Archive-Discussions

Discussion Commentators-

1-Jacob

2-cwh

3-J.E.S

4-Nate

5-ekrause1406

6-Swamidass

7-SMS

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Note: the heading of a key comment is emboldened and underlined.
Discussion Topic-Is Evolution Truly A Threat To Christianity?

1. SMS

God says that He systematically created the universe in six literal days. He formed it on Days 1-3 and then filled it on Days 4-6. Evolutionary philosophy says that it all evolved by random chance and a "Big Bang" over a period of billions of years. Both cannot be true. If the theory of evolution is correct, then God is a liar. And God is not a liar.

2.Jacob

If proven true, I believe evolution would be a huge threat to Christianity. However, it has not been proven true, and the evidence in support of it is not near conclusive enough to warrant it being proclaimed as fact, which it is. Just because the majority of scientists believe it doesn't make it true, and in this instance, among other things, I think that is due to the fact that the majority of scientists don't want to believe in a God. As S.M.S said, and I agree though, Evolution and Christianity cannot coexist. If one is true, the other is false, to me, that is clear.

3.k. Peters

I appreciate your comment Jacob.  I believe the "scientific laws" are actually God's law.  The 2nd law of thermodynamics was created by God.  This law and many others militate against evolution.  Evolutionary theory makes the assumption that there is no God.   Darwin, who was not trained in science but in economics,  had a bone to pick, (pun intended) with Christianity before he speculated that evolution occurred between species.   There is much scientific evidence that there is a "fixity" of species.  Genetic, physical, behavioral, and other "mechanisms" within a species resist change in the species..  You are right! The creation and the Creator are amazing.

4.cwh

You guys probably figured I was going to show up at some time :-P I believe evolution and Christianity can certainly coexist. I think that we can all agree that Christianity is centered around Jesus Christ, His sacrifice on the behalf of humanity, and His glorious, triumphant resurrection. I believe that when one accepts those truths, interpretation issues in other parts of the Bible take a back seat. I think it is important to distinguish between the science of evolution and the belief in Christianity, they are very different ways of observing truth. Science uses methodological naturalism, the idea that claims should be tested and verified in order to be considered "true". Christianity requires faith in what we believe to be "true", so they often operate on different levels. Although I believe there is ample scientific evidence support the theory of evolution, that in no way impacts the core of Christianity for me. Jesus Christ loves me, died on my behalf, has offered me new life, and has accepted me into His body of believers. In my opinion, neither Christianity nor the acceptance of evolution are threats to each other.

 

It may be true that an adult lifetime of practicing methodological naturalism in one's workplace may cause a delusion that science should provide an answer for everything. Clearly, I disagree with that, but you may be surprised by how many scientists are open to truth beyond the laboratory. Elaine Howard Ecklund, a sociologist at Rice University has studied the intersection between faith and science for many years. She surveyed about 1700 scientists and interviewed 275 in preparation of a book. Right around 50% of those interviewed identified as "religious". Granted, not all of that group would be truly Christian, but I think that data suggests that it is an overstatement to say "a majority of scientists don't want to believe in a God". Of the 50% that would not identify as religious, there are certainly some militant atheists, but I suspect a good portion of them are simply agnostic.

 

Science and Christianity are two very different ways of finding truth, and are much more complements to one another than opponents.

5.SMS

I have to say that I truly appreciate the comments of cwh. I don't always agree with his conclusions, but I do admire his thoughtful and respectful discussion.

6.cwh

Thank you, SMS, that is very kind of you. I truly believe that what we agree on is much more important than what we disagree on. Our kinship as children of the Lord should allow us to respect one another first, and maybe disagree second. When JES first invited me over, it was with trepidation that I accepted. Perhaps I shouldn't be, but I've been happily surprised by the sincere graciousness I've met here. I hope that any disagreements I pose are never made negatively or offensively, but only as disagreements among family members.

7.Jacob

Nice to have you back! you give this forum life, and while we disagree on many important points, It is a pleasure to have you here. You are courteous, which is very refreshing in today's culture. Thank you for always commenting.

8.J.E.S

Excellent, all. Ultimately, the purpose of the debate here is to find the truth in the matter of Creation v. Evolution, and to do that without quarreling or belittling one another. In the end, only one party can be right over evolution, but I am very glad that we all can disagree over it, and still be very civil to one another in our discussions!

9.cwh

I would not be terribly surprised if both parties have some of it right and some of it wrong.

10.SMS

I'm not an expert in the sciences, but I do know quite a bit about the Hebrew language of the Old Testament. If you let the text speak for itself, there is absolutely no way that you can draw an evolutionary conclusion. The Hebrew text simply will not allow it. Now, you may not agree with the Biblical text and a six-day creation, but you cannot make the text of Genesis 1 say something that it doesn't say. The vast majority of Hebrew scholars (believers and "unbelievers") readily admit that the Hebrew text of Genesis 1 is written as a literal, historical narrative.

11.cwh

I am far from unique in my interpretation of the creation account as allegorical. There are a large number of Hebrew scholars that don't interpret Genesis 1 (or 2) as a literal narrative - NT Wright, Scot McKnight, John Walton, Tremper Longman, and Richard Middleton - just a few I know of. I'm not saying that "If NT Wright thinks so, then that's all the proof I need", but just pointing out that my interpretation is hardly revolutionary in its thinking.

12.Jacob

You mentioned the number of scientists who are religious, and I have two things about that. 1st, there is a huge difference from merely being "religious" and actually having a God who claims to have created the world. 2nd, many of them probably don't let their faith influence there science much. Then again, I can't look into people's hearts, but that is still how it seems to me. Also, the militant atheists are probably the ones who yell the loudest, so that could easily warp one's perception.

 

Regarding Genesis, I sincerely believe that if a Hebrew scholar went at the text with a completely open mind, they would be certain that it was written as a historical narrative. However, if you have already decided what you want the facts to say before you look at them, it is easy to make them support your view. I'm assuming most of the scholars you mentioned are theistic evolutionists, do you know if any of them read the Hebrew before becoming of that viewpoint?

13.Swamidass

Hello, nice to meet you all. You can find out about me here: http://peacefulscience.org/

 

Jacob, even if we take Genesis 1 and 2 as a historical narrative, it does not contradict with evolution, so I am not really sure how that supports your case that evolution threatens Christianity. peacefulscience.org/genealogical-rapprochement/

 

Also, we already know what Hebrew Scholars thought about Genesis. We know that they did not read Genesis at all like modern YECs. Have you read the Book of Enoch yet? They liked to Midrash.

 

In my view, as a scientist in the Church and Christian in science, nothing in science, not even evolution, threatens the One who rose from the dead. There was a time when my faith was threatened by evolution. The jesus I knew then was a bystander who needed protection by my arguments from science. To the point, this jesus was nothing like the One we find in Scripture. Returning to this Jesus is how I found a confident faith in science. Nothing threatens him here.

14.Swamidass

S.M.S. I do not think that one would "conclude" evolution from Scripture, any more than one would "conclude" quantum physics from Scripture.

 

Let us imagine for a moment that God gave Moses a prophetic vision of our origins, in which he saw a God governed process of evolution. Ancient Hebrew does not have words for evolution or for billions of years. How might he have summarized this dream in a few pages of text? Perhaps he might say,

 

"Let the land (and sea) bring forth plants (and animals) of many kinds." (Genesis 1:11,20,24)

 

Keep in mind a few grammatical points about the relevant passages.

 

1. The land (and sea) are grammatically the subject of "bring forth", not God. In this narrative, the land and sea are making the plants and animals, not as a direct act of God as we see in Genesis 2.

 

2. The right translation of these passages is "many kinds" not "reproducing within their kinds". The use of this word in other Scripture confirms this. http://www.atsjats.org/publication/view/39

 

While Genesis does not teach evolution, it is what I would expect if God had given Moses a vision of evolution in a prophetic dream.

15.SMS

God used what He had already created to continue His creation. He still does. He uses a mother and a father to create a new life. While conception is a miracle, and all life is a gift from God, He still uses what has already been created to continue is creative work. He created Adam out of the dust of the ground.

 

"After their own kind" means just that in the Hebrew. Dogs produce dogs, cats produce cats. There is no convincing fossil evidence that anything else has ever taken place. Even today, there is no observable, scientific proof that genetic material is ever gained within an organism to make that organism into a different organism. The DNA may be rearranged a bit so that you have a poodle instead of a collie, but they are both still dogs.

16.J.E.S

A warm welcome, Swamidass!

 

A problem I see with the Evolutionary creationist paradigm is that God said that his creation was "very good." Evolution requires that there be death, predatory behaviors, and other such things that are not generally considered "very good" before the fall...What are your thoughts on that concept?

 

(Perhaps cwh would like to weigh in as well?)

17.cwh

Hi guys, there are two main ways that I would answer the questions of "death vs very good". First, this sounds quite a bit like the argument atheists use that reads something like this: "How would a good God demand that the Hebrews wipe out women and children in the conquest of Canaan?" The answer we often supply is that God is preeminent and not subject to our ideas of right and wrong. Would the same answer not also be applicable to the "If creation is very good, why did things die?" argument? Second, I would argue that life is wondrous and beautiful, even if things have to die. David often commented on the beauty of nature and his amazement at life. God's creation is certainly "very good" in my opinion!

18.cwh

Oh, and Hi Josh (Swamidass), very good to see you here!

19.Swamidass

S.M.S.

 

Certainly, your personal interpretation of Genesis conflicts with evolution, but the text itself does not. In the end, I trust Scripture over man's fallible interpretation. I am sure you understand.

 

About "kinds," I am uncomfortable with adding to Scripture meaning that is not there. You seem to be adding meaning that does not exist. This article by a YEC is helpful, http://www.atsjats.org/publication/view/39 . If you look at the use of "according to their kinds" we find it is used, for example, in Leviticus in a way that just means "many kinds." If we use Scripture to interpret Scripture, we cannot take to have the meaning you ascribe.

 

J.E.S.

 

Regarding "very good," I am not sure what the problem is. I agree that God made things "very good" too, but also not "perfect." To be clear, I believe it is "good" as God defines "good," not as we define it. For example, it appears that God finds predatory behavior good in Psalms 104, against our expectation. All this is heightened by Jesus, where we find our normal sense of good, i.e. avoiding suffering and death, are not what motivates the God we find by Him. Jesus, in my view, makes most sense of this. He sees value in the suffering because of the joy set before him. It is "good" because the joy is worth the suffering.

 

Taking this to an old earth and evolution, we see unimaginable amounts of death and suffering in the past, but we also see unimaginable amounts of life and joy. The God we find in Jesus see so much good in the the life and joy, that it outweighs the death and suffering. So much so, that He gives his only Son over to suffering and death, so that this "good" creation might be "perfected," and death itself would loose its sting.

 

Though this is not your intention, keep in mind that ignoring this exchange between suffering/joy and life/death, leads to absurd conclusions.

 

We can, for example, trace forward the expected amount of death and suffering into the future. We expect unimaginable amounts of death and suffering, hundreds of millions of people dying each year. Why is not reasonable to solve this problem by intentionally dropping nuclear bombs everywhere to give everyone a quick death, and avoid all future death? The reason why is that the value of life outweighs the sting of death, even before we take the resurrection of all believers into account.

 

The same holds on an individual level. Looking ahead, we can often anticipate great suffering in our lives, and the certainty of death. Considering these things, independent of the value of life, becomes solid justification for euthanasia and to never have children because they are all certain to eventually die.

 

Of course, the God we find by Jesus is different than this. He finds the trade off between life and death, suffering and joy, "very good" because the good outweighs the bad. He values us so much that He willingly entered into the suffering so as to end death itself, and make this world perfect.

 

If he would not spare his own son from suffering and death, in his love for us, it must change our view of suffering and death too. The suffering/death argument against evolution can only makes sense from a secular (or some other non-Jesus) point of view, but it does not seem consistent with Scripture or with the nature of the God we find Jesus. While Scripture does not teach evolution, and evolution does not lead us to Jesus, I can say that evolution (and an old earth) has given me greater understanding of these truths about the value and purpose of life, and ultimately of Jesus' willingness to embrace suffering for the joy set before him.

20.J.E.S

Swamidass,

Do you believe there was sin in the world before the fall?

 

"Of course, the God we find by Jesus is different than this. He finds the trade off between life and death, suffering and death, "very good" because the good outweighs the bad. He values us so much that He willingly entered into the suffering so as to end death itself, and make this world perfect."

 

Christ would not have needed to die for the sins of the world if Adam and Eve had never sinned, so some of your points do not seem to make sense theologically...Would you mind providing some explanation?

21.Swamidass

Christ did not "need" to die, because God could have just left us fallen. He only willing lay down his life, because he desired to reconcile us to him from sin. I know this is a picky point, but let us not think that we somehow forced God into giving his only Son for us..

 

If Adam had not fallen, I wonder if Jesus would have come any way, but not been crucified (https://global.oup.com/academic/product/incarnation-anyway-9780195369168?cc=us&lang=en&) . I also wonder the Yahweh in the Garden, who seems corporeal, was a theophany of pre-incarnate Jesus.

 

But you asked about sin before the fall. It all depends precisely what we mean by "sin". Romans 5:12-14 is critical here:

 

"12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the [Adamic] law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come."

 

So, in context, we can see Paul is using "sin" in two ways (it is the same word). Pauls says that sin came into the world through Adam, but sin existed in the world before Adam's sin. The difference, he explains, is that after Adam sin was "imputed" on us, it was held against our account. This gets to a fundamental doctrine. "Adam's Sin," to which we are all know subject, is more than just "wrongdoing," but also includes "transgressing" a divine law. So parsing this out, we can say that "transgression entered the world through Adam, where before there had only been wrongdoing, and this brought death to all mankind."

 

Even the text of Genesis 2-3 itself requires this. Clearly Eve and the Serpent are doing wrong, before Adam's fall. Clearly there was wrongdoing before the fall.

 

Regarding death before the fall, there are two solutions.

 

1. The death he is talking about here in spiritual death, which is more literal to God than physical death. Supporting this notion is that God's sentence on Adam was death that very day. Adam, however, does not immediately die, but lives a long life, perhaps in spiritual death.

 

2. Remember that the Garden has boundaries. Perhaps there was no physical death within the boundaries of the Garden, because of the Tree of Life. Outside the Garden, without access to the Tree, perhaps there was physical death. Perhaps the way Adam's sin brought death to mankind was by denying us all access to the Garden. Perhaps his intended role was to extend the borders of the Garden to include all mankind, but in his fall he condemned all mankind to death.

 

Of course, maybe both these two things happened at the same time. Remember, the Garden was a special place on earth, but did not cover the earth. Do not mistake descriptions of the Garden for descriptions of the earth outside the Garden.

22.J.E.S

Swamidass,

I believe that it is actually the Mosaic law being discussed here:

"12 Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all people, because all sinned— 13 To be sure, sin was in the world before the law was given, but sin is not charged against anyone’s account where there is no law. 14 Nevertheless, death reigned from the time of Adam to the time of Moses, even over those who did not sin by breaking a command, as did Adam, who is a pattern of the one to come."

  • Verse 12: Sin first entered the world through the sin of Adam, and death entered the world through sin at this point. It just does not seem to allow for death before the fall...

  • Verse 13: Sin was in the world between Adam and Moses, but without the law show us our sin, making us accountable to it. The letter of the law is what kills us, as the wages of sin is death.

  • Verse 14: In spite of the fact that we cannot truly know our sin without the law, we all die because we all sinned in Adam's sin.

As far as Eve and the serpent doing wrong before the fall, the serpent was clearly doing wrong, as the Bible says that Satan was "sinning since the beginning." Eve was only being tempted. It is important to remember that being tempted is not a sin on your part, but to give in to that temptation, as Eve and Adam did, is of course sin.

 

As far as the rest of your post, the garden was certainly a special place, as it held the tree of life, ant it was where God placed the crown of his creation: humans! But there would still be no death outside the garden, as death was brought into the world through Adam's sin. Also, for physical/spiritual death, they really do go together. At what point do you either die spiritually or go on to eternal life? The moment of your physical death.

 

Of course, I am keenly interested on hearing your thoughts on this!

23.Nate

This is a question for theistic evolutionists that may be interesting in this discussion. Do you literally interpret other events in Genesis such as the Flood?

24.Nate

Also, how did you do the cool formatting stuff, J.E.S.?

25.ekrause1406

Hello everyone! I am also looking at the passage you mentioned, Swamidass. There are two things that I noticed about your interpretation. First of all, the verses would make just as much sense reading them with this interpretation:

"For sin indeed was in the world before the law was given [to Moses], but sin is not counted where there is no law. Yet, death reigned from Adam to Moses, even over those whose sinning was not like the transgression of Adam, who was a type of the one who was to come."

This interpretation is consistent with God creating the world in 6 literal days. One other thing I noticed is that in scripture, all sin is sin against God, weather you would define it as "transgression" or "wrongdoing". Take for example the following verse:

"Against you, you only, have I sinned, and done what is evil in your sight." Psalm 51:4

David wrote this after he committed both murder and adultery (which would have been commonplace occurrences during the evolutionary process). These sins are not only against other people, they are against God himself. Why would they not have been condemned during the process of evolution? Here is one other verse I saw that supports this point:

"Thus, sinning against your brothers and wounding their conscience when it is weak, you sin against Christ." 1 Corinthians 8:12

In this context, Paul is writing to urge the Corinthians not to eat food offered to idols. The reason is not that God forbids it (as long as they know the idol is fake, eating the food is fine), but that it might harm someone of weaker faith. This sin against a brother is a sin against Christ. Based on these pieces of evidence, I can say that "transgression" and "wrongdoing" are both sins against God.

26.Swamidass

Hello All,

 

Regarding sin before the Fall, I agree one can read Romans either way. Though historically it has been read both ways. I am not saying that the Bible is not consistent with six day creation. Rather I am saying that providentially governed evolution is consistent with Scripture, which does not really tell us one way or another.

 

Setting Romans aside for a moment, we see in Genesis that the Serpent and Eve are "sinning" before Adam's fall. This is confirmed also in II Tim also. For this reason, either way we read Romans, we still have to realize that Paul is using "sin" (hamartia) in two ways, as wrongdoing and as transgression, depending on context. The original question was if there was sin before Adam's fall. I think this establishes definitively by several passages that there was wrongdoing before Adam's fall. So there is really no contradiction with Scripture to wonder about wrongdoing in the world before Adam. I would not go so far to say that Scripture teaches this, but this should make clear that Scripture is silent about it.

 

Their are other passages too that seem to indicate a cosmic fall (think Lucifer) that happens before Adam's fall. Clearly this is all wrongdoing too. I could go on, but the key point. is that there is some thing special about Adam's sin, but this does not mean there was no wrongdoing before Adam sins.

 

As for David's statement that all sin is against God alone, this brings us back to what we mean by "sin" exactly. This is part of a whole branch of theology called hamartiology (because of hamartia). Because sin is used multiple ways (as evidenced in Romans), so we have to determine from context what type of "sin" is being referred to, or we end up quickly with contradiction. Moreover, one has to be careful how to interpret Psalms, which often includes hyperbole for poetic effect. In context, David is mourning his adultery, but do you know believe he also sinned against Uriah? Nonetheless, he has committed transgression against God for him because a descendent of Adam and/or one who knows that He is breaking God's law.

 

The point I am making is different. Imagine if David was (1) not Adam's descend, (2) had never come to know that God himself decreed infidelity and murder is wrong, and (3) God had not written his law on his heart. Would this be transgression at that point? According to Paul, we would say that this is not transgression, but just wrongdoing, and is evidently part of the world before Adam Sins; just look at Eve and the Serpent. Keep in mind, that all references to wrongdoing after Adam my well be transgression, we are only talk about wrongdoing before Adam falls. The notion is that the fall creates a cosmic reordering that brings all mankind into account for their sin, when previously (as Romans discusses) it was not held against people. We can debate if that transition happens when the adamic or mosaic law is given, but clearly sin is not always held against people in distant past.

 

As for death, there are more than one ways to interpret it. Keep in mind that spiritual death might be more literal to God than physical death. Reading Romans, I seems valid to hold spiritual death (as in literal death) came to all those outside the garden because of Adam's fall, but also freedom from physical death was withheld as they were denied access to the garden. You can interpret it differently if you want, but it is hard to imagine how this interpretation is in conflict with Scripture.

27.Swamidass

About the flood, one can take it literally without contradiction with modern science, as does Hugh Ross. Before we go there, do you agree with the Chicago Statements?

 

http://www.alliancenet.org/the-chicago-statement-on-biblical-hermeneutics

 

What the Bible says about the facts of nature is as true and trustworthy as anything else it says. However, it speaks of natural phenomena as they are spoken of in ordinary language, not in the explanatory technical terms of modern science; it accounts for natural events in terms of the action of God, not in terms of causal links within the created order; and it often describes natural processes figuratively and poetically, not analytically and prosaically as modern science seeks to do. This being so, differences of opinion as to the correct scientific account to give of natural facts and events which Scripture celebrates can hardly be avoided.

 

It should be remembered, however, that Scripture was given to reveal God, not to address scientific issues in scientific terms, and that, as it does not use the language of modern science, so it does not require scientific knowledge about the internal processes of God's creation for the understanding of its essential message about God and ourselves. Scripture interprets scientific knowledge by relating it to the revealed purpose and work of God, thus establishing an ultimate context for the study and reform of scientific ideas. It is not for scientific theories to dictate what Scripture may and may not say, although extra-biblical information will sometimes helpfully expose a misinterpretation of Scripture

 

Do you agree with this statement?

28.cwh

Sorry, Nate, I've taken a long time to respond. I believe Noah's flood was an actual event, but confined to only a portion of the globe. What would have seemed like a world-covering event to the author and audience may not have been a globe-wide event.

29.Jacob

The flood continued forty days on the earth. The waters increased and bore up the ark, and it rose high above the earth. The waters prevailed and increased greatly on the earth, and the ark floated on the face of the waters. And the waters prevailed so mightily on the earth that all the high mountains under the whole heaven were covered. The waters prevailed above the mountains, covering them fifteen cubits deep. And all flesh died that moved on the earth, birds, livestock, beasts, all swarming creatures that swarm on the earth, and all mankind. Everything on the dry land in whose nostrils was the breath of life died. He blotted out every living thing that was on the face of the ground, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens. They were blotted out from the earth. Only Noah was left, and those who were with him in the ark. And the waters prevailed on the earth 150 days.

I don't see any way that can be a local flood. If so, than why didn't God just have the animals and Noah move? If this passage is literal enough to refer to a local flood, then there is no way it isn't a worldwide flood. Why would God ever inspire a writer to write an account like this if it was so far from the truth. That seems like a pretty deceiving God!

30.cwh

I believe it was certainly large and calamitous - not something that would affect a modern-day suburb, but something that would cover an entire geographic region. Perhaps the area covered was much too large for Noah, his family, and the animals to move. The author and his audience did not know the entire expanse of the globe. To them, "the world" could have been their geographical region.

 

P. S. I would really like to hear responses to Swamidass's post regarding the Chicago Statements.

31.Jacob

If Noah and his family and all the animals could afford to spend 200 years building the ark, couldn't they just as well have moved? Further more, the Bible says ALL flesh was destroyed, which would not have been true of those outside the flood plane otherwise!

32.SMS

Swamidass writes: "So, in context, we can see Paul is using "sin" in two ways (it is the same word). Pauls says that sin came into the world through Adam, but sin existed in the world before Adam's sin."

 

This is simply not true. Nowhere does Scripture teach that sin existed in the world before Adam's sin.

Scripture defines sin as humanity's fallen condition. We are turned away from God and are unable to look to Him for security, meaning, and righteousness. This inner sinful condition results in actual sins of thought, desire, word, or deed that are contrary to God's will as summarized in the Ten Commandments. Sin is described as disobedience (Rom. 5:19); debts (Matt. 6:12); iniquity, transgression (Ex. 34:7); fault (Matt. 18:15); trespass (Rom. 5:17); unrighteousness (Rom. 6:13); and wrong (Col. 3:25). Whether you call it sin, transgression, or "wrongdoing" it is still the same thing. It brought death into the world. Before Genesis 3, there was no sin or death in God's creation. "Sin entered the world through one man (Adam) and death by sin."

 

Swamidass writes: "Clearly Eve and the Serpent are doing wrong, before Adam's fall. Clearly there was wrongdoing before the fall."

 

It is not sin or "wrong doing" to be tempted. Adam and Eve sinned when they yielded to the devil's temptation. Jesus was tempted by Satan in the wilderness, but He did not yield. Are we to assume that Jesus is guilty of wrong doing because He was tempted? To imply that there was sin or wrong doing before Genesis 3 is without Scriptural support.

 

Paul shows that this is the case in Romans 5:12: “Therefore, just as through one man sin entered the world, and death through sin, and thus death spread to all men, because all sinned.” Physical death was not known before the spiritual disaster that took place in Eden. And Paul again summarizes the contrast with Christ who brings life in 1 Corinthians 15:21–22: “For since by man came death, by Man also came the resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ all shall be made alive.” There is no doubt that 1 Corinthians 15 is concerned with physical death and physical resurrection, so the clarity of this chapter and Romans 5 leaves no doubt that physical death followed the Fall of Adam.

 

To deny the physical death of Genesis 3 destroys the Gospel, because if physical death has no meaning or purpose, then why did Jesus have to physically die on the cross for you? Destroying the meaning of physical death destroys the meaning of a physical resurrection, for Jesus and for us.

It's also important to note that Adam and Eve’s sin resulted in God’s judgment on the whole creation, not just man. The well-being of both is intimately linked throughout Scripture. Instantly Adam and Eve died spiritually; their relationship with God was broken (Genesis 3:8). They also became mortal so that their eventual physical death was certain (Genesis 3:19; Romans 5:12 and 1 Corinthians 15:21–22).

God’s judgment affected other aspects of creation. The serpent, which Satan used to deceive Eve, was cursed, resulting in a physical transformation of some kind, as it began to crawl on its belly (Genesis 3:14).

Since the Bible says that the serpent was cursed “more than” or “above" all other animals, this seems to indicate that the other animals were under the curse, as well. Also, God cursed the ground itself, resulting in thorns and thistles (Genesis 3:17–18), a fact well remembered by Noah’s father (Genesis 5:29).

 

The Fall is the first of many examples where God judged (or threatened to judge) the non-human creation because of man’s sin: during the Flood (Genesis 6:13), as a result of Israel’s disobedience (Deuteronomy 28:15–68; 2 Chronicles 7:12–14), and as a consequence of Nineveh’s evil (Jonah 4:11).

 

In the New Testament, we see again this connection between mankind’s sin and redemption and nature’s corruption and liberation. With Adam’s Fall in mind (Romans 5:12), Paul tells us in Romans 8:19–25 that more than mankind was affected. The whole creation groans in slavery to corruption and futility, waiting for Christ’s final restorative work at His Second Coming. This "groaning in slavery" began with Adam's sin, not before.

33.ekrause1406

Hello! I just read the Chicago Statement that you posted, Swamidass, and I agree with it in part (as the words themselves, but not in the context of supporting evolution). It is true that the Bible's purpose is to reveal to us what God has to say, and that modern science is not the purpose of the Bible. However, Biblical events and principles can help explain what we see in nature today; and they can do it just as well if not better than evolution. A phrase that stood out to me was "It is not for scientific theories to dictate what scripture may and may not say." Isn't that what evolution tries to do, saying that the world cannot possibly have been created the way God said He did it?

34.Swamidass

To be clear, I do not expect to convince any of you to agree. I understand you are YEC. I am okay with that. I'm only explaining how I understand Scripture. We have much more in common than you think.

 

In particular I am not reading evolution into scripture. That would be just as wrong as reading anti-evolutionism into Scripture. Both attempts to insert science into Scripture are wrong. I am just saying that Scripture is silent on evolution.

 

===========

 

Regarding the flood and "all flesh", there is once again major mistranslation. The word for "earth" is "eretz" which means "land" or "dirt." Just because it is mistranslated as "earth" does not legitimizing reading as the "whole globe." At the time, they had no concept of the earth a globe anyways, and did not even have a concept of planets. Rather than "whole earth" Genesis is saying the "whole land."

 

This is very similar to mistranslating Genesis 1 to mean animals "reproduce only within their kinds." Scripture says no such thing. It says that the "land gave forth animals of many kinds."

 

If you are mistranslating Scripture, you are going to be stuck with the mistakes that arise from that mistranslation. It is very dangerous to read falsehood into Scripture like this. Certainly, these views are consistent with some of these passages (though they are contradicted by others), but your view is NOT the plain teaching of Scripture. I am very uncomfortable with passing man's word of as Scripture. This is very dangerous, and I hope you can agree.

 

===========

 

 

To SMS,

 

Regarding the Serpent and Eve. They were not merely tempted. They did wrong.

 

Regarding the Biblical passages, as we have seen there are other ways to read them that take the Bible seriously. There has been debate on these passages long before evolution ever arose. http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1988/PSCF3-88Young.html

 

You can believe what you like, but I am very uncomfortable with substituting your human interpretation with Scripture. I submit to God's Word, not man's word, not yours. That is reasonable and good, right?

 

 

=========

 

To ekrause1406,

 

It sounds you agree with the Chicago Statement unless it is used to support evolution. No surprise then, adopting such a view you are convinced there is a contradiction between Scripture and evolution. You set up the rules so this must be so. You already decided evolution is wrong before looking at Scripture.

 

I suppose I am more open minded. I come to Scripture trying to find out what it is teaching me, regardless of what it says of evolution (or does not say). I am not bound by your biases, only by Scripture. So in the end its okay if we disagree. I hope you can still understand that there is nothing in evolution to fear , even if you disagree with it. Honestly, see no contradiction between evolution and Scripture.

 

 

========

 

I have another question relevant to this conversation.

 

Do you agree with Jesus that the smallest of all seeds is a mustard seed? If we find a seed smaller than a mustard seed, does that make Jesus wrong? If he is wrong here, or cannot be taken literally, can we trust him on other things too?

35.SMS

The issue for a proper understanding of Genesis 1 is not a literal versus a figurative interpretation; it is a question of the intended message of the Hebrew text. There is nothing wrong with taking literally a passage that is intended to be taken literally, that is, according to the letters of the text. Most of the time, to take a passage literally, is to take it seriously. 99% of our conversations, emails, or text messages are understood in their plain sense. The literal sense is the plain sense, the normal meaning, or the straightforward meaning of the written text. This is the default, so we must depart from the normal meaning of the passage only when there are reasons from the context that demand it.

 

I would submit that Swamidass imposes a meaning on the text that is not present in Scripture, simply because he comes to the text with certain theistic evolutionary assumptions. The issue is the meaning of Genesis 1. What is God saying in this chapter, based on the actual message of the text? Did God communicate so badly that, for millennia, every reader thought the text said something quite the opposite from what God meant? Scripture is certainly not "silent" when it comes to the assertions made by evolutionary theory. If you look at what GOD says in the first chapter of Genesis, you will soon discover that it is impossible to prove evolution, or even demonstrate evolution, using Scripture. There is not a hint of evolutionary process on the pages of Scripture. There is a theology of creation in Scripture, but there is no theology of evolution.

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