dog and a mammal will always be a mammal.
So you say things about lizards, dogs and birds;
lizard is a sub-order,
dog is a sub-species (or breed, if you like), and
bird is a class
You’re all over the place!
Apes are the Superfamily: Hominoidea
Humans are the subspecies: homo s. sapiens (which is a subspecies within the superfamily Hominoidea)
It’s about family trees, not straight lines.
Clear as mud?
I will make an effort to get my hands on Dawkins books. 🙂
Let me point out that I by no means disagree with evolution (as I know it which obviously is not very in-depth).
@ Expatmatt — come on, play nice !
Yes, as regards science, I am out of my league. Here is the point I am trying to make that I have tried to state more clearly here: https://nearemmaus.wordpress.com/2009/10/02/what-i-can-say-and-what-i-cannot-say-the-book-of-genesis-and-evolution/
I think the language of Gen. 1 & 2 is vague enough (poetic, symbolic) that it does not try to compete with science or explain how “creation” actually “happened”. It may state the metaphysical personality behind the process, but not the process itself. Therefore evolution can be true and not conflict with Gen. 1 & 2 because Gen. 1 & 2 are not trying to answer the same questions that Darwin asked.
You never know, Brian, you may study evolution, and find it lacking and come back posting apologies to all your colleagues ! 😉
Yeah! Lay off the guy who knows biblical literature and not science. 😉
We are stuck with theories? Theories are observations of natural phenomena..not guesses like you are assuming. Evolution is absolute fact,we can observe it numerous ways. We OBSERVE fossils, we OBSERVE DNA, we observe specification, and diversification, we observe comparitive anatomy..where is all the guessing? We can see that a whale has ankle and hip bones, just like evolution would predict, there closest living relative is the hippo, just like evolution would predict. Leave your myths and follow the research. You know how many creation stories there are around the world? Babylonians had a creation story very similar to the biblical story, but 2000 yrs older.
Brian check out nationalgeographic.com’s article on ardi, it explains how there is no longer a need to find a missing link. Very interesting, and there is also pretty interesting evolution articles about observing evolution, and how we have evolved in the last 10,000 yrs, by OBSERVING the human genome.
As you will see elsewhere I actually understand the Genesis creation narrative to use the language of either Egyptian or Babylonian creation mythology. As it has been mentioned, Peter Enn’s book does a good job of laying out a reading of Gen 1 & 2 that I would feel comfortable with echoing.
why didnt God create man out of man then… no wait he created woman for Gen 2:24 i dont see the point of creating a “suitable helper” if man (homosexuality) was alright…. man didnt need man.. he needed woman… right from the beginning God starts heterosexual as the proper way..
In many cases you have scientist you say “Species change – therefore there can be no creation.” While Christians state “God created – therefore there can be no scientists.”
Which means the truth probably lies somewhere in between. I find it interesting Dawkin’s statement in Cobert’s interview that you start with simplicity and then can go to complexity – or something to this point. My question is where did the simplicity come from? How did life begin in the first place? Evangelicals point to this and say there must be a God as there is no other rational explanations for the beginning of life, while scientist’s will admit there is not even a good working hypothesis – yet.
Point to be taken – You must come to God by faith. You need to come to science with a good degree of skepticism and a questioning mind. I find it troubling scientist see that species change and end up making the leap to spontaneous generation for the creation of life. I also find it troubling Christians don’t make any attempt to understand the nature of the scientific process. (Present company excluded)
Sabio, my understanding is that we don’t have transitional fossils. Does Coyne’s chapter you mentioned talk about that? Also, any other specific resources on this matter?
(1) The most interesting point here is “my understanding”. Where does your information come from?
(2) Coyne Chapter 2
Wow, I just found that even Wiki does a great job explaining terms and listing examples:
List of Transitional Fossils
After you read these, please let us know if your opinion was changed.
How we express our thoughts and ideas are formed by our life experiences, and education. And how I seek to communicate is an expression of what has come before in my life. In the same way when I want to express an idea I can choose the pen to write my ideas. If I chose a read pen to write with the ink with my words will all be red, black or blue the ideas transmitted to the page will look different with what ever different utensil I may pick up. We are all pens with different color ink. God wanted to express an idea that he created the world. He looked around for a pen and found Moses. Now Moses didn’t have a science background, and probably didn’t have any concept of even a round earth. He had no knowledge of how plants grow or of kingdom, phylum, sub-phylum, superclass, class, subclass, order, suborder, family, subfamily, genus, species, subspecies. How to classify life would come at some later time to other minds, and would change as minds continued to seek better classification. Could God have communicated the how of creation to an ancient sheep herder? For that matter could we with our education of this day grasp it? The message was God created and the how of it is coming through the inspired mind of an ancient sheep herder. I am not sure we appreciate the message for what it is.
The bible lists bats as a type of bird – am I threatened in my faith because their classification is different from what we know today? No. In the same way as a scientist I believe there is evidence of God in our world today, but I also know the game is rigged and science by its very nature can’t make a leap of faith. It is against its rules – and a good thing too for it wasn’t we would still have earth at the center of the universe.
What would transitional fossils prove anyway? Unless we can see the process taking place, which we cannot, transitional fossils can be theorized into creation just as easily as into evolution. We can see the evolution of the Ford Mustang from the 1950’s into what it is today. Does that mean the metal morphed into something new without the help of an engineer? Of course not, we know better. Likewise, how can we discount the possibility that an engineer also took incorporated features into the multiple species that may look transitional to those of us restricted to the finite of time, but may in fact have been created to incorporate features from the one designer. Does it not make sense that the same designer would not include features of one group into another based on need, environment or just plain will or creativity.
(1) BTW, Neil Shubin’s book “Your Inner Fish” starts out with a great story (chapter 1 – “Finding Your Inner Fish”) telling of his teams discovery of one of those “transitional” forms. If you read the Wiki article, you will see that all organisms are “transitional” forms of some sort.
(2) This conversation inspired me to write a little post on (a href=”http://triangulations.wordpress.com/2009/10/03/evolutions-enemy-is-evolution/”>Evolution’s Real Enemy. Take a peak if you have time.
If the “John” above (with his, “What would transitional fossils prove anyway?” is the “JohnDave Medina” who asked the question, I have regrettably wasted my time and resent being asked the question in the first play. JohnDave, please verify either way. For I am glad to offer material for learning, but I do not have the patience to type out texts and texts of science to catch up those who have so much to learn and who have no intention of learning.
I can guarantee that “John” and “JohnDave” are not one and the same. 🙂
Wheew ! I hope you can see my point, Brian. Thanks.
It is just that JohnDave’s approach is a bit different. John can say what he thinks as he feels, but he isn’t JohnDave.
This is a good summary of what I have been trying to say. The Scriptures present truth in the language of the times it was written. This is why I can read Gen. 1 & 2 as not trying to present a scientific explanation of creation while holding that whatever happened as the Exodus the author really thinks the water parted. Creation can be explained in terminology that is vague on details, straightforward on principles. I am not sure if that works for the exodus.
The difference being the Exodus was a first hand account while the account of creation was not.
Sabio, no, “John” and I are different people, and have no connection as far as I can tell. I could see how that could be suspicious at first glance. I actually got a chuckle out of that.
Thanks for those links and resources. I will be taking a look at them in the upcoming week or so. I’ll let you know what I think. Regarding my understanding, I read some excerpts of some scientists outside of the Americas. But that was so long ago that I’m not able to recall their names. I can search for them again.
Brian, thanks for clarifying that John and I are not the same person.
You’ve not been shunned! I went through the top 50 that’s all. Sorry about that!
I have redeemed myself. I even found a suitable video to illustrate a point in your point.
The most dangerous lie about evolution is this; it discards the concept of a Creator God to whom all mankind is accountable. Evolution also discards that death is a result of Adam’s sin(Romans 5:12, 6:23). The results of this are eternally tragic!
Colossians 1:16 says “for by Him (Jesus Christ) all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth…all things have been created by Him and for Him.” The same One who created man in His own image died for those who reject the truth, and therefore reject the only escape from eternal punishment for their sin. To embrace evolution denies the reality of death as a result of sin, and therefore rejects the only cure for it. When one embraces the Creator and His offer of forgiveness and eternal life through the cross the cure is found!
Ronnie Jones made the comment “To embrace evolution denies the reality of death as a result of sin, and therefore rejects the only cure for it.” I think you mistated yourself here Ronnie. Don’t confuse evolution with evoloutionist who state because species change there can be no God. Evoultions is real, even in the biblical sense – We are but dust of the earth but we are becoming sons of the living God. Species change. For Christians to deny this principal discounts our message. If we can be so wrong about a basic scientific principle than who can trust us about spiritual matters.
@ Brian — see how the comments are getting jumbled
@ ZPlane — I think Ronnie’s fears are correct. For Evolutionary Science, like many other sciences, has whittled down the god of old who was claimed to be the cause of diseases, natural disasters, spins of planets and much much more. The “god” which equals “we don’t know how to explain it” natural withers with good science.
Sure, you can keep a resurrection since we that falls out of that category. But what you have left is not the Christianity that Ronnie wants.
Sabio – Ronnie
So what is your alternative to good science then? When you say – “The “god” which equals “we don’t know how to explain it” natural withers with good science.” Are you suggesting we stop learning about our surroundings and just say God did and live in ignorance? I am sure you can’t be suggesting such a thing. Don’t fear science – it is just man asking why. Since science seeks truth in the end it must lead to God and in my thinking it already has.
When I was an undergrad I was in a biology class (many years ago) studying the mechanics of the cell. I was truely amazed and was giving God glory for his wonderful design. It was at this point the teacher stopped and said to the class “Unfortuantely as you can see life is nothing more than a bunch of chemical reactions.” I was speachless as I couldn’t understand how anyone could look at the same facts and come up with any other conclusion than the hand of the creator. But in the end I realized my knowledge of God was miraculus while the the knowledge of how the cell consituted incredible amount of research, thought and scientific principles. We are indebted to science for showing us the wonders of nature. The world needs to be indebted to us for showing them the Glory of God. They have their work and we have ours. But to say their work is not important or in some way depardizes what it is we have to do is wrong.
I am sure you don’t have Ronnie’s wants correctly stated – (But what you have left is not the Christianity that Ronnie wants.) Science eluminates God and is nothing to fear. Look at what scientist have proposed for the beginning of the universe. In the Big Bang principle you have an infinite amount of mass in an infinitely small space. Where this came from science can’t address. In the end they state nothing came from something and the universe was developed in a blink of an eye. Does this sound familar?
E=MC2 states energy can transfer into mass and vice versa. If I skip a stone on a lake my interaction with the lake is seen in the ripples. Since God is skipping stones in our world His ripples can be seen also. If your god withers with good science may I suggest your god is not only too small but isn’t God at all.
@ZPlane — it looks like your first comment sees me in Ronnie’s camp. You might want to look at my site. Likewise, your second comment looks like you misunderstand me too.
The god of the bible is just like many of the gods in ancient times — the spackle god. He was used like wall spackle , to fill the gaps of unknown areas. Modern Christians realize this and have whittled that god back to be a moral god, not one that causes earthquakes, cures sickness, causes sickness etc. Modern liberal science friendly Christians have a god that inspires them, instructs them, rewards them with heaven and ordains all the same mechanisms of natural order that non-believer recognize but he doesn’t interfere.
You sound like you have a deistic god (started things but stepped back and let it go because he knew how it would go) and theistic in that he still snatches you after death and takes you to his kingdom in heaven.
@ZPlane You are correct. The biblical narrative regarding creation is vague enough to allow for evolution. You and I would agree with @Sabio Lantz that evolution is the scientific consensus, yet we refuse to go as far as to say that this must be non-theistic.
It is interesting that the Apostle Paul calls Christians “new creation” yet this process does not occur at the moment we become new creation, but over the period of our entire life. Paul says that God will finish the work He began in us. It is a long process, yet we are new creation.
I know Paul did not know about evolution, but it does show that he did know about “creation” taking time and not being immediate. This would agree with a lot of OT scholars who see Gen 1 & 2 as the “ordering” of things or the giving of function to things rather than a narrative about creation ‘ex nihlo’. Maybe Gen. 1:1 allows for this but the rest of the chapter does not seem to be explaining such a thing.
Even we Christians who accept evolution as a proper explanation for how things have come to be to not deny the biblical narratives that see God as using nature to bring about His will. While it is not our call to say what is “nature groaning” as in Rom. 8 and what is God using nature, we do acknowledge both.
The resurrection is what it is simply because it was not supposed to happen, not even the Greco-Roman world believed in such a thing. See Acts 17 where Paul is speaking to the philosophers at Athens. He goes on and on about creation and humans origin in the first human, but as soon as he gets to God resurrecting Jesus from the dead they stop the conversation. The whole idea of resurrection is insulting, but if God is God and God exists it is possible.
The god you describe is more or less the American deity who promises us lifes, rights, the pursuit of happiness, and so forth. Christians all across the world no nothing of this god. The Christian God is still the “fill in the gaps” God in some sense. He is seen as allowing or even forcing earthquakes if needs be but not necessary (again, see Rom. 8 for Paul’s view of creation “groaning”).
First, Jesus was not as friendly as modern American Protestants depict him to be (at least not in the gospels). He talked about God as Father, yes, but also God as judging just as the OT depicts him. Paul in Rom. 1:16-18 talks about the gospel which is God’s power to save and then he turns on a dime to mention the wrath of God coming down from heaven through the same message.
Second, @ZPlane’s God is not deistic, if anything He creates via evolution. This is not something we can debate scientifically because how do we “see” how God interacted with this process? We cannot. But the Bible’s suggestion that while sickness is truly biological there may be something in another “realm” of sorts that influences such a thing through material, biological means is not something that needs to be rejected by modern Christians. I don’t. I just don’t think science can quantify the metaphysical aspects of our existence.
Dude, using Paul’s phrase “new creation” to imply evolution is way overboard.
Evolution does not mean more than change over time, it means the non-random mechanism of survival preservation causing otherwise random changes to appear ordered and designed.
You have not addressed my response to Z that discusses the whittling down of the god of the Hebrew and Christian scriptures.
Theistic Evolution does not discard God as Creator. It simply argues that God created by means of evolution. It could be that when God did the miraculous by taking man from whatever he was before we could call him man (some lower form or even the “dust of the earth” in Gen. 2) he intended to have created an eternal being. Nevertheless, sin did ruin this and therefore man and woman are in the same state as the rest of creation (see Romans 8), the only thing is we are eternal so our outer “death” is not nearly as bad as our inner one.
Consider that the Apostle Paul calls us “new creation” yet he does not see this as happening in an instant. We become new creation at conversion. We are not fully newly created until glorification. Yet the entire process is “creation” while in some sense Christian sanctification looks a whole lot more like an “evolution”. I know Paul was not an evolutionist but he may not have seen creation as “ex nihlo” in Gen. 1:2 through the end of chapter 2.
Sorry, couldn’t really follow that.
No, all that is being suggested is that even the earliest Christian writers do not see God’s act of creating as instant. I know he doesn’t see it as “evolution”. He had no concept. But he may not have seen it as immediate either.
What you explain in your second paragraph is the details. The biblical writers would not have had nor dealt with the details. But if they saw it as “process” there is a common, though vague, ground that makes Gen 1-2 a none issue.
By the way, do you ever sleep? 🙂
I am saying resurrection has never been an easily acceptable concept. It wasn’t acceptable to the Athenian philosophers in the first century. There are those who act as if humans have now arrived at a place where ideas like resurrection from the dead is silly, but it has always been silly. Yet we Christians believe that it actually happened.
(1) So, Brian, your god still causes earthquakes, when necessary?
Can you name the last one he caused?
Which ones didn’t he cause and were just natural?
(2) Do you think the spiritual world can cause disease? Do you believe in demons causing disease?
It seems like you want to be cool and NOT say these things while still actually saying them. Sounds like you are trying to play both sides.
Laughing — lots of folks ask me if I ever sleep — I seem to only need 6 hours and I don’t watch TV — so that helps.
Yes, I get that lots of Christian accept evolution — and I applaud both them and you.
Resurrection from the dead has been embraced by many, many cultures. Hindus have stories of it, Buddhists have stories of it and on and on.
It is not special at all. Dreams are shared by many cultures.
(1) This doesn’t even present a legitimate way of addressing my statement. If I say that my God has the ability to use an earthquake for His greater purposes, but that I as a finite man have no idea when this might happen, why would you ask for me to tell you when He last did such a thing?
If God is God the very fact that an earthquake occurs naturally means He has allowed it. If God wanted to stop earthquakes He could do so (but then our planet would be under a bit of pressure). If God foresees something coming from an earthquake that further His purposes He can allow one that He foreknows is already coming or He can cause it. But I am not prophet, so why would you ask me to name an earthquake?
(2) Can there be spiritual/demonic influences being natural things like disease? Sure. It is beyond me how such a thing occurs, but I do not leave it out of the realm of possibility. Therefore, in the biblical narratives if someone is vexed by a demon this can easily have influence on their physical well-being resulting in physical sickness.
We all agree that there can be psychosomatic causes to illness. We know it is in the brain, the mind, the thoughts of the person who has become sick. It is not the body itself. But it becomes a reality because of the power of the mind. Yes, this is a “natural” occurrence but it can serve as an analogy.
Sabio, I do not seek to be “cool”. Nor do I seek to play both sides. In the very pages of Scripture there are narratives that attribute natural disasters to God and there are times when the biblical authors (again, Rom. 8) saw this as the natural results of our current existence. Nature is not happy; nature is groaning.
To make me say earthquake “A” was caused by God while earthquake “B” was caused by pressure that had built up under those plates that had to be released at that moment because that is how plate tectonics works is asking me to not merely hold a theory, but to be omniscient. For goodness sake, as it goes with our planet we are not sure what is caused by nature and what is caused by another thing with a will–humans. But we know not everything is simply nature running its course; we know that not everything is because of humans. But we know Hurricane Katrina, for instance, could very well be what it is because of human choice, human actions–the whole global climate change discussion.
By analogy, what is the behavior of nature de facto and what may be caused by an outside source with a will (God) is a thine line at times and unlike global climate change where we can measure human contribution, we cannot measure metaphysical contribution.
It may be embraced but it is more often than not rejected. Furthermore, there is a difference between Buddhist and Hindu doctrines of reincarnation and the Jewish-Christian doctrine of resurrection, a big difference. Judeo-Christian resurrection involves the same personality in a body like the one had before death, yet “spiritually” animated. Hindu-Buddhist doctrines of reincarnation understand the personality, if it is not simply the outworking of a greater “existence” of which we are all one with anyways, to reappear within objects/beings/things that may be totally different than the former state of existence.
In resurrection I will be Brian will a superior body. In reincarnation I may be Sam, a basset hound. Sure, there are narratives within Buddhism and Hinduism that echo resurrection, but the overall world-view is influenced by reincarnation.
(1) An all-powerful god could stop earthquakes and keep the planet pressure under control — seriously, don’t limit your god. Sorry I asked you to prophesize which earthquakes are god earthquakes. I forgot, your powers are limited.
(2) Yeah, psychosomatic illness works. But what about Jesus making demons that caused an illness in a guy, leave him, run into pigs which then commit suicide. I mean, really, are you serious? Do you take this stuff literally? Do you really think it could still happen if it was in your god’s “purposes”?
I see you want demons and gods controlling nature and disease still. I see you don’t want to be pinned down on it. I see you want to still accept science. I see your dilemma.
I can still sleep 7-8 hours, but it is getting harder and harder. By the time I am thirty years of age I will probably be down to 6-7 and by the time I am forty I will be happy with 6!
I don’t have a TV, but so much TV is online these days that I can still watch my favorite show–House.
Resurrection is still embraced by the majority of uneducated Hindus and the majority of uneducated Chinese (and that is a lot of folks) and the majority of uneducated Africans.
Christianity has a couple types of resurrection — the stinky Lazarus type and the crisp clean Jesus type. Many of these culture embrace both, actually. Trust me, I have lived among all these and spoken their languages.
Laughing — a superior body Brian !! Indeed, I know the story.
It is such a cool story. Which brain does that superior-body-brian get — his 4 year-old brain, his horny-19-year-old brain, his settling-with-finitude-low-testosterone-40s-something Brian, or his demented-“that-isn’t-my-dad”-80s something Brian?
(1) It does not limit God, it merely shows that God does not act as I would have God to act. If I could control God or if I was God it could very well be that I would have done things differently, but then again, if I believe God is God then I confess that God allows what He allows, stops what He stops, and causes what He causes with an omniscient mind that knows better than I. This is confessional theology, not apologetical. If I wanted to defend my understanding of God I would try to weasel out of such terrifying statements about God.
(2) Yes, I do take those stories literally. I do think that Jesus could cast demonic beings into pigs. In what sense does this work (like how is a demon “in” a human or “in” a pig; how do Christians understand ourselves as being “filled with” the Holy Spirit). It is beyond linguistics to convey such realities. We use spacial terminology because it is the best we have to present the picture.
Sabio, I am a biblical literature major who happens to be a professing Christian. I am of the evangelical stripe. If I accept evolution I do so because I think it is legitimate, not because I want to appear to be a non-Fundamentalist. If I think spirits and demons exist I do not have a problem admitting such a thing. Sure, it does not work for many, but it does for me. If I am a fool at least I am an honest fool. 🙂
It may be a dilemma, but it is one that I am able to live with while maintaining a straight face. I mean, when I was five I was a chronic asthmatic. I became very sick one day as I often did and my mother had no way to get me to the hospital. She prayer, I puked, and I suddenly felt better and I never had another asthma attack ever. She kept the medicine for months on months because we all know this is not how reality works. You do not grow out of asthma in a moment. You do not go from frequent hospitalization to never, ever using the breathing machine again (and those machines were huge, much different than the cute little things kid keep in their pockets these days).
My father, also an atheist, claims I grew out of it. I asked him how this is so when I occurred to suddenly. He says he does not know how, but I did. It is impossible in his system that I was healed, but not in mine. What does puking have to do with asthma? Nothing, but something happened that my doctors could not explain and that my dad cannot explain to this day.
If it is embraced then that is fine. I am simply saying that this has not always been the case and Christianity has often proclaimed that Jesus rose from the dead and that God will someday resurrect those of us who have died to people whose world-views disallowed such nonsense.
Yes, there is Lazarus and there is Jesus. Lazarus serves as a preview in a sense but we say that what God will do in the end of time has been done in the resurrection of Jesus. Jesus’ resurrection is superior to Lazarus’ simply because it signifies not mere resurrection, but eschatological resurrection.
As to what body/brain I will have I do not know. We have one person in the history of the world that we believe this happened for and that is Jesus. Jesus was the same yet different. He was recognizable yet according to a couple of the narratives he looked different enough for some people to mistake him for someone other than himself. He ate yet he could appear through a wall.
Listen, it is ridiculous. I know that. Yet there is something about the historical fact that the earliest disciples were dejected (an unlikely story to have made up about the founders of the faith if it was not true) yet they became motivated by what they understood to be appearances of the resurrected Jesus. But this is not limited to those who wanted something like this to occur, it also happens that one who didn’t care and one who actually opposed the church both came to believe they saw Jesus post-resurrection as well.
James, the brother of Jesus, who became head of the church in Jerusalem is said to be one who saw the resurrected Jesus. Yet in the gospels the brothers of Jesus thought he was a hoax, another fake Messiah. Nevertheless, James and Jude both came to believe and James is listed as a witness. Why would James change his mind?
In Second Temple Judaism when a pseudo-Messiah was killed off the group either disappeared or they found one of the closest relatives to replace him. James never replaces Jesus. In fact, he sees Jesus as Lord (see Book of James).
Then there is Saul of Tarsus who has no reason to forsake his status to Christianity. He testifies to killing Christians! Yet he sees the resurrected Jesus and he suddenly changes his mind. And he does not understand this to be simply a vision or dream, he underlines what he believes happened in 1 Corinthians 15. Why did he change his mind? Something big had to have happened to him.
Is this enough to make Christianity a seal and lock case? No, not at all. We can easily explain away these two people. But I cannot get over their stories. I cannot explain them away, esp. Saul of Tarsus.
Yes, Brian, I kind of know what sort of Christian you are. I was similar to you many years ago.
BTW, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disease) can present just like asthma and is often misdiagnosed as such — and it can just suddenly go away and vomiting can accompanying it. Looking for demons and spirits is the last thing you should look for. Your doctors would kill lots of patients if they thought like that — instead, they search for natural explanations, causes and cures. I am glad they don’t keep pigs in the clinic to throw the demons into.
Good luck with your pantheon on demons, angels, unicorns, giants, gods and such ! I guess it can be a fun imaginary world.
Of course you can “never get over their stories”. They were the stories of the culture you were raised in and embrace — once embraced, you are invested.
Hindus have the miraculous conversions and so do Buddhists. I wager that if you had been born in India or Japan you’d be a strong believer in those faiths using similar arguments (rationalizations) to support what you are committed to.
The human mind is a funny thing.
What do you hope to do with your Bible degree? Build bridges, cure diseases, make products? Or will you teach bible to more kids like you?
You remind me so much of my professor who looks at the wonders of nature and proclaim they are just chemical reactions. We all look at the same data set and come away with different explaintions of the results. Brian testifys to you of a miraculus healing which his doctors at the time couldn’t explain. You are not swayed and discount evidence as GERD. What are the odds, I wonder?
I testify that I know demons, and more improtantly – God are real. There are miracles happening all around you every day. Some men look at the world in wonder while others yawn – perhaps you do need more sleep to improve your powers of observation?
one can still look at the world with wonder, amazement and surprise and not believe in demons and spooks.
Funny you should say, “What are the odds, I wonder?” Because real science shows the odds of demons and spooks as being neglible while my explanation is actually common. But we all memorize our favorite stories in a miraculous light.
I wonder if either of you guys have read my posts.
Here is a fun place to start: My Supernatural Experiences
Feel free to make comments on the site ! (But I suggest you try to understand it, I am not as generic as you might first perceive)
I think you misunderstood my point Sabio – I am not looking at the cause of the disease and asking why and blaming demons – but looking at a healing and giving glory to God. I am pointing to the the testimony that doctors are preplexed and giving them the benefit of the doubt of actually being compenent enough to have given the proper diagnosis. They could be wrong but I have seen enough miracles not to be surprised. This disease had a purpose – and that was as a witness to Brian of Truth. This is the purpose of all miracles.
I do place you in the same camp as Ronnie in that being presented with evidence and testimony you dig in your heals and refuse to believe. I looked at the world around me and said there has to be more and began a search for that something in Buddism, Hinduism, Yaki Indian religion, and in spirtualism. It wasn’t until someone suggested trying Christianity. I hadn’t considered this as possiblity but wanting to find truth I mediated and sought God. I was shocked and amazed when He answered. I stand and testify God is real. I can also tell you from my time in spiritualism that the other side is real as well. You point to a lot of different types of God’s and I am not sure of what your point is/was. I serve the same God who talked with Abraham and gave David cause to dance half clothed in an attempt to glorify Him. He hasn’t changed.
Let me give you a challenge. Do a ligimate test to see if God exists. This will mean you will need to suspend your doubt for a short time in order to put forward an actual test for Him.
dude – you need to read my stuff before you offer me tests.
You confess, yourself, that you don’t understand where I am coming from.
You a snuggled tight into your Abrahamic god — good for you .
Stay warm !
Yes, I will teach biblical literature/Christian theology to more people like me. It may be true that I am culturally Christianized. It may not be as well. I was raised in a home where one parent was a Christian and the other an atheist. I think that the Christian sect that my mother is still part of to this day has a lot wrong with it, so I didn’t even adopt her Christianity.
On the other hand, I think the whole “Christian” culture thing is missing the point. Christianity is no longer a Western, North American, European religion. In fact, there are many, many more Christians in Africa and South America and the Christian population of Asia is growing quickly. There may not be more Christians in China than the US percentage wise, but in raw numbers there may be according to the most recent reports.
If I were to follow my culture I think I’d sound more like you than myself. So yes, I will likely teach the Bible because before I invested in Christianity I was a real jerk of a person as a teenager and if anything it has made me more aware of the need to love my neighbor. I may not be great at that but I am better at it than I would be if it had not been for my conversion to the faith.
My doctors were very well aware that it was asthma. I was treated for this for years. It was not GERD. By the way, I am a monotheist–we don’t have a pantheon.
You know, when this whole Ardi thing came out, I wondered how I was going to settle it with my conservative Christian views. But then I came across your website and alot of what you said made sense. Genesis never says that God made man from nothing… he made man from the dust of the earth. We just assumed we started out looking this way. Same way with the whole Big Bang theory. OK, I don’t agree that it “happened that way”, but if that’s the way God chose to make the universe… then OK.
I guess what all this boils down to is… does the Ardi discovery really affect my salvation? Does it negate the fact that Jesus loves me and died for my sins? Nope. Eyes on the prize, people! That’s just my opinion.
Agreed. The overarching meta-narrative of biblical theology remains intact even when we must rethink a detail or two here or there. That is why it is surprising that some think that certain events should unravel the Christians faith, yet time and time again this does not happen. When the Son of Man returns he will find faith.
Amen, Brian. I have been following the threads of all the posts here and I am truely baffled. I admit that a lot of knowledge has been flowing on this site for the past few days, and I have learned alot. It just sort of seems like a lot of hair-splitting. Thanks for listening though and I’ll be keeping my eyes and mind open as much as I can. This is a very interesting website.
Thank you. Yes, these discussions to lead to a lot of hair splitting. In the end there is a lot said that does not sway anyone this direction or that direction. I think the conversation is worth having though and I am glad you have found this site valuable.
“dude – you need to read my stuff before you offer me tests.
You confess, yourself, that you don’t understand where I am coming from. You a snuggled tight into your Abrahamic god — good for you .
Stay warm !”
You are indeed correct and I appologize. I should have done more work understanding your postion before I tried to talk (read evangelize) you. My appologies. Can you give me your link again please? I looked for it under “there are none so blind as those who can not see.com” but didn’t find it there. (little joke sorry couldn’t resist.)
Perhaps you could consider another point in the mean time? I maintain there can be no intelligent atheists. There is so much we don’t know or understand in our world – let alone in our universe – to make the statement that you know there is no God is illogical and therefore unintelligent. At the very least you would have to put yourself in the agnostic category where you would state that there can be no proof God exists but does not deny the possibility.
ZPlane (cool name, btw),
Let me clue you in to a little secret that 98% of bloggers know: If the writer’s name has a link, it takes you to their site. Duhhhh. (smile)
So as for your “You need to be an agnostic and not an atheist” chastisement — again, read, listen, understand and then evangelize. Try not to compound your vices.
Unfortunately it is crunch time at work and I don’t have the time to pursue this topic. I had thought you could educate the masses via the blog?
I have, click on my name. You have not time to pursue, just time to write.
You have no time to listen, just time to evangelize.
You obey your lord well.
Christian’s don’t pretend to be perfect or even better – just forgiven.
Indeed, preach, preach, preach ….
Then commit hypocrisy and normalcy with revenge !
But always employ this great decisive caveat — that is your great commission !
All Hail Theology
I see your point. The audacity of someone coming to your home in the middle of the night, banging on your door, and screaming “FIRE” without being properly attired.
You have to realize, it is a bit tough, besides you screaming “FIRE”, I’ve got guys in:
** White shirts and black ties (Mormons)
** unkempt, mismatched suits (Jehovah Witnesses)
** white sheets (Sunni Muslims)
** face masks (Shiite Muslims)
** pristine, expensive suits (Scientologists)
** tattered Overalls (WV snake handling
** tie died shirts (New Agers)
And many more saying “The sky is falling” — meanwhile, I have a red light in my dark room that is throwing them all into this act of neighborly diligence.
What am I to do?
Zplane, take a look at my site (click my name) — I wouldn’t mind dialoging if you read a bit. You may not have time. That is fine too.
Meanwhile, to other Christians on this site. I would have hoped you’d have jumped in a spoken to Zplane. But a bad habit of Christians is to not speak out against their own. For many Christians, the tribal bond is greater than truth. I speak out against fellow atheist often. It is important to chastise our own even if we fear it a sign of weakness and a signal for vulnerability.
Remember, it is rare that you convert someone with arguments — instead, it is examples and patience which usually convince and not on your timing schedule.
At last we can find agreement with your last post. Well said.
But are you referring to my last “comment” here, or my last “post” on my site concerning poop?
BTW, ZPlane, you might want to click here to start at this post on “Sympathetic Atheism” .
“but I do not have the patience to type out texts and texts of science to catch up those who have so much to learn and who have no intention of learning.”
“And hopefully we build a culture that supports those who find this struggle to be their careers or avocations without looking down on those who “just don’t get it.”
Are you not playing both sides of the field with these two statements?
I have read your other postings and still do not see how the evidence points more to an evolutionary approach over a creationists approach. They both could be equally concluded depending on presuppositions and preconceived goals.
We should not deny the existence of faith in both evolution and creationism science. Either road will require jumps to fill gaps that are now not known. Honest intellectuals will equally scoff at the other point of view with pride filled skepticism. Ultimately, it comes down to an analysis of the evidence by the individual and most will never fully examine the issue as you stated in your other posting.
Would you consider yourself more of a scientist or a philosopher?
To be honest, I don’t consider myself either. But I do value things both practice — heck, I value some things Theologians practice.
Why do you ask?
Just trying to figure out where you are coming from. I read your link on the last point and have both scientific and philosopical problems which what you have written.
If you are really curious, see my site (click my name) and look on the author tab. I tell it all.
Thanks – read your background. You sir are no Atheist. Which I suspected from your earlier writtings.
Be thee not a tease,
What, then, am I?
Agnostic – One who has doubts about the possibility of God.
It is my point I made earlier – No thinking person would presume to know for a certainty there is no God. Therefore there can be no reasonable atheist. Since you have exhibited an incredible history of observation and study it follows that agnostic would be a better classification. It may seem like a minor point but the difference is huge. An atheist has formed his/her religion of there being no God – (which I would submit requires as much faith as the alternative.) An agnostic is still on the path of enlightenment. If you are still open to exploration of the unknown you would have to admit you don’t retain all knowledge and therefore a small part of you would admit that the possibility of God still exists. Since an atheist would profess knowing there is no God, the necessity of future discovery isn’t essential.
I am in total agreement with you about religion, but caution you about lumping religion and God together. But you have heard this all before. I hope and pray you continue to seek truth. I know you will find it if this is in fact your goal.
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