RE: Evolution wars

From: Adrian Teo (
Date: Fri Dec 20 2002 - 23:54:00 EST

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    Hello Rich,

            You asked:

            You say "in the context of the universal church's
    understanding of it." I
            don't know what you mean by that context. You're claiming
    quite an authority.

            AT: What I mean is what has been generally accepted by the
    majority of Christians around the world throughout history. I think
    this is a most legitiamte source of guidance for us, and will prevent
    us modern Christians from all kinds of novel interpretations not in
    keeping with Apostolic teaching.

            Why is the doctrine of original sin and the imago dei
    incompatible with a
            gradualistic account of human creation? St. Augustine said the divine
            likeness was in mente, in thought. When you read the story of
    Adam and Eve,
            they eat the apple, feel shame and feel fear. You cannot feel
    shame unless
            you have a self to be ashamed of, so the shame is the result of
            self-consciousness, which is the difference between man and
    the animals and
            which is constituted of reflective thought (in mente). Adam
    and Eve's eating
            of the forbidden fruit was a conscious decision made against
    the will of God.
            It was not instinctive behavior which is necessarily always
    in accordance
            with the will of God. Adam, even if he was an archetype
    represents a real
            human decision to move away from instinct and rely on learned
            hominid somewhere began making those conscious decisions.
    There was even a
            first one (It was through one man that sin entered the world
    Mark 5:12). All
            of us are sons of Adam in that we share the inherited reflective
            consciousness and can sin. Animals who behave instinctively cannot.

            AT: What you wrote appears to support my argument for a clean
    qualitative break between animals and humans. One chooses freely and
    the other doesn't. Humans arrived on the scene suddenly, although
    there were other human-like, but instinct driven creatures roaming

            Rich: The
            sacrifice of the Cross is the self sacrifice in which Jesus
    demonstrated that
            the way back to God was to make learned behavior perfect and
    intuitive and
            give up reflective self consciousness, give up the will to
    sin. That is the
            return to God. The return to instinctive behavior in which it
    is impossible
            NOT to do God's will. That is why religion is always a
    discipline. If we go
            back to the shame and fear of the eating of the apple we see
    that fear is how
            we approach free will and shame is what we feel when we have
    sinned. In one
            of the more famous of the Nag Hammadi texts from 1st century Egypt, the
            Gospel of Thomas, Jesus specifically says, "When you disrobe
    without being
            ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your
    feet like little
            children and tread on them, then will you see the son of the
    living one, and
            you will not be afraid." Notice that Jesus has taken the
    shame and fear that
            arose with the Adam's fall and removed them. He is describing
    the return to

            AT: I have personal doubts about the relaibility of the
    Gospel of Thomas and the words ascribed to Jesus. I also disagree
    that the way back to God is to return to an instinctual state. The
    way back to God is to love with the love that Jesus demonstrated and
    taught, and love absolutely requires a free and conscious decision,
    not instinct.



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