Re: Apologists and other salesmen

Murphy (
Fri, 01 Nov 1996 08:05:44 -0500

John Misasi wrote:
> George Murphy Wrote:
> > I didn't assume anything about your views on evolution. Mine
> > are that it's happened, and I think the question of original sin needs
> > to be thought through carefully because of that.
> In order to answer your question, one must have a better understanding of
> what exactly your views on evolution are! There are many types of views
> amongst Christians. I assume you mean the typical idea of evolution as
> we see defined in secular society???
> Personally, i think that you will never be able to answer the question
> you set out to answer because this may be an area God has been
> delibrately ambiguous on. If you think of creation and genesis in light
> of what Sailhamer speaks, all that is explained in Genesis is a
> historically true story, but its purpose was to be the introduction to
> the story about the promised land and how God is the one who decides who
> can inhabit it. In this scenario, adam and eve leave the Garden after
> being expelled because of disobediance of Him. God gives it to the
> Cannanites as well, but takes it away and gives it back to His people
> (the Jews) when they (the Cannanites) disibey Him. You also see God
> promise them the land and peace as long as they follow Him. When they do
> not, He removes them from the land (i.e. Babylonian exile) until they
> repent of their sins. THis is a common theme seen throughout the OT and
> particularly the Pentetauch. Based on this hypothesis I would say that
> Genesis is historically true, and its purpose and validity must be
> examined through the fact that it was meant to be read in series with the
> rest of the Pentetauch.
> Sailhamer makes a very strong argument for the historicity of Genesis, in
> the Appendix to his book. It will give you a lot to thinkn about and may
> answer your questions.
> John

I'm not sure what "question" of mine you refer to. I believe
that God is our creator and think that evolution via (primarily) natural
selection is the best scientifis account of how God has done that. I
also believe that the western church's doctrine of original sin/sin of
origin (the distinction is not trivial) is substantially correct. I do
not think we (i.e., the church) has yet developed a clear way of setting
out its theological anthropology - that humanity as God's creature is
fundamentally good but from its origins turns away from God so that "we
are in bondage to sin and cannot free ourselves - in ways which are
coherent with our scientific understanding (fragmentary though it is) of
human origins and development. I believe that this can be done with
integrity, but it hasn't been yet, though some theologians (e.g.,
Hefner) have made contributions toward such an understanding.
In fact, this is _the_ serious theological problem which needs
to be worked on in connection with evolution. Part of the reason the
church hasn't done a lot on it, 137 years after Darwin & Wallace, is
that most theological discussion of evolution has involved peripheral
Thanks for your recommendation of Sailhamer's book, but one can
only read so much and, from your brief description, it sounds to me like
a waste of time. As I noted in an earlier post, if the idea is that
Adam & Eve have to do only with "Israel according to the flesh", then
the whole story has nothing to do with us who are not Israelites in that
sense. It is essential that the humanity Gen.1-3 speak of is humanity
in toto, all of us - whether one understands those chapters of Genesis
"figuratively" or "literally." ANY attempt to make these chapters an
accurate historical account of ancestors of, or representatives of, a
limited portion of humanity seems to me a matter of abandoning their
basic theme as regerads humanity for the sake of scraps of "inerrancy"
of dubious quality.
George Murphy