Does Jesus need Creationism?

Discussion in 'Christianity' started by iBrian, Aug 28, 2003.

  1. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    Although it's easy for liberals to regard the accounts in the Book of Genesis as metaphorical, and even perhaps point to interesting developments from the Sumerian legends, it's interesting to note why Creationists are possibly so desperate to claim a scientific validity for events in the Book of Genesis:

    • We can only be saved if we follow Jesus
    • We need to be saved because we are all born sinners
    • Jesus died to save us from our sins but we must follow him to be saved.
    • We are born sinners because we inherited sin from Adam.
    • Adam brought sin into the world.
    By this simply line of reasoning, for the Resurrection of Jesus to have any meaning whatsoever, Adam must have had literal existence in the first place. After all, if there was no Adam then there was no literal first sin that the blood of Jesus need wash us with.

    Or have the Creationists missed the point?

    Is the death of Jesus and belief in Christ not at all dependent upon a literal Adam? Is the Garden of Eden account a metaphor for a much more profound "fall" story, perhaps even the separation of Man from nature? If so, does that at all affect the way in which the purpose of the Resurrection is interpreted?

    This thread is dedicated to examining the theological links between Adam and Jesus, and the different perspectives on their required - or not - relationship.


     
  2. Polycarp

    Polycarp New Member

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    The whole Adam story, Creationism and all, gets in the way, for most folks, of what I believe that a proper relationship with God and Christ should be.

    The idea of sin is a bugaboo for many people -- they liken it to a criminal offense. And just as an infant or small child cannot be a felon, the whole issue of original sin becomes a stumbling block.

    But Christ's teachings, largely taken from the Law of Moses, sum up to, God calls us to utter perfection, to agapetic love at every moment with every fiber of our being of Him and of our fellow man. This we are incapable of doing on our own. It's enforced by chet and hamartia, the Hebrew and Greek for sin, each of which means the falling short of the mark.

    And though God is many things, including judge, the predominant metphor which Jesus uses is that of loving Father. We stand to him as small children to an ideal human father.

    Sin is not a penal code, with specific definitions for individual offenses, which may be avoided. It's inherent in the human condition that we will fall short, despite our own best efforts, of the utter perfection that God esires of us. And we are all born into the same sin-filled world. Before we can begin to make moral judgments, we are already being egocentric and unloving, stubborn and prideful. (All babies are consummate egotists, demanding everything and giving virtually nothing in return, in a highly pragmatic analysis. This is not their fault; it's inherent in the nature of altricial human birth. And the reason why the first sentence in this parenthetic sounded offensive to many is that we are accustomed to assume that babies will be this way and love them anyway. It's not a judgment, but merely an evaluation of their behavior from the perspective of how it would be judged in a competent adult.) But when that child carries that egocentricity and demanding nature past toddlerhood, we in effect demand that he or she repent of it.)

    So the picture becomes one of contasts: theoretically righteous humans who sometimes break the Law, and who are mired in a tendency to do so by some nebulous taint said to have been inherited from a possibly legendary ancestor; vs. decent people with faults who are aspiring to ideals they can never reach, in a world where man's inhumanity to man is often evident.

    I've said before that the god of the Creationists is a lying trickster, who deserves my scorn not my worship. But the God whose divine Plan can bring forth a world with all its many wonders out of the careful initial settings of the laws of physics, natural law, genetics, and so on -- that God is greater than I can comprehend. And that He so loved me as to have sent Jesus and called me to Himself is humbling.
     
  3. Skeptic44

    Skeptic44 New Member

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    ________

    Simple answer: NO.

    The Creation account was an adequate attempt by a group in B.C. to describe how mankind got here.

    The Truth was beyond their grasp.

    The idea that we are descended from common ancestors with apes and chimpanzees.... is so counter-intuitive, anyone who came up with such a theory would never have gotten it published.

    God, however, would have known how it happened.

    which proves the Bible is NOT the Word of God, conclusively.

    I did quite an extensive search of this at one point. Does the Bible contain hidden truths that the people of the day missed, but that became apparent as our knowledge grew.

    NO.

    Exactly the opposite. The Bible perpetuates basic errors that science has corrected. Major, impossible to ignore errors.

    for example, in 7 days of creation, the order is

    (a) trees growing on earth
    (b) a night, then a morning
    (c) creation of sun and stars

    For 500 BC, this was a good guess. Especially if your competing religions worshipped the sun as a god.

    But our sun is a second or third generation star. The heavier elements at the core of our earth were cooked inside a star and expelled, meaning there had to be other stars before there was an earth.

    There is no doubt or question about this whatsoever.

    Therefore, I conclude that Genesis is not a metaphor for some greater story... except through interpretation or coincidence.
     
  4. bananabrain

    bananabrain awkward squadnik

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    grrrrr.

    puh-leeeeze. this is so 19th century and so, *so* arrogant. the ma'aseh bereisheet (account of creation) is probably the most complicated bit in the Torah and one which some people have spent a lifetime studying. but never mind, it's must all be bollocks just because it doesn't mention evolution and doesn't follow scientific principles. but i forget, scientists have done such a great job of creating a just society, haven't they?

    the ma'aseh bereisheet is, as i've said elsewhere, a *mytho-poetic* account which contains a lot of extremely important stuff for us. it doesn't *preclude* evolution, unless one happens to be one of those feckwit literalists who don't know anything other than some garbled secondhand translation.

    right, because religions never come up with anything counter-intuitive, do they? whether something's intuitive or counter-intuitive has no bearing on a) whether it is accepted or indeed b) whether it's true. truth does not reside within the purview of human perception. we're just not equipped to deal with it.

    look, i don't think you really understand the purpose of the Text. as fallible, imperfect humans, we cannot know the mind of the Divine, even indirectly. the closer it gets to something we can understand the further away we are from the First Cause. to think that humans can ever "prove" how the universe came to being and how we came to be is the height of hubris and self-satisfied pride. we can't even look directly at the sun - how can we possibly kid ourselves that anything we know is ever more than a theory?

    look, genesis (or to give it its correct name, bereisheet) is not there to confirm or deny science. that's simply not its purpose. not that i can prove that of course, but presumably you've seen the matrix and know enough philosophy to realise that we could all just be brains in vats. sheeeeeee. i've got a cold, which is making me tetchy, so excuse the sharpness of this post.

    b'shalom

    bananabrain
     
  5. iBrian

    iBrian Peace, Love and Unity Admin

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    That's actually an important part of my question. In Biblical terms, Christ is specifically argued as the result of the events in Genesis with the "Fall of Man", where Jesus is required to bring Man towards God.

    If there is no need for Adam, then there is no need for Christ in the doctrinal sense - is there?? In which case, if Christ was not to atone for the fall of Adam, then what was Christ for if there was nothing to correct?

    A general postulation for discussion, though I'm aware it's a complex and often difficult issue to address.
     
  6. mikie8

    mikie8 New Member

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    adam was without knowleadge of right and wrong untill he ate the apple so could this be a sin ?
    what was the original sin ?
    also if adam is the first man who was god protecting cain from when he marked him so no others may slay him ?

    i dont think there was ment to be a direct path from adam to jesus or the origiunal sin but i may be wrong

    if adam never ate the apple and therefore never had children with eve would not jesus still come to save the sins of the ppl outside eden ? if not only jews maybe christians as st paul was from the ppl outside eden
     
  7. DeaconJustin

    DeaconJustin New Member

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    I'm going to side with BB here, and second his "puh-leeeze!" Whether Adam existed exactly as detailed in Genesis is irrelevant. A man existed, a woman existed. They were separated from G-d. That's that. G-d can do whatever G-d wants to do, however G-d wants to do it. Unless G-d came down and said "Yo, this is how I did it," we're not going to know the specifics. There's really nothing wrong with G-d using evolution to create the human race.
     
  8. hoghead1

    hoghead1 Member

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    I take a different approach. I think the underlying issue is the nature of God. Traditionally, Christianity insisted that God did not and could not change. So, if God doesn't change, then neither do we, neither does anything else, and so there can be no evolution. However, this notion of a fundamentally immutable Deity comes largely from Hellenic philosophy, not Scripture. The biblical God is a highly anthropomorphic one and enjoys deep emotion and change. Furthermore, the notion of a wholly immutable Deity makes no real metaphysical sense, not today anyway.
     
  9. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hi hoghead –
    Only if God and everything else is in the same category. As, traditionally, God is not in the same category as everything else, then the argument does not hold.

    If one reads the Text, informed by the Commentaries, all these 'problems' are resolved.

    The idea that sacred Texts are self-explanatory is, I suggest, an error. To do that would require miraculous intervention!
     
  10. hoghead1

    hoghead1 Member

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    No, Thomas, that isn't accurate. The argument does hold, because God traditionally was seen as omnipotent; so if he or she doesn't change, then neither do we. In addition, creation was seen as over, finito.

    I don't follow about the texts and commentaries. Are you trying to argue the highly anthropomorphical biblical images of God are mere figures of speech, as the church fathers did? What?
     
  11. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    I think this is the keystone to your whole argument yet I do not understand how you link the 2.

    Ephesians 1:18-23 says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.”

    Maybe your argument is more along the lines of anti -omnipresent or anti - transcendant. Both of these however are covered quite well in all the Abrahamic texts. I'm sensing a slight injection of common American "spirituality" in your arguments that seem to suggest you view God as more of just a heightened Human than a god over man. For any Abrahamic view, this just simply doesn't hold to scriptural scrutiny. I don't often agree with Thomas on Christian Doctrine, but in this one I am by far leaning to his argument. My guess is that you have never been made aware there are other sources of information outside of the Bible that help to explain its meaning and purpose.
     
  12. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    As Joe posted, I do not see how you make the leap that if God doesn't change, nothing else does. Would you explain how you came by this notion?
     
  13. hoghead1

    hoghead1 Member

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    OK, BigJoe and Devils'Advocate, this is really very common sensical. In classical theology God, before the foundations of the world were ever laid, predestined the elect and the reprobate. The elect stay elect, the reprobate stay reprobate. God was seen as omnipotent, a cosmic dictator, completely in charge of creation, nothing happened but what God predestined to happen in exactly the way it did. Now, since God doesn't change, the universe can't either. Furthermore, creation is over, finito. Augustine, for example, argued that creation didn't take even six days, but was accomplished in an instant, poof, like that. So from Day One on, nothing new is going to be added. That's why many object to the notion of evolution. It means new species and organisms have cropped up. But with an unchanging God, that cannot be the case.
    Also, BigJoe, when you make guesses about where I am coming from, please check this out more carefully. You said it was your guess that I was unfamiliar with sources outside the Bible that explain it. For the record, I have a doctorate in theology from the conjoint program between a major seminary and a major university. I initially thought of doing my doctorate in biblical studies, as I am good with languages, but then decided on theology. My AOS is process theology, more specifically process pneumatology. I don't mean to toot my own horn; I'm just trying to be honest about where I am coming from. I'm not sure what you mean by "American spirituality." Could you clarify?
     
  14. Thomas

    Thomas Administrator Admin

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    Hmmm. Not sure. Predestination was always regarded negatively by the Church, which held that Gods desire is that 'll men are saved, not just a few. It came up after the Reformation, and is held by some of the Protestant denominations, but really prior to that in mainstream Christian thinking it was refuted.

    I can't see why you think this. God and the universe are not the same.

    Again, I'm not so sure.

    Whilst the matter in principle is that, to put it simply, the moment God decided to create, it was a done deal, and everything else is simply an unfolding.

    In practice however, there is the view that Creation is not a one-time event, but a dynamic continuum, it's happening in every moment.

    Again I think we need discern between the metaphysics and the matter of the thing. The Fathers say that the Incarnation was determined before the world was made, because God is not in time and therefore cannot suffer unknowing or ignorance of the future – 'past', 'present' and 'future' are limitations of the finite. God is not finite.

    What I don't believe, and what I read Scripture to assert, is that God does not micromanage in the sense that if I have a stroke tomorrow, it's because God ordained it. I think there's plenty of movement and freedom within the finite ...
     
  15. hoghead1

    hoghead1 Member

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    Predestination dates all the way back to Augustine, Thomas. At times, in may seem later sources represented an alternative, but generally they really didn't. Indeed, it was a central teaching in the Reformation. The elect and the reprobate are central in Calvin, who used Augustine as a major authority, Matte of fact, some way he rediscovered Augustine.
    I don't think you quite get what I am saying abut God and the universe changing. God was taken to be omnipotent, in complete and total monopolistic control. Now, since God id not change, then the universe couldn't either.

    Yes, classical theism held God was an actus purus, meaning a statically complete perfections. Nothing could be added or subtracted from God. And since God was omnipotent and had predetermined the future in the first place, he knew definitely what would happen way ahead of time. So yes, they viewed God a atemporal. The world of time and change is just a big illusion, as per Plato. If we could see things from God's perspective, there would be no time.
     
  16. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    So if I understand what you are saying God's (I assume we are talking the Abrahamic God here) creation from the very beginning of time to the very end all came into existence at the same moment. Is that the gist of it? That as mortals we experience what we perceive to be a passage of time that does not in reality exist.
     
  17. BigJoeNobody

    BigJoeNobody Professional Argument Attractor

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    I didn't mean to prod, just your answers (Specifically to Thomas) showed what seems to be arguments based without the classical background documentation. In essence the American Spirituality portion was a reference to the growing group of people who are essentially Agnostic, but tend to side more with a Creationist view than a Atheist one. From my observation the "Spiritual but not religious" group and the Agnostics tend to be of the same mindset overall, but the "spiritual" group tends to still believe in a God, or some manifestation of a "God Idea". Me personally, I left Christianity several years ago, under the view that I couldn't be associated with so many people who didn't follow what the text said. I then stopped believing the inerrant view, and started viewing it as men's best attempt at writing what they had been told of the truth. Some things are quite clear, especially OT Mosaic Laws and such. Those I could get and then compare that with the NT and fit them in. It wasn't until I started looking into other religions (specifically Islam) that I could start understanding what I believe was meant by many of the misunderstandings I and others had.

    Edited to add, that it does seem that maybe you just weren't adding the other information, Hopefully next time I can just see the background processes when you make claims.
     
  18. Devils' Advocate

    Devils' Advocate Well-Known Member

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    We need to be careful with our wording. Creationists and Creationism is a non-religious, conservative think tank movement that has no basis in traditional Abrahamic religions. It was essentially made up in attempt to be an alternate theory to evolution and that group wants to be taught in our public schools. Even though it is no more science than it is religion. Which is where this thread started, I believe.

    The religious nones, from what I have seen, are a group that still believe in basic Christian faiths; they just no longer identify with a particular church.
     
  19. hoghead1

    hoghead1 Member

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    I was talking about Augustine's concept of creation, Devils'Advocate, not mine. According to Augustine, it was accomplished in an instant. The six-days reference was a mere accommodation to our feeble intellects. I myself do not hold with a purely atemporal God.
     
  20. hoghead1

    hoghead1 Member

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    I'm not sure how you are using "creationist," BigJoe. Normally, the term is used for those who are into creation-science, which is a conservative or fundamentalist Christian group. Sometimes the term is used to denote anyone who believes in God. However, the latter is rare.
     

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