Re: Redheads descended from Neanderthals?

From: george murphy (
Date: Wed Jan 30 2002 - 11:52:12 EST

  • Next message: John W Burgeson: "Re: Redheads descended from Neanderthals?"

    Richard Kouchoo wrote:

    > Greetings,
    > I am a newcomer here (actually I've been here a few times in the past) and have
    > been following a few discussion threads quite intently.
    > I found John Burgeson's take on the creation of soul very interesting:
    > _Perhaps, just perhaps, the creation of
    > humans-in-the-image-of-God did not take place as an event -- but as a
    > process. If one allows that it may be a process, rather than an
    > event-at-a-moment-of-time, then that process may well have started prior
    > to both Neandertal and Homo-sapiens_
    > However I have an objection to this line of reasoning since its implications are
    > not very comforting. The special, instantaneous creation of the soul is
    > absolutely necessary, doctrinally speaking. Without it, Christ's death and
    > resurrection are pointless, since the meaning of sin and specifically, original
    > sin, as Christian tradition has envisaged it for the past two millennia, becomes
    > redundant. 'A process' of original sin is completely alien to Christian theology
    > and Tielhard's ideas are more in line with patheism than Christianity.

            This argument is incorrect.
            1) Belief that all humans are sinners and that this is a problem that has
    afflicted the species since its beginning does not require any particular
    understanding of the origin of either humanity or sin. Nor is it true that the
    importance of Christ's death and resurrection stands or falls with a particular
    account of origins. The cross and resurrection are central in all 4 gospels &
    Lk.24:26 says that "it was necessary for the Christ to suffer these things and enter
    into his glory" - all without any direct reference to the origins of humanity or
    sin. In Rom.1-3 Paul deals extensively with the universal problem of sin & God's
    answer in Christ, again with no reference to origins.
            This doesn't mean that the origins of what make us distinctively human or of
    sin are unimportant - Romans 5 needs to be read too. But attempts to argue from the
    necessity of the work of Christ to a particular view of origins fails.
             2) Gen.3-10 (& especially 3-6) are read more naturally as a theological
    account of a process of humanity becoming more & more sinful than as a single abrupt
             3) Teilhard was quite aware of the similarities and differences of his
    views and "pantheism" as it is usually understood. I would suggest reading of his
    essay "Pantheism and Christianity" (pp.56-75 in _Christianity and Evolution_) before
    making any further criticisms of him.

    (Who, I have recently learned, may be of

    Neanderthal descent through Grandpa


    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

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