My views are basically the following:
This is very close to what i believe. However, Original Sin theologies are not taught in the OT or the NT. Some Christian traditions should be reconsidered and some discarded as additions. I have not read the discussion on the Pope’s formulation.
6000-12000 years does not agree with the Biblical story. It accepts the evidence that humans started building stable cities when they stopped being nomads and began agriculture.
Your interpretation makes Eve the mother of the mid-Eastern lineage, not all humanity, The rest of us are sub-human. We could not have the Breath or the Knowledge. We could not sin. The Bible does not preach that. Therefore, the stories are just ancient myths.
I say the interpretation does not express the full inspiration of God. Biblically, we all know good and evil like God and acquire those through biological means, meaning birth. Adam said Eve would be the mother of all the living, which meant all of humanity. The genealogies agree. Science agrees. All humanity is one species that spread out to fill the world. For that to have happened, the empirical evidence requires a minimum of 65,000 years, long before agriculture.
The problem I see is in the segue between the garden story and the Cain story. You insist on a literal “next generation” interpretation. I say none of the Genesis stories contain immediate segues. Most do not contain segues at all. Take the segue between the creation and the garden story. A myth-like interpretations inserts the garden into day 6 and the expulsion just after day 7. But the Bible does not tell it that way. These are separate stories told in very different literary forms.
Time is not relevant to God nor is it required in the art of storytelling. That gives me reason to let the stories tell history that includes vast amounts of time. Genesis 1 contains billions of years, each day expressing the time required for that part of creation. The garden story starts with Y-Adam and M-Eve as innocent almost-humans and ends with them returning to the outside world to spread the Breath and Knowledge. The beginning of the Cain story starts with the inventions of farming and ranching. Rivalry tells the story that we need to control our animal impulses or they will control us. The end shows the eventual requirement of better security because people do not control their impulses and evil is spreading. This progression continues throughout the tidbit stories to show the invention of civilization. Genesis then slows to focuses on Abraham. Even there, time is bypassed regularly to get to the next important event.
You accept that 6,000 years may be too recent for the Cain story. Why is 12,000 years for Cain less of a distortion then 150,000 years for Adam and Eve?
Incorrect. Mother does not always mean genetic descent. Requiring this shows excessive obsession with genetics which leads to racism and eugenics, where everyone failing to fit your genetic criterion are considered sub-human. All human beings coming from a single couple genetically simply does not agree with the genetic evidence.
You may believe that we are nothing but a biological species and that our humanity consists of no more than fitting some genetic criterion, but I do not believe any such things. Our genetics is demonstrably a product of evolution and is our inheritance from the animal kingdom. The evidence for this is coded right there in the DNA and is irrefutable. Our inheritance from God by which we are His children is something quite different. “The Lord God formed man of dust from the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life.” But life is a self-organizing physical process and not a magical addition to inanimate matter, so this is talking about something else: the divine breath from which the word “inspiration” is derived. Therein lies our humanity and relationship with God – the inspiration which brought the human mind to life and made us living beings rather than animals.
So God spoke to Adam and Eve and this is how humanity began, spreading over the earth with speed and power of ideas and inspiration. It explains why they already had domestication and agriculture and why Cain was so afraid of wandering about where all those other people might kill him. It also gives a much more realistic understanding of Genesis 6 more consistent with the rest of the Bible – Cain and Seth took wives from the daughters of those people out there and not incestuously from daughters never mentioned in the Bible, with no need to invent fairy tale giant angel half breeds contradicting the rest of the Bible where angels do not have physical bodies or such relationships.
Which only means these stories come from oral traditions before written history and before the specialization of human activities into things like history, science, law, religion, philosophy, and entertainment. It does not mean that the persons spoken of in the stories were not real people. So you can believe in a real historical Adam and Eve without believing in golems of dust and bone created by necromancy or magical fruit and talking snakes. The latter only reduces the Bible to the level of a comic book rather than a source truth about observable reality.
I certainly don’t see your obsession with genetics and your reduction of humanity a biological species only as a good reason for disregarding what the Bible actually says.
No it does not! These genetic concepts were named after the people in the story and have obviously have nothing whatsoever to do with that story. Forcing them into the story is an abuse of both science and the Bible and makes a mockery of both of them. Rather that providing a legitimate basis for belief, it merely replaces Christianity with a pseudo-scientific idolatry.
Because it reduces Adam and Eve to insignificance, saying they had no discernable impact on the behavior of the homo sapiens species whatsoever. Again the obsession with genetics is a very poor justification for this, no more than it is for the abuse of science and the Bible.
Oh and to correct some other implied misunderstandings while we are at it…
Is there any scientific justification for linking Y-Adam and M-Eve to the development of modern homo sapiens? No, none whatsoever. Is there any scientific justification for thinking Y-Adam and M-Eve existed at the same time? No, none whatsoever. Is there any scientific justification for thinking that important people in history are descended from Y-Adam and M-Eve? No, none whatsoever. They are convenient concepts in genetics because they are from linear decent and thus bypass the vast majority of our ancestors. Such linear decent terminates every time someone only has sons or only has daughters. This happens a lot. I only have three sons and no daughters, so the mitochondral genetic line of my wife ends with her. If someone only has daughters then his Y-chromosomal line ends with him. So when was there someone with a different Y-Adam or M-Eve? We have no idea. In fact we cannot be sure no such person is alive today. We really only know that people whose DNA has been examined all have the same Y-Adam and M-Eve? This is not even a coincidence of any kind but one of simply definition of Y-Adam and M-Eve. For example without the Hausa of Nigeria, pygmies of Congo and the bushmen of Botswana, you get a more recent M-Eve which these don’t have any mitochondrial DNA from. And so it is quite possible we will find another group of people which push the common M-Eve back even further. (And the same applies to Y-Adam, of course)
“Mother does not always mean genetic descent” is a very odd statement. If Eve is not the mother of all humanity, then how do you propose all of humanity attained the Breath and the Knowledge that makes us different?
You seem to have a soapbox about “obsession with genetics,” not me. I keep mentioning the Breath and Knowledge, which made humans different from almost-humans. Because of God changing us, we are not just a biological species, but we are all genetically one species because he removed all of the other species.
Most of what you have written, I agree with. Our disagreement seems to rest on when Adam and Eve might have lived, and we both are speculating. I believe God changed all of humanity through Adam and Eve, real people. Their children had children with the almost-humans. Those children were human because their parents passed on the Breath and Knowledge along with their genetic lineage.
Your proposal of 12,000 years for Adam and Eve is too recent for all of humanity to have the Breath and Knowledge that made us different from those who came before. Everyone needs a genetic link to Adam and Eve or groups of people would not have the Breath and Knowledge. The date must be long before humans ventured out of Africa 65,000 years ago.
I include the story of Y-Adam and M-Eve. Not that they must be the people from the Bible, but that such a similar story exists in our genetics. Those two ancestors of humanity may not have been a couple having kids, but every human so far tested have that peculiar genetic link. That supports the Biblical story in a unique way.
Also, how does an “obsession with genetics” lead to racism, eugenics, and considering people sub-human? People have always accepted or rejected other people because of how the looked.
Genetics shows us we are one species, kin. What we do with that knowledge will be interesting.
So are you an opponent of adoption, and think that people give nothing to their adopted children? I think it is what you say which is VERY odd and peculiar!
The simple fact you keep ignoring is that the transmission of knowledge does not require genetic descent.
That this is total and complete nonsense is easily demonstrated by observing how fast ideas traveled around the world.
And that is your very strange obsession with genetics right there. The content of the mind has absolutely NOTHING to do with the content of our DNA.
Ah, I now see. You equate knowledge of ideas with the Knowledge of good and evil. I do not.
All animals and possibly plants have some sort of knowledge and can learn new things. But the Knowledge of good and evil is unique to humanity. All of us must choose, and we start choosing when we are young. Our ability comes through our lineage as humans. Using our intellect, we can learn to choose better or worse. That part can be adoptive, but the ability is not. We must be genetically linked to Adam and Eve to have the Knowledge of good and evil, which makes us more than just an animal.
I’ve been a theistic evolutionist. Until 2010, in my mid-50s, I still had a side bet on Adam and Eve grafted on to evolution, even after 30 years of fundamentalist deconstruction. Until I went to the excellent Charente Archaeological and Historical Society Museum in Angoulême, SW France. I was overwhelmed by the fact of hundreds of thousands of years of human evolution in the area. The side bet wasn’t sustainable. And I knew the shame of having been forty years down a cul-de-sac. I still can’t believe how easy it is to be hijacked by fundamentalism, to keep saying ‘yeah but’ in the implacable face of science. Ah well!
No I do not believe our humanity is a gift of the devil and from original sin like you do, but that our humanity is a gift of inspiration from God. Nor do I believe in a magical fruit that gives any kind of knowledge, let alone some sort of knowledge that requires a genetic alteration in order to obtain it.
I certainly do believe that we have capabilities unique in the animal kingdom required for a parent-child relationship with God, but like all alterations of our genetic code, these are a product of millions of years of evolution and not some magical alteration of Adam and Eve. All that God did with Adam to bring the human mind to life was to speak to him, and the same ideas came to Eve and the rest of humanity by human communication the same as any other new ideas. The self-destructive habits of sin spread to the rest of mankind in the same way for they were no more an alteration of our genetic code than our humanity.
All living organisms make choices so if you think that is where our uniqueness as human beings is to be found then I certainly do disagree with you about that.
Nor do I think there is anything special about intellect. That is something a machine can do even better than we can. So that is not where our uniqueness as human beings is to be found either.
There is only one thing that human beings have which animals do not and that is language with all the abstract and representational abilities of DNA or better. This is demonstrated by the fact that we use it to understand and decode DNA itself. One consequence of this is that language can be just us much a medium of life as DNA, and we see life in that medium with the human mind (the essence of which is not intellect but life). It is demonstrable that the human mind is not inherently logical, rational, or intellectual, but must be trained to such skills.
And yes the mastery of language took more than a million years of gradual evolution and was not something that magically appeared with a single couple. And what God gives us and has always given to us is inspiration not magical alterations of our genetic code. So no, God did not alter the genetic code of Cain to give him a mark of colored skin as approval for the enslavement of his descendants, nor did God give Jews a mark in their DNA to approve their extermination in gas chambers. Our humanity and relationship with God has absolutely NOTHING to do with our genetics or DNA!!!
Wrong. Sin is not the source of our humanity. And neither sin nor our humanity is a matter of genetics so that we can endorse the insanity of eugenics which seeks to improve our humanity or morality by genetic purity or by exterminating people who do not meet some genetic standard.
The devil did not give the gift of Knowledge. He was trying to take away or distort the gift. God made the tree for a purpose. The Knowledge made Adam and Eve like God (Genesis 3:22), the image. The fruit was not magical, nor did it alter genetics. It was a physical symbol of choice.
Sorry, but the Bible says God did more than talk to Adam. There was the Breath. It was not respiration since all life breathes. This was the human spirit, which unrepentant sin could kill.
For you, it seems the only difference between humans and animals is our language skills. With it we pass on our ability to sin. I only partially agree. I do think we can teach each other to sin. But if language were our only defining attribute, then people born deaf and mute should be saints or beasts. They are neither. They are human. All life has language of some sort. I believe all life makes choices. However, human choices include the ability to be evil, which no other creature we know of has, except for maybe the non-physical ones we name angels, demons, or whatever.
How is language as much a medium of life as DNA? Without our DNA we do not exist as humans. We have no language or any of the abilities you list. Language does not generate life. Language is only part of our abilities as creative creatures, which is what God created us to be.
You are really obsessed with the rejection of our physical bodies as part of what makes us human. If humanity has nothing to do with our genetics or DNA, then what is the point in believing in Adam and Eve as real people? Instead, God made human-kind through millions of years of genetic inheritance. He then altered humanity by giving us a spirit, which also gave us the ability to go beyond our animal programing. Naming the animals was a lesson in morality, not some kind of language enhancement to make Adam human. The two garden trees represent a point in time when our ability to feel shame manifested. All of that together makes us human, not just one part.
Again with eugenics. You do have a deep obsession and fear of that subject. I do not. I think humans will waver back and forth on what to do with the ability to alter our genetics. Sometimes it will be evil. Most of the time God will guide good people to do good things.
There is no question that Jesus died on the cross.
Jesus rose from the dead, a He said He would and as Jews said people would. How could God leave the Messiah in the grave? If His Body was in the grave, how would we know His Spirit has risen? Jesus is God with us and God for us. His body isour like with Him and God.
Those who hate do not like those who love. Don’t you know someone who was hated for no good reason? Jesus stood up to the Romans and Jewish leaders by not stooping to their level.
The Jews and the Gentiles (Romans/Greeks) were not enemies. Jesus demonstrated how they needed to become friends, despite their differences, just as we need to become friends with others despite our differences. Nazis leaders are our enemies just as those who lead ISIS.
The divine breath is where the word “inspiration” comes from.
Deaf and mute people do have language. Just because people don’t have YOUR language doesn’t make them beasts. Without language they are homo sapiens – a biological species. And however much people like you might want to make homo sapiens out to be better and worth more than other species, it is just a bunch of made up hooey mumbo jumbo. Yes, we are the fastest long distance runners on the planet and the best makers and users of rocks, some sharpened – so we evolved as hunters from the primates. These are significant differences to be sure but not a difference which put us so far above the other animal species.
The only big difference is language and that difference is an enormous one – the difference between Helen Keller with language and Helen Keller without language. We can still love them of course, but people love their dogs and cats too to a degree which rivals the love people have for their children. What is the difference? There is only one. The dogs and cats cannot talk back them and tell them what they want and what they are feeling. We can only guess or just make things up for them. They cannot share in any of the knowledge we have accumulated in our books and films. So they will never be doctors and lawyers or even graduate from elementary school for that matter.
Because it has all the same coding and representational capabilities plus a great deal more. This is demonstrated by the fact that we can use language to decode DNA and understand it.
Without DNA we do not exist as homo sapiens. DNA only gives us our biology.
Nor does DNA generate life. DNA by itself doesn’t do anything. DNA and language are simply information mediums. With them we can communicate information to the next generation.
You are really obsessed with the rejection of our mind as part of what makes us human.
The same as the point in believing Abraham and Moses were real people. Because God spoke to them. And thus it is through them that we have the word of God. Genetics has nothing to do with it. Where was Genetics when the Bible was written. Nowhere. It had absolutely nothing to do with what the writers of the Bible or God was communicating in the Bible – OBVIOUSLY!
Incorrect. God made the homo sapiens species through millions of years of genetic EVOLUTION. This is an irrefutable demonstrable fact encoded in our DNA. Looking for God in DNA and genetics is looking in the wrong place. Looking for our humanity in DNA and genetics is also a mistake.
All living things have a spirit. “If there is a physical body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1 Cor 15) That is not the difference between man and animals either.
Wow. It is really getting obvious that you just want to rant against things I never said or ever believed. You are fighting a battle that I am not in. I do not reject the mind as part of what makes us human. Our mind is part of our body. The whole makes us human, not just one part.
I said your theology made deaf and mute people saints or beasts because they could not communicate. If Helen Keller did not have Anne Sullivan, she would have been locked up as a beast because she could not communicate. Cats and dogs communicate better. People with very low IQs often cannot communicate either. However, something besides communication makes them all human, makes them more than just physical bodies.
For some reason, still not obvious, you segregate human DNA from human genetics, human-kind from homo sapiens, the physical from the intellect. We do not exist without all of those put together. God then added the Breath to make us different. That togetherness ends at death when God separates our soul/spirit from our dead bodies, not our communication or our intellect. Of course, technically speaking we are also no longer humans. We become something else a different evolution.
How you deduced “all things have a spirit” from 1 Cor 15 is beyond me. Paul spoke about people, not any other species. He said the physical body came first (a man without a spirit) then the spirit was added. He used that relation to contrast Adam and Jesus. He said we contain two forms. One of dust and one of heaven. Combined, we are humans That makes us different from all the animals.
God gives inspiration. Still does. Inspiration is part how God communicates with his image. However, not everyone hears his voice equally. So again, your interpretation does not match the evidence. The lack of inspiration of some would make them less human and prophets more human. That is not biblical. In contrast, every human having a spirit does make us equal and different from other animals.
And, I believe my cat communicates quite well. It is not in English, yet I understand his desires. He understands me too. This is not just made up. I do not need to guess. It is communication between species.
Yes animals communicate. Communication is not the difference either. I was very specific about the difference of a language with all of the representational and coding abilities of DNA. Your cat does not have communication with such abilities. They cannot decode DNA and tell you what it does. Their ability to communicate is extremely limited. Like I said, they cannot even explain what they want or how they are feeling. We can only guess.
This is not to say that people have to be able to decode DNA in order to be human – lets stop that inane strawman right here. The point is that language has the same capacity for being a medium of life as does DNA. And we see that life in the human mind which has its own desires, its own growth and learning, its own life, and its own inheritance passed to the next generation.
He compared the spirit (spiritual body) to wheat growing from a seed. There is NOTHING in 1 Cor 15 saying that the spirit is added. That is something which you are adding to the Bible. No what he says is, “It is sown a physical body, it is raised a spiritual body.”
Yes God gives inspiration and not all receive equally – not inspiration and not life or humanity either. Jesus said, “let the dead bury their own dead” – telling us that those who are not getting the inspiration from God are like the walking dead. And our humanity is the same. We know very well when people are lacking in the humanity department, and we say so.
We see things differently. I see the body as simply a temporary garment. The body dies and rots away. The spirit however is eternal and for those who are humane, the spirit is granted eternal life. Jesus, as I believe, was a prophet. A prophet is someone sent by God, who is already in union with the Divine. There is no question that a prophet’s spirit is risen. I don’t need to see his body risen for me to believe that Jesus is risen.
Those that hate don’t love anyone. However those that love can’t love those who hate. You don’t need to love the devil to have love.
Jesus did stand up to the Romans and the Jewish leader but that didn’t mean he loved them. He may not have had any ill will against them but that still doesn’t say he loved them.
It is the Romans, who wanted to use Christianity to their own ends, especially in brain washing the Greeks and Syrians and even Egyptians into passivity that would have put the words in Jesus’s mouth. It was political and long after the crucifixion and resurrection (whether you want to see that as including the body or not).
It is not the Jews on one side and the Gentiles on the other as enemies. Enemies exist within every society. There would have been enemies amongst the Gentiles just as there would be enemies among the Jews.
And the same goes for German soldiers in WW2. A friend of my father’s was helped by a German soldier when he was wounded to reach the ambulance a short distance away. The German soldier could have been shot by his own side for doing so. He took a risk but he had empathy. It shows that even though he had been recruited in the Nazi army, he was not a real Nazi.
And the same goes for ISIS. There are those who are fighting for freedom but there are also those who use the organization to commit criminal acts under the banner of fighting for freedom. We often don’t know who the enemy is because they are masked. However there are also people fighting, who may appear bad, but who are not bad, not enemies.
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