RE: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real person?)

From: Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>
Date: Tue Apr 15 2008 - 15:02:53 EDT

Bethany said:
"But I still think that sinful human action has had a devastating effect
on the world. To leave modern ecological questions out of the
conversation for now, even prehistoric man devastated mammal populations
wherever he went. Take a quick peak at how large mammal populations
absolutely plummet to the point of extinction in every continent where
man introduces himself, and we are talking about tens of thousands of
years ago."

 

Man isn't the only species that has moved in and annihilated other
species-other animals have done the same too (in different parts of the
world at different times). True, humans are the most powerful and we
can wipe-out all others-we are at the top of the chain when it comes to
dominance. We not only can kill everything else, we can/could kill each
other and ALL living life (via nuclear warfare).

 

________________________________

From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On
Behalf Of Bethany Sollereder
Sent: Tuesday, April 15, 2008 7:50 AM
To: drsyme@cablespeed.com
Cc: David Opderbeck; George Murphy; ASA list
Subject: Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was: Was Adam a real
person?)

 

"All of those things are not to be taken literally in my opinion..."

Of course they are not to be taken literally... that is why I called it
a "myth"... the fall of creation didn't happen in any ontological
sense, but the Israelites were working to answer essential worldview
questions, like "who are we?" "where did we come from" "what's the
problem?" etc. When a child would ask "what's the problem with the
earth? Why is farming so hard and why do snakes want to hurt us?"
There was an answer - the Genesis motifs.

But I still think that sinful human action has had a devastating effect
on the world. To leave modern ecological questions out of the
conversation for now, even prehistoric man devastated mammal populations
wherever he went. Take a quick peak at how large mammal populations
absolutely plummet to the point of extinction in every continent where
man introduces himself, and we are talking about tens of thousands of
years ago.

Bethany Sollereder

On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 7:25 AM, <drsyme@cablespeed.com> wrote:

Bethany said: "...the devastating effects of sin on the world ..."

I think that the fall's effects are limited to man and his relationship
with God. I think the fall of man had little to no effect on creation
itself. If we are to take the story literally, the only effects
mentioned are pain in childbirth, the snake slithering on its belly, and
man being required to work the soil to get it to produce. All of those
things are not to be taken literally in my opinion, and are just further
examples of the author of Genesis incorportating existing myths into the
creation story.

On Tue Apr 15 9:51 , "Bethany Sollereder" sent:

        Hey,
        
        I've just finished "God in Creation" by Moltmann. I think he'd
feel pretty strongly about rejecting the idea of "a fall upward". In
fact, in one of his other articles ("Cosmic Christ") he even talks about
evolution itself running counter to redemption.
        
        As for Adam and Eve, I also wasn't quite sure how to answer
either, because if they are not real then they simply represent all that
you would get from Genesis if you read the account simply: the creation
of humanity, humanity's rejection of God, the devastating effects of sin
on the world and on human relationships, the alienation of man from
God... the list goes on. And it gets even more interesting if you start
contrasting the Genesis creation myth with the creation myths of
surrounding cultures (as you well know). The character of God in
Genesis is absolutely unique.
        
        Bethany Sollereder

        On Tue, Apr 15, 2008 at 3:46 AM, Jack <drsyme@cablespeed.com>
wrote:

        I dont know anything about Moltmann so maybe I should keep
silent. But I see the trajectory differently.

         

        As far as I can tell there is nothing about our cognitive
abilities that did not come through evolution. We are animals in that
sense. But whoever Adam was, he was the first one placed into a
relationship with God, and as a result of this was unique, the imago
dei, a physical animal a spiritual being, the first Man. But the
trajectory then turned downward at the fall, and Man became little more
than animals again. Christ was then needed to show us what a
spiritual/physical being is supposed to be. And he is necessary to
restory us to that condition. The difference between my view and the
falling up view, is that Adam had an opportunity that humans since then
have never had, but he made the wrong choice, and condemed us to a
condition with the need for redemption.

         

        The ancient sacrificial system is a "type" that forshadows
Christ's ultimate atonement.

                ----- Original Message -----

                From: David Opderbeck

                To: George Murphy

                Cc: ASA list

                Sent: Monday, April 14, 2008 9:58 PM

                Subject: Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent? (Was:
Was Adam a real person?)

                 

                George, I wonder in this connection if you've come
across the notion of the fall as a "falling up" rather than a "falling
down." I'm not sure if this resonates with the view of Robin Collins
that Don mentions in the next post. The idea here is that human beings
gradually developed the capability of moral reasoning and of relating
intentionally to others and to God. As this capability developed we
continually chose to do that which we had learned was wrong, and chose
not to do that which we had learned was right. Under this view, the
story of Adam & Eve is a representation of humanity's choices, which
continue even today as our sense of morality, as well as our
capabilities for contravening that sense, continue to evolve. But there
is a difference today in that the cross reorients us towards God and
changes our trajectory.

                 

                I started reading Jurgen Moltmann's autobiography this
week, though I haven't yet read any of Moltmann's work firsthand ---
would I be correct in sensing that this idea of an "upward fall" that
gets reoriented at the cross resonates with Motlmann's theology of hope?

                 

                Here is a question about all this: does it really do
justice to the ancient sacrificial system and the substitutionary
atonement? (I trust that in pursuing this no one suspects me of waiving
around any academic body parts.)

                On Mon, Apr 14, 2008 at 8:38 PM, George Murphy
<gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:

                Well, the small number of responses to the "Who do Adam
& Eve represent? thread in comparison with the large volume of "Was Adam
a real person?" ones indicates that not many on this list are interested
in pursuing the 1st question. I find this unfortunate. Perhaps I could
have phrased that 1st question better but I think my intention was
fairly clear - i.e., what do the texts about the 1st man & 1st woman in
Genesis mean if those texts aren't to be understood as historical
narratives &, in particular, if Adam & Eve were not historical
individuals?

                 

                The fact that folks here would rather debate the 2d
question & instead of the 1st suggests that they aren't very interested
in doing serious theological thinking about evolution. Neither those
who believe in a "real Adam" nor those who don't want to wrestle with
questions about what it means theologically for human beings - and, in
particular, Jesus of Nazareth - to be members of an evolved species.

                 

                So I think Gregory is right that most participants here
feel safer dealing with science than with theology. I find his
characterization of theology - really his dismissal of theology - most
unfortunate. Theology is, in the classic phrase, "faith in search of
understanding." Should Christians not want to understand? Or to put it
even more simply, theology is just thinking about what we believe? Are
Christians not supposed to think about that? Are we supposed to leave
our brains at the church door?

                 

                (Of course the "inevitable mythology" of theology is
just Gregory's rhetoric.)

                 

                Shalom
                George
                http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
<http://web.raex.com/%7Egmurphy/>

                        ----- Original Message -----

                        From: Jack Haas

                        To: Gregory Arago ; ASA list

                        Sent: Monday, April 14, 2008 8:01 PM

                        Subject: Re: [asa] Who do Adam & Eve represent?
(Was: Was Adam a real person?)

                         

                        There you go again Gregory: one more cheap shot
about people you know nothing about!
                        Jack Haas
                        
                        Gregory Arago wrote:

                        Notice that few at ASA, especially those who
don't accept 'Adam [as] a real person' are prepared (or willing) to
speak about 'Who do Adam & Eve represent?' Perhaps people think there's
not much 'science' in representation. It is much safer to speak about
science, after all, as it gives a sense of legitimacy that theology
doesn't seem to imply with its inevitable mythology.

                        
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                --
                David W. Opderbeck
                Associate Professor of Law
                Seton Hall University Law School
                Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology

         

 

 

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Received on Tue Apr 15 15:05:47 2008

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