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

From: David Campbell <>
Date: Mon Sep 01 2008 - 14:50:14 EDT

Not only are figurative elements common in a primarily literal setting
(e.g., the spies sent by Moses saying they felt like grasshoppers),
but also there is more of a continuum. In particular, especially in
cultures not as infatuated with the ideal of scientific precision,
symbolic associations of words are important. A classic example comes
from John's account of the events around the Last Supper-Judas goes
out and "it was night". Although no doubt an accurate statement
regarding the time of day, the importance is in the evil associations
of darkness.

In addition to being a reasonable description of what's left after
things decay, dust would have associations of lowliness and of the
physical as opposed to spiritual. Thus humanity combines very mundane
and physical components with a unique and special spiritual component.
 I don't know how much the later Gnostic-type denigration of the
physical was around in Moses' day, but this certainly contradicts any
such notion. I think this is the primary point of the passage, not
the exact chemical composition of the body nor whether there were zero
or myriad intermediate steps between non-living material and actual
human bodies. A somewhat similar point is made in Ecclesiastes 3,
that a human body is not all that different from an animal body.

On the ooze versus dirt question, there is Tennesee Ernie Ford's coal
mining ballad, 16 Tons: "Some people say a man is made out of mud/ A
poor man's made out of muscle and blood..." Homer and Jethro
"corrected" the lyrics: "Some people say a man is made out of dirt/
Bow legged britches and a humpbacked shirt/ Every man's got a woman to
make him tick/ But only the miner has his pick...

Dr. David Campbell
425 Scientific Collections
University of Alabama
"I think of my happy condition, surrounded by acres of clams"
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Received on Mon Sep 1 14:50:24 2008

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