Jesus Creed

Jesus Creed


Evangelicalism’s Radical Diversity 3

posted by Scot McKnight

Choir.jpgThe reason I disagree with Al Mohler’s recent strong statement that clearly ties belief in the gospel to young earth creationism and denial of the gospel for those who believe in theistic evolution is not because I’m a scientist and know better but because evangelicalism has been bigger than that view for a long, long time.

Mohler pushed Carl Henry, B.B. Warfield, John Stott, and William Lane Craig under the bus. Mohler is sadly mistaken on this one, and the reason he’s mistaken is because there is more than one evangelical reading of Genesis 1–2. Which is why..
Steve Wilkens and Don Thorsen, both profs at Azusa Pacific, have a new book that takes on misperceptions of evangelicals. I like the title: Everything You Know about Evangelicals Is Wrong (Well, Almost Everything): An Insider’s Look at Myths and Realities
. One of the misconceptions is that all evangelicals are anti-evolutionists.
Question: In order to believe the gospel, what does a human need to believe about God and about humans? How tied to the Creation Story of Genesis 1–3 is the gospel?
This is a misconception because there are a number of views of origins among evangelical Christians. There are a number of views about how God created. Perhaps some today will say those folks who have more evolution-compatible views are not evangelical. The critics have every right to do so, but they will go against the grain of evangelical history and some of the best thinking today among evangelicals.
Wilkens and Thorsen offer a number of helpful ideas…


Beginning with a thoughtful, nuanced comparison of evolutionism and Galileo’s denunciation by the Catholic Church. He sees three parallels: Galileo, so it was thought, decentralized humans in the plan and world of God; Galileo, so it was argued, denied the plain literal reading of the Bible; and Galileo was a minor voice in the larger scope of things. Yes, there are differences, but the similarities are not a little uncanny. (Agree?)

But Wilkens and Thorsen are too sensitive pastorally and theologically to suggest the Brights get this and the Dulls go along with young earth. They know human dignity and nature are at stake; they know one must respect the authority of Scripture. They know scientists think religion threatens genuine science at times; they know too that sometimes religion can be oppressive and suppressive.
Defining terms is so important, which is what Wilkens and Thorsen do: creationism refers to God creating but this term captures those who believe in a young earth or an old earth, and that means these folks think evolution is deeply mistaken. Day-age theorists think the “day” of Genesis 1 is an epoch, making an old, old, old earth possible — and I learned this first back in college from Bernard Ramm. Then there are theist evolutionists who think God used evolution — old, old, old earth — as the way he created and continues to create. And then there are radical evolutionists, material evolutionists and ontological evolutionists who think we are the result of random natural selection.

Evangelicals, and this is the major point of this chp, have
a variety of views when it comes to these issues but they don’t give in on the
dignity of humans, the image of God in humans, and the special creation – at some
level – of humans.

But they do differ on how to read Genesis 1–2, and John Walton’s recent book is an excellent example of some recent evangelical
variety.

They then propose a few paradigms:

Conflict: when science conflicts, chuck science; when the
Bible conflicts, chuck the Bible.

NOMA: non-overlapping magisterial paradigm. Science and
religion/Bible deal with two different dimensions of life.

Interactive: we must bring Bible and science into
interaction.

They know science can only do so much; it can’t talk purpose
and meaning. It can describe what it sees and can test.



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Rick

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:11 am


“Steve Walton’s recent book is an excellent example of some recent evangelical variety.”
By chance did you mean John Walton?



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Scot McKnight

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:32 am


By chance, brother, I sure did. I corrected it. Thanks.



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Steven Grant

posted July 22, 2010 at 8:43 am


Question: In order to believe the gospel, what does a human need to believe about God and about humans? How tied to the Creation Story of Genesis 1–3 is the gospel?
Answer: Evolution puts sin & death before Adam and Eve – if that was the case, why did Jesus come to die for the sin of animals that came before Adam & Eve?



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 8:57 am


I’m not really interested in Gen. 1-3 for its own sake. I really don’t care. I think that there are more than enough things in Gen. 1-3 that make a non-literal reading possible. The problem I have is the prominence of Gen. 1-3 throughout the rest of scripture, and questions like Steven Grant’s. Does John Walton go in depth on questions like this? I need to know how the rest of the OT and NT can still be viewed as reliable if sin and death didn’t enter the world with a literal fall, but were around for millions of years before man showed up on the scene. I need to know what happens to the dominion mandate if mankind wasn’t given a specific command to multiply and fill the earth or to subdue it. There are lots of theological questions that are currently grounded in a creation, fall, redemption, new earth paradigm that make me pause.
If John Walton doesn’t deal thoroughly with such topics, do you know anyone who does?



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Travis Greene

posted July 22, 2010 at 9:05 am


Steven @ 3,
I assume you mean that sin = death, so death = sin, therefore animal death before humanity = animal sin. Can you direct me to where in Scripture it says animals die because of sin?



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 9:07 am


Travis,
I think he means that if Adam and Eve are the product of evolution, then their parents were also human, but they died. Or something along those lines.



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Travis Greene

posted July 22, 2010 at 9:50 am


Robin @ 4,
Is Gen 1-3 really that prominent in the rest of Scripture? The significant origin story for the Jews was Abraham, and then Moses. Genesis is rarely mentioned.
The only significant discussion, imho, is Romans. And I’m not convinced a mytho-historic reading of Adam does any damage to Paul’s argument there.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 10:04 am


@ 7
Roger Nicole has estimated that approximately 10% of the new testament is either a direct quotation, or an allusion to, an old testament passage. Alot of these are from Genesis.
Plus, anytime you start talking about big theological topics you tend to start with creation. Do you want a theology of marriage, let’s look at how God created marriage in the garden, how the fall changed the nature of the relationship, and how Christ’s redemption of his church brings about a new paradigm for thinking about how spouses relate to one another.
Do you want to talk about racial reconciliation, poverty, vocation, etc. I literally cannot count the number of sermons I have heard where the theological approach isn’t just to look at 15 random verses scattered throughout scripture, but to look at God’s original intent as pictured in the garden, how it was affected in the fall, and how being a new creation in Christ is meant to be somewhat of a re-creation.
These are the types of issues that need addressing for me. If there was no literal Adam, no sinless creation, no fall, then does Christ’s sacrifice really make sense as a re-creation.
I guess these are questions about new testament passages AND a biblical theology of creation, fall, redemption that undergirds alot of the teaching that some of us have experienced.



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Fish

posted July 22, 2010 at 10:56 am


I guess if I were forced to adopt a literal reading of Genesis as a condition for being a Christian, I’d be Buddhist.
A literal Adam and Eve disobeying God, who then makes every human for generation upon generation suffer in retaliation, then in order to forgive them tortures his son to death as a human sacrifice to himself… all this makes no sense to me. Especially when confronted with scientific evidence of evolution.
It is CHRIST, not the Bible, who I have faith in. My faith is not founded on the Bible. The Bible is a revealment of God, not God.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 11:02 am


I learn about Christ from the bible.



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Rick

posted July 22, 2010 at 11:18 am


Fish #9-
I am not in agreement with Dr. Mohler’s position, but I am pretty sure he would not say the Bible is God.



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Travis Greene

posted July 22, 2010 at 12:46 pm


Robin @ 8,
I know that’s what we tend to do, and I think it’s generally a good thing, but I don’t think that is actually what the NT does. I haven’t studied it, but I’d say offhand that most NT quotes of the OT are prophetic passages dealing with Jesus as the Messiah. Jesus does refer to Adam and Eve in regard to marriage; I don’t think this teaching depends on Adam’s historicity. And Adam’s historicity doesn’t depend on YEC.
I think we can learn more about God’s original intent for creation from Jesus and his resurrection than we can from Genesis, without in any way pitting them against each other.



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Gulf Shores Steven

posted July 22, 2010 at 1:05 pm


I’ve always wondered why God would want to explain the HOW of Creation in Genesis – since it’s a whole lot of specific information that a person really cannot do much with. Wouldn’t it have been a much better idea, if God was to set about explaining things, to teach humans the germ theory of infectious diseases – or something about genetics? We could have used that insight into science all these years.



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 1:51 pm


Robin#8, you say
These are the types of issues that need addressing for me. If there was no literal Adam, no sinless creation, no fall, then does Christ’s sacrifice really make sense as a re-creation.
How about this. God created everything and by some mechanism humans with sin evolved. Let’s even assume that there was some one celled thing way way way long time ago called LUCA, which is the last universal common ancestor (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Last_universal_ancestor).
Now, we can easily assume that this very simple life form was not the sinning kind of thing. It could not think, rebel or do anything other than live.
So somewhere inbetween LUCA and Robin there came a time when man became self aware and knew the difference between right and wrong and therefore sinned. That is what is described in the mytho-historic book of Genesis.
Jesus has come to redeem us, and show us that there is hope for resurrection and point us the way to living god’s life for us here on earth.
Why do we need to have it be a single person that is identified in the bible? Why value does the literal story add to it?



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muse

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:09 pm


I think there are several views of Genesis 1-3 that fall into the evangelical camp. Having said that, I also believe that there has to be a literal, created Adam & Eve (without the first Adam there would never be the second Adam), a choice to sin, a literal fall/curse. Without any of this, there would have been no need for Jesus, for redemption, for His atonement on the cross for our sins. If you don’t believe that, I don’t believe you fall under the umbrella of evangelicalism and/or orthodoxy. However, these subjects fall into the category of apologetics, not the gospel. The gospel is laid out in 1 Cor. 15.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:11 pm


DRT,
I’m not saying all TE arguments don’t make sense, but the one you posited doesn’t help me make sense of the bible or the purpose of Christ. If you believe in a version of Christianity that thinks sin is a spiritual (not just moral) problem that needs a remedy then your story would baffle me. If you are from branch of Christianity that thinks sin isn’t really a spiritual issue, we just need to be better humans and love each other for the good of the species or some other reason, then your story would make sense, but I wouldn’t see any need for Christ. He would just be a slightly better version of Gandhi or Mother Teresa; his divinity would be inconsequential.
I just don’t see how sin can be a spiritual problem unless at some point in the evolutionary chain God steps in and says “Shazaam” at this point you are now created in the image of God and called to live a holy life – your mother and father were just “animals” and not expected by me to live by any moral code because they were incapable of understanding, but now you are not only capable of understanding through your evolutionary advances, but I, as your God, expect you to live in a moral manner and when you fail to do so I will call it sin.
If we really live in an evolutionary world (with no shazaam moment) then it seems like modern sociology and psychology have much better explanations of human nature and societal morality than Christianity.



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Travis Greene

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:23 pm


Robin @ 16,
You can still have some kind of “shazam” moment with TE. I agree with your concern about preserving humanity’s bearing the image of God. It is essential. I just don’t think we have to reject evolution to do so.
For what it’s worth, DRT’s hypothetical is very similar to one espoused by C.S. Lewis.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:29 pm


Those are just some theological objections, I still need to think about how I would view the rest of scripture in light of your scenario.
Travis:
The theological and exegetical gymnastics I have to complete in order to believe the rest of the bible is trustworthy in that scenario are not insignificant. I’m open to arguments, but it requires a level of dexterity that concerns me; it seems like it will be easier for my teenage children just to chuck the whole bible than believe the creation and fall in the bible are fictional and inconsequential, but themes like sin, redemption, covenant, etc. that seem to all be rooted in the creation and fall are somehow still applicable and important for Christians.
If this is where evangelicalism is headed it is going to be rough sailing for most Christians.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:36 pm


Just as a practical example, can you give me one biblical argument for monogamy that doesn’t involve Genesis 1-3. The only ones I have heard was that God’s purpose in creation was that a man would leave his father and cleave to his wife, it is only because of sin that we disobeyed that for several thousand years with polygamy. I’m pretty sure that all of the passages in the NT that might be used as evidence for monogamy harken back to “in the beginning” so the example of scripture is constant polygamy and without Gen. 1-3 and the argues based upon it I see no reason whatsoever to believe that monogamy is the preferred setting.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:37 pm


My spelling sucks.



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RJS

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:46 pm


Robin,
Genesis 1-3 is a truthful revelation – whether literal history or not.
The point of the story in Gen 2:18-25 is that man and woman are created for each other – to be a team, one man, one woman. No other suitable companion exists. This is the reference meaning of Jesus when he refers to the passage as well.
Whether the passage is literal history or a literary form of truth-telling (along the lines of parable) doesn’t impact the point of the story on this level at all as I see it.



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JHM

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:50 pm


“If this is where evangelicalism is headed it is going to be rough sailing for most Christians.”
I think perhaps it is going to be rough sailing no matter what. Moving forward I see three options:
1) Christians essentially remove themselves from scientific community and stick to a Sola Scriptura understanding of Creation in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence. The danger here is Waltke’s “cult” warning.
2) Christians develop a creationist/ID model that can out-compete evolution as a scientific framework and scientists all become theists. This would ultimately clear up tension but at this point seems the least likely to actually happen.
3) Christians do the nasty thing of rethinking some theology in light of the scientific reality that seems to be coalescing. This is the “All Truth is God’s Truth” mantra. The hard part here seems to be the battle over whether we need a scalpel or an axe for the theological surgery to revive Christian thought in the 21st century.
captcha: the recliners – something about taking the easy way perhaps?



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 2:56 pm


Robin#19 and monogamy.
It is because we bound it here on earth, we are allowed to do that.
captcha – that carpenter :)



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Fish

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:01 pm


Personally, I think we’d still be monogamous if the Bible didn’t exist (at least to the extent we’re monogamous now, which isn’t a lot). Society evolved in that direction, around the world, independently of Christianity. There are many evolutionary advantages to monogamy in child-raising and empowering both sexes. Polygamous societies tend to lose half their resources by subordinating women.
In this sense, Genesis is truth without having to be literal truth. Also, it’s God and evolution both revealing the same truth.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm


RJS,
but even in the Genesis passage there isn’t a specific monogamy command, there is only the implication that creation (sinless perfection) was epitomized by a single and a single woman in a monogamous union. If the story itself is false (in the literal sense), at that point in the evolutionary progress men and women were already involved in polygamous (or polyandrous) relationships like the rest of most of the animal world (I know animals don’t get married, but you get my point) and the polygamy continued on, unabated, amongst Jehovah believers for at least thousand of more years, then what can you really say? The creation story, which doesn’t explicitly command monogamy, was itself a literary creation of a later folk-singer and Christians have mistakenly taken it to be a normative example from a divine creation. We would be guilty of reading something normative about the created order into a literary genre (creation myth) that doesn’t support such conclusions.
DRT’s conclusion (We bound it on earth) might make more sense, but I’m not sure who has that authority. Countless other cultures didn’t bound it. Some Christian sects didn’t bound it. One of the sects that did bind it also bound celibacy in the clergy. This is a prickly one.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:09 pm


JHM’s post captures the angst I am feeling. Option (3), which is where I think most people are heading will require either a theological scalpel or axe in order to make sense of most Christian theology. I do not find that hopeful when it comes to evangelism or raising Christian children. I’m not saying I like the alternatives, just that we can’t pretend that we can just slide TE in without any significant cost.



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Kenny Johnson

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:14 pm


@Robin #18,
I’m not saying we have to accept evolution as true. But we absolutely have to wrestle with this and not just hide our heads in the sand. It sounds to me like if evolution were true you’d be ready to just abandon the faith. I really don’t think that’s required.
It’s also not like all of sudden tough questions disappear if you just accept a YEC view, for example. At least not for my mind which just spins with questions constantly. I think a thoughtful Christian life will always have to deal with hard questions. Which is why I think Christians, especially ones like me, who love to think, need to learn to become comfortable with the questions… with the tension.



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RJS

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm


Robin,
I am not sure I understand your point. In the text the story ends: “For this reason a man shall leave his father and his mother, and be joined to his wife; and they shall become one flesh.” Gen. 2:24
This reads to me like the moral of a truth-telling story. This is the point of the passage, one flesh joined together. From this we have the ideal of monogamy.
I also see this as the point emphasized by Jesus in the gospel as well – this is what he quotes in MT 19 and MK 10; and is quoted by Paul in 1 Cor. 6 and Ep. 5.
The very nature of a truth-telling story is in the point of the story, not always the details used to relate that truth. For example – the truth of the parable Jesus told about the rich man and the poor man (Luke 16) is in the point of the story, not the historicity of the two characters (Lazarus and the rich man).



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:26 pm


Robin,
FWIW, I have three teens and they had no problem with religion in holding many bible studies to be mytho-historical. Then, they started to hear about these people who take it literally and they said they want nothing to do with that stuff. The most obvious and intuitive position is that Genesis is a wise creation poem and myth that conveys deep truth. Not that the earth was created in 6 days. Kids know but they get brainwashed. We have to stop the brainwashing (imho, of course….as I walk it back a bit….)



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm


I’m not saying that I would abandon the faith; I am saying that I would struggle mightily and I would have a hard time explaining the bible to my kids.
I could picture us reading a scripture like Mark 10 regarding divorce, and they’ll say “Dad, why should we believe that a man can only marry one woman or that they shouldn’t get divorced”
Me: “Well, because Jesus said so”
Them: “But he is quoting Genesis, and it didn’t really happen the way he said it did”
Me: “Well, even though that part of Genesis wasn’t historical narrative it is still binding for believers, failure to follow what it says is sin”
Them: “Dad, if it is just a creation myth how can its teachings be normative for ethics (My kids will be really smart)”
Me: “Because I said so, Jesus also wants you to eat your vegetables and don’t do drugs!”



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RJS

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:27 pm


Robin,
Angst is definitely there for many of us. Certainly for me as well. But at this point, more scalpel like than axe like, I see some wrestling and rethinking as the only way forward.
I think if we look at church history there have been similar twists and turns in the past (probably Luther and Calvin provide one such example) – and somehow (actually by the Spirit) we will find ways forward.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:29 pm


RJS,
I see your point now when you bring out the parables. I need to think about it.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm


RJS,
I need to keep thinking about the parables, but it seems like one main difference might be that Jesus didn’t use parables to lay down normative behavior, he used them so that we could understand normative behavior that we were taught elsewhere in scripture. He isn’t using his parables to set out a new law, he is using them to explain what we should have learned from the creation account, from Moses, and maybe from a few other places in the OT.
Like I said, I still need to think more about it, that is just my snap reaction.



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Kenny Johnson

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:39 pm


@Robin,
I guess I don’t see the need to equate historicity with truth (as RJS has pointed out). To say that Genesis 1-3′s teaching about who God is and what he expects of us is no longer valuable because it might not be historical doesn’t make sense to me.
But I think it’s important to understand that some TE’s even differ on the historicity issue. Some read Gen 1-3 as at least semi-historical (.e.g not completely literal). There’s not a simple It’s Truthful myth vs Literal History dichotomy.



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Kenny Johnson

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:42 pm


@Robin #33,
But if Genesis is still inspired word, does the fact that it might not be historical mean it has no value?
Some conservative Christian theologians argue that Jonah or Job are not historical books either. Do the lessons learned from the inspiration of God lose meaning if they aren’t?



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:52 pm


Kenny (34),
I’d say that in the instance of marriage it is problematic because we have taken a story about the union between and one man and one woman very literally to require that everywhere and at all times heterosexual monogamy is the only permissible sexual union.
If it is literally true, or if at some point God separated a man and woman from the rest of creation and put his image upon them, then yeah, the story makes that point and God has somehow made heterosexual monogamy normative.
But if that isn’t the case, if it was just unchecked evolution and at some later date a writer wrote the creation myth. Furthermore, because creation myths generally contain only one man and one woman we all thought the point was monogamy, but that was just a convenient literary device, well then we’ve taken something as normative which was just a literary device. And we can tell it was just a literary device because heterosexual monogamy is not standard practice for the rest of the animal kingdom, it wasn’t normative at the time Genesis was written, and it wasn’t normative at any other period in the Old Testament. So we have hung a whole normative teaching, and a substantial one at that, on a creation myth that was never intended to be a normative treatise on sexual ethics, it was just intended to be a creation myth.
I mean, we read the point as being monogamy even though the point was never read that way by its original hearers. It’s like judges who can read the 2nd amendment and say that it is only concerned with militias or the 4th amendment and conclude that it is really about a right to abortion. We’ve read in monogamy when the actions of hearers in the authors day and the actions of subsequent followers indicate that monogamy was not the point.



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R Hampton

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:54 pm


Robin,
I do not find that hopeful when it comes to evangelism or raising Christian children.
The Roman Catholic Church is firmly TE, evangelical and Christian – so I don’t see the reason for your concern.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 3:58 pm


Kenny (35),
The main difference with Job, or Jonah is that we don’t base significant ethical teachings on their content. Sure, we could still learn great things from Jonah, Job, or Genesis if they weren’t literal, but could we use them as a basis for saying that certain behaviors are sinful or righteous. We use Genesis for that purpose, and I can’t think of any other allegorical texts in scripture that are used as the foundation of major ethical principles.
Like RJS pointed out above, the parables are used to reinforce ethics, but we can learn from Deutoronomy or Leviticus, or Isaiah how we should deal with the poor and the orphan or the widow; the sermon on the mount and parables just amplify the truth that was already present.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:00 pm


The RCC also says that Mary is the coauthor of Salvation and that she died a virgin, so I’m not taking alot of assurance in their teaching ability.



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:08 pm


I apologize for the hostility shown in (39)



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R Hampton

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:16 pm


The RCC also says that Mary is the coauthor of Salvation and that she died a virgin, so I’m not taking alot of assurance in their teaching ability.
But that is not; 1) essential to Salvation, 2) likely to cause Christians to renounce their faith (although some change denomination), or 3) erode the foundation of major ethical principles. So how is it that the RCC can exist with hundreds of millions of Catholics when – by your estimation – most should have slipped so far down the slope as to forsake their Christianity?



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RJS

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:31 pm


R Hampton,
I don’t think Robin is claiming that most should have forsaken their Christianity. But like most of us – he is wrestling with all of these issues. Simply stating facts and statistics in the RCC doesn’t really help me deal with the issues involved.



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Ben Wheaton

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:33 pm


To go back to Scot’s question about the least that we have to believe about Genesis 1-3, I think that Waltke’s take in his “Old Testament Theology” is a good one; there is an orthodox version of theistic evolution, but it must contain some caveats:
1) Special creation of at least the human soul (Scot mentioned this, and I agree). If this is the case, by the way, it would seem to rule out the “Christian materialism” mooted here before.
2) A federal head of humanity at the time of creation, whose willful rebellion against God’s command was a single event in the space-time continuum.
The Catholic view would be this, I think. Also, I understand that C.S. Lewis did suggest a scenario containing a literal fall, although not a literal Adam.



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Kenny Johnson

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:41 pm


@RJS
Agreed. I understand where he is coming from in a broader sense. For example, I find Kenton Sparks view of scripture, especially OT scripture to be hard to accept without losing a lot. I haven’t read his book — so my observation is just based on the discussions that went on here, but I don’t think I could accept most of the Biblical criticism that Sparks does without feeling like I lost a big chunk of how I understand my faith.
So, while I don’t see why a non-historical Gen 1-3 is problematic, I get the uneasiness on a broader scale.
But I still want to re-iterate that not all TE’s reject the complete historicity of Gen 1-3. I’m agnostic on both TE and the historicity issue… though I do reject the literalism.



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yourname

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:45 pm


“I could picture us reading a scripture like Mark 10 regarding divorce, and they’ll say “Dad, why should we believe that a man can only marry one woman or that they shouldn’t get divorced”
Me: “Well, because Jesus said so”"
As a parent, I’ve found that the fewer times I go the “said so” route, the better off I am. For me, it usually means I don’t have a good reason, or it’s her mother who wants it and I don’t agree, or I’m busy, or in a bad mood. Things we don’t associate with God. And of course my kid picks up on that.
You have to do it a few times just to get your bluff in, because there are some things that have to be done just because Dad says so, but real life examples are better for teaching morals, IMHO. Your child will see the evils of divorce in her friends’ lives and that will have a greater impact than anything you say. The pain a child feels if someone steals their toys will teach them more about why we don’t steal than any Bible verse.
Just my $0.02



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R Hampton

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:48 pm


I don’t think Robin is claiming that most should have forsaken their Christianity
Forsaking Christianity is exactly what I perceive to be the primary fear for people like Robin. As I see it, there are two possible theological changes that lie ahead for Christians troubled by these issues; 1) a switch to a different denomination of Christianity, or 2) a renouncing of Christianity. Because the major tenets of Christian belief are preserved in the first instance – and because it amounts to a fear of Catholicism that I find very hard to believe – its seems much more likely what scares people is the second instance.



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 4:58 pm


Ben#43,
I am actively engaged in figuring out the framework for a concept like “special creation”. What do you mean by that? I would not say that I would ever describe myself in a camp labeled Christian materialism, but I will be very disappointed when I am resurrected and there are not furry creatures running around there. Is that what you are saying?



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danderson

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:04 pm


Just out of curiousity — what is the response to Cornelius Hunter’s book Darwin’s God? He seems to postulate that Darwinism is just not good science, and that Darwin’s arguments for evolution are more metaphysical than scientific, i.e. How can a “good” God allow evil?



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DRT

posted July 22, 2010 at 5:28 pm


48
danderson
This is a very nuanced point, but I too think that Darwin’s position on evolution is probably more of a metaphysical proposition than science. But, and this is a big but, there is a TON of science that backs up that metaphysical proposition. A ton ton ton ton. Like there can be no bigger.
It is not bad science, it is an excellent hypothesis that has a lot of data behind it. You can choose to like it or not, up to you.
captcha – invalid honeys?!?!?!?!



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muse

posted July 22, 2010 at 6:06 pm


Since someone brought up Darwin, I’ll just add here that Darwin himself believed that what he was proposing was incompatible with Christianity. just FYI



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 6:32 pm


I disagree that the major tenets of the Christian faith are preserved in the catholic option (in its current form). I grew up Catholic, was a lead altarboy, and have had multiple conversations with monks and priests on this issue. I could be a Catholic like John Michael Talbot that calls the catholic church a whore from within her gates, but I could never accept a great deal of current official catholic doctrine, from the apocrypha to Trent.
That would, by the way, get rid of my fears about scripture since I’d have two other legs to accept as authoritative, but I wouldn’t have anything left that I considered “good news”



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danderson

posted July 22, 2010 at 7:11 pm


It never ceases to amaze me how dogmatic so many evolutionists are. It is almost religion-like. Never mind that people like Cornelius Hunter, who has a PhD in biophysics, and other scientists have been able to poke holes into Darwin’s theory. Such as how the fossil record does not line up with the gradual change that is necessary for evolution to have occurred.
I think that evolution is nothing more than a way for many scientists to find a reason to supplant God with their own version of reality.
captcha: His Bywaters



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R Hampton

posted July 22, 2010 at 8:38 pm


Robin,
So the question is, are you the exception or the rule regarding your opinion on Catholicism – that it isn’t truly Christian. If yours is the view held by the majority, then that would explain their bleak view of TE.



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JosephU

posted July 22, 2010 at 9:23 pm


Appended are a few magisterial (official) Catholic statements on the subject of Adam and Eve, the book of Genesis, the Flood and Creation Ex nihilo.
(Partial quote)
What Does The Catholic Church Teach about Origins?
- Genesis does not contain purified myths. (Pontifical Biblical Commission 1909)
- Genesis contains real history?it gives an account of things that really happened. (Pius XII)
. . .
- All the Fathers who wrote on the subject believed that the Creation days were no longer than 24-hour-days. (Consensus of the Fathers of the Church)
. . .
- St. Peter and Christ Himself in the New Testament confirmed the global Flood of Noah. It covered all the then high mountains and destroyed all land dwelling creatures except eight human beings and all kinds of non-human creatures aboard the Ark (Unam Sanctam, 1302)
- The historical existence of Noah?s Ark is regarded as most important in typology, as central to Redemption. (1566 Catechism of the Council of Trent)
- Evolution must not be taught as fact, but instead the pros and cons of evolution must be taught. (Pius XII, Humani Generis)
. . .
References:
Creation Doctrine
What Does The Catholic Church Teach about Origins?
http://www.kolbecenter.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=83:creation-doctrine&catid=19:creation-doctrine&Itemid=81
Genesis 1-11
http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis1-11&version=NIV



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Robin

posted July 22, 2010 at 10:32 pm


I’m not saying that Catholicism isn’t Christian in some ecumenical sense of the word, just that 2 of the 3 acceptable catholic soteriologies – universalism and justification by works, have no appeal to me whatsoever. Throw in some papal infallibility, the anathemas against justification by faith alone from the council of Trent (which are still official catholic doctrine), the immaculate conception of Mary and her co-authorship of salvation (Scot could chime in on if this is current official doctrine or merely proposed) and eventually you get to a version of Christianity that I want nothing to do with. The fact that the catholic church can reconcile TE with all of the statements offered by JosephU is not an endorsement for TE.
TE as explained by RJS and Scot is much more appealing if it doesn’t come with all the baggage of catholicism, but I still have alot of angst about how it would affect other parts of scripture and theology in general.



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Nathan

posted July 23, 2010 at 10:04 am


RE: “They know science can only do so much; it can’t talk purpose and meaning. It can describe what it sees and can test.”
This sounds like Tillich.
Does anyone know if these authors are familiar with Tillich’s work already done in this arena? Or are these authors intuiting their way toward this?



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Chris Barrigar

posted July 23, 2010 at 12:40 pm


May I strongly suggest participants in this discussion read the two recent books by Denis Lamoureux (Wipf & Stock). An evangelical theologian and evolutionary biologist (with three earned doctorates), he provides an evangelical exegesis of the relevant scriptures (including but not limited to Gen.1-3) that changes the game for us evangelicals. You can also check out his website where he teaches religion and science at the University of Alberta: http://www.ualberta.ca/~dlamoure.



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Susan Klopfer

posted July 27, 2010 at 1:27 pm


“Evangelicals, and this is the major point of this chp, have a variety of views when it comes to these issues but they don’t give in on the dignity of humans…” Not sure how this conclusion is reached. I haven’t seen much Evangelical dignity of humans coming out of the mouths of their leaders when it comes to such issues as diversity, equality, civility and civil rights. They seem to “give in” quite frequently.



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Paul Bruggink

posted July 29, 2010 at 11:27 am


This may be a minor point, but when you state in your blog:
“Defining terms is so important, which is what Wilkens and Thorsen do: creationism refers to God creating but this term captures those who believe in a young earth or an old earth, and that means these folks think evolution is deeply mistaken.”, you might want to acknowledge that there are a number of evangelical Christians out there who think of themselves as evolutionary creationists, putting the emphasis on creation rather than on evolution, as in the label “theistic evolutionist.” Therefore, the label “creationism” does not necessarily exclude evolution as a process that God chose to use.
Young earth creationism, old earth creationism, and progressive creationism might exclude biological evolution, but “creationism” does not necessarily exclude biological evolution. Just sayin’.



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Raymond Takashi Swenson

posted July 29, 2010 at 3:10 pm


It is pretty clear that the idea that Genesis Chapter One terms like “day” were intended by Moses (or the author you believe wrote it) to be standard periods from sunset to sunset (the Jewish definition of a day) is not something that was felt to be important among the Jews or the early Christians. Saint Augustine did not think that was meant. The Roman Catholic Church has quite strongly embraced the Big Bang as a scientific confirmation of Augustiine’s interpretation of Genesis One, that it depicts a creation of the entire universe suddenly out of nothing, “ex nihilo”. That also means that it has embraced the 13.5 billion year age of the universe along with the Big Bang. Lots of Christians and Jews have no problem with the “days” of Genesis One not being 24-hour days, but “days” as an unspecified period of time in the same way that “this is the day of the Lord”, “these are the last days”, etc.
When the scientific evidence for the age of the earth and of the universe is so strong, we should seriously revisit what is really simply a human interpretation of the words of Genesis. Genesis itself does not say these were 24 hour days, nor does any other passage in scripture. That is simply an assumption made by human beings, not prophets.
Besides, when the scriptures affirm that God is eternal, exactly what is the necessity that He perform creation in a short time? He has allowed the history of the earth since the time of Abraham to proceed at a leisurely pace of thousands of years. What is the rush?
With the Hubble Space Telescope we have been able to observe stars being born. That is surely a creative act, and we hold such acts are performed by God. Clearly, God’s creative work is ongoing. In light of the plain evidence of our eyes, it is presumptuous to tell God HOW to do creation.
Then there is the problem with reading Genesis itself. Scholars agree that the Hebrew does NOT support “ex nihilo” creation, that it depicts instead God organizing and forming already exisitng matter. For that matter, the language is all about the formation of the earth itself and placing life in it, not about the creation of the larger galaxy. Not even the planets, well known to Moses, are mentioned as part of the creation narrative. Only a few examples of plants and aniimals are mentioned. The story told is clearly not comprehensive in terms of what any reader or hearer would know are parts of the created universe they could see, so why do we demand that it has to be comprehensive in terms of time or scope? Why demand that “Let there be light” has to account for all of the billions of galaxies we can see?
The order of the creation narrative, and the story of the Fall, are at root stories about man’s alienation from God, and the need to return to God’s presence. The story of redemption is about enabling us to return to the presence of God in a reversal of Adam’s loss of that fellowship. The first three chapters of Revelation summarize just such a return journey of ascent back into the presence of God. It is appropriate that Revelation bookend the Bible with Genesis, because the one is a real sequel to the other. The significance of the “days” in Genesis relates specifically to the days of the week, that structure time and remind men to remember the Creator who made them and the world they inhabit and depend on for life, and whose ultimate creative act took place when Christ became the first fruits of what will become a torrent of resurrected, immortal beings who will inhabit a redeemed earth.



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