RE: Human origins and doctrine

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Mon Feb 25 2002 - 12:59:31 EST

  • Next message: Adrian Teo: "RE: Human origins and doctrine"

    Hello Keith,

    Thanks for reminding me of the article you wrote which I read a while back.

    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []
    > Sent: Saturday, February 23, 2002 1:56 PM
    > To:
    > Subject: RE: Human origins and doctrine
    > What was at issue was whether an evolutionary understanding
    > of the manner
    > in which God created our physical form undermines the
    > Biblical claim that
    > we are made in the image of God. I do not see that it does,
    > in fact, I
    > believe that an evolutionary perspective gives added meaning to the
    > Biblical claim.

    > >All of which I don't deny. I am NOT saying that Christian
    > evolutionists are
    > >necessarily any less orthodox in their theology than others.
    > But at this
    > >point, I fail to see how the doctrine of original sin can be
    > reconciled with
    > >a purely evolutionary framework that denies the special
    > creation of humans.
    > >The reason is because there is no satisfactory account of
    > how physical
    > >processes can lead to the emergence of our moral capacity and
    > >self-determination, which are necessary for Adam to have sinned.
    > Your first two sentences seem to be in conflict. You first
    > say that those
    > who accept human evolution are not less orthodox, and then
    > you say that
    > such a view cannot be reconciled with the doctrine of
    > original sin. What
    > are you trying to say? Why is the evolutionary origin of our
    > physical form
    > irreconcilable with original sin?

    The key qualifier is the word "necessarily" in my sentence. I am open to the
    idea that the evolutionary perspective could be entirely orthodox, but at
    this point in my reflection, I fail to see how it is.

    It seems to me that original sin requires a historical Adam who acted
    freely, and henceforth transmitted something bad (be it guilt or corruption)
    to the rest of humanity. Adam had to be both historical and a moral agent.
    Several evolutionists have tried to get away from the historicity of Adam
    because it just seems easier to fit the pieces together, and all
    evolutionary accounts seem inadequate for explaining the emergence of
    self-determination and morality.
    > I have been exclusively addressing the claim that acceptance of an
    > evolutionary origin of our PHYSICAL FORM is not in any way in
    > conflict with
    > our being in the image of God, with the doctrine of original
    > sin, or with
    > any other central historical doctrine of the Christian faith.
    > Nothing you
    > have said would argue against this.

    You seem to want to make a sharp distinction between the physical and the
    spiritual which I am uncomfortable with. You wish to allow for evolution to
    be the explanation for the emergence of the physical form and to have a
    entirely separate (spiritual?) process for the emergence of uniquely human
    capactities. Perhaps I am reading you wrong here.


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