Re: Genesis and inspiration

Date: Mon Jun 23 2003 - 08:13:26 EDT

  • Next message: Don Winterstein: "Re: Genesis and inspiration"

    Peter wrote:

    Are you talking about the belief that all humans must biologically descend
    from Adam to "inherit" "original sin"?

    I believe nothing in the bible implies this. It just is a fact that Adam
    sinned, as well as all humans (defined as in God's image) before, in,

    and after Adam's time. There certainly is a biological tree of life, and Adam
    is somewhere in it. But this doesn't imply sin "evolved" or is

    natural, because it is intimately linked to the creation of (biblically)
    pre-humans into humans (in the image of God) at a very precise moment

    perhaps 100,000 years ago (I don't insist on this figure, only on the fact of
    Adam being much more recent). This doesn't imply that sin is

    "the Creator's fault", but its possibility is inseparably linked to free
    will, personality, and responsability.

    Of course, I see that differently:

    "...the pivotal event(s) in human evolution corresponding to Adam and Eve’s
    eating of the forbidden fruit is the expansion of man’s behavioral repertoire
    accompanied by the rapid evolutionary growth of the brain culminating in man’s
    knowledge of good and evil.

    What Genesis does not specifically say about either of man’s two states of
    consciousness is easily inferred from the Biblical text. According to Genesis,
    in man’s original state, before:


    · The rapid expansion of the behavioral repertoire
    · The enlargement of the brain
    · And the emergence of self-consciousness


    He generally knew what to do, had little or no sense of self… and could
    therefore not imagine fear. In man’s current state, again according to Genesis, he
    often doesn’t know what to do, he does the wrong thing, he is self-conscious
    and he hides from God.

    Those scientific categories of instinct and acquired behavior are embedded in
    this religious language. If you behave instinctively you intuit what to do
    and do not have to make a decision based on what you have learned previously. An
    organism that behaves instinctively cannot behave otherwise and does not make
    conscious mistakes. On the other hand, if you rely on acquired behaviors you
    have learned, you must consciously choose from among many possible behavioral
    alternatives in any given situation. You are prone to error and your awareness
    of that fact generates ontological anxiety.

    Given these few lines from the Bible, literally read, it became clear to me
    that if one wanted to attain the original state of consciousness, the one God
    intended for us, one would have to abandon one’s self-consciousness and learn
    to intuit appropriate behavior. I believe I am reading Genesis correctly when I
    say; one could then stand in God’s presence without fear.

    Despite countless artistic renderings of a celestial Eden, the Catholic
    catechism defines heavenvery simply as being – in the presence of God.1

                The hunger for spirituality, then, is the natural desire of an
    evolved self-conscious mind to return to a time(the beginning) and a place
    (paradise) before men made tools and plotted the murder of other men, when a man’s
    behavior was intuitive, and he could stand in the presence of God without
    fear. In the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says,


                 “When you disrobe without being ashamed… you will not be


    Jesus’ words in this Nag Hammadi text from 1st century Egypt dovetail
    perfectly with the nature of the fall in Genesis. The fall brought shame and fear.
    Returning to God would remove them.

    We have easily identified a plausible evolutionary counterpart for each
    Biblical fact. The comparison suggests that our awareness of God biologically
    evolved with self-consciousness. Adam and Eve, Biblical archetypes of the human
    condition, did eat the “forbidden fruit” from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good
    and Evil. The allegories in Genesis regarding human consciousness chronicle
    scientific facts. Those scientific facts cannot contradict Scripture. They are

    from true religion: the darwinian interpretation of biblical symbols rf 2002

    rich faussette

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