Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis

From: Jim Armstrong <jarmstro@qwest.net>
Date: Tue Mar 11 2008 - 19:07:19 EDT

Well, I'll bite. Here is a possible rationale (in pretty short and
unrefined form) that occurs to me, though its acceptability as such will
undoubtedly problematic. First a bunch of observations...in the lowest
manifestations of life that we know of, sex differentiation does not
exist. In higher manifestations of life, the physical attributes that
define that distinction seem to have identifiable counterparts in the
two sexes. At the cellular level, unfertilized human ova can be
stimulated to begin the mitosis process. If I recall, an individual
sperm can also be caused to begin mitosis (though with more difficulty
than for ova). In some creatures (e.g., chickens and at least some
sharks), parthenogenesis occurs. In some kinds of living creatures,
there are no males. In others in the animal community, the dominant
community member can even switch sex.

A conclusion that might be drawn is that sex differentiation was then
something which occured/was introduced into the evolutionary tree at
some point. For this discussion, it matters not by what means this
occurred, whether under the baton of a conductor, or in consequential
compliance with a master blueprint. But suffice to say that sex
differentiation as a life attribute might not be as fundamental as one
might under most circumstances (particularly from a human perspective)
be inclined to assume. So if "woman-ness" was an emergent attribute of
the evolutionary tree, what conceptualization or language from the time
of the Genesis writing could be drawn on to somehow, to some degree,
reflect the emergent nature of this evolutionary development? Perhaps
the taking of Adam's rib is not such a bad way -- nay, maybe even an
elegantly poetic way -- of saying that the nature of
evolutionary/created Eve is in at the same time fundamentally of
evolutionary Adam, yet distinct from Adam in new, delightful and
companionable ways.

I am not certain of any exactness in this script -- who can say. But
perhaps this offering would suffice as one plausible bridge for the
accommodation gap you identified.

Regards

JimA [Friend of ASA]

Jon Tandy wrote:

> Jim,
>
> I realize you aren't taking a strong stance on this point, but this is
> what I was addressing with my first paragraph. If the verses in
> question are suggested to have a "possible descriptive accommodation
> of an evolutionary process," then what kind of accommodation could be
> contrived for the creation of Eve from Adam's rib? If no
> accommodation can be conceived of which explains Eve in the same way
> as explaining the creation of Adam, then it seems to me that it
> undermines even the suggestion that evolution was accommodated in the
> statements that waters and earth "brought forth" living creatures.
> (As I said, and as perhaps you are saying, I think it does make an
> interesting rhetorical argument, but if it fails for want of
> consistency, it's probably not a useful argument.)
>
>
> Jon Tandy
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu
> [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Jim Armstrong
> Sent: Tuesday, March 11, 2008 1:16 PM
> To: ASA
> Subject: Re: [asa] A few literal problems in Genesis
>
> Just to perhaps speak the obvious, but with respect to your first
> "ponder", the Genesis 1:20-21 passages, including, "...Let the
> waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath
> life..." are additionally interesting. They are interesting in
> their very presence, given the seemingly sufficient "out of the
> dust of the ground" passage. It is of course also interesting
> because of its possible descriptive accommodation of an
> evolutionary process. Neither passage of course proves anything
> relating to evolution, but they do seem to me to make clear room
> for such a progressive creative process, even to a very literal
> interpreter of Scripture unless they are just to be ignored. They
> are there in plain view for every reader, and their very presence
> sure seems to me to make it hard to explain them away. Despite the
> "kinds" sophistry, they seem to me to clearly describe some sort
> of developmental process, and it is no stretch at all in my view
> for that process to be one and the same as an evolutionary
> process, at the very least making room for that aspect of concordism.
>
> I'm not a concordist per se, but I do still think it remarkable
> that the wisdom of the day (as a minimal description of the
> inspiration for the Genesis narrative) did as well as it does
> against the knowledge of today. It is sort of sad to me that
> literalists insist on cherry picking of these passages, ignoring
> these two developmental descriptions in light of what the very
> Creation speaks to us today. These passages have been meaningful
> to me in that light.
>
> Regards - JimA [Friend of ASA]
>
>
>
> Jon Tandy wrote:
>
>> In the last few days I've pondered a few points about Genesis 1
>> and 2 that I don't recall reading about in other discussions
>> (although I'm sure they must have been somewhere).
>>
>> First, I was pondering the statement that the animals and Adam
>> were created "out of the dust of the ground". I realize that
>> some have inferred that this statement could include evolution,
>> as the earth itself is what produces the variety of creatures. I
>> think this is a tenuous conclusion when taken as a "concordist"
>> interpretation, but it does make for an interesting rhetorical
>> argument. However, if this is taken as a potentially
>> straightforward description of evolution producing man from the
>> ground (from common, existing structures), then for consistency
>> what would the creation of Eve be taken to mean scientifically,
>> as being from Adam's rib? In other words, for those who take the
>> one statement as a scientific inference of Adam's evolution, how
>> can they apply consistent interpretation when it comes to Eve's
>> creation as a scientific event?
>>
>> Second, the sun and moon were made to "divide the day from the
>> night", with the sun to rule over the day, and the moon to rule
>> over the night. If this was so (according to a "literal"
>> interpretation), then why do we see the moon come out in the
>> daytime and disappear at night sometimes? It seems that if this
>> verse were to be taken literally, the moon has ceased functioning
>> according to its created purpose, which was to rule over the night.
>>
>> Also, since God divided the light from the darkness in Gen 1:4,
>> why did it need to be divided again in verse 14 by the sun and
>> moon? How do the sun and moon divide the light from darkness,
>> since both of them cast light on the earth (the moon for at
>> least most of the month)? The only thing I can think is that
>> dividing the light from darkness in verse 14 means to divide the
>> day from night (sun=day, moon=night), which goes back to my
>> previous paragraph about why are the moon and the sun sometimes
>> out during the day -- that is, if all this is to be taken in a
>> strictly "literal" 20th century cosmology. For me, this all
>> contributes toward showing why a framework or some other
>> interpretation is more plausible.
>>
>>
>> Jon Tandy
>>
>>
>

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Received on Tue Mar 11 19:08:20 2008

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