Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
Date: Wed Apr 30 2008 - 07:09:21 EDT

I should perhaps make it clear that I am not irrevocably opposed to the idea of some special divine intervention to convert some group of hominids into humanity in a theological sense. As I think my last post indicated, I recognize that there are difficulties with the view that there was no such intervention. In addition, belief in some special divine act over & above the kind of thing God did in creating other animals is certainly a very old tradition - e.g., Athanasius in On the Incarnation.

But my earlier point was that it is a little misleading to say something like "God created humanity through an evolutionary process" if the creative act that made some organisms distinctively human was not through the evolutionary process but by an unmediated act of God - & that even though we may think that 99.999% of what went into the development of the human was through natural processes. Furthermore -

a) Whatever else we may think, the development of intelligence and self-awareness seems to have something to do with our distinctive place. Does the evidence that we have suggest that these things developed over some persiod of time or very suddenly? & what does evidence for at least some rudiments of intelligence among other species, such as chimps, mean in this context.

b) Generally speaking it has been the Roman position rather those those stemming from the Reformation that has seen original sin as the loss of a supernatural gift that reduced humanity to a condition of "pure nature." In saying that I don't mean thereby to declare the former position automatically wrong but we should be clear where we stand. (I should add though that the Roman view does not mean that the fall had no physical effects, for in the traditional form of that view the loss of the added gift meant also the loss of the ability to control the body in order to be free of disease and physical death.)

Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/

----- Original Message -----
From: "Terry M. Gray" <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
To: "AmericanScientificAffiliation" <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, April 30, 2008 12:57 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

> Gregory,
>
> I've stayed out of most of these discussions recently because I really
> have nothing new to add. But, I have to say at this point that I don't
> think it's fair at all to say that most TE/EC positions are against
> such an idea.
>
> This may be where George is and where Denis L. is, but many of us are
> quite comfortable with the notion of "circumventing the evolutionary
> process at a critical point". I find my view similar to that taken by
> David Campbell in his post. At this point many will say that we're no
> longer TE/EC but are embracing a form of special creationism. So be
> it, if that's the case. Personally, I reject those semantics and
> consider myself in the TE/EC camp on most of the scientific and
> theological questions...but up the critical point of the origin of the
> humanity in the image of God in covenant relationship with God. The
> question of whether or not homo sapiens as a biological form existed
> up to this point in time is largely irrelevant to the discussion.
>
> This is a tact that many evangelicals friendly to biological
> evolutionary ideas have taken since the days of Darwin. To be frank
> about it, in my opinion, orthodoxy is on the line with respect to an
> historical Adam and Eve and an historical Fall. However, ASA is
> broader than my narrow conservative Reformed orthodoxy.
>
> TG
>
> On Apr 29, 2008, at 3:29 PM, Gregory Arago wrote:
>
>> Is fair to say that most TE/EC positions are against the idea of, as
>> George puts it, "circumventing the evolutionary process at a
>> critical point"? In other words, everything is 'always already'
>> contained withIN that evolutionary process itself, which is used by
>> the SuperNature/Creator to continue (the) Creation in, through and
>> beyond time.
>>
>> David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com> wrote:
>> George said: What we know of the process of evolution in general, &
>> what we can infer from the behavior of our nearest surviving primate
>> relatives, indicates that the first humans would have been prone to
>> sinful behavior - even thought they would not have been compelled to
>> sin. Thus the claim that the first human(s) was/were "morally
>> perfect" is problematic.
>>
>> I respond: But isn't there a difference between being prone to sin
>> and sin being inevitable? For example, if Christ truly was tempted
>> in every way as we are, in some sense he must in his humanity have
>> been prone to sin -- otherwise the temptation is meaningless. Yet
>> for the "new Adam" sin was not inevitable, since he did not sin.
>> Maybe moral "perfection" means making right choices even in the face
>> of very real temptations and limitations?
>>
>> George, you mention traditional RC theology. I remain confused
>> about exactly what the Catholic church's official teaching is here.
>> I know JPII acknowledge that evolution is more than a theory, and I
>> know the RC Church generally permits a range of views on the
>> interpretation of Genesis. But, my understanding is that human
>> evolution remains officially or at least semi-officially verboten,
>> because of a strongly Augustinian view of how original sin is
>> transmited (monogenism).
>>
>>
>>
>> On Tue, Apr 29, 2008 at 2:58 PM, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
>> wrote:
>> If it were just a matter of God selecting a particular couple &
>> communicating with them then evolution wouldn't pose any great
>> threat to the traditional "fall" scenario. But the problem goes
>> deeper than that - in particular, to Strimple's claim that there was
>> "a first man specially created by God, morally perfect in knowledge,
>> righteousness and holiness." What we know of the process of
>> evolution in general, & what we can infer from the behavior of our
>> nearest surviving primate relatives, indicates that the first humans
>> would have been prone to sinful behavior - even thought they would
>> not have been compelled to sin. Thus the claim that the first
>> human(s) was/were "morally perfect" is problematic. This can be
>> avoided if one postulates that God did something outside the
>> ordinary course of natural processes to add some spiritual & moral
>> capabilities to some hominid in order to create humkanity in the
>> theological sense. This in fact is what traditional RC theology
>> postulates - that what humanity lost in "the fall" was not any
>> natural capacity but this added supernatural aspect, the donum
>> superadditum. That is why Rome can accept human evolution up to a
>> point. But adopting this approach means circumventing the
>> evolutionary [process at a critical point.
>>
>> Shalom
>> George
>> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
>>
>> Be smarter than spam. See how smart SpamGuard is at giving junk
>> email the boot with the All-new Yahoo! Mail
>
> ________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
> Computer Support Scientist
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Received on Wed Apr 30 07:12:13 2008

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