RE: The Nature of Atheist - Christian dialogue

From: Alexanian, Moorad (alexanian@uncw.edu)
Date: Thu May 01 2003 - 14:21:28 EDT

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    I have often thought the effect that Christian conversion would have on
    a faculty member. For a professor of history, it would mean that the
    birth of Jesus the Christ would be the central historical fact in the
    light of which all other historical facts would have to be viewed. For a
    professor of philosophy, it would mean that much of what philosophers
    have written is, at most, shallow and worthless. For a
    psychology/sociology professor, it would mean that the fundamental
    element in humans is the spiritual and all other concepts and theories
    would fall woefully short if such intrinsic nature of man is not brought
    up in their discipline. And so forth. But what effect would conversion
    have on professors in the hard sciences and mathematics? My contention
    is that it would be minimal. This is another way of saying that the
    Bible does not say much about science.

    Of course, the existence of a Creator is, at least, the most important
    concept one ought to get out of Genesis, which is quite a lot for those
    who claim to be atheists. Do not get me wrong, I think a scientist or a
    mathematician who is a Christian sees a unity of the whole of human
    experiences and his/her discipline that may not be evident to a
    non-Christian.

    I think in our analysis of Scripture we may bring in too much of
    science. But, how much of science to bring in when deciphering
    Scripture? For instance, if we bring too much, then, for example, the
    virgin birth may seem inconceivable, etc. If we bring in too little,
    then we run the risk of sounding foolish. It is a delicate balance that
    each individual must make but whose views cannot be prescribed for
    everyone. Herein lies all our arguing.

    Moorad

    -----Original Message-----
    From: Peter Ruest [mailto:pruest@pop.mysunrise.ch]
    Sent: Thursday, May 01, 2003 12:32 AM
    To: Iain Strachan; Alexanian, Moorad; Jim Eisele; asa@calvin.edu
    Subject: Re: The Nature of Atheist - Christian dialogue

    > > "By the sweat of your face, You will eat bread, Till you return to
    the
    > ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust
    you
    > shall return." Gen. 3.19
    > >
    > > I do not see any mythology in this verse. It seems that it describes
    > perfectly the state of mankind. We have to work to eat and one day we
    will
    > die. Perhaps this is not a valid statement for those who are on
    welfare but
    > for the rest of us it is quite accurate. Am I missing something?
    >
    > With all due respect, I think you are now taking it out of context.
    What
    > Jim clearly means by stating that this is mythology can only be
    appreciated
    > in the context; i.e. that God was announcing His punishment of Adam
    because
    > of Adam's sin. The logical inference to this surely is that this was
    not
    > the state of mankind prior to Adam's sin. At least, that's how I
    understand
    > Jim's point. I don't think, therefore, you have provided a
    satisfactory
    > answer to it. I'm not pretending I have an answer for it either;
    maybe I'm
    > deluding myself by not taking the atheist option? I don't believe so,
    but I
    > have to admit that I don't have an answer for this one.
    >
    > Iain.

    How about just taking "Till you return to the ground, Because from it
    you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return" as a way
    of saying "till you die" or "all your life"? The implication would be
    that Adam and Eve were mortal from the beginning (like all pre-adamites
    before them), but had been given and thrown away a unique chance of
    obtaining eternal (physical as well as spiritual) life. Adam certainly
    knew what death was before eating of the forbidden fruit - otherwise he
    wouldn't have understood God's warning of death in 2:17. And "...lest he
    put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live
    forever..." (v.22) might also indicate that he was mortal all along.
    Eternal physical life without spiritual life would be hell indeed. Now
    why the roundabout way of saying "till you die"? Adam may have needed to
    be reminded of the crucial difference between merely physical
    immortality (which he might stupidly have yearned for in his fallen
    state) and true life with God (which now was impossible without
    redemption - which is intimated by v.20-21).

    Peter

    -- 
    Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    <pruest@dplanet.ch> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)
    


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