RE: Human origins and doctrine

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Wed Feb 27 2002 - 15:32:28 EST

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    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: []
    > Sent: Tuesday, February 26, 2002 6:21 AM
    > To:
    > Subject: RE: Human origins and doctrine
    > Adrian wrote:
    > >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.
    > It is helpful to approach such questions one step at a time.
    > The original
    > issue as I understood it, was whether or not an evolutionary
    > understanding
    > of the origin of the human physical form was in necessary
    > conflict with a
    > fully orthodox and evangelical theology. I argue that it is,
    > and that it
    > has been so understood by many prominant evangelical
    > theologians since the
    > time of Darwin. You seem to make no rebuttal against that.

    Well, the original issue that I raised was that an OEC position is not
    necessarily any less consistent with the scientifc data than an evolutionary
    position. From that initial discussion, the question of whether an
    evolutionary understanding is in conflict with orthodox Christian theology
    (not necessarily evangelical) came up.

    You argue that it is not in conflict, and my concern was that an
    evolutionary understanding fails to offer an adequate account for the
    original sin of a historical Adam. It may not be a rebuttal, but it was
    meant to be a serious question.
    > Therefore, the
    > issue is NOT whether humans share a common ancestor with the
    > great apes,
    > and have a genealogical relationship to all of creation.

    > Your questions deal rather with other related, but distinct
    > issues. These
    > include: 1) whether humans should be viewed dualistically or
    > monistically,
    > or in some other way,

    This was raised only as a side issue.

    2) the extent to which our moral
    > capacities can be
    > explained by (or related to) our evolutionary history,

    Yes. I fail to see how a purely evolutionary model is able to explain this.

    3) what is the
    > nature of the human soul and what is its origin,


    4) whether scripture
    > demands that Adam be an historical individual,

    Yes. And I think it does.

    5) whether
    > Adam need be the
    > ancestor of all living humans (rahter than a representative
    > head), and 6)
    > whether an historical Adam is necessary to uphold the
    > doctrine of original
    > sin. These are all important questions.

    Yes to both.
    > I also strongly lean toward the view that Adam was a
    > representative head (in a way parallel to Christ's headship
    > of the church)
    > and not the ancestor of all living humans.

    Which I disagree with. I have trouble reconciling this with Romans 5, for

    > As I stated above, I believe that it is important to keep the issues
    > clearly in focus and not confuse them. Thus, it is
    > inappropriate to use an
    > argument for the historicity of Adam as an argument against human
    > evolution.

    My argument was not originally meant to be an argument against evolution (it
    almost seems to be socially inappropriate to do so in this forum ;-)). It
    was simply to observe that OEC may be a viable alternative, without denying
    the scientific data.

    On the other hand, I do not think it is inappropriate to use the arg for the
    historicity of Adam to argue that current models of evolution may be
    inadequate (although not to be entirely rejected) from a theological

    Hope this serves to clarify rather than confuse.

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