Re: [asa] biological evolution and a literal Adam- logically inconsistent?

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Mon Sep 01 2008 - 14:37:50 EDT

Previous thread:

David said: "More often it's used in a way I would consider both literal and
figurative. For example, Ps. 90:3 says "you turn men back to dust, saying,
"'Return to dust, O sons of men,""

 Why isn't that just literal? What's figurative about it?

 …Bernie
I respond:

Does God literally say that? I don't think so. That's a literary way of
stating that God wills something. Do human beings literally turn to "dust"
after they die? No, unless by "dust" you mean "molecules of water, carbon,
and such that get recycled back into the environment."

On Mon, Sep 1, 2008 at 2:28 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com>wrote:

>
>
>
> ------------------------------
>
> *From:* David Opderbeck [mailto:dopderbeck@gmail.com]
> *Sent:* Monday, September 01, 2008 5:21 AM
> *To:* Dehler, Bernie
> *Cc:* asa@calvin.edu
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] biological evolution and a literal Adam- logically
> inconsistent?
>
>
>
> Ah ok -- so your question is simply, is the "dust" a figure of speech or
> was there literal "dust"? If there was literal "dust," that is inconsistent
> with human evolution -- at this point, God would have intervened in the
> processes of nature and made Adam directly.
>
>
>
> Personally, I'm not sure we can know whether the dust is literal or
> figurative. "Dust" is used figuratively in some other places in the OT (see
> 1 Kings 16:2, Ecl. 3:20; Zeph. 1:17). More often it's used in a way I would
> consider both literal and figurative. For example, Ps. 90:3 says "you turn
> men back to dust, saying, "'Return to dust, O sons of men," and verses 5 and
> 6 say "you sweep away men in the sleep of death; they are like new grass in
> the morning." It seems to me that the Psalmist here is using the
> phenomenological understanding of what happens to our bodies when we die --
> dust -- in combination with other literary expressions. So, I wouldn't call
> the use of "dust" here part of an "ancience science" -- it's rather a way of
> describing an everyday observation in a literary fashion.
>
>
>
> Let's say you take "dust" literally, BTW -- if "dust" is what happens to
> bodies when they die, then the "dust" from which God created Adam would have
> included decomposed bodies containing DNA.
>
> . . . . . .
>

-- 
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Mon Sep 1 14:38:34 2008

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