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Re: Theistic Evolution

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  • always_reforming
    Thanks for your thoughts, Arcee. Permit me a few brief responses. 1) I suspect you and I would agree that not all accounts of history are quite the same. Your
    Message 1 of 17 , Feb 7, 2011
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      Thanks for your thoughts, Arcee. Permit me a few brief responses.

      1) I suspect you and I would agree that not all accounts of history are quite the same. Your note about your break up song is, perhaps, apropos. Jonathan told a parable that spoke of real history. But one would not take Jonathan's parable as history, per se, but as a poetic rendition of history. The question regards what we find in Genesis 1 or 2 or 3.

      2) Regarding the 4th day, several OT scholars, quite conservatives ones that that (e.g. John Collins, John Sailhammer), suggest that it is not the creation of the light-bearers but the assignation of purpose to them that is being highlighted there. Perhaps an analogy here is that the land does not appear until the third day, though it already existed under the waters. As such, the land may have had a purpose, though it could not be assigned until its appearance.

      3) That there are poetic elements within Genesis 1 is rather undisputed: God resting, God speaking without a mouth, darkness over the deep, the land bringing forth animals, the waters bringing forth creatures, the greater and lesser lights ruling, etc. This is enough to indicate that we have here not simply historical prose. Nor does is the passage Hebrew poetry, simply. It appears something of a mixture. And the structure, while not poetic, per se, certainly doesn't read like Hebrew prose. Some have termed it "elevated prose," or something like that. But this presents us with something other than commonly supposed.

      4) It is commonly thought that God pronounced the productions of each day "good", and "very good" on the seventh day. But this is not so. I've heard it so many times, though, at conferences, in sermons, in apologetic presentations. Regardless, the second day does not have the commendation and the third day has it twice. Some time ago this suggested to me that we who have a high view of the Bible far too often fail to pay attention to the text itself. Even those who hang the gospel on this chapter fail to appreciate its details. There's little virtue to be found that that sort of presumption.

      Blessings,
      Kevin


      --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Arcee A <truthseeker41471@...> wrote:
      >
      > Hi Kevin,
      >
      > 1. I have always believed that Adam and Eve as historical people and since I
      > was young, I've viewed the creation as a literal 6-day event. I don't know why
      > but when I read Genesis 1 & 2 I read it as a historical account just like the
      > rest of Genesis. It just makes sense to me that way. It's only when I was
      > being taught evolution in my school that I started to have questions about the
      > historicity of the Bible... that is, until I became a Christian.
      >
      > 2. Now, this is the first time I have heard someone say that plants and animals
      > deaths were not a result of the Fall. Very interesting. :)
      >
      > 3. Hmmm... Reading Genesis 1 again and focusing on verses 14-19, I understand
      > that God created the stars, the sun and the moon on the fourth day! Which makes
      > me ask, what was the light that God created on the first day that sustained the
      > rest of creation until the fourth day? What was the "heavens" or "heaven"
      > (depending on your Bible version) that he created on the first day?
      >
      > But concerning your point here, I agree that this goes against the day-age
      > theory. Imagine thousands and thousands of years of life on earth without the
      > sun, moon and the stars!
      >
      > 4. Personally, I have no problem reading a historical account in a poetic form.
      > We still do that today, after all. In fact, when I was a teen-ager I wrote a
      > song about how I felt when me and my then girlfriend broke up ;)
      >
      > God bless!
      >
      >
      > Arcee
      >
      >
      > "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because
      > I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis
      >
      >
      >
      >
      > ________________________________
      > From: always_reforming <kevinbywater@...>
      > To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
      > Sent: Thu, February 3, 2011 9:26:16 PM
      > Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: Theistic Evolution
      >
      >
      > Hi Arcee,
      >
      > These are good inquiries to explore. Here are a few quick thoughts.
      >
      > 1) It seems to me that any position that cares to claim to hold to Scripture
      > must affirm an historial Adam and Eve. Those who propose theistic evolution and
      > claim to hold to biblical faith acknowledge Adam and Eve are seen as historical,
      > as the first humans, in the NT. If one proposes (as I've encountered lately)
      > that Jesus was merely speaking from the limitations of his own day, then it
      > seems to me that little need remain, as all he said could be so described. So,
      > this seems to me to be a limiting datum for whatever position one would care
      > embrace regarding creation, if one cares to hold to the Bible in a meaningful
      > way.
      >
      >
      > 2) I don't think, however, that we need to hold that ALL death is the result of
      > the fall. Surely, when Paul writes of death entering the world through the first
      > man (Rom 5:12ff), we are to see that HUMAN death is the result of sin. But it
      > does not appear that Paul is saying that animals or bugs or plants did not die
      > prior to the fall. Indeed, it is difficult to find biblical resources to support
      > the supposition that animals were somehow inherently immortal before the fall.
      > And what of bacteria? And what of plants? Even so, it seems to me that another
      > limiting datum for whatever position one would care to embrace is that human
      > death is the result of sin, and thus of the fall of mankind.
      >
      >
      > 3) I also find it difficult to embrace the day-age reading of Genesis 1. The
      > passage does not naturally lend itself to that reading. The days being numbered,
      > and refrain of "evening and morning" are sufficient to suggest quasi-normal
      > days. (I say "quasi" because there was little else that was normal about these
      > days.) And if one is not going to take Adam as historical, I don't see why one
      > would feel compelled to match up the days of creation with historial epochs. But
      > even if we read the six days as quasi-normal days, the age of the earth may
      > still remain an open question. For instance, a structural analysis of the
      > passage indicates that each day begins with "And God said..." That being so,
      > vv.1-2 fall outside the six days. The heavens and earth are not created within
      > the six days. And just how long they existed prior to the pronouncement of light
      > is unstated. However, this observation, if correct, need not imply a gap theory
      > reading of the first two verses.
      >
      >
      > 4) Nor is Genesis 1 simply Hebrew poetry. We have Hebrew poetry in the OT, and
      > in the Pentateuch in particular, and none of it reads like Genesis 1.
      > Nevertheless, there appear to be poetic elements in the passage. For instance,
      > the greater and lesser lights "rule" the day and night. That is a bit of
      > personification. Also, God speaking need not imply anything akin to a human
      > vocal system. The earth bringing forth animals and such also appears poetic.
      > Arguably, God having a rest on the seventh day is poetic. So, while there appear
      > to be poetic elements, the passage itself does not read like Hebrew poetry.
      >
      >
      > Then we have questions of the age of the earth, of whether there is a "gap"
      > somewhere between vv.1 and 3, of the relationship between Genesis 1 and 2, etc.
      > I'll not venture into my thoughts on these questions. I'll merely offer the
      > above as some considerations that come to my mind when I speak with folk about
      > Genesis 1-3. I'd appreciate your thoughts, Arcee (or anyone else).
      >
      >
      > Kind regards,
      > Kevin James Bywater
      > Summit Oxford Study Centre
      > www.summitoxford.org
      >
    • William
      Arcee, I agree that we need to be cautious in what order we read evidence in regards to creation, but we also need to use caution in reading translations due
      Message 2 of 17 , Feb 8, 2011
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        Arcee,

        I agree that we need to be cautious in what order we read evidence in regards to creation, but we also need to use caution in reading translations due to the bias of the translators. For instance, Hrry Orlinsky in "The Plain Meaning of Genesis 1:1-3" (Biblical Archeologist, 1983) suggests that stating that God created the heaven (reportedly the literal Hebrew) and the earth, merely implies that God created everything. Attempting to read more into these verses is to move beyond what the Bible claims.

        However, we also need to be cautious in seeking to place the Bible over the discoveries of science. Remember Aquinas "A mistake about creation will lead to a mistake about God" and that Maimodes argued that the Bible and science will not conflict when both are properly understood. The challenge is then to understand both science and the Bible in a way that allows both to be accurate. The materialistic approach will not do so. To resort to the MultiWorld Interpretation of quantum physics might offer a solution, but I would argue that in fact it fails to do justice to the Bible. Thus there are indications that such an approach will not be an easy task, for to do wo will require a paradigm shift.

        Bill

        --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Arcee A <truthseeker41471@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hi William,
        >
        > I think the problem is not with the available evidence but how to interpret the
        > evidence. Do you start with what you see in the world and interpret the Bible
        > based on what you see, or do you start with the Bible and then interpret the
        > evidence based on what you have read in it? As for me, well... just take a look
        > at the bottom of my signature to see my position :)
        > God bless!
        >
        >
        > Arcee
        >
        >
        > "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because
        > I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ________________________________
        > From: William <eliadefollower@...>
        > To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
        > Sent: Thu, February 3, 2011 11:19:24 PM
        > Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: Theistic Evolution
        >
        >
        > Arcee,
        >
        > I think it fits with all available evidence. This might force us to reconsider
        > the nature of "Sin" and "death", but that is not necessarily a bad thing. If we
        > try to force creation to literally fit Genesis, then we have a potential problem
        > between Genesis 1 and 2, namely was man created before or after the rest of the
        > creatures. HOwever, if we accept both accounts as either stories intended to
        > teach something or as reactions against other religious traditions, then the
        > problems, while not vanishing, at least shift and require us to ask different
        > questions.
        >
        > I personally do not think that it is so bad that I must reevaluate my
        > assumptions occassionally. I would rather be forced to rethink something than
        > continue to hold an incorrect understanding of God. Let me change my mistakes
        > sometimes.
        >
        > Bill
        >
        > --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Arcee A <truthseeker41471@>
        > wrote:
        > >
        > > I've recently encountered someone who believed in Theistic Evolution (or
        > > Progressive Creation). He believes that God created the universe and the earth
        > >
        > > and all that is in it initially, thereby allowing everything to run its natural
        > >
        > > course and letting evolution take over. Therefore, according to this view, man
        > >
        > > evolved from apes instead of being specially created by God on the sixth day.
        > > He also sees the six days of creation as representing long spans of time
        > > instead of the morning-followed-by-evening normal 24-day hours.
        > >
        > > For me, this is totally wrong since adopting this view would introduce death
        > > coming before sin.
        > >
        > > Any inputs, anyone?
        > > God bless!
        > >
        > >
        > > Arcee
        > >
        > >
        > > "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only
        > >because
        > >
        > > I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis
        > >
        >
      • Isa
        Hi, Arcee,Bill, and all: Here is the most relevant section of the position of the Roman Catholic Church, Re: Theistic Evolution and how to interprete Genesis:
        Message 3 of 17 , Feb 10, 2011
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          Hi, Arcee,Bill, and all:

          Here is the most relevant section of the position of the Roman Catholic Church, Re: Theistic Evolution and how to interprete Genesis:

          Catholic theologian Ludwig Ott in his authoritative Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, under the section "The Divine Work of Creation," (pages 92-122) covers the "biblical hexaemeron" (the "six days" of creation), the creation of man, Adam/Eve, original sin, the Fall, and the statements of the early Fathers, Saints, Church Councils, and Popes relevant to the matter. Ott makes the following comments on the "science" of Genesis and the Fathers:

          "...Since the findings of reason and the supernatural knowledge of Faith go back to the same source, namely to God, there can never be a real contradiction between the certain discoveries of the profane sciences and the Word of God properly understood." (Ott, page 92).

          (NOTE: "Word of God, properly understood!")

          As the Sacred Writer had not the intention of representing with scientific accuracy the intrinsic constitution of things, and the sequence of the works of creation but of communicating knowledge in a popular way suitable to the idiom and to the pre-scientific development of his time, the account is not to be regarded or measured as if it were couched in language which is strictly scientific... The Biblical account of the duration and order of Creation is merely a literary clothing of the religious truth that the whole world was called into existence by the creative word of God. The Sacred Writer utilized for this purpose the pre-scientific picture of the world existing at the time. The numeral six of the days of Creation is to be understood as an anthropomorphism. God's work of creation represented in schematic form (opus distinctionis -- opus ornatus) by the picture of a human working week, the termination of the work by the picture of the Sabbath rest. The purpose of this literary device is to manifest Divine approval of the working week and the Sabbath rest." (Ott, page 93, cf. Exod 20:8)

          Pope John Paul II wrote to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences on . . . how to interpret Genesis:

          "Cosmogony and cosmology have always aroused great interest among peoples and religions. The Bible itself speaks to us of the origin of the universe and its make-up, not in order to provide us with a scientific treatise, but in order to state the correct relationships of man with God and with the universe. Sacred Scripture wishes simply to declare that the world was created by God, and in order to teach this truth it expresses itself in the terms of the cosmology in use at the time of the writer. The Sacred Book likewise wishes to tell men that the world was not created as the seat of the gods, as was taught by other cosmogonies and cosmologies, but was rather created for the service of man and the glory of God. Any other teaching about the origin and make-up of the universe is alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does not wish to teach how heaven was made but how one goes to heaven." (John Paul II, 3 October 1981 to the Pontifical Academy of Science, "Cosmology and Fundamental Physics")

          As I have stated before, discussions of this kind belong to the academe which does not lead to faith or commitment or to action TO CALL ALL NATIONS TO LIVE ACCORDING TO THE WAYS OF THE SPIRIT AND NO LONGER ACCORDING TO THE WAYS OF THE WORLD but, as John Paul II said, is "alien to the intentions of the Bible, which does not wish to teach how heaven was made but how one goes to heaven." Or to attain eternal life!

          God bless.

          Isa
          -----

          -- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Arcee A <truthseeker41471@...> wrote:
          >
          > Hi Isa,
          >
          > Wow! Quite a lengthy read. I've not finished reading it though it seems that
          > we agree on this one point, and let me quote you: "FAITH and REASON are not
          > mutually exclusive but rather are mutually supportive of one another."
          >
          > And since you pointed me to this resource, let me point you to Rob's book, (yes
          > Rob Bowman, Jr. - our moderator and founder of this forum) which has this
          > title:
          >
          > Faith Has Its Reasons
          >
          > God bless!
          >
          > Arcee
          >
          >
          > "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only because
          > I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ________________________________
          > From: Isa <isalcordo@...>
          > To: biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com
          > Sent: Fri, February 4, 2011 8:19:14 AM
          > Subject: [biblicalapologetics] Re: Theistic Evolution
          >
          >
          > Hi, Arcee:
          >
          > Here is a good link to see the views of the Roman Catholic Church on Theistic
          > Evolution.
          >
          > http://www.philvaz.com/apologetics/p94.htm
          >
          > Here is an excerpt topic of the material: "Theistic evolution" and "Evolution
          > and the Roman Catholic Church"
          >
          > The basis for the RC position is based on the fact that FAITH and REASON are not
          > mutually exclusive but rather are mutually supportive of one another.
          >
          >
          > Thus, "Pope Pius IX states in the following paragraph that faith and reason do
          > not conflict:
          >
          > "10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they
          > mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the
          > foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of
          > divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects
          > it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds." (Vatican Council I)."
          >
          > Have a good read.
          >
          > Isa
          > --------
          >
          > --- In biblicalapologetics@yahoogroups.com, Arcee A <truthseeker41471@>
          > wrote:
          > >
          > > I've recently encountered someone who believed in Theistic Evolution (or
          > > Progressive Creation). He believes that God created the universe and the earth
          > >
          > > and all that is in it initially, thereby allowing everything to run its natural
          > >
          > > course and letting evolution take over. Therefore, according to this view, man
          > >
          > > evolved from apes instead of being specially created by God on the sixth day.
          > > He also sees the six days of creation as representing long spans of time
          > > instead of the morning-followed-by-evening normal 24-day hours.
          > >
          > > For me, this is totally wrong since adopting this view would introduce death
          > > coming before sin.
          > >
          > > Any inputs, anyone?
          > > God bless!
          > >
          > >
          > > Arcee
          > >
          > >
          > > "I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen. Not only
          > >because
          > >
          > > I see it, but because by it I see everything else." - C.S. Lewis
          > >
          >
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