Note: the heading of a key comment is emboldened and underlined.
Discussion Topic-If Evolution Is True, How Much Of The Bible Is False?
If evolution is true, you can't trust any of the bible. If Genesis 1-11 are false, then God is lying in Exodus 20, and if you can't trust God in the old Testement, you can't trust him in John 3:16 either. God created the universe, and gave us science to help us learn more about it. God also gave us his word, so that we could learn more about him. scientists are sinful, so in their use of science, they can easily go wrong. If scientists come up with the earth being millions of years old, it is not the bible that was wrong, or needs to be "reinterpreted," it is the "science". God is truth, therefore he can't lie, and if he can't lie, than it must be science, not the bible that is wrong. If science is indeed right in it's claims about the origin of the universe, than the bible is no longer at all trustworthy, and the christian faith becomes pointless.
I actually take a completely polar view. The Bible is true regardless of whether or not evolution is true. Yes, I happen to believe that evolution is true, but this in no way means that Genesis is false. It simply means that it cannot be interpreted literally. I think it is in error to look at the Genesis account as literal science and history. I believe the whole point to the Genesis account is to establish that God is creator and sovereign. He created the world and everything in it. This accompanies the first few verses of John. In Exodus 20 and 31, God give clear instructions to the people regarding the Sabbath. Since God is never in need of rest and refreshment, I believe it is reasonable to conclude that these passages are using figurative language and exhibiting our need for a day of rest and reflection on God and His work. Yes, science is the work of humans and is vulnerable to error, but so is theology. The Bible is completely trustworthy, and the Christian faith gives us hope for today, as well as tomorrow.
You reinterpret a very literally written 11 chapters of the Bible to accomodate evolution as it is supposedly scientifically "proven" Many of those same scientists who have "proven" evolution, however, have also "proven" abiogenesis, as the origin of life. Why do you find it acceptable to mold your faith to fit with the science of Evolution, but still stick to God as the ultimate being to "get the ball rolling." As you have so often told us, since the majority of scientists believe God doesn't exist, and the universe came about some other way, why don't you "reinterpret" scripture to fit that as well?
You say that theology is vulnerable to error, and although it is performed by sinners, it is in error only when those who perform it try to mold the words to an interpretation which completely changes the meaning. I do not say that my interpretation is better than any other, because I don't interpret scripture, I just take it at face value. Genesis is written literally, just like kings and chronicles, so I take it literally. Revelation is not written literally, so I do not take it literally. Furthermore, I will never try to "reinterpret" scripture to fit science, especially science as inconclusive as that which "proves" evolution. Someday science may "prove" Jesus didn't rise from the dead, will you "reinterpret" scripture to fit that as well? I find it much better to stick with God's inerrant word, taken at face value, than to mold my beliefs after what the "majority of scientists believe."
I read it as allegory rather than literal interpretation. There was a guy named "the man", his wife that was created from his rib, talking serpents with legs, and a supernatural fruit tree. All scientific evidence aside, this still reads much more like allegory. Other historical accounts (like Kings and Chronicles) read quite differently.
I never claimed science "proves" evolution (at least that I remember, it's been a long 10 days along the Texas coast). Science is extremely limited in what it can actually prove. But scientific evidence is strongly supportive of evolution and an earth much older than 6,000 years old. The resurrection of Jesus Christ is a singular, specific miracle when compared to creation. Science will never be able to disprove it. If there did happen to be some sort of scientific claim against the resurrection, I would certainly stick with a literal resurrection. First, there were eyewitnesses. Second, unlike the duration of God's creation, the resurrection is essential to the Christian faith. To me, the most compelling evidence supporting the resurrection is the people that were changed as a result. The early eyewitnesses and other followers of "the Way" preached Jesus's resurrection despite persecution to the point of horrible deaths. I know you're using the resurrection as an example, but specific miracles tend to be much different from God's creation miracle.
First of all, "Adam", in Hebrew means "dirt," not "man" furthermore, the creation account does not read at all like an allegory. If any part of the Bible with happenings that seem miraculous or impossible (i.e the talking serpent and supernatural fruit tree,) were considered allegory, you would be left with very little. You say you believe Jesus resurrection because of the eyewitnesses, and that is a great evidence for it, however, you choose to go with sciences flawed and limited theory of the universe's origins rather than the testimony of a perfect eyewitness, God.
People did indeed undergo horrible experiences for the sake of Jesus death in our place and miraculous resurrection three days later, and that is the most important part of the christian faith, however, one cannot pick and choose what parts of the Bible to believe, and that, it appears, is what you do. Do you believe the other miracles of Jesus? How about Elijah going 40 days on one meal from God, or the woman who's flower and oil lasted for the entire drought?
Science can show just as much evidence against spit and mud healing blindness as against a literal 6 day creation, do you discount all the miracles as well?
I'm not a Hebrew scholar, so I certainly can't have a meaningful discussion based on what I know, but here is an article from AiG that supports exactly what I said:
I believe the creation account of Genesis is different from the other miracles of the Bible. Virtually all the miracles of the Bible are recorded within a close time frame to the event. In this regard, Genesis is much different. In the most literal interpretation, the recording would be something like 2600-2700 years after Adam and Eve.
"In the most literal interpretation, the recording would be something like 2600-2700 years after Adam and Eve."
Indeed it would be. Maybe even later. However, I would not so much classify the Genesis Creation account as a "miracle" as an "event." But that depends really on respective definitions of 'miracle' (and this is a bit of a digression). However, the fact that Genesis was recorded so much later shows that it had to be inspired, since Moses would not have been alive even close to the time most of it's events transpired (therefore, he would not be a viable eyewitness). By the same token, Genesis is linked even more strongly to God, in that it was most certainly He who inspired it.
Saying the Bible is "inspired" has an array of possible connotations. Some believe inspiration means a "word-for-word" account of what Biblical authors wrote down. Others believe in "inspiration" as more of a general prodding. Personally, I don't think God dictated each word to His authors, which leaves some room for the personality of the author, the circumstances of his writing, the audience of the intended writing, and probably quite a few more factors. Overall, I don't believe that God's inspiration requires that the text be read in a literal fashion. Oral tradition and legend could have influenced what was written.
Even if oral tradition did influence the record, if God did indeed give only a "prodding", however general, I find it extremely hard to believe that the writer would end up with an account so far from the actual happening. Unless God's "prodding" was very misleading, which doesn't sound like something God would do. I find it much safer to believe that the Bible is truly inspired, infallible, and means what it says.
I find it much more likely that the human author wrote a poetic allegory, which I think the Genesis creation account strongly resembles. This in no way mean the Bible is fallible, it is simply using a non-literal device.
Quick question...What do you mean by "which the Genesis account strongly resembles?"
I think the Genesis 1-3 account of creation reads like a poetic allegory, rather than a literal account.
However, that links back to:
What led you to think that in the first place?
Could you give me an example of how a "poetic allegory" reads. Usually, I consider a "poetic allegory" to contain a lot of metaphors, similes, and relations to other objects, many of which are found in Revelation. In Genesis, however, I find none. This, in my opinion lends it much better to literal interpretation.
Symmetry and repetition are suggestive of poetry, and this can be found within Genesis 1 and between Genesis 1&2. I addressed why I think it reads allegorically earlier, but I'll expand on a couple of points.
I have read on many occasions objections from individuals holding a Young Earth viewpoint that God could not have called a creation that involved death "very good." I would suggest that the placement of the object of ultimate demise within easy reach of Adam and Eve would be equally not "very good". While I believe God places a great deal of importance on free will, I cannot think of other examples of God placing a single opportunity for disobedience immediately before his people. Instead, I believe it is consistent with God's character to give individuals multiple opportunities to choose - His way or our way. We all sometimes choose our own way, and the choice of Adam and Eve represents what we still experience in our daily lives.
The role of the snake always bothered me as a child growing up and I still find it puzzling. To hold a literal interpretation of Genesis requires one to assign some responsibility for the sin event to the snake. Did Satan possess the snake? If so, why would the snake be punished for actions beyond it's control. If Satan did not possess the snake, why was the talking snake tempting Eve?
Additionally, why does the Bible focus on the sin of Adam, and not that of Eve? I think it may be worth considering the possibility that this is because the sin in Genesis is indeed allegorical and refers to the sinful nature of mankind, and not the sin of single individuals.
Certainly, my interpretation does raise some theological issues. Praise God, none of these are salvation issues. But personally, I find theological issues with a literal interpretation of the Genesis account, as well.
Repetition is actually very indicative of immense emphasis on a truth. Those who repeat something are usually trying to make a point in a very clear and unmistakable way. This is what God is doing in Genesis one, and I would appreciate it if you good give me some actual verses from Genesis which you believe contain poetic "repetition" and poetic "symmetry" I would be interested to see them!
God does indeed place great importance in free will, which is why he gave Adam and Eve the opportunity to worship him and trust him by obeying his commands. Satan, however, gave them a choice, by convincing Adam and Eve of the lie that God was holding out on them by commanding them not to eat of the tree of Knowledge of good and evil, he gave them the choice between trusting god, or believing his lie.Unfortunately as we so often do, Adam and Eve chose their way, not God's way, and it ended in disaster for the entire human race.
As for the sin of Adam, Eve sinned by eating the fruit, but Adam sinned by abdicating his responsibility to protect Eve; the phrase is a general expression of original sin, which affects each and every one of us.
As for why God cursed the snake, Why did Jesus send the demons into the pigs and get them all drowned? The pigs didn't do anything! Why did God demand all those sacrifices in Leviticus? the sheep, bulls, goats, and doves didn't do anything! Just because God's word doesn't answer all of our questions doesn't mean each passage with an unanswered question should be interpreted allegorically! There wouldn't be much literal scripture left.
Every theological issue is a salvation issue. The very first Gospel is in Genesis 3, and if that is allegorical, than much of the later Gospel is cast into doubt. Interpreting Genesis literally, as it should be interpreted is the only safe path.
Could you give me examples of the theological issues you have with the literal Genesis interpretation?
I found an article today that much more eloquently expresses what I meant by the repetition and symmetry:
There is a very interesting follow-up (https://www.toddjana.com/the-evangelicals-creation-conundrum/) and it looks like several more. These are well-written, and although the author and I may not see eye-to-eye on everything, I certainly plan to read the rest.
I would like to revisit a short phrase you wrote -- "Every theological issue is a salvation issue." I'm not certain you mean what you sound like you mean. For example, you and I differ in our theological interpretations of Genesis, yet I assume that you have been saved by Jesus Christ, just like I have. Do you really mean that for any theological debate, there is only one "correct" side and the other side is going to hell?
Regarding the first mentions of the Gospel in Genesis 3, a literal interpretation of the preceding passages is not required to understand the prophecies and truth contained in them. Allegories can certainly be true in their message.
Finally, theological issues with a literal interpretation of Genesis: I'm going to stick with the serpent for a bit longer. None of the examples you used actually included God directly blaming an animal. So this brings up the questions I had earlier - Was the serpent somehow complicit? If so, do animals have the capacity for spiritual deception and sin, thereby reaping consequences? And back to Eve, references later in the Bible referring to sin in Genesis mention Adam, but not Eve. According to the account, all women in the future are be punished by difficulty in labor due to Eve's sin, but is having the Satan/serpent deceive one into disobedience somehow more forgivable (and not worthy of mention) than Adam's sin? Additionally, I believe it would be a theological problem for God to have created ~6,000 years ago with the appearance of great age observed in the fields of Astronomy, Physics, Geology, Paleontology, Chemistry, and Biology. This could potentially be construed as deceptive.
Regarding my quote, what I mean is pretty much what I say. Every issue of theology will have reprecussions in the issue of salvation. Thus it is very important to let the text speak for itself. Every seemingly small issue of theology will in some way, however small affect Jesus and his saving work.
As for the serpent. I still fail to see the problem here, but if sending hundreds of pigs to their deaths in the sea isn't punishing an animal, I don't know what is. Also, about the sin of Adam, it is not that Eve's sin is less noteworthy, or Adam's more so, "the sin of Adam" is simply, as I said, an expression of original sin, which is passed down through the father thus Jesus was born without a human father.
Regarding appearance of age in all the scientific fields you mentioned, that appearance is not conclusive, and the evidence in those fields does not lend itself only to an old earth. It is mainly the desire of so many scientists to "keep God out of the picture" that results in the "appearance of age" in these fields. As for God being deceptive, if writing an entire book about how he created the world, making it very literal, and then having it be false, isn't deceptive, I truly don't know of anything that is!!
The Bible is very clear on what one must do to enter a salvation relationship with Jesus Christ - believe and commit. There are certainly other issues worth discussing, but they are not paramount. Are you truly saying that you do not believe I have been saved because I have a different interpretation of creation than yours?
I do believe that you have saving faith, what I mean is that the message of salvation is completely intertwined in scripture. Think of it as wheel, with Jesus and his salvation work at the hub. The spokes are other scripture. If one spoke is tightened too much, or too little, it puts more strain on the hub, and on the other spokes. if a spoke is removed, it puts more strain on the hub and the other wheels. The point at which saving faith is lost, is the point at which so many spokes are tightened, loosened, or removed, that the hub breaks. I don't pretend to know when that point is, and I do not believe that you have lost saving faith, or are on the verge of doing so. the wheel is just the illustration I would bring to mind when I say "Every theological issue will of repercussions on Jesus and his salvation work." I am sorry if I gave the impression that I doubted you christian faith. That was not at all my intention.
No worries, Jacob. I suspected that really wasn't what you meant. I appreciate your analogy of the wheel and spokes. If I can borrow it for a moment - I think there is danger in making the "literal account of creation" spoke bear too much weight. I feel that the scientific support for evolution is pretty strong and I worry about people that have lost faith or will lose faith in the future when that particular spoke is broken (in their mind, if not in reality).
Thanks, regarding the "Creation Spoke" The way I think of it, is this. When the spoke is calibrated perfectly, that is when the text is speaking for itself, devoid of our flawed bending and interpretation. If the text is interpreted incorrectly as hyper-literal, I think of it as the spoke being to tight, while if the text is interpreted extremely allegorically, as the spoke being too loose. I believe the text speaks for itself to a literal interpretation, and I do not find the evidence for evolution nearly compelling enough to risk "loosening the spoke." You hold a different view, and it is a pleasure to debate with you.
I see the world through the lens of the young earth creationist worldview, and I do not find trouble with the evidence, which I believe lends itself just as well, even better to the creationist view than the evolutionist one. You speak of fear that people will lose their faith if the "Genesis spoke" were ever to seem to break as well as caution to not have that spoke bear too much weight. I also fear that people will lose their faith by having the "Genesis spoke" too "loose" which puts so much strain on the hub that faith is lost. That is why I am in this debate, too help people see the truth of God's Word when the text is allowed to speak for itself without being bent to fit into a preconceived worldview.
It's a pleasure talking with you too, Jacob. I firmly believe that we can both authentically love and serve Jesus Christ despite our differing viewpoints. If we were to compare what we perceive as "essential theology", I suspect we would agree on a large majority of it. My participation here is really not to convince anyone of the science supporting the theory of evolution - it is unlikely that anything I present would sway anyone here - but to show that it is possible to accept the theory of evolution AND to love, honor, cherish, and praise the living God!