Interpreting Luke's Genealogical Account

(Jay Johnson) #41

When God says, “Let us make adam in our image …”, it is a statement of purpose; therefore, God did not “recognize” mankind as achieving a moral heart and mind, but purposefully guided and fashioned us to that end.

Interestingly, my recent research has turned up something unusual in human evolution. The decisive factors in the evolution of the brain were not driven by a “brutal contest of survival” between individuals, but by relationship and cooperation. In our case, the cliche of “red in tooth and claw” does not hold true.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #42

We do agree on this. I haven’t heard anybody propose a credible point in evolutionary history where God injected humans with new hearts, minds, or souls. And I haven’t heard any credible way to then impose a Fall on the human race.

As for your view of the limitations of evolution, I’m not sure why natural selection would be precluded from producing increased intelligence. I’d happily listen to scientists if this is what they’ve found, but I don’t think this is the case. Modern genetic evidence has confirmed Darwin’s theory. At this point, the level of scientific consensus is so high that one could only deny evolution by suggesting massive worldwide scientific incompetence or collusion. As far as I can tell, the verdict is in: evolution is true, hence Biologos.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #43

Did cooperation not better ensure survival in a harsh uncaring world? There’s no doubt cooperation gave us a massive edge, just as other species have benefited from cooperation. But let’s not paint too rosy a picture. We don’t descend from ancient hippies. Tribal warfare, in group/out group barbarism has always been with us.

(George Brooks) #44

@Christy or @beaglelady:

As you can see from this very concisely worded question-and-answer with @GJDS,
I proposed a solution seems, to me, quite consistent with the BioLogos mission statements.
However, @GJDS rejects the truthfulness of my answer!

I am interested in the thoughts from either of you … because each of you tend to reflect a different part of my inner sensibillities. What are your thoughts?

gbrooks9 responds:
“Evolution-with-God, as formulated by BioLogos specifically allows for this.”


No, not at all.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #46


Then I’m curious what you meant by this. What do we need to be saved from? Hell? Annihilation? Being reincarnated as a starfish?

(Christy Hemphill) #47

I don’t think evolution is inherently any more brutal a process than any other natural process. I don’t understand why the basis of my faith (the atoning death and victorious resurrection of Jesus Christ) is in anyway tied to whether or not humans are a product of evolution or not. I don’t draw my fundamental identity from a scientific account of homo sapiens. And I really don’t care that much exactly when or how or even if humans got eternal souls, nor do I equate the image of God with morality or the endowment of a soul. So I don’t know that I have a dog in this fight.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #48

Ditto on that. The scientifically established process of evolution is “brutish” in the same way that gravity or intertia is “brutish”. I’m waiting for anyone here to come up with any good reason at all why Christianity should be disturbed by any of this. The wait continues.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #49

Well then maybe you can help me understand your theology. Do you think humans need a savior for being sinful? If so, what do they need to be saved from? Did God use evolution to bring about imperfect beings and then deem them deserving of condemnation for being as they are?

(Mervin Bitikofer) #50


Our sin – both corporate sin (as a wider human community) as well as our own personal sins that end up feeding into all that.


He brought about beings that have freedom to accept or reject God’s love --that can freely choose whether they want to love God back or not. We choose not --which means we choose our own condemnation (to be away from God). One of the greatest lines from the movie: “Bruce Almighty” was toward the end when Bruce asks God (the “real” God) how he can force his girlfriend to love him (something he failed to do during his brief tenure where he was allowed to play god --while still forbidden from messing with people’s freewill). Morgan Freeman’s (God’s) answer back to him was priceless: “Bruce, if you figure out how to make somebody freely love you, then I want to know how you did it.” (or words to that effect.)

There is a lot of theology embedded in that one line!

So I would say it isn’t because we are imperfect or evolution-shaped creatures that we are condemned. It’s because of rebellion that we freely chose to pursue.


Saved from sin, obviously.

(George Brooks) #52

@Christy (& @beaglelady & @cwhenderson too ):

Naturally, then, I have even less cause to take GJDS’s objection seriously. If you “don’t care … exactly when or how or even if humans got eternal souls” (and etc.)… then his rejection of the BioLogos formulation is even less troubling to me.

When he chooses to explain his objection, maybe there is something that can drag me back to the conversation.

(GJDS) #53

I have no doubt that biologists accept their current paradigm and I find this when confined to one area of biology not to be troubling scientifically. This also means that ToE cannot be extended to other areas, especially on the attributes of humanity. I think materialists and many atheists make your statements as an article of faith, and I object to claims that put such a belief on solid scientific grounds. ToE simply cannot account for the relatively short and spectacular history of the human race.

So my point is that ToE has little theological significance, and thus if we look at science as a broad field, there is no conflict between science and faith.

(GJDS) #54

This is the crux of the matter - we should not confuse ourselves by equating “and God said …” with “and evolution did …”

There is no basis, scientifically or theologically, for making these two statements identical.

(George Brooks) #55


Your position seems intentionally oppositional to any attempt to find a connection between the antique phrasings of Genesis, and the plain-as-day observations of natural order in evolution.
You rail against the presumption of some Christians to think God might have used Evolution … but you offer no explanation for why it should be more precarious or less probable that God could use natural processes that produce speciation … than God using the water cycle to produce precipitation!

There is no special quality to speciation that would render this some kind of unbreachable wall. Whether Speciation or Precipitation, God has left ample evidence for his workings with both of them.

Frankly, it takes a special kind of oppositional view to not find clues and indications in the fossil evidence, in the geological evidence and in a world view that really makes very little sense if we look to interpreting a World Flood, a Firmament and the lack of any historical evidence for the mixing of humans and other modern mammals with any of the creatures - - which even in the most optimistic of scenarios - - were wiped out in the time of Noah and should have left plenty of bones and evidence amongst the modern world’s surviving species.

(GJDS) #56

You have been down this road too many times George - if you read what I write, you will easily see that I am advocating a harmonious view on science and faith. My comment is to consider ALL of the natural sciences, and to place ToE in a narrow slot within the scientific spectrum.

You are simply misinterpreting my comments and slanting them with comments such as [quote=“gbrooks9, post:55, topic:36744”]
You rail against the presumption of some Christians to think God might have used Evolution

I do not need to offer any explanation for God and what He does, the bible does that for all of us.

(George Brooks) #57


I have attempted to go down this road with you … and you have stonewalled me each time.

You say: “you will easily see that I am advocating a harmonious view on science and faith. My comment is to consider ALL of the natural sciences, and to place ToE in a narrow slot within the scientific spectrum.”

And yet every time I have attempted to get your clarification on the matter you clam up and end the discussion with me.

Make it official here - - make a brief posting right here that you see no barrier to God applying the natural processes of speciation to his work on Earth . . .

just as God does

. . . with the Water Cycle to bring rain when he wishes it.

Or shall I produce a post or two of yours where you state exactly the opposite ? - -

You emphatically stated that there is an obvious difference between the natural laws of Evolution vs. the natural laws of precipitation.

(Freddy Magnanimous) #58

Sorry, you’ll have to be patient with me. I meant there must be some predicament from which we need to be saved. If I’m trapped in a burning house, I need to be saved from getting roasted by the fire. So, I think what you’re saying is that sin is why we need saving, but saving from what?

(Freddy Magnanimous) #59

The problem I’ve always had with the line of reasoning that says non-Christians are rebelling against God, or choosing not to love him back, is that it assumes that Christianity is obvious to everybody…or that God has had a sit-down with all of us, introducing himself, telling us what’s true, and what he expects of us in order to avoid spending eternity in hell…and then we turn our backs on him. But this is not the case. At least God has never made me aware of this situation, and I doubt cavemen of 100,000 years ago knew about it either.

Humans have developed countless disparate worldviews and religions over the millennia and across the globe. Then a mere 2,000 years ago (modern humans have already been existing for some 198,000 years at this point) in one corner of the world, we find out that humans need to be saved (apparently from eternal conscious torment)? Native Americans won’t find out about their need for a savior until a mere 500 years ago when Columbus delivers the good news. I can only be honest and say that this concept of needing to be saved sure looks an awful lot like a human invention.

But back to the more narrow issue at hand…You still maintain that we need to be saved because of our personal sins, so if I’m understanding correctly, the same criticism would still apply. God created imperfect creatures and then deemed them deserving of hell for being imperfect (sinning).

Now, If the only thing you mean by “personal sins” is being in a state of choosing not to love God, then I’m curious about the nature of this purported rebelliousness.

Is this rebellion universal or does it only apply to those who have rebelled against Christianity (i.e. non-Christians).

If the former (this rebelliousness is inherent to every single person), then we’re in the same boat as before. Evolution produced rebellious-natured, God-rejecting creatures and every one of them deserves to go to hell for being as God made them.

If the rebelliousness is not universal, then I assume you have some kind of Pelagian view.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #60

After my quick perusal of wikipedia to help me recollect what ‘Pelagianism’ is, it sounds like he could have had some similarities to what I said above … in terms of having a human nature with at least the capacity to choose good (even if we exercise that capacity all too rarely). But to the extent that Pelagianism has come to be associated with the view that we can earn our way into Heaven with our own good works, then I do not adhere to that. But I’m not a Calvinist either, and so will probably not do a fair job defending the doctrine of total depravity, as I don’t really have a dog in that fight either. I am committed to the proposition that we do have free will and that anything we call love (in the Agape sense) would not be possible without free will.

You ask good questions, and I won’t pretend to have the answers – at least not any that will satisfy the determined skeptic such as yourself. As with the ‘when does a child reach the age of accountability’ question in a neighboring thread, I don’t consider the many historic and prehistoric peoples to be a problem that we can productively worry about. It’s way above the pay-grade of you, me, and anybody else here. If God is just and merciful as we Christians claim He is, then there is nothing to worry about. If he isn’t – we’re screwed anyway --or if he doesn’t exist, then neither does the ‘problem’. None of those scenarios gives us any coherent reasons why this should be our problem. And for you, I suspect you don’t really see this as a problem at all except to keep handy on a short slate of reasons why you want to reject the notion of a Christian God. So I hope you’ll forgive me if I casually brush aside such concerns as irrelevant and of little-to-no disturbance to my faith. (And there are plenty of things to disturb my faith --make no mistake! That’s just not one of them.)

Earlier in your post you raise a better question – why hasn’t God done a ‘sit-down’ to explain all truth to you personally? Don’t we all wish for that! —or we say we do anyway. We imagine that we are the kindly, objective arbiters and highest judges in the universe, and that any god who wishes to be worthy of the job description (the one that we moderns wrote up) needs to make an appointment with us and show up, resume in hand, to apply for the job. And if we are sufficiently impressed we may deign to let them serve as our vending machine lackey.

Needless to say, no such god seems to exist, and Christians should always be happy to help you continue to bury and leave behind those kinds of notions of any god. But when we turn to whom we Christians see as the true God, then your questions can take on a more interesting flavor.

As to how responsible everybody all through history ought to be for rejecting or accepting God whether or not they were privileged to be born into an age that we recognize as explicitly reached by Christ – that is a question worth contemplating (not so much because we want to make sure God meets our approval in how these folks are handled --as I said before: way above our pay grade; but rather as a self-reflection on our own behaviors). There are too many biblical passages that just plain blow our complacent salvation doctrinal formulas right out of the water. The sheep and the goats (representing all the ‘nations’ through history I think we can safely say – whether Christ was preached there or not) unceremoniously plows right through the middle of all our doctrinal pretensions. And these explicit teachings of Jesus himself are accompanied by many other passages (hints, at least) of ways in which we are given enough (even from just what God gives us in nature alone) to be held responsible for our actions. Now – make no mistake, those who are given more – from them more will be expected. We do have the explicit teachings of Christ to help make things even more clear to us; so … to repeat an oft-used scriptural theme: will even Sodom and Gomorrah be able to stand up and condemn our generation? That should be a sobering question for all of us. [added edit: i.e. we, who claim to know so much more in every way than these ‘poor, ignorant ancients’, are we as a result, then, so much better than they were? That is a rhetorical question that should have us quaking in our modern boots! After reading so many of the prophets, I’m nearly certain that your concern for fringe peoples of history is entirely misplaced. We have our own hides to worry about here, and it seems to me that is plenty enough to keep us on our knees, sweating drops of blood.]

I know this doesn’t allay your concerns that what you imagine as a kind of ‘Christian’ god may not be doing the right things according to you, and as I don’t believe in that (answerable-to-you-and-me) god either any more than you do, I don’t feel a need to address that. But the Truth that exists beyond us and is not answerable to us – that is of intense interest. And on that foundation we look with hope and faith.

edits added in…