RE: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Wed Aug 22 2007 - 19:56:16 EDT

I believe determining the sin nature of man from data that is usually accumulated by sociology; psychology & c would be akin to inferring design from observations of the working of Nature. What additional kind of knowledge, other than that provided by the experimental sciences, would one have to appeal to to reach such conclusions? Whatever that kind of knowledge it is, it would simultaneously lead to the existence of sin as well as design.



From: on behalf of George Murphy
Sent: Wed 8/22/2007 7:27 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam

Bundling a couple of responses to (1) Merv (snipped) & (2) Moorad below:
(1) A distinction should be made between faith in God and theology, the attempt to think through and explicate that faith. A person can have genuine faith in the God revealed in Christ independently of what he/she thinks or doesn't think about evolution. But a theology of creation which contradicts what science tells us about the world at important points is badly defective & may undercut any attempts to communicate the Christian message. Cf. Aquinas: "It is, therefore, evident that the opinion is false of those who asserted that it made no difference to the truth of the faith what anyone holds about creatures, so long as one thinks rightly about God, as Augustine tells us in his book On the Origin of the Soul. For error concerning creatures, by subjecting them to causes other than God, spills over into false opinion about God and takes men's minds away from Him, to whom faith seeks to lead them.

(2) Sin is a theological concept having to do fundamentally with a person's relationship with God. While sociology, psychology &c can tell us about anti-social behavior, mental pathologies &c that are associated with sin, they cannot talk about these things as sin. Scientific theories certainly cannot tell us that people either are or are not sinners.

Because of this, the type of statement that has often been made, that original sin is the most empirically confirmed Christian doctrine, is misleading. Our experience of the world does tell us that people have a strong tendency to behave in the ways that the doctrine suggests that they will, but it is only revelation that tells us that such behavior is "sinful."


        ----- Original Message -----
        From: Merv <>
        To: David Opderbeck <> ;
        Sent: Wednesday, August 22, 2007 12:07 AM
        Subject: Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam
        In the latter case, the answer to George's question is that evolution or one's quest to find and build answers in that construct is totally irrelevant to the world of faith in God. (Or at least it would be if it weren't for the warfare folks promoting science to the level of theology, thereby demeaning theology.) If one's preoccupation with science (of any kind) becomes an obsession displacing their passion and love for God, then it is idolatry (and always would have been from long before evolutionary theory). In that case science has strayed out of its subset into wider faith domain that contains it, and it becomes a matter of faith to deal with it.

        Thanks for this very interesting post. Therefore, we are born sinners justifies the coming of Christ and His redemptive power via His death and resurrection. Surely, then scientists cannot answer the question of why we are sinners since it is a theological rather than scientific question. However, are there scientific theories that would contradict the sin nature of man and are not these scientific theories more than mere science?


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Received on Wed Aug 22 19:56:39 2007

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