Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

Discussion about scientific issues as they relate to God and Christianity including archaeology, origins of life, the universe, intelligent design, evolution, etc.
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Philip
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Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#1

Post by Philip » Wed May 04, 2016 7:29 am

Questions for Christians Whom are Theistic Evolutionists:

So, the reality of theistic evolutionary thinking - that is, if one is a Christian and Bible believer - then they have to ask themself why God provided only symbolic/allegorical Creation stories (How Adam and Eve were created after and separate from all the animals, Eve created from a part of Adam, a Satan figure tempting them, the Fall, and thus a need for a Savior), as opposed to understandable and factual ones. These can be interpreted in many uncertain and unprofitable allegorical ways. Why would we not at least be told that God took two of the animals (primates), installed them with a soul? Why not contradict any evolutionary link to animals, why say Adam was created separately, from DUST, only given the breath of life after his body existed, and then in the world's first surgery, a new life comes from Adam? This makes absolutely no sense! And make no mistake, if Adam and Eve were not real people, if they were not tempted and succumbed to that temptation in the garden, if they did not fall into sin, then this foundational story of all Scripture makes the rest of it make little sense.

Are we to believe God would provide us with a nonsensical, allegorical, fairytale-like story, as opposed to a factual account that doesn't contradict what evolutionary thinking asserts (if evolution were true)? If only an allegory that God well would have known that it would one day cause many to disbelieve the Bible because it contradicts "factual," evolution-based science, and knowing THAT would cause many to avoid, even laugh, at Christians taking seriously God's Word, and knowing how that would damage countless millions' likelihood of believing the Bible - the one also with this dying/Resurrected Messiah Figure in it, Who is crucial to salvation to believe in? Last point, if the Creation stories in Genesis are not factual, if they are merely undefined, a thousand-ways-interpretable allegories - how do you know what in the rest of the Bible is mere allegory or factual? How do you determine what is allegory and what is true in Scripture? Why would God contradict factual truth, and prevent the faith of millions, with silly stories that we could attach whatever meaning we like?

Now, there is a possibility that Adam and Eve were created separately and subsequent to the rest of mankind - with their story, the Garden and the Fall, their need for a Savior - all connected to God's lineage to Christ. But that still doesn't negate what is said about how Adam and Eve were created - as their story is told - and even as the first Genesis Creation story unfolds - as written, it doesn't allow for evolution. Why fairytales instead? It is presented as entirely factual!
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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#2

Post by Byblos » Wed May 04, 2016 7:56 am

I'm not going to address your post point by point or the chock full of non sequiturs and false dichotomies.

Suffice it to say that as a bible-believing Christian (being Catholic is just a bonus :mrgreen: ) and a non-committed theistic evolutionist, I believe the following are compatible and reconcilable:

1) Biblical inerrancy
2) Literal Adam and Eve (in fact that's de fide)
3) Evolution
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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#3

Post by Philip » Wed May 04, 2016 8:54 am

Byblos: I'm not going to address your post point by point or the chock full of non sequiturs and false dichotomies.

Suffice it to say that as a bible-believing Christian (being Catholic is just a bonus :mrgreen: ) and a non-committed theistic evolutionist, I believe the following are compatible and reconcilable:

1) Biblical inerrancy
2) Literal Adam and Eve (in fact that's de fide)
3) Evolution
\

Then please flesh out how you think the Adam & Eve story is true along with evolution. 1) Do you believe Adam and Eve were the first of ALL humans - that all humans that ever lived sprang from them? 2) Do you believe that Adam & Eve were products of evolution? 3) Do you possibly believe mankind was created first, then Adam and Eve later? 4) What do you believe about the descriptions of when, their creation being in a sequence AFTER the animals, and entirely unconnected to them as to how they were made?

Byblos, my questions are not meant to be of the "gotcha" type - I'm merely trying to understand how Christian Theistic evolutionists (and they don't all believe the same on the particulars) tend to explain the Creation stories, particularly concerning Adam and Eve. I know there's one Christian here who believes in evolution but thinks the Genesis Creation accounts were entirely made up - along with a few other passages - because he cannot in any way reconcile them. So, at little fleshing out of your thinking would be great. :)

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#4

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed May 04, 2016 9:09 am

Philip, you know that Biologos has MANY articles addressing all these issues, right?

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#5

Post by RickD » Wed May 04, 2016 9:12 am

To the OP,

I'm not even an evolutionist, and your post made me y#-o


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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#6

Post by Philip » Wed May 04, 2016 9:20 am

Paul, I want to hear from the theistic evolutionists here - what they think, and why they think it. You see - and I've written so much about it - my problem is not with evolution perhaps having been God's methodology. My big redflag is when I see people dismissing the Genesis accounts as unfactual. Yes, we can have disagreements upon the meanings, while also agreeing that SOMEHOW, the texts are true. It's when people say much of the Bible is just made up, or it's mostly just symbolic - wherever the text is very explicit and descriptive, to the point that it's not credibly ambiguous. As for what Byblos asserts about this issue, I am very accepting (while not believing in evolution), because he apparently believes that Scripture, as originally given, is inerrant. But as Neo has said a thousand times on here, evolution is completely irreconcilable with the Genesis Creation accounts. But, yes, there are a range of possibilities of how one might try to reconcile the two, I just wanted to hear from and create an interesting discussion amongst those here about it.

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#7

Post by Philip » Wed May 04, 2016 9:24 am

To the previous poster: So, do you believe evolution is reconcilable with a literal understanding of how and when Scripture says Adam and Eve were made? Your history would suggest not.

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#8

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed May 04, 2016 9:30 am

Philip wrote:Paul, I want to hear from the theistic evolutionists here - what they think, and why they think it. You see - and I've written so much about it - my problem is not with evolution perhaps having been God's methodology. My big redflag is when I see people dismissing the Genesis accounts as unfactual. Yes, we can have disagreements upon the meanings, while also agreeing that SOMEHOW, the texts are true. It's when people say much of the Bible is just made up, or it's mostly just symbolic - wherever the text is very explicit and descriptive, to the point that it's not credibly ambiguous. As for what Byblos asserts about this issue, I am very accepting (while not believing in evolution), because he apparently believes that Scripture, as originally given, is inerrant. But as Neo has said a thousand times on here, evolution is completely irreconcilable with the Genesis Creation accounts. But, yes, there are a range of possibilities of how one might try to reconcile the two, I just wanted to hear from and create an interesting discussion amongst those here about it.
Ah, I understand.

I reconcile it this way:
I have no problem with Adam and Eve being a special creation from God because that is what is implied in genesis 2, which is a distinct creation account from ( but in harmony with) genesis 1.

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#9

Post by RickD » Wed May 04, 2016 9:40 am

I'll be a TE for this.

Adam and Eve were humans created specially by God, as the first in the lineage of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. God wanted to set apart a specific people, to bring about His plan for all of humanity. Humans existed before, and at the same time that Adam and Eve lived. God created Adam outside the garden of Eden, then He put Adam in the Garden. The Garden was different than the "outside world". Adam had God's protection, including access to the tree of life, which allowed him to live forever, as long as he had access.

Genesis is about the lineage of Christ. Not about all of humanity. Read the creation story in that light, and while not "literal and concrete", like a young earth interpretation, it still fits scripture.

Paul, Byblos, how'd I do?
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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#10

Post by Philip » Wed May 04, 2016 9:43 am

Paul: I reconcile it this way:
I have no problem with Adam and Eve being a special creation from God because that is what is implied in genesis 2, which is a distinct creation account from ( but in harmony with) genesis 1.
And I also see them as special creations - created entirely separate from any evolutionary chain of animals. The methodology of the creation of animals is a separate issue. Now, some believe that Adam and Eve evolved from animals, were some kind of high-functioning hominid or such, and that God took them and gave them souls and free will, and the human attributes that would make them in His image. So, Paul, when you say, "special creation," is that what you mean, or do you take the account of how they were made (Adam from dust, Eve from Adam, and AFTER the animals) literally?

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#11

Post by PaulSacramento » Wed May 04, 2016 9:50 am

RickD wrote:I'll be a TE for this.

Adam and Eve were humans created specially by God, as the first in the lineage of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. God wanted to set apart a specific people, to bring about His plan for all of humanity. Humans existed before, and at the same time that Adam and Eve lived. God created Adam outside the garden of Eden, then He put Adam in the Garden. The Garden was different than the "outside world". Adam had God's protection, including access to the tree of life, which allowed him to live forever, as long as he had access.

Genesis is about the lineage of Christ. Not about all of humanity. Read the creation story in that light, and while not "literal and concrete", like a young earth interpretation, it still fits scripture.

Paul, Byblos, how'd I do?

That is how I view it, yes.

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#12

Post by Philip » Wed May 04, 2016 9:52 am

Rick: Adam and Eve were humans created specially by God, as the first in the lineage of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. God wanted to set apart a specific people, to bring about His plan for all of humanity. Humans existed before, and at the same time that Adam and Eve lived. God created Adam outside the garden of Eden, then He put Adam in the Garden. The Garden was different than the "outside world". Adam had God's protection, including access to the tree of life, which allowed him to live forever, as long as he had access.

Genesis is about the lineage of Christ. Not about all of humanity. Read the creation story in that light, and while not "literal and concrete", like a young earth interpretation, it still fits scripture.

Paul, Byblos, how'd I do?
And, Rick, I would agree that scenario is entirely possible. It reconciles the two accounts. And it leaves open the question of evolution culminating in the first (preceding) humans - at least from a Scriptural point - being a totally separate question. And, to me, Adam and Even and their story are what truly matter. The length of time of the "Days," etc. - largely irrelevant. Until Adam begins interacting with God, what happened previous to that - whether evolution or not - at least for us, is mostly irrelevant. For one, the details of what happened before Adam are very sketchy. But to say their story is largely allegorical - that opens a huge can of worms as to how one considers and views the rest of Scripture!

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#13

Post by RickD » Wed May 04, 2016 9:56 am

Philip wrote:
Rick: Adam and Eve were humans created specially by God, as the first in the lineage of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. God wanted to set apart a specific people, to bring about His plan for all of humanity. Humans existed before, and at the same time that Adam and Eve lived. God created Adam outside the garden of Eden, then He put Adam in the Garden. The Garden was different than the "outside world". Adam had God's protection, including access to the tree of life, which allowed him to live forever, as long as he had access.

Genesis is about the lineage of Christ. Not about all of humanity. Read the creation story in that light, and while not "literal and concrete", like a young earth interpretation, it still fits scripture.

Paul, Byblos, how'd I do?
And, Rick, I would agree that scenario is entirely possible. It reconciles the two accounts. And it leaves open the question of evolution culminating in the first (preceding) humans - at least from a Scriptural point - being a totally separate question. And, to me, Adam and Even and their story are what truly matter. The length of time of the "Days," etc. - largely irrelevant. Until Adam begins interacting with God, what happened previous to that - whether evolution or not - at least for us, is mostly irrelevant. For one, the details of what happened before Adam are very sketchy. But to say their story is largely allegorical - that opens a huge can of worms as to how one considers and views the rest of Scripture!
I tend to agree. That's why I'm not a TE. But, there are many believers who have no problem reconciling scripture and their belief in evolution. Check out Biologos, for one perspective. It's a pretty informative site.
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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#14

Post by hughfarey » Wed May 04, 2016 4:38 pm

I'm a Theistic Evolutionist, just like the Pope. The Catholic Church is a conservative organisation, and takes a very long time to make up its mind about new scientific discoveries. This is not because it doesn't want them to be true, but because it wants to be sure that they are real discoveries, and confirming the evidence to the point of incontestability takes time. It also wants to fit the new discoveries into the entire framework of theology, so that they are a coherent part of its understanding of the ways of God. It took a while, but finally Pope John-Paul II admitted, in Fides et Ratio, that evolution was "more than a theory". Both Pope Benedict and Pope Francis have continued this acceptance of scientific ideas, even to the point of Pope Francis being able to say: "When we read the account of Creation in Genesis we risk imagining that God was a magician, complete with an all powerful magic wand. But that was not so. He created beings and he let them develop according to the internal laws with which He endowed each one, that they might develop, and reach their fullness. He gave autonomy to the beings of the universe at the same time in which He assured them of his continual presence, giving life to every reality. And thus Creation has been progressing for centuries and centuries, millennia and millennia, until becoming as we know it today, precisely because God is not a demiurge or a magician, but the Creator who gives life to all beings. The beginning of the world was not a work of chaos that owes its origin to another, but derives directly from a supreme Principle who creates out of love. The Big Bang theory, which is proposed today as the origin of the world, does not contradict the intervention of a divine creator but depends on it. Evolution in nature does not conflict with the notion of Creation, because evolution presupposes the creation of beings who evolve." Incidentally, this is also the thinking of the Anglican and Methodist sects.

Theistic Evolution, then, is mainstream Christian thinking, not a fringe denial of biblical truth, nor a sign of atheist infiltration. Creationism, in all is forms, is the odd one out. Creationist interpretations of the bible rely on individual personal conviction, and are as liable to error as any other individual personal conviction. Philip's query above suggests that he has not really worked out for himself how literal the truth of the bible actually is. He dislikes "people dismissing the Genesis accounts as unfactual", but allows for "disagreements upon the meanings" - as long as they don't include evolution because "evolution is completely irreconcilable with the Genesis Creation accounts."

Well, all are entitled to their own opinions as to how far from literal truth one can validly interpret the book of Genesis, but Philip has no authority to pass on his opinions except himself. Theistic Evolutionists have the support of entire religions.

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Re: Questions for Theistic Evolutionists

#15

Post by RickD » Wed May 04, 2016 4:44 pm

Hey,

As long as the pope's ok with it, it's ok with me.*



*said in my most sarcastic tone, as a confused Protestant, longing to go back to the Mother Church.
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Kenny wrote:
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St. Richard the Sarcastic--The Patron Saint of Irony

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