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Author Topic: The Search for the Historical Adam  (Read 2520 times) Average Rating: 0
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« on: June 03, 2011, 12:10:40 PM »

From Christianity Today:

The center of the evolution debate has shifted from asking whether we came from earlier animals to whether we could have come from one man and one woman.
....
In a recent pro-evolution book from InterVarsity Press, The Language of Science and Faith, Collins and co-author Karl W. Giberson escalate matters, announcing that "unfortunately" the concepts of Adam and Eve as the literal first couple and the ancestors of all humans simply "do not fit the evidence."

The Adam account in Genesis has long been subjected to scientific challenges, but "there was a lot of wiggle room in the past. The human genome sequencing took that wiggle room away" during the past decade, said Randall Isaac, executive director of the American Scientific Affiliation (asa), which has been discussing Adam issues for decades. The organization's 1,600 members, Collins among them, affirm the Bible's "divine inspiration, trustworthiness, and authority" on "faith and conduct," though not on scientific concepts.
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« Reply #1 on: June 03, 2011, 01:37:04 PM »

Thanks for posting this. The article that you are referring to is fascinating in that it points to another possible paradigm shift, similar to the shift to Galileo's findings. I had always believed that, while evolution may have happened, man is still God's special, unique creation. No matter which way this debate goes, I agree with Professor Collins (cited in the article): "Instead of the traditional belief in the specially created man and woman of Eden who were biologically different from all other creatures, Collins mused, might Genesis be presenting "a poetic and powerful allegory" about God endowing humanity with a spiritual and moral nature? "
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« Reply #2 on: June 03, 2011, 01:58:44 PM »

Thanks for posting the article!

I do have to agree with the assertion that it may be an allegory. I've struggled with the concept of the creation story for a long time, and just recently I have been able to let go of the fear that accepting the story as allegorical would cause me to lose my faith in the idea of God creating the world.

I'm still pondering it, but I do admit that I am interested in reading Dr. Collins's book.
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« Reply #3 on: June 03, 2011, 02:03:26 PM »

Of course Adam and Eve are real and true.

There is no sin, no fall and no salvation without Adam and Eve.
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« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2011, 02:47:46 PM »

As a theistic evolutionist, I've always considered Adamah and Ishshah as allegorical.
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« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2011, 03:30:47 PM »

Of course Adam and Eve are real and true.

There is no sin, no fall and no salvation without Adam and Eve.

Can we say "there is no sin.....without man and woman?"
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« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2011, 03:53:07 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

While I didn't have time to read to article I'd like to add this comment..

Even purely atheistic scientific approach to human evolution suggests the very same parallel as the Adam and Eve mono-myth.  Mitochondrial DNA evidence strongly suggests that ALL living human beings, yes all 7 billion of us, are universally descendend from a single female progenitor, the Mitochondrial Eve, and we are about 20,000 generations removed.  This is not a fanciful fairy tale or delightful Biblical narrative, this is data.  Of course, wonderfully it is data that completely agrees with a major premise of the Genesis narratives and the concept of Original Sin, which is that all human beings share a single common ancestor and single point origin. 

Logically also we can conclude that we are of course the descendants of the single man who impregnated this Mitochondrial Eve whose DNA we all share together. True this indeed evidence of a chromosomal Adam which in fact predates Eve by hundreds of generations, but then again this is irrelevant.  This only explains how there were human populations in existence at the time of this Mitochondrial Eve.  The Flood narrative explains that any and every human being or proto-human being or any other such thing that lived before the flood was doomed to extinction, and low and behold the fossil record perfectly agrees Wink

  Evolution as a theory of Creation is as eloquent an explanation as any, but equally reliant upon an leap of faith.  Like all ideas, it can be mistakenly explained or interpreted by the limits of circumstance, and hindsight always sheds new light.  Besides of which, it is no new theory, human beings have been believing in evolution for thousands of years and realistically it is only recently and in part due the hard-line Calvinist mindset which permeates modern Western scientific thought, that if God does not necessarily determine every single detail of His Creation that He has voided Himself out of existence. 

I'm not fond of lit eralist interpretations of the Scriptures, but in this regard, for specifically the concept of a single origin of human ancestors being in Adam and Eve, it is quite clear the the biblical narrative passed down across hundreds of generations of time preserved some memory of our original family.  Joseph Campbell is more enlightening in this regard than any of these scientists..

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« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2011, 04:06:07 PM »

Of course Adam and Eve are real and true.

There is no sin, no fall and no salvation without Adam and Eve.

Can we say "there is no sin.....without man and woman?"
Exactly. It didn't necessarily have to be with people called Adam and Eve or happen the exact way that Genesis said for the main parts of the story to be true. Whether Adam and Eve or Bill and Sara were the first ones, humans were not obedient to God and we made the choice to be disobedient.
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« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2011, 04:09:55 PM »

The New Adam is also allegorical.
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« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2011, 05:49:55 PM »

Fr. Peter is correct.  The Patrisitic and Scriptural testimony consists in asserting the historicity of Adam and Eve as a given; we venerate them in the calendar of saints.  Physical death is the result of sin; before Adam and Eve, there was not physical death and decay in the universe (outside of the fallen evil angels). 
A group of scientist affirm, in their opinion, that Adam and Eve could not be literal, as the Church has historically understood.  Scientists also affirm that peole can't be resurrected or walk on water.  Of course material research would very likely be unable to reveals these events, the fall of the universe into sin has gravely distorted mankinds perception; what appears normal today, is not what was once normal.  If we can believe that God became a Man on Earth, and Suffered death and was Resurrected, and that in the Eucharist the bread and wine are transmuted to the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Christ God, and that by water sins are washed away in Baptism, and by Chrism the gift of the Holy Ghost is given, if this is all admited, especially the greatest 'improbability' and 'incomprehensibility' of the Incarnation (from which all these Sacraments flow), then, what is the trifle of accepting the Scriptures and the patrisitic consensus on them?  Surely it is a greater matter to believe God became an actual Man, than to believe God created Adam as an actual Man, is it not?
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« Reply #10 on: June 03, 2011, 06:39:53 PM »

Of course Adam and Eve are real and true.

There is no sin, no fall and no salvation without Adam and Eve.

Amen!
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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2011, 08:14:29 PM »

Fr. Peter is correct.  The Patrisitic and Scriptural testimony consists in asserting the historicity of Adam and Eve as a given; we venerate them in the calendar of saints.  Physical death is the result of sin; before Adam and Eve, there was not physical death and decay in the universe (outside of the fallen evil angels). 
A group of scientist affirm, in their opinion, that Adam and Eve could not be literal, as the Church has historically understood.  Scientists also affirm that peole can't be resurrected or walk on water.  Of course material research would very likely be unable to reveals these events, the fall of the universe into sin has gravely distorted mankinds perception; what appears normal today, is not what was once normal.  If we can believe that God became a Man on Earth, and Suffered death and was Resurrected, and that in the Eucharist the bread and wine are transmuted to the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Christ God, and that by water sins are washed away in Baptism, and by Chrism the gift of the Holy Ghost is given, if this is all admited, especially the greatest 'improbability' and 'incomprehensibility' of the Incarnation (from which all these Sacraments flow), then, what is the trifle of accepting the Scriptures and the patrisitic consensus on them?  Surely it is a greater matter to believe God became an actual Man, than to believe God created Adam as an actual Man, is it not?

Well said Father
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« Reply #12 on: June 03, 2011, 08:34:04 PM »

I should note, that if one reads the entire article, that you will find that there are some scientists, like Dr. Fazale Rana, who oppose this view.  It should also be noted that the ASA, is mainly an evangelical Protestant organization of scientists, if that matters.
Since I've read Dr. Fazale Rana, and knew a biophysicist who read him and his works, I would not say that we should bow down and accept everything we are being told.  Before the General Theory of Relativity was developed, many 'scientists' believed that the universe was eternal and everlasting, and without beginning or end (thus, we see the adoption of this view by the 19th century Mormons); physics eventually discovered that all things had a beginning.  Never mind the fact that logical discourse could have shown one the absurdity of the concept of infinite past time, even prior to this discovery.  We should never be intimidated by the supposed 'consensus of the scientific community'; after all, how much of the consensus is built on who is funding the research, and the predisposition of those who are investigating it. 

People are afraid of being called, 'extremists', or 'outside the mainstream' so much today, that they nullify any capacity to think about things.  For all the supposed enlightenment and advancement in reason that we have today, I have never seen a people more willing to treat the 'scientific community', the 'political consensus', or whatever it is, with such slavishness.  The secularist society trades one old priesthood (that of the old, and compassionate Christian one), for the this new one, called the scientific community.
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« Reply #13 on: June 03, 2011, 09:47:44 PM »

For those interested in an opposed scientific view which is contrary to the more modernist evangelical protestant one, here is the opposite:
I especially like the case of the sheep, and the unexpected results the researchers found.
page 4:

http://www.reasons.org/files/ezine/ezine-2010-04.pdf
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« Reply #14 on: June 04, 2011, 08:13:55 AM »

I see that many theistic evolutionists end up being swayed by the anti-Christian naturalistic views taken by non-theistic evolutionists. If you take this far enough you can end up as a Deist. Evolution may be the process God used to create the universe, but life itself cannot be scientifically explained.

Let's suppose that human beings are descended from earlier life forms such as Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus and others. What is the status of these beings? Are they human beings in the fullest sense, i.e. created in the image and likeness of God and possessing a soul?

If so, these hominids must have had some sense of morality and must have been able to communicate with God, since Genesis states that there was no separation between God and man before the Fall. Question is, at what point did they gain these qualities? Did God reveal himself to, say, Homo Erectus? Did they possess His "breath of life"?

God may well have created Homo Sapiens without using evolution, or have picked out a Homo Sapiens some 6,000 years ago whom he put in the supposedly Middle Eastern garden of Eden (which researchers believe may have been a historical place) to be endowed with His breath of life to be the progenitor of all men.

Besides, there is also the story of the Flood, which only Noah and his family survived, and they supposedly repopulated the world that God destroyed in His anger. Without wanting to argue about the scope of the Flood (I believe it may have been local), do we reject this, too? Do we also reject that the human race was one and that God confused the languages?

Surely, linguistics acknowledges that there must have been a common language at one point. While languages do develop naturally, that doesn't necessarily mean that God may not at one point have sparked the languages to separate. I think the same may apply to Evolution, in that He guided evolution but at one point created man, who is more than "matter" but is spirit and soul, as well.

At any rate, whatever process God used to establish creation, the origin of life itself is a mystery. If we accept the mysteries of the Eucharist and other sacraments, God's incarnation, His conquering of death, eternal life, incorruptible saintly relics, etc. - all of which are scientific unproven/unprovable, then why can't we accept that we have common progenitors named Adam and Eve?

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I do agree that the Genesis account is partly allegorical in that it is a spiritual text rather than a scientific account, which is why I disagree with creationists fundamentalists. Then again, the Bible as a whole is a spiritual text but it contains many passages that are considered historical, so why make an exception to Adam? Personally, I'm most favorable toward "old earth creationism" though I am increasingly open to theistic evolution.
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« Reply #15 on: June 04, 2011, 08:21:58 AM »

The New Adam is also allegorical.

Allegorical and therefore by definition unhistorical? If Adam was an allegory because he did not exist, then the New Adam does not exist either.  Besides, what about Mary? Isn't she the new Eve?

In addition, if Adam is a myth, then what about the Prophet Enoch, "the seventh from Adam"? Is he a fiction, too?

I don't see how the Bible must be either allegorical OR literal/historical as if a biblical text could never have several equally correct interpretations on different levels.
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« Reply #16 on: June 04, 2011, 09:00:20 AM »

God may well have created Homo Sapiens without using evolution, or have picked out a Homo Sapiens some 6,000 years ago whom he put in the supposedly Middle Eastern garden of Eden (which researchers believe may have been a historical place) to be endowed with His breath of life to be the progenitor of all men.

6,000 years ago is too recent for a common ancestor for the human race. The Americas and Australia were already populated and then cut off from the rest of the world well before.

In any event, as I always point out in threads on evolution, the philosopher of religion (and Orthodox Christian) Richard Swinburne has already argued convincingly that it makes no difference for the Christian doctrine of the Fall and Christ's salvation whether Adam was a belly-buttonless creature in a literal Garden of Eden, or whether he was simply one of our hominid ancestors.
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« Reply #17 on: June 04, 2011, 09:11:21 AM »

The simple answer is that the Scriptural and Patristic consensus on these issues are the correct one (i.e, Adam and Eve existed, the Flood happened, etc).  As to how one wishes to reconciled the biblical Facts with what are the perceived scientific facts, that your business.  How can we trust any scientific investigations into the world, when one realizes the cosmic effects of sin on the entire natural world?  For example, if Christ or, the Holy Ghost through St. Paul or St. Peter, said, "Adam and Eve existed 6,000 years ago" (yes, I know there is no exact statement like that), I would say, "Yes."  And if I couldn't find exact evidence, I wouldn't discount it.  The best argument for all the historicity of the Scriptures is the fact that Christ believed it, and that He was God, ergo, it is true.  How that can reconcile with what one perceives through natural investigations is beyond most of us.  I'm sure natural science say that you can reverse the laws of entropy to raise someone from the dead, yet, we believe it happened, and it is impossible to give a scientific explanation of how the eternal God did this. 
If one must choose between the Scriptural and Patristic consensus, and that of modern philosophers and scientists, then chose the Revelation of God.  Besides, if you can believe God became a Man, then, hey, God making Adam and Eve, however many ages ago, is a trifle. 
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« Reply #18 on: June 04, 2011, 09:33:19 AM »

Didnt I read somewhere that Scientists strongly suspect that there is a single maternal ancestor that our species all are descended from?

I do know that everyone alive today outside of a few exceptions in Africa ( Bushmen and a couple of similar groups) are descended from one single group of about 150 or so that left Africa 75,000 years ago and crossed into what is now Arabia/Yemen ( which was a lush Garden Forrest then). Every race Black White and Asian are connected to that one single group of people

I would think that it is nearly impossible that at some point before that there wasn't a single pair, Man and Woman, whom together produced the first of our species.

If Genesis is allegorical then it may be speaking of that same point, when Humans crossed the line between natural innocence and when we were capable of retaining knowledge and wisdom and were not just reacting to the World based on instinct.

Genesis may be using Poetry and allegory, but it it is trying to communicate something that is True.
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« Reply #19 on: June 04, 2011, 09:52:12 AM »

Fr. Peter is correct.  The Patrisitic and Scriptural testimony consists in asserting the historicity of Adam and Eve as a given; we venerate them in the calendar of saints.  Physical death is the result of sin; before Adam and Eve, there was not physical death and decay in the universe (outside of the fallen evil angels).  
A group of scientist affirm, in their opinion, that Adam and Eve could not be literal, as the Church has historically understood.  Scientists also affirm that peole can't be resurrected or walk on water.  Of course material research would very likely be unable to reveals these events, the fall of the universe into sin has gravely distorted mankinds perception; what appears normal today, is not what was once normal.  If we can believe that God became a Man on Earth, and Suffered death and was Resurrected, and that in the Eucharist the bread and wine are transmuted to the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of the Christ God, and that by water sins are washed away in Baptism, and by Chrism the gift of the Holy Ghost is given, if this is all admited, especially the greatest 'improbability' and 'incomprehensibility' of the Incarnation (from which all these Sacraments flow), then, what is the trifle of accepting the Scriptures and the patrisitic consensus on them?  Surely it is a greater matter to believe God became an actual Man, than to believe God created Adam as an actual Man, is it not?

Father, bless. I am in general agreement with your statement--particularly the latter part of it that I highlighted above in bold. It simply begs the question: Why then to reject the possibility that God's creation of man was, to quote Professor Collins once again, "a poetic and powerful allegory" about God endowing humanity with a spiritual and moral nature?" In my limited mind, I do not think that God's majesty is diminished or that God's salvific work is degraded if God took hominids and endowed them with a unique spiritual and moral nature. I think it is a wonderful and awe inspiring act of His that our DNA is 95 or 99 percent the same as chimpanzee's. The fact that we are so biologically similar to and yet so dissimilar with chimpanzees in all other attributes is further testimony for the essential truth of Genesis.
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« Reply #20 on: June 04, 2011, 10:07:00 AM »

First off, I'm not a priest.  But God blesses us if we ask.

I could ask the same question about whether Christ existed.  If we can say that Adam was a purely literary allegory, why can't we say that Christ was a literay allegory, but, that it still preserves all the power and majesty. 

People first began to attack the Old Testament, and many professed Christians were not  as concerned, since they reasoned "Well, it is the NT that is most important."  Then they began to attack the NT, and many reasoned, "Well, it is just the fact that Christ existed, even if most of the texts have tremendous errors in them,", then they attacked who Christ was, and it was said, "Well, I believe the historical Jesus helps me confront the living reality of the Christ of Faith, who doesn't exist in literal history, but, still is what makes my faith experience valid," or some nonesens like unto that.

I really don't see this anymore as going anywhere.  I would rather take the Patristic answers, than wait for new fangled 'scientists' to explain things.  Does it detract from God's majesty?  I would say it does, since it means a re-writting of how Orthodox saints have understood this.  What is going to happen on the day that scientists say that "Well, if someone was actually Resurrected 1970 years ago in the way Christians would believe, it would entail some massive implosion of the planet,etc.tec...", and then someone professed Christians are going to say, "Well, we need to reevaluate the Resurrection, and understand it is as an allegory of what happens in us if we believe, etc..." 

I really can't see why people would be willing to believe God became a Man, died and rose again, and yet would have trouble accepting the traditional understand and fact that Adam and Eve were real persons.
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« Reply #21 on: June 04, 2011, 11:06:01 AM »

I really can't see why people would be willing to believe God became a Man, died and rose again, and yet would have trouble accepting the traditional understand and fact that Adam and Eve were real persons.

Same here. God said He made us in His image and likeness. We might have 98% of our genes in common with chimps, but what a world of difference does that tiny difference make! Moreover, we are not mere matter. We have souls, we are spiritual beings. Again, we're created in God's image and likeness. I thought this was essential to understanding Orthodoxy and now all of a sudden to some folks it doesn't matter? They got to be kidding.

Evolution cannot explain how the soul came to be since it is immaterial, so I would go as far as saying that DNA doesn't prove anything. Insisting that it does leads to naturalism which comes down to saying that God is dead. I'd really love to know what "humanity" is according to those who believe God endowed hominids with souls, since at what point did our supposed ancestors bear the likeness of God? Moreover, our progenitors were immortal as they were unstained with sin. How do we explain that? Even if Homo Erectus etc. was our biological ancestor, there is no reason to regard him as human if he lacked a soul, language and communion with God - all of which are possible only for man created in God's image, and God does not change/evolve, does he?

One reason I'm wary of theistic evolution is that people tend to take it too far and many end up believing in the dogma of natural selection and no longer allow for miracles and divine intervention, writing off such instances in the bible as fiction with a mere moral message and nothing more. My brother, an aspiring biologist, is one such person, and it is truly disheartening how fast he's been giving in to this secular religion. Again, let me say that this doesn't mean I think that evolution in itself is impossible and wrong, but I believe the typical Darwinist mindset certainly is.
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« Reply #22 on: June 04, 2011, 11:12:51 AM »

First off, I'm not a priest.  But God blesses us if we ask.

I could ask the same question about whether Christ existed.  If we can say that Adam was a purely literary allegory, why can't we say that Christ was a literay allegory, but, that it still preserves all the power and majesty. 

People first began to attack the Old Testament, and many professed Christians were not  as concerned, since they reasoned "Well, it is the NT that is most important."  Then they began to attack the NT, and many reasoned, "Well, it is just the fact that Christ existed, even if most of the texts have tremendous errors in them,", then they attacked who Christ was, and it was said, "Well, I believe the historical Jesus helps me confront the living reality of the Christ of Faith, who doesn't exist in literal history, but, still is what makes my faith experience valid," or some nonesens like unto that.

I really don't see this anymore as going anywhere.  I would rather take the Patristic answers, than wait for new fangled 'scientists' to explain things.  Does it detract from God's majesty?  I would say it does, since it means a re-writting of how Orthodox saints have understood this.  What is going to happen on the day that scientists say that "Well, if someone was actually Resurrected 1970 years ago in the way Christians would believe, it would entail some massive implosion of the planet,etc.tec...", and then someone professed Christians are going to say, "Well, we need to reevaluate the Resurrection, and understand it is as an allegory of what happens in us if we believe, etc..." 

I really can't see why people would be willing to believe God became a Man, died and rose again, and yet would have trouble accepting the traditional understand and fact that Adam and Eve were real persons.

I am not sure anyone is saying Adam is "Purely" allegory. Genesis  is conveying our True beginnings, just not in a Purely Mechanical way. That approach may have the taint of the current Modern World.  Mechanics equals Truth, Poetry is not dependable.

So approaching Genesis in terms of how it's Poetry informs us may be the Ancient Way to read it and looking at it through the lens of mechanics may be corrupted by the techno-Modern World.  I am just speculating of course. I know nothing.
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« Reply #23 on: June 04, 2011, 11:15:48 AM »

I really can't see why people would be willing to believe God became a Man, died and rose again, and yet would have trouble accepting the traditional understand and fact that Adam and Eve were real persons.

Same here. God said He made us in His image and likeness. We might have 98% of our genes in common with chimps, but what a world of difference does that tiny difference make! Moreover, we are not mere matter. We have souls, we are spiritual beings. Again, we're created in God's image and likeness. I thought this was essential to understanding Orthodoxy and now all of a sudden to some folks it doesn't matter? They got to be kidding.

Evolution cannot explain how the soul came to be since it is immaterial, so I would go as far as saying that DNA doesn't prove anything. Insisting that it does leads to naturalism which comes down to saying that God is dead. I'd really love to know what "humanity" is according to those who believe God endowed hominids with souls, since at what point did our supposed ancestors bear the likeness of God? Moreover, our progenitors were immortal as they were unstained with sin. How do we explain that? Even if Homo Erectus etc. was our biological ancestor, there is no reason to regard him as human if he lacked a soul, language and communion with God - all of which are possible only for man created in God's image, and God does not change/evolve, does he?

One reason I'm wary of theistic evolution is that people tend to take it too far and many end up believing in the dogma of natural selection and no longer allow for miracles and divine intervention, writing off such instances in the bible as fiction with a mere moral message and nothing more. My brother, an aspiring biologist, is one such person, and it is truly disheartening how fast he's been giving in to this secular religion. Again, let me say that this doesn't mean I think that evolution in itself is impossible and wrong, but I believe the typical Darwinist mindset certainly is.

Christ lived and rose again relatively recently. There are dependable witnesses. We have written accounts.

The origins of Man are very distant and the account of our very  beginnings have come down to us differently.
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« Reply #24 on: June 04, 2011, 11:48:29 AM »

I really can't see why people would be willing to believe God became a Man, died and rose again, and yet would have trouble accepting the traditional understand and fact that Adam and Eve were real persons.

Same here. God said He made us in His image and likeness. We might have 98% of our genes in common with chimps, but what a world of difference does that tiny difference make! Moreover, we are not mere matter. We have souls, we are spiritual beings. Again, we're created in God's image and likeness. I thought this was essential to understanding Orthodoxy and now all of a sudden to some folks it doesn't matter? They got to be kidding.

Evolution cannot explain how the soul came to be since it is immaterial, so I would go as far as saying that DNA doesn't prove anything. Insisting that it does leads to naturalism which comes down to saying that God is dead. I'd really love to know what "humanity" is according to those who believe God endowed hominids with souls, since at what point did our supposed ancestors bear the likeness of God? Moreover, our progenitors were immortal as they were unstained with sin. How do we explain that? Even if Homo Erectus etc. was our biological ancestor, there is no reason to regard him as human if he lacked a soul, language and communion with God - all of which are possible only for man created in God's image, and God does not change/evolve, does he?

One reason I'm wary of theistic evolution is that people tend to take it too far and many end up believing in the dogma of natural selection and no longer allow for miracles and divine intervention, writing off such instances in the bible as fiction with a mere moral message and nothing more. My brother, an aspiring biologist, is one such person, and it is truly disheartening how fast he's been giving in to this secular religion. Again, let me say that this doesn't mean I think that evolution in itself is impossible and wrong, but I believe the typical Darwinist mindset certainly is.

Christ lived and rose again relatively recently. There are dependable witnesses. We have written accounts.

The origins of Man are very distant and the account of our very  beginnings have come down to us differently.

That's not an argument. Christianity is a revealed religion. There could not possibly have been human witnesses to man's creation and of the Fall, which is why God revealed these truths to us, although, granted, not to provide a scientific report but to reveal Himself as Creator and to reveal fundamental spiritual truths.
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« Reply #25 on: June 04, 2011, 12:26:11 PM »

I really can't see why people would be willing to believe God became a Man, died and rose again, and yet would have trouble accepting the traditional understand and fact that Adam and Eve were real persons.

Same here. God said He made us in His image and likeness. We might have 98% of our genes in common with chimps, but what a world of difference does that tiny difference make! Moreover, we are not mere matter. We have souls, we are spiritual beings. Again, we're created in God's image and likeness. I thought this was essential to understanding Orthodoxy and now all of a sudden to some folks it doesn't matter? They got to be kidding.

Evolution cannot explain how the soul came to be since it is immaterial, so I would go as far as saying that DNA doesn't prove anything. Insisting that it does leads to naturalism which comes down to saying that God is dead. I'd really love to know what "humanity" is according to those who believe God endowed hominids with souls, since at what point did our supposed ancestors bear the likeness of God? Moreover, our progenitors were immortal as they were unstained with sin. How do we explain that? Even if Homo Erectus etc. was our biological ancestor, there is no reason to regard him as human if he lacked a soul, language and communion with God - all of which are possible only for man created in God's image, and God does not change/evolve, does he?

One reason I'm wary of theistic evolution is that people tend to take it too far and many end up believing in the dogma of natural selection and no longer allow for miracles and divine intervention, writing off such instances in the bible as fiction with a mere moral message and nothing more. My brother, an aspiring biologist, is one such person, and it is truly disheartening how fast he's been giving in to this secular religion. Again, let me say that this doesn't mean I think that evolution in itself is impossible and wrong, but I believe the typical Darwinist mindset certainly is.

Christ lived and rose again relatively recently. There are dependable witnesses. We have written accounts.

The origins of Man are very distant and the account of our very  beginnings have come down to us differently.

That's not an argument. Christianity is a revealed religion. There could not possibly have been human witnesses to man's creation and of the Fall, which is why God revealed these truths to us, although, granted, not to provide a scientific report but to reveal Himself as Creator and to reveal fundamental spiritual truths.

It sounds to me that you just agreed to it.

If St. Paul were to visit us today, we could sit down at a table and chair and have a nice long talk. Even language wouldn't be much of a barrier. There are plenty of people around who could speak Greek in a way he could understand. I bet Isa could do it. We could have a meeting of minds and relate to each other and fully communicate.

Now let's have a person from just 30,0000 years ago pop in. Communication would be extremely difficult. Even sitting at a table and chair would be outside his range. Not that he is stupid or lacking in wisdom it is just that our modes of expression and communication would be very different.

Therefore, the story of the creation of Man was not passed down from the first generation but must have been deduced much later. It was then pounded and sifted under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, formed into beautiful poetry so it could hold up, written down and then passed along..fairly recently.

The error we make is thinking that a literal/mechanical reading is the "Strong Reading" and that the poetic reading is the "Weak Reading".

The account of Christ's life, death, teachings and resurrection are close enough to our time and culture that the witnesses and us are essentially the same people who understand things in a similar manner.
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« Reply #26 on: June 04, 2011, 01:06:33 PM »

I really can't see why people would be willing to believe God became a Man, died and rose again, and yet would have trouble accepting the traditional understand and fact that Adam and Eve were real persons.

Same here. God said He made us in His image and likeness. We might have 98% of our genes in common with chimps, but what a world of difference does that tiny difference make! Moreover, we are not mere matter. We have souls, we are spiritual beings. Again, we're created in God's image and likeness. I thought this was essential to understanding Orthodoxy and now all of a sudden to some folks it doesn't matter? They got to be kidding.

Evolution cannot explain how the soul came to be since it is immaterial, so I would go as far as saying that DNA doesn't prove anything. Insisting that it does leads to naturalism which comes down to saying that God is dead. I'd really love to know what "humanity" is according to those who believe God endowed hominids with souls, since at what point did our supposed ancestors bear the likeness of God? Moreover, our progenitors were immortal as they were unstained with sin. How do we explain that? Even if Homo Erectus etc. was our biological ancestor, there is no reason to regard him as human if he lacked a soul, language and communion with God - all of which are possible only for man created in God's image, and God does not change/evolve, does he?

One reason I'm wary of theistic evolution is that people tend to take it too far and many end up believing in the dogma of natural selection and no longer allow for miracles and divine intervention, writing off such instances in the bible as fiction with a mere moral message and nothing more. My brother, an aspiring biologist, is one such person, and it is truly disheartening how fast he's been giving in to this secular religion. Again, let me say that this doesn't mean I think that evolution in itself is impossible and wrong, but I believe the typical Darwinist mindset certainly is.

Christ lived and rose again relatively recently. There are dependable witnesses. We have written accounts.

The origins of Man are very distant and the account of our very  beginnings have come down to us differently.

That's not an argument. Christianity is a revealed religion. There could not possibly have been human witnesses to man's creation and of the Fall, which is why God revealed these truths to us, although, granted, not to provide a scientific report but to reveal Himself as Creator and to reveal fundamental spiritual truths.

It sounds to me that you just agreed to it.

If St. Paul were to visit us today, we could sit down at a table and chair and have a nice long talk. Even language wouldn't be much of a barrier. There are plenty of people around who could speak Greek in a way he could understand. I bet Isa could do it. We could have a meeting of minds and relate to each other and fully communicate.

Now let's have a person from just 30,0000 years ago pop in. Communication would be extremely difficult. Even sitting at a table and chair would be outside his range. Not that he is stupid or lacking in wisdom it is just that our modes of expression and communication would be very different.

Therefore, the story of the creation of Man was not passed down from the first generation but must have been deduced much later. It was then pounded and sifted under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, formed into beautiful poetry so it could hold up, written down and then passed along..fairly recently.

The error we make is thinking that a literal/mechanical reading is the "Strong Reading" and that the poetic reading is the "Weak Reading".

The account of Christ's life, death, teachings and resurrection are close enough to our time and culture that the witnesses and us are essentially the same people who understand things in a similar manner.

None of this answers my objection to the idea that somehow hominids were endowed with souls as running counter to the fact that Genesis tells us that man was created in the image and likeness of God.  And How does what you say prove that a historical Adam did not exist? I also fail to see what is leading you to assume that I take Genesis as a literal, scientific account of our origins. I do, however, believe in a historical Adam and Eve since the implications of them not having existed are too profound in my view.

What does denying their existence imply? Pre-fall human immortality and sinlessness become a fairytale. However, if man's death is not the result of sin, why did Christ have to conquer death by His sinlessness? Cain and Abel must be a fairytale, as well. Satan's deception of Eve was a literary device. The whole story of the Fall becomes a fraud conceived just to point at the weakness of man. Then where does this weakness come from? Surely, God could not have created us in His image as sinful since that would make him the Author of sin/evil. Where does that leave Enoch and Noah? Flood myths from all over the world surely suggest that Noah was the proginator of all of postdiluvian mankind, which spread across the world at some point. I do not claim that was in 3,000 BC like Young Earth Creationists claim, but I see no point in dismissing the account's historicity.
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« Reply #27 on: June 04, 2011, 01:49:28 PM »

None of this answers my objection to the idea that somehow hominids were endowed with souls as running counter to the fact that Genesis tells us that man was created in the image and likeness of God.

Read more carefully.. I am not objecting to that in the least.


  And How does what you say prove that a historical Adam did not exist?

It doesnt.. read more carefully.

Please note that I mentioned there is scientific evidence that we all had one single maternal ancestor.. ( male lines are harder to trace back.)

 I also fail to see what is leading you to assume that I take Genesis as a literal, scientific account of our origins. I do, however, believe in a historical Adam and Eve since the implications of them not having existed are too profound in my view.

See above

What does denying their existence imply? Pre-fall human immortality and sinlessness become a fairytale. However, if man's death is not the result of sin, why did Christ have to conquer death by His sinlessness? Cain and Abel must be a fairytale, as well. Satan's deception of Eve was a literary device. The whole story of the Fall becomes a fraud conceived just to point at the weakness of man. Then where does this weakness come from? Surely, God could not have created us in His image as sinful since that would make him the Author of sin/evil. Where does that leave Enoch and Noah? Flood myths from all over the world surely suggest that Noah was the proginator of all of postdiluvian mankind, which spread across the world at some point. I do not claim that was in 3,000 BC like Young Earth Creationists claim, but I see no point in dismissing the account's historicity.


Go back and read for content.

Thanks
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« Reply #28 on: June 04, 2011, 02:03:38 PM »

For the Orthodox Christian, we should say, "What was the patrisitc understanding of Genesis?" and once we determine what the consensus of the Fathers was on this, then we have an answer. 

Notice how the thread is titled, "The Search for the Historical Adam"; sounds like "The Search for the Historical Jesus"; both presupposes that the Holy Fathers didn't know how to interpret the Scriptures.
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« Reply #29 on: June 04, 2011, 02:06:21 PM »

It would be funny if someone found this discussion 10,000 years from now and started a huge debate whether we are real or whether we are an allegory.
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« Reply #30 on: June 04, 2011, 02:12:40 PM »

When I've known people who've done translation and arrangement of chant music, I've noticed that one person, over time, can take three or four radically different approaches to translation and arrangement.  So much so, that you may easily be led to believe it was three different people. 

Imagine, 3,000 years from now (if Christ doens't come), people may be asking, "Was there ever really a St. John Maximovitch, or was he the composite of several different persons?", or "Was the persecution of Christians under the Soviet regime really that bad, or were they merely a few incidence?  Furthermore, was there really a Soviet regime, or is that just western propaganda?"
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« Reply #31 on: June 04, 2011, 02:20:50 PM »

I've already answered this:

http://www.orthodoxchristianity.net/forum/index.php/topic,36746.msg580078.html#msg580078

Your welcome.
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« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2011, 03:04:06 PM »

I struggle with this topic a lot.

I don't believe in a God who makes the universe look older than it is. I don't believe evolution would be so apparent if it did not occur.

But I believe the Church's teaching is clear that Christ is the firstborn of creation, the second Adam, and whatever Christ did not become is not redeemed.

The Mitochondrial Eve theory is problematic because the Y-Chromosomal Adam is not her husband. They are separated by thousands of years. Thus, going back all the way, humans have no single common ancestor. So how could Christ be Adam if there is no single man that all humans are related to? If the proverbial Adam was a different kind of creature from Christ, less evolved—or unrelated completely—then modern man cannot be saved. Or at least some cannot be.

I don't want to be lumped in with Creationists who hold on because if the Bible is wrong, then their world falls apart. I'm just in a state of uncertain limbo and I'm not sure that it can be resolved.

Perhaps the Fathers never intended their views to be held up to this kind of genetic scrutiny. But I don't know why the Holy Spirit would give the Fathers such imagery, intended as literal when they were first spoken.

As you can see, I don't know where to stand on this. Mostly I don't think about it, because I do have faith that Christ brought salvation to the world somehow. I do believe he is the second Adam. What that exactly means, and how humans came to exist, I have no idea.
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« Reply #33 on: June 04, 2011, 03:23:08 PM »

If there is not current reconciliation between the Orthodox understanding and the currect supposed 'scientific' data, then just wait.  It might arrive, it might not before the Second Coming.

Again, sin was cosmic in its effects at the Fall; all creation is a distorted mess of space, time, matter and energy.  That's not God's fault for distorting everything physically, it's mans.
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« Reply #34 on: June 04, 2011, 04:06:52 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The New Adam is also allegorical.

Allegorical and therefore by definition unhistorical? If Adam was an allegory because he did not exist, then the New Adam does not exist either.  Besides, what about Mary? Isn't she the new Eve?


Why can't actual events or persons of history also become an allegory or a myth? Even living people today such as talented, world-renowned athletes or seemingly heroic leaders are steeped almost more in myth than reality, and at the same time these mythic beliefs become a kind of transcendent reality, a meta-reality.  These are especially evident in sociocultural institutions and constructs such as nationalism, government, patriotism, or the institutional identity of the Church.  We believe things beyond the reality and in the process transform our reality towards our beliefs.  Adam may very well have existed, in fact it is an article of faith, and yet our beliefs and interpretations of Adam today in hindsight might not in anyway be reflective of the actual Adam.  Human beings and our lives fit into a larger sequence, and as we fall into play, our own existence takes on many layers of significance and multiple meanings.  Surely then Adam can exist both as an actual historic personage and also an allegorical representation of many things, which is precisely what and why we commemorate people in the first place, to preserve something about them that was perhaps deeper and more profound than our surface experiences with them.  We human beings barely understand our own selves and how we fit into the multiple interacting schemes, and sometimes it is the outside and other people outside ourselves which help us to understand our inner selves.  This is the art of allegory, allusion, alliteration etc etc, that real and tangible nouns and verbs can also take on deeper meanings.

The main trouble with the post-Enlightenment, supposedly scientific approach to philosophy is that is dull and rather shortsighted.  Science is perpetually caught up in the how questions, and completely skips the more humanly satisfying and soul fulfilling why questions which make up the vast bulk of our collective human experience.  The Bible is a collection in meta-narrative form of this long term human search for depth and meaning of our lives, and if we read it solely as an almanac or a formula we miss the point entirely, which is why scientists sometimes miss it. We should be careful not to make their same boring mistakes Smiley

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Men's perspectives become flat, comprehending only the light-reflecting, tangible surfaces of existence; the vista into depth closes over.
Joseph Campbell "Hero With A Thousand Faces"

stay blessed,
habte selassie
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« Reply #35 on: June 04, 2011, 04:59:09 PM »

A very interesting discussion, no doubt.  Although I haven't made it through the entire set of 17 podcasts, Fr. Thomas Hopko has a series on Ancient Faith Radio that some might find of interest regarding Darwinism.  I understand this isn't exactly on topic, but would likely be of interest to someone.
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« Reply #36 on: June 04, 2011, 05:41:39 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

The New Adam is also allegorical.

Allegorical and therefore by definition unhistorical? If Adam was an allegory because he did not exist, then the New Adam does not exist either.  Besides, what about Mary? Isn't she the new Eve?


Why can't actual events or persons of history also become an allegory or a myth? Even living people today such as talented, world-renowned athletes or seemingly heroic leaders are steeped almost more in myth than reality, and at the same time these mythic beliefs become a kind of transcendent reality, a meta-reality.  These are especially evident in sociocultural institutions and constructs such as nationalism, government, patriotism, or the institutional identity of the Church.  We believe things beyond the reality and in the process transform our reality towards our beliefs.  Adam may very well have existed, in fact it is an article of faith, and yet our beliefs and interpretations of Adam today in hindsight might not in anyway be reflective of the actual Adam.  Human beings and our lives fit into a larger sequence, and as we fall into play, our own existence takes on many layers of significance and multiple meanings.  Surely then Adam can exist both as an actual historic personage and also an allegorical representation of many things, which is precisely what and why we commemorate people in the first place, to preserve something about them that was perhaps deeper and more profound than our surface experiences with them.  We human beings barely understand our own selves and how we fit into the multiple interacting schemes, and sometimes it is the outside and other people outside ourselves which help us to understand our inner selves.  This is the art of allegory, allusion, alliteration etc etc, that real and tangible nouns and verbs can also take on deeper meanings.

The main trouble with the post-Enlightenment, supposedly scientific approach to philosophy is that is dull and rather shortsighted.  Science is perpetually caught up in the how questions, and completely skips the more humanly satisfying and soul fulfilling why questions which make up the vast bulk of our collective human experience.  The Bible is a collection in meta-narrative form of this long term human search for depth and meaning of our lives, and if we read it solely as an almanac or a formula we miss the point entirely, which is why scientists sometimes miss it. We should be careful not to make their same boring mistakes Smiley

Quote
Men's perspectives become flat, comprehending only the light-reflecting, tangible surfaces of existence; the vista into depth closes over.
Joseph Campbell "Hero With A Thousand Faces"

stay blessed,
habte selassie

Yeah..Ditto What he just said....
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« Reply #37 on: June 04, 2011, 06:02:48 PM »

Quote from: Marc1152
Therefore, the story of the creation of Man was not passed down from the first generation but must have been deduced much later. It was then pounded and sifted under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, formed into beautiful poetry so it could hold up, written down and then passed along..fairly recently.

The error we make is thinking that a literal/mechanical reading is the "Strong Reading" and that the poetic reading is the "Weak Reading".

Marc1152, I did read your posts. I admit I forgot for a moment that you did not deny a historical Adam but your posts are confusing to me in that you sound too much like a literary critic and I'm not quite used to that discourse. Anyway, upon rereading and second thought, I do think what you are saying in the above quote makes sense and is an idea worth considering. However, for some reason the Bible emphasizes the genealogical lineage from Adam to Noah to Abraham, Moses, David (etc) to Jesus. This poses a problem to me since it is repeated throughout the Bible.

I previously asked, what of the Prophet Enoch? He is said to have been the seventh from Adam. The Apostles believed in his existence as the author of Hebrews refers to him, as does Jude. With regard to Noah, he is also referred to by Christ in the gospels. Apparently, though they lived thousands of years ago, they are held to have been real people. Given the genealogies in the Bible, it seems rather problematic to me that Adam all of a sudden might have been a hominid or several hominids which God endowed with a soul. At what point in evolution were they endowed with morality, for instance?

Anyway, aren't we trying to appease modern science too much and trying to live up to modern standards by questioning Adam's historicity? Genealogies are not allegories, are they? St. Paul even bases teachings on the account of man's creation (e.g. gender roles), and speaks of Adam and Eve as distinct individuals. However, if I understand you correctly, you wouuld be argue that the Genesis account developed into what we know to provide a basis for that divine law and order, without the Genesis having occurred literally as written (e.g. Eve being taken from Adam's rib) but nonetheless revealing basic truths? There are still other details in the Genesis account that are problematic though, for instance that animals and man alike supposedly did not consume meat.

Frankly, I don't claim to know how everything came to be. I am rather troubled by the seemingly contradictory geological data on the one hand and the biblical accounts on the other, yet who am I to say either are wrong? I don't believe in a young earth, but with regard to man's origins and the beginning of mankind, I cannot say I'm satisfied by what science has to offer, and I prefer to stay on safe ground and take Genesis' word for it, while acknowledging that the text is not meant to be a scientific report, but not necessarily unhistorical for that reason either. (c.f. Noahs's Flood did occur, but the "world" probably referred to a particular region and that doesn't mean the Bible is lying when it says the "world" was flooded). With regard to eye witness accounts, however, those about Jesus are contested, too, and I don't think we need to evaluate biblical accounts based on whether there were eye witnesses? I see the bible as a divine revelation above anything else.

When it comes to my views of creation, as I tried to explain before, I tend to think that Adam was the first "human being" in the fullest sense of the word, in that he was created in the image and likeness of God. Perhaps the Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus and others are our biological ancestors, but since evolution cannot produce souls, they were only man-like and never truly "human". Therefore the first true man must have been "created" supernaturally and endowed with free will, etc. as per Genesis account. Either that means he was a new creature entirely or that evolution was used to bring about the physical characteristics and the spiritual provided by God's intervention ("breath of life"). Supposing that Adam and Eve were immortal before the Fall, they might have lived for centuries in Eden. However, like I said before, this is pure speculation.

Enough said for now.

Cheers,
Q.
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« Reply #38 on: June 04, 2011, 06:15:49 PM »

Quote from: Marc1152
Therefore, the story of the creation of Man was not passed down from the first generation but must have been deduced much later. It was then pounded and sifted under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, formed into beautiful poetry so it could hold up, written down and then passed along..fairly recently.

The error we make is thinking that a literal/mechanical reading is the "Strong Reading" and that the poetic reading is the "Weak Reading".

Marc1152, I did read your posts. I admit I forgot for a moment that you did not deny a historical Adam but your posts are confusing to me in that you sound too much like a literary critic and I'm not quite used to that discourse. Anyway, upon rereading and second thought, I do think what you are saying in the above quote makes sense and is an idea worth considering. However, for some reason the Bible emphasizes the genealogical lineage from Adam to Noah to Abraham, Moses, David (etc) to Jesus. This poses a problem to me since it is repeated throughout the Bible.

I previously asked, what of the Prophet Enoch? He is said to have been the seventh from Adam. The Apostles believed in his existence as the author of Hebrews refers to him, as does Jude. With regard to Noah, he is also referred to by Christ in the gospels. Apparently, though they lived thousands of years ago, they are held to have been real people. Given the genealogies in the Bible, it seems rather problematic to me that Adam all of a sudden might have been a hominid or several hominids which God endowed with a soul. At what point in evolution were they endowed with morality, for instance?

Anyway, aren't we trying to appease modern science too much and trying to live up to modern standards by questioning Adam's historicity? Genealogies are not allegories, are they? St. Paul even bases teachings on the account of man's creation (e.g. gender roles), and speaks of Adam and Eve as distinct individuals. However, if I understand you correctly, you wouuld be argue that the Genesis account developed into what we know to provide a basis for that divine law and order, without the Genesis having occurred literally as written (e.g. Eve being taken from Adam's rib) but nonetheless revealing basic truths? There are still other details in the Genesis account that are problematic though, for instance that animals and man alike supposedly did not consume meat.

Frankly, I don't claim to know how everything came to be. I am rather troubled by the seemingly contradictory geological data on the one hand and the biblical accounts on the other, yet who am I to say either are wrong? I don't believe in a young earth, but with regard to man's origins and the beginning of mankind, I cannot say I'm satisfied by what science has to offer, and I prefer to stay on safe ground and take Genesis' word for it, while acknowledging that the text is not meant to be a scientific report, but not necessarily unhistorical for that reason either. (c.f. Noahs's Flood did occur, but the "world" probably referred to a particular region and that doesn't mean the Bible is lying when it says the "world" was flooded). With regard to eye witness accounts, however, those about Jesus are contested, too, and I don't think we need to evaluate biblical accounts based on whether there were eye witnesses? I see the bible as a divine revelation above anything else.

When it comes to my views of creation, as I tried to explain before, I tend to think that Adam was the first "human being" in the fullest sense of the word, in that he was created in the image and likeness of God. Perhaps the Homo Habilis, Homo Erectus and others are our biological ancestors, but since evolution cannot produce souls, they were only man-like and never truly "human". Therefore the first true man must have been "created" supernaturally and endowed with free will, etc. as per Genesis account. Either that means he was a new creature entirely or that evolution was used to bring about the physical characteristics and the spiritual provided by God's intervention ("breath of life"). Supposing that Adam and Eve were immortal before the Fall, they might have lived for centuries in Eden. However, like I said before, this is pure speculation.

Enough said for now.

Cheers,
Q.

Thanks.. Habtsellasse who is apparently 100x more articulate then I am expressed by position on this perfectly.

Anyway, aren't we trying to appease modern science too much and trying to live up to modern standards by questioning Adam's historicity

I think it is just the opposite. It is the taint of Modern thinking that believes our Great Myths are not "True" as Myth so we try to squeeze them into our cultural box. ..Something like that... Ask Habtsellasse  Smiley   Me no write good.
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« Reply #39 on: June 04, 2011, 06:47:47 PM »

Thanks.. Habtsellasse who is apparently 100x more articulate then I am expressed by position on this perfectly.

Anyway, aren't we trying to appease modern science too much and trying to live up to modern standards by questioning Adam's historicity

I think it is just the opposite. It is the taint of Modern thinking that believes our Great Myths are not "True" as Myth so we try to squeeze them into our cultural box. ..Something like that... Ask Habtsellasse  Smiley   Me no write good.

I think I'm beginning to understand your position better now. What Habtsellasse wrote is something I can agree with. I've tried to convey in this thread that I think allegory doesn't necessarily exclude historicity, i.e. that a text can be read at different levels and thus be allegorical and "literal" at the same time. Perhaps my wording is just wrong or I'm mixing things up, I don't know. It's all pretty confusing at times, really.

Orthonorm seems to have written something similar in the post he linked to in this thread. We've come to consider everything seemingly unscientific as "myth", i.e. untrue:

Quote from: Orthonorm
A myth is primarily a story of primordial creation as understood by a people to explain the world and their role in it.

It is not "untrue". In fact, I would argue is "more true" than a naturalistic explanation. The account of Genesis, especially in light of the Incarnation and the teachings of the Church, informs me a lot more about the world I live in and what it means to live in it, than any amount of science books. But that not to say those science books are not true. They just explain what amounts to curiosities.

That's certainly a very interesting take on the issue. Frankly, I've always been pretty fascinated with the antediluvian world and Flood myths particularly intrigue me. There's the biblical one, the Gilgamesh Epos and so many others from all around the world. I've never dismissed myths as pure fantasies because there's always a core of truth.

What I've always found difficult to grasp though is that some of these myths are held to be older than the biblical one. I never quite knew how to reconcile with that since I've always assumed "older = better". Perhaps rather than looking at it as direct revelation, it might be worth considering that the account given in the Bible may be derived from earlier accounts but "purified" by the Holy Spirit's guidance?

However, I'm still curious as to how this approach applies to the genealogies in the Bible, and figures in the Bible other than Adam and Eve, such as their sons Cain, Abel and Seth, the account of angels and women having intercourse and producing giants (see Genesis 6, many myths exist around the world that can be connected to this event) in the antediluvian world. Many other parts of the OT have been used as a basis for historical research and dating and are taken to be historically true, so where do we draw the line?

Cheers,
Q.
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« Reply #40 on: June 04, 2011, 06:50:44 PM »

The New Adam is also allegorical.

That's the way to stir up the pot!

I am in agreement with Fr. Peter- salvation history makes no sense if Adam and Eve were allegorical. Physical death as part of the Fall makes no sense if there no height to fall from. Man being CREATED in the image and likeness of God makes no sense if the first real humans' parents were only animals.

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« Reply #41 on: June 04, 2011, 06:58:48 PM »

On Questor's point: I look at the older Flood myths as 1) showing that a Flood really happened because the myth is in so many cultures, and 2) showing the memory of what exactly happened was garbled due to paganism since they disagreed on the details.

This memory was purified  by Moses who, as a prophet, saw not only the future but the past.

Admittedly biased since I accept Moses' testimony over Gilgamesh's.

But I am sure Enlil will be merciful to me if I am wrong...
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« Reply #42 on: June 04, 2011, 07:14:54 PM »

On Questor's point: I look at the older Flood myths as 1) showing that a Flood really happened because the myth is in so many cultures, and 2) showing the memory of what exactly happened was garbled due to paganism since they disagreed on the details.

This memory was purified  by Moses who, as a prophet, saw not only the future but the past.

Admittedly biased since I accept Moses' testimony over Gilgamesh's.

But I am sure Enlil will be merciful to me if I am wrong...

Never mind Enlil. Cheesy I basically agree with that view.

On the issue of Adam, I think we're on the same page, though I'm not excluding the possibility of evolution being used by God. Can't say I'm very fond of natural selection though as it so easily leads to naturalism...

Later,
Q.
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« Reply #43 on: June 07, 2011, 11:56:23 AM »

Of course Adam and Eve are real and true.

There is no sin, no fall and no salvation without Adam and Eve.
Do you think it possible that Adam and Eve were the 'rulers' of a group of people, thus, whatever happened to them affected everyone else?
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« Reply #44 on: June 07, 2011, 02:28:36 PM »

Greetings in that Divine and Most Precious Name of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!

Of course Adam and Eve are real and true.

There is no sin, no fall and no salvation without Adam and Eve.
Do you think it possible that Adam and Eve were the 'rulers' of a group of people, thus, whatever happened to them affected everyone else?

This is the Ethiopian tradition which permeates Ethiopian culture and society and is codified in the great royal legend Kebra Negast (literally the Reverence or Glorification of Kings).


The Genealogy of Jesus Christ is a royal ancestry from its very beginning.  

Quote
And He made ADAM in His own image and likeness, so that He might remove SATAN because of his pride, together with his host, and might establish ADAM—His own plant—together with the righteous, His children, for His praises. For the plan of God was decided upon and decreed in that He said, "I will become man, and I will be in everything which I have created, I will abide in flesh." And in the days that came after, by His good pleasure there was born in the flesh of the Second ZION the second ADAM, Who was our Saviour CHRIST. This is our glory and our faith, our hope and our life, the Second ZION
ch 2

Adam was King of creation, and theologically this does not imply other human beings, rather the hosts and the animals and the spirits.  This is because through Adam would come the Christ who is indeed King of Kings, Lord of Lords of all Creation.  Scientifically and poetically we could perhaps interpret this, maybe there were indeed other human beings at the time of Adam and Eve, but it was Adam and Eve that God elected and chose to shape into His image and be the genealogy of Himself in Jesus Christ.  Either way, from the Flood narrative it is our own Christian teaching that even if there were other human beings contemporary to Adam and Eve, which is easy to say.  The Genesis narrative may have labeled Adam and Eve as the first spontaneous created human beings, but even within its own context of chapters 3 and 4 with the marking of Cain to protect him, it is implied that God continued to spontaneously make other human beings as well to populate the Earth.  The Genesis narrative continues in explaining that all of these were destroyed in the Flood, and the only human beings spared were those 8 souls of Adam and Eve's family.  So the Mitochondrial Eve theory which suggests that all living homo sapiens are descended from a SINGLE common ancestral woman agrees with our own Flood narrative which has the small royal family of Noah repopulate the Earth. Science and poetic religious narratives agree at this concept, only the mechanisms (with from both perspectives are theoretical differ).  Our Ethiopian tradition both written and colloquial venerate the kingship of Adam and all of his family.  All of the Patriarchs were Kings then, and not just in symbol.

Quote
And ADAM died, and SETH reigned in righteousness. And SETH died, and HÊNÔS (ENOS) reigned. And HÊNÔS (ENOS) died, and ḲÂYNÂN (CAINAN) reigned. And ḲÂYNÂN (CAINAN) died, and MALÂL’ÊL (MAHALALEEL) reigned. And MALÂL’ÊL (MAHALALEEL) died, and YÂRÔD (JARED) reigned. And YÂRÔD died, and HÊNÔKH (ENOCH) reigned in righteousness, and he feared God, and [God] hid him so that he might not see death. And he became a king in his flesh in the Land of the Living. And after ENOCH disappeared MÂTÛSÂLÂ (METHUSELAH) reigned. And MÂTÛSÂLÂ died, and LÂMÊKH (LAMECH) reigned. And LÂMÊKH died, and NÔḤ (NOAH) reigned in righteousness, and he pleased God in all his works.
ch 5

Quote
And ABRAHAM arrived in the city of SÂLÊM, and dwelt there and reigned in righteousness, and did not transgress the commandment of God. And God blessed him exceedingly, and at length he possessed [3]18 stalwart servants, who were trained in war, and who stood before him and performed his will. And they wore tunics richly embroidered with gold, and they had chains of gold about their necks, and belts of gold round their loins, and they had crowns of gold on their heads; and by means of these men ABRAHAM vanquished [his] foe. And he died in glory in God, and was more gracious and excellent than those who were before him. He was gracious, and held in honour, and highly esteemed. Isaac his son became King and did not transgress the commandments of God."
ch 14

Ethiopian theology uses the Adamic Kingship to legitimize and explain the Solomon monarchy of Ethiopia's history in the context of the Orthodox Church and yet also to fully elaborate the depth and profundity of the humanity of Jesus Christ.  In the Ethiopian traditions, the royal ancestry of Jesus Christ all play their crucial roles in the perpetuation of God's family on Earth up until Our Lady the Virgin was born of Hannah and Joachim, both of the David house.  Just as the tree of the wood of the Cross was formed at Creation and grew on the Earth biding its time for that sacred time when it would be needed, so to did the royal family of Adam survive the generations leading up until Our Lady and our Savior who are their rightful descendants.  This lineage is called "The Pearl" and in purely scientific terms, the Word was codified in the very DNA of Adam which continued on as this "Pearl" marking the royal family until it rested in Our Lady the Virgin where Christ received it from the ovum of His mother's womb.

Quote
 "And again, there shall be unto thee a sign that the Saviour shall come from thy seed, and that He shall deliver thee with thy fathers and thy seed after thee by His coming. Your salvation was created in the belly of ADAM in the form of a Pearl before EVE. And when He created EVE out of the rib He brought her to ADAM, and said unto them, 'Multiply you from the belly of ADAM.' The Pearl did not go out into CAIN or ABEL, but into the third that went forth from the belly of ADAM, and it entered into the belly of SETH. And then passing from him that Pearl went into those who p. 111 were the firstborn, and came to ABRAHAM. And it did not go from ABRAHAM into his firstborn ISHMAEL, but it tarried and came into ISAAC the pure. And it did not go into his firstborn, the arrogant ESAU, but it went into JACOB the lowly one. And it did not enter from him into his firstborn, the erring REUBEN, but into JUDAH, the innocent one. And it did not go forth from JUDAH until four sinners had been born, but it came to FÂRÊS (PEREZ), the patient one, And from him this Pearl went to the firstborn until it came into the belly of JESSE, the father of thy father. And then it waited until six men of wrath had been born, and after that it came to the seventh, DAVID,1 thy innocent and humble father; for God hateth the arrogant and proud, and loveth the innocent and humble. And then it waited in the loins of thy father until five erring fools had been born, when it came into thy loins because of thy wisdom and understanding. And then the Pearl waited, and it did not go forth into thy firstborn. For those good men of his country neither denied Him nor crucified Him, like ISRAEL thy people; when they saw Him Who wrought miracles, Who was to be born from the Pearl, they believed on Him when they heard the report of Him. And the Pearl did not go forth into thy youngest son ’ADRÂMÎ. For those good men neither crucified Him nor denied Him when they saw the working of miracles, and wonders by Him that was to be born from the Pearl, and afterwards they believed in Him through His disciples.

   "Now the Pearl, which is to be your salvation, went forth from thy belly and entered into the belly of ‛ÎYÔRBĔ‛ÂM (REHOBOAM) thy son, because of the wickedness of ISRAEL thy people, who in their denial and in their wickedness crucified Him. But if He had not been crucified He could not have been your salvation. For p. 112 He was crucified without sin, and He rose [again] without corruption. And for the sake of this He went down to you into SHEÔL, and tore down its walls, that He might deliver you and bring you out, and show mercy upon all of you. Ye in whose bellies the Pearl shall be carried shall be saved with your wives, and none of you shall be destroyed, from your father ADAM unto him that shall come, thy kinsman ‘ÊYÂḲÊM (JOACHIM), and from EVE thy mother, the wife of ADAM, to NOAH and his wife TARMÎZÂ, to TÂRÂ (TERAH) and his wife ’AMÎNYÂ, and to ABRAHAM and his wife SÂRÂ (SARAH), and to ISAAC and his wife RĔBḲÂ (REBECCA), and to JACOB and his wife LĔYÂ (LEAH), and to YAHÛDÂ and his bride TĔ‛EMÂR (TAMAR), and to thy father and his wife BÊRSÂBÊḤ (BATHSHEBA), and to thyself and TARBÂNÂ thy wife, and to REHOBOAM thy son and his wife ’AMÎSÂ, and to ÎYÔ‛AḲÊM (JOACHIM) thy kinsman, who is to come, and his wife ḤANNÂ.

   "None of you who shall have carried the Pearl shall be destroyed, and whether it be your men or your women, those who shall have carried the Pearl shall not be destroyed. For the Pearl shall be carried by the men who shall be righteous, and the women who have carried the Pearl shall not be destroyed, for they shall become pure through that Pearl, for it is holy and pure, and by it they shall be made holy and pure; and for its sake and for the sake of ZION He hath created the whole world. ZION hath taken up her abode with thy firstborn and she shall be the salvation of the people of ETHIOPIA for ever; and the Pearl shall be carried in the belly of ’AYÔRBĔ‛ÂM (REHOBOAM) thy son, and shall be the saviour of all the world. And when the appointed time hath come this Pearl shall be born of thy seed, for it is exceedingly pure, seven times purer than the sun. And the Redeemer shall come from the seat of His Godhead, and shall dwell upon her, and shall put on her flesh, and straightway thou p. 113 thyself shalt announce to her what my Lord and thy Lord speaketh to me.

   "I am GABRIEL the Angel, the protector of those who shall carry the Pearl from the body of ADAM even to the belly of ḤANNÂ, so that I may keep from servitude and pollution you wherein the Pearl shall dwell. And MICHAEL hath been commanded to direct and keep ZION wheresoever she goeth, and URIEL shall direct and keep the wood of the thicket1 which shall be the Cross of the Saviour. And when thy people in their envy have crucified Him, they shall rush upon His Cross because of the multitude of miracles that shall take place through it, and they shall be put to shame when they see its wonders. And in the last times a descendant of thy son ’ADRÂMÎS shall take the wood of the Cross, the third [means of] salvation that shall be sent upon the earth. The Angel MICHAEL is with ZION, with DAVID thy firstborn, who hath taken the throne of DAVID thy father. And I am with the pure Pearl for him that shall reign for ever, with REHOBOAM thy second son; and the Angel URIEL is with thy youngest son ’ADRÂMÎ. This have I told thee, and thou shalt not make thy heart to be sad because of thine own salvation and that of thy son."
ch 68

from Kebra Negast

Stay Blessed,
Habte Selassie
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« Reply #45 on: June 07, 2011, 02:28:57 PM »

But I am sure Enlil will be merciful to me if I am wrong...
You know, the Babylonians gave Enlil a bad name. He was really just a dude trying to follow the rules.

 Cheesy
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Quote from: Orthonorm
if Christ does and says x. And someone else does and says not x and you are ever in doubt, follow Christ.

"You are philosophical innovators. As for me, I follow the Fathers." -Every heresiarch ever
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