Re: Dick Fischer deserves a hearing

From: george murphy (
Date: Mon Dec 31 2001 - 11:56:56 EST

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    Walter Hicks wrote:

    > george murphy wrote:
    >> To speak here of "one's favored theological theories"
    >> suggests that Paul
    >> and I are arguing for some idiosyncratic notion rather than the
    >> historic belief
    >> of the Christian church that Adam is representative of all
    >> humanity. This is the
    >> natural reading of St. Paul, and to challenge it raises serious
    >> questions about
    >> the claims which St. Paul makes in the passages in Rom. & I Cor.
    >> The naive idea
    >> that theological statements are somehow unreal and that in order to
    >> say something
    >> "really real" about Adam we have to identify him as a person with a
    >> certain
    >> height, weight, & social security number
    >> (000-00-0001?) is the source of a great deal of concordist activity
    >> which may be
    >> merely a waste of time but can cause definite harm.
    >> George, I must say again your opinion that Adam was not the literal
    >> lfather of all of mankind is news to me within the Christian Faith.
    >> I know of no denomination that teaches such a thing -- from Baptist
    >> to Roman Catholic. Can you name those which do so?
            Biblical texts about Adam and Eve are theological statements
    about humanity, and about the first humans in particular. I am in no
    sense denying that there was some relatively small (in numbers & in
    space & time) group of hominids with whom they can in a sense be
    identified. But that is something quite different from
            a) insisting that there were precisely 1 male & 1 female named
    "Human" & "Mother of All Living" from whom all present-day humans are
    descended, and/or
            b) thinking that it's of great theological importance find
    paleontological evidence for precisely
    these hominids.
            It would be quite wrong to make a denial that Adam was the
    literal father of all humanity an article of faith, and no church body
    does so. Nevertheless, you would find that many clergy and other
    theologians of church bodies such as the ELCA, Episcopal, United
    Methodist, PCUSA &c would have a view of Adam & Eve similar to what I've
    sketched. I imagine that a fair number of Evangelicals do as well -
    though they, like some of the others, unfortunately may keep such ideas
    private because they figure that it's not important enough to stir up
    trouble about. Roman Catholics are supposed to be committed to a belief
    in a single pair of human ancestors, but even so, the language used in
    the Catechism of the Catholic Church is not that of naive historicism.
    ("The Church, interpreting the symbolism of biblical language in an
    authentic way, in the light of the New Testament and Tradition, teaches
    that our first parents, Adam and Eve ... - Art.375.)

    > Clever remarks, like "SSN 000-00-0001" sound good but add no weight to
    > the argument. It seems to me, George, that your theology is not
    > Christian mainstream either.

            I suggest you explore the stream a little more thoroughly & not
    restrict yourself to a conservative Evangelical portion of it. In the
    meantime, the faith expressed in the ecumenical creeds (which make no
    mention of Adam or Eve) will be OK for me.



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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