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

From: David Opderbeck <>
Date: Thu Sep 04 2008 - 20:10:32 EDT

Yes Merv, when I say "ontological reality," I don't necessarily mean "a
verifiable 'historical' moment."

BTW, I found an even better quote from Von Rad (p. 80):

"[chapter 2, verse 15] indicates man's purpose in being in the garden: he
is to work it and preserve it from all damage, a destiny tha tcontrasts
decided with the commonly accepted fantastic ideas of 'Paradise.' . . .
There is 'nothing here about abunded wonders of fertility and sensual
enjoyment', but work was man's sober destiny even in his original state.
That man was transferred to the garden to guard it indicates that he was
called to a state of service and had to prove himself in a realm tha twas
not his own possessio. in the ensuing divine address the misunderstanding
of the garden as an Elysium for sensual enjoyment is completely destroyed."

On Thu, Sep 4, 2008 at 7:48 PM, Merv <> wrote:

> David Opderbeck wrote:
> Merv said: That is the forced choice, is it not?
> I respond: I don't accept that. Binary thinking, in my view, usually
> betrays a lack of imagination. I think it's critical to Biblical theology
> that the Fall narrative refer to some sort of ontological reality, in
> whatever literary form it might be cast. Christ came into the world because
> something *really is* wrong; "evil" is foreign to God's good creation; and
> the new heavens and new earth will constitue a new ontology that is equally
> real.
>> Not all binary thinking is deficient (though I note your word *usually*
> with approval). Logic and the way we frame situations imposes such
> necessary logic in many cases. E.g. my student turns in homework late with
> all manner of valid or invalid excuses or extenuating circumstances. But in
> the end, I either award him full credit or I do not. Law of excluded
> middle.
> Yet granted, in this situation perhaps binary thinking is inappropriate --I
> would certainly agree that the binary mode of argument often used to frame a
> religion verses science arena is impoverished in many ways. Yet we will
> continue to choose a new "frame" or arena where we too will make a binary
> choice --and rightly so. Would I be correct to infer from what you say
> above that you don't use the label "ontological reality" on anything that
> isn't a tack on a time line? To me this is another form of binary thought:
> that either something is ontologically "real" because it is an event that we
> could (in principle, with a time machine) dial in the correct era and then
> watch it unfold like a play; or failing that test, it is not. I think the
> E.C. side of what I framed has a wide array of orthodox possibilities to be
> explored that would acknowledge the reality of a fall no less real than
> someone biting a piece of fruit.
> --Merv

David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Thu Sep 4 20:11:11 2008

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