Richard Kouchoo wrote:
> 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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