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

From: Terry M. Gray <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
Date: Wed Apr 30 2008 - 12:40:22 EDT

George,

As for your point a) below, I think these are valid questions.
However, in good Dooyeveerdian manner, I want to suggest the notion of
an anticipatory aspect. There is no reason that the biological
dimensions of what would later become full-blown human capabilities
could not appear in some incipient form in other organisms leading to
the evolution of the human biological form. This would also address
the gradualness of the appearance of these capacities.

Additionally, I don't think that the origin of humanity in the image
of God, humanity in covenant relationship to God, has to coincide
precisely with the origin of Homo sapiens. That is to say, biological
Homo sapiens could have been around for some time before the Genesis
1-3 events. I must quickly add that after the origin of humanity in
the image of God that all biological Homo sapiens would be in that
same state--I don't want to entertain or be accused of the notion of
any kind of racism rooted in such a view that some humans are in the
image of God and in covenant with God (in the Adamic covenant in the
Reformed formulations) and some are not. I also want to distance
myself from Dick Fischer's view and say that such an event would have
occurred early enough in human history that the significant diasporas
of Homo sapien history would not have occurred. Of course, these later
comments are highly speculative and are attempts to work the biology
and the theology into some kind of coherence.

As for b), I also agree. The nature/grace duality is not one that I
espouse. I'm much more inclined toward thinking in terms of a creature/
Creator distinction. Thus, even in a dualist anthroplogy, the soul is
a created thing, even if it doesn't arise from "nature". (I'm really
not sure I even believe in "nature" as such.) And, even with a dualist
anthropology, I can think wholistically about this. That humanity,
body and soul, is in the image of God and in covenant with God and
that the whole human being fell into sin and suffered the consequences
of sin and that the whole human being is and is being redeemed from
that sin and it's consequences.

TG

On Apr 30, 2008, at 5:09 AM, George Murphy wrote:

> 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
> > Chemistry Department
> > Colorado State University
> > Fort Collins, CO 80523
> > (o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
> >
> >
> >
> > To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
> > "unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
> >

________________
Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
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Received on Wed Apr 30 12:43:23 2008

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