Is The Fall compatible with evolution?

This question is for those Christians who believe that god created humans using evolution without the dark side to their nature and that the Fall is a description or allegory of a real historical event i.e. humans disobeyed or turned against God in the past; and that this somehow explains why humans have the potential and tendency to commit sin (such as mass murder, war, genocide, infanticide, etc).

Animal behavioral studies suggest that many species display the same negative behaviors that humans do such as intercommunity aggression and infanticide. Im particularly thinking of the Gombe Chimpanzee War where one community of chimps raided a neighboring chimp community, killed all adult males and ‘stole’ the females. Since the most recent human/chimp common ancestor lived approximately 10 million years ago, this suggests the ‘dark side’ of our nature is at least this old as well.

My question is how do you reconcile the Fall (whether real or allegorical) with the above?

If on the other hand you believe that humans were created with the potential and tendency towards sin such as interpersonal aggression and violence, how do you reconcile this with an omnibenvolent creator? Please respond here

I guess personally I don’t see the conflict. The fall refers to a breach of a covenant and evolution explains how emotions and cognitive processes developed.

Do you believe that humans were created with the potential and tendency towards interpersonal aggression and violence? If so how do you reconcile this with an omnibenvolent creator?

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humans were created to overcome the interpersonal aggression and violence which is exactly the point of a benevolent creator. Can you get an animal to understand the complexity of loving thy neighbour and how to look after creation? We are made to understand how to overcome the selfishness in God

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I agree that humans have the capacity to overcome their dark nature in specific instances, but can a person do so consistently over a normal lifespan (which is what God requires)? If a person could do this then wouldn’t this mean that they don’t need to be redeemed through Christ?

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Christ gives you the tools how to do this. Christ did not die to buy us free from God’s wrath but from the devils hold on our selfishness

I feel like this question is almost the same as before.

Humans, just like with most animal species have evolved to survive. Part of evolution is the struggle to survive which results in some mutations being beneficial which over time can lead to speciation.

So by the time humans were on the scene we can presume that they had the same or better emotional intelligence and social behaviors as chimps.

So take hunger. Hunger is not evil. Hunger is a warning that our body needs more calories and more nutrition. When we get hungry we get something to eat. But sometimes people struggle with being able to fill full daily because they don’t have great access to food. Some people get so little food for
Such a long time they starve to death. So while hunger itself is not evil, sometimes hungry people end up doing something evil, like robbing a house or store in order to get the food they need to cook.

As mentioned before things like sexual urges are normal. We see many species mating for just strictly passing on genes. Some animals seem to have evolved to the point they enjoy it and will do it for fun. Humans are one of those animals. As Christians God tells us that to fulfill these desires we need to be married and be faithful to a spouse. So while sex is not evil, and feeling turned on is not evil, God lines out marriage and faithfulness to our spouse as a layer to doing it. So it’s not evil. However some people instead of seeing it as a gift use it for abuse. They place their wants over the rights and well being of others. Rape is a distortion of that gift being used in evil ways .

We have evolved the cognitive processes to calculate risk. Even the Bible talks about the cost of discipleship is similar to building a house snd says don’t be the man who does not calculate the cost and can’t complete it looking foolish. Part of calculating the risk is accessing our own potential and shortcomings. When someone goes to open up a business and leave their full time job behind it can be scary. Sometimes , and often, they fail. It’s embarrassing for us. But calculating risks is not evil. But some people end up being consumed with fear of failure or fear of not being good enough. So they harm others through sabotage and will blackmail or threaten others to do their will. I knew of a contractor once who used cameras as security in new builds to make sure nothing is stolen. Toward the end of the hiuse being built and all the finishings was happening after hours he just happened to catch something on camera. He caught a subcontractor sleeping with the wife of one of his employees. The contractor then blackmailed the sub for about a year to do jobs for next to nothing. Eventually the sub had enough and came clean and ended the blackmail. Then contractor made a comment abkut doing it because this business is a dog eat dog business. He was scared of failing and one of the ways he tried to cover one it was by blackmailing another man who ignored a gods laws on marriage.

So as we can see we were not made to be inclined towards evil. All the same emotions and feelings that can be used for evil can also be used for good. God has given us free will to make choices. So when I’m feeling this or that I can choose good or evil to express it.

But yes it’s theoretically possible for a human to go there whole life without sinning because all sin is a choice. Jesus was a man for example who chose to never sin his entire life. So God blessed him with horror and power and he’s our messiah. He could have rightfully been spared pain and suffering but he loved us more than he loved himself and so he “drank the cup of wrath” and died for us which destroyed then devils works and opened up a legitimate loophole in a perfect God’s requirements so that the lost can be saved.

This to me is just assuming a blend of Christian baggage like the fall, total depravity, hell and penal substitution. Humans can choose not to sin. We are judged for what we choose to do. An evolutionary trait or urge? In my view Jesus didn’t come to save us on God’s end, he came to save us from ourselves on our end. Notions that he literally took on sin are incomprehensible to me. Sounds like incoherent babble. Nor do I accept that God requires the shedding of a fluid that carries oxygen throughout the body to forgive us (Mitchell calls thisnblood magic). Just genuine repentance.

But I think your post mixes up issues. Because from the start you say: “This question is for those Christians who believe that god created humans using evolution without the dark side to their nature and that the Fall is a description or allegory of a real historical event i.e. humans disobeyed or turned against God in the past; and that this somehow explains why humans have the potential and tendency to commit sin (such as mass murder, war, genocide, infanticide, etc).” But then later you ask how we reconcile the fall (whether real or allegorical). I am not sure who you are aiming this at.

I think many of our proclivities to sin are the product of enculturation. How many children (and adults) are starving to death right now as many of us are living the dream, buying bigger and better. I certainly feel guilty and we are more prone to buy ourselves things than become good Samaritans. Sure, the Michael Shermers could argue we are not programmed for morality at a distance but for those of us who believe in free will this is not a valid excuse.

At any rate, I take it that God knows how to judge us accordingly. A quote from Mere Christianity by Lewis I always found informative.

Human beings judge one another by their external actions. God judges them by their moral choices. When a neurotic who has a pathological horror of cats forces himself to pick up a cat for some good reason, it is quite possible that in God’s eyes he has shown more courage than a healthy man may have shown in winning the V.C. When a man who has been perverted from his youth and taught that cruelty is the right thing does dome tiny little kindness, or refrains from some cruelty he might have committed, and thereby, perhaps, risks being sneered at by his companions, he may, in God’s eyes, be doing more than you and I would do if we gave up life itself for a friend.

It is as well to put this the other way round. Some of us who seem quite nice people may, in fact, have made so little use of a good heredity and good upbringing that we are really worse than those whom we regard as fiends. Can we be quite certain how we should have behaved if we had been saddled with the psychological outfit, and then with the bad upbringing, and then with the power, say, of Himmler? That is why Christians are told not to judge. We see only the results which a man’s choices make out of his raw material. But God does not judge him on the raw material at all, but on what he has done with it. Most of the man’s psychological makeup is probably due to his body: when his body dies all that will fall off him, and the real central man, the thing that chose, that made the best or worst out of this material, will stand naked. All sorts of nice things which we thought our own, but which were really due to a good digestion, will fall off some of us: all sorts of nasty things which were due to complexes or bad health will fall off others. We shall then, for the first time, see every one as he really was. There will be surprises.”

I think the harder question is why were we created with such violent and aggressive tendencies. Is this how God wanted us? What role does this play in omni-benevolence? Why are we like this?

For some the ontological hierarchy of life is a ramp rather than big steps. Chimpanzees in general may face the same issue as we do just to a lesser extent with less moral culpability than we do because we are more evolved and able to make freer choices. Just because something is deemed “natural” in the animal world doesn’t make it so or justify us partaking in the behavior.

The Fall is the consequence, a product of biological and cultural evolution, a late primitive and quite remarkably positively anthropomorphic projection of our idealized selves from 500 BCE.

Theologically speaking original sin is not in the Bible. The phrase is not in the Bible snd neither is the concept.

Adam and Eve were humans just like us. Before the “fictional fall” would have happened Adam and Eve still sinned. So we can’t say we sin because they sinned when they sinned on their own accord just like us. They faced temptations and failed just like us.

Before Adam sinned, we don’t see any evidence that he was biologically different. He seemed to be just like us. We also don’t see any evidence that God had a covenant with someone before Adam. Just like with Moses, Abraham and David God reached out to Adam and begin a covenant with him. There is not much historical evidence in genesis 1-11. It was written as a mythological tale. It just happen to be centered around his first covenant with humanity.

So Adam chose to sin just like any of us do. It did not require a supernatural or biological change. There is no original sin to be passed on. My mind and body was not transformed supernaturally because of Adam’s choices. Sin is and has always been a choice.

The fall is not an explanation of animal behavior, but one of the human mind with abstract ideas such as truth, justice, and love.

Potential yes, tendency no. In biology it is a question of the success of different survival strategies, and over and over again the strategy of cooperation proves more successful.


Ahhh, yes!

  • Atheism Argument #21(a):
    • If humans were divinely created and evolved without “a dark side”, does “a Fall” explain humanity’s existing “dark side”?
  • Atheism Argument #21(b):
    • (i) Research on animal behavior confirms that some species engage in the same "negative behaviors that humans do, e.g. inter-community aggression and infanticide (cf. Gombe Chimp War).
    • (ii) Current theory of evolution indicates that the Most Recent Common Ancestor of humans and chimps lived approximately 10 million years ago.
    • (iii) Combining (i) and (ii) suggests that humanity’s “dark side” is at least as old as "the Most Recent Common Ancestor: i.e. 10 million years old.
    • (iv) If (iii) is true, how do theists reconcile “a Fall” and the pre-human origin of the “the Most Recent Common Ancestor”?
  • Atheism Argument #20(a):
    • If theists believe that humans were created with the potential for and propensity to manifest interpersonal aggression and violence, how do they reconcile that potential and propensity with an benevolent creator?
      • Atheism Argument #20(a)
        • Rejects the Doctrine of Original Sin and
        • Assumes that God set humanity up to fail.

Well, I can certainly understand why you became an atheist.

  • Assume that once upon a time, the Cosmos was a stable, dynamical system which–being stable–was, by definition, “Good”, i.e. dependent on several parameters which could undergo small variations of the parameters [so-called “perturbations” (i.e. changes)] none of which disturbed the system’s equilibrium state and led to bifurcation. Movable things moved from one place in the system to another, ate non-movable living things and drank water.
  • Assume that the “suggestion” posed in Argument #21(b)(iv) is an example of atheistic speculation, wishful thinking, and, IMO, the post hoc ergo propter hoc fallacy, to wit: “Because chimps and humans behave aggressively and violently toward each other now, their Most Recent Common Ancestor must have behaved aggressively and violently toward each other 10 million years ago.”
  • What atheists are faced with here is a “Black Box Problem”. A “Black Box Problem”, as far as I know, can appear in one of several forms:
    • We know what went into the Box and what came out of the Box, but we don’t know what happened in the Box, so we don’t know “how” what went in became what came out of the Box.
    • We know what goes into the Box, but we don’t know what’s going to come out of the Box, or when or where or if anything is going to come out of the Box.
    • We know what comes out of the Box, but we’re clueless about what–if anything–went into the Box.
    • Other variations of the “Black Box Problem” involve more than one “input”, more than one “out put”, and different degrees of confidence level in “what we know”.
    • In the matter at hand, the only thing that I think we can safely say is that chimps and humans are capable of engaging in aggressive and violent behavior toward their own kind, and–for that matter–toward each other.
    • Given my bold initial assumption: i.e. once upon a time the Cosmos was a stable, dynamical system which–being stable–was, by definition, “Good”, and aggression and violence were unknown events on earth, among chimps, humans, and I daresay. their Most Recent Common Ancestor. My authority??? The Bible.
    • So how did aggression and violence come about in the stable, dynamical system? Leaning on “Catastrophe Theory”, I say: The source of instability and the loss of equilibrium in the system’s initial state was a “singularity” in the system: an event that was so profound that, unstopped, it would have rapidly spread throughout the Cosmos. In orthodox Christianity, the singularity is known as “the Fall”: a unique, distinct, peculiar, event.
  • As Vladimir I. Arnold [Department of Mathematics,University of Moscow] wrote, in Chapter 7, of his book Catastrophe Theory [Springer-Verlag, 1984], entitled: “Singularities of Stability Boundaries and the Principle of the Fragility of Good Things”: “We observe that in all cases the stability domain projects an acute angled wedge into the instability domain. Thus for systems near the sharp part of the boundary a small perturbation is more likely to send the system into the unstable region than into the stable region. This is a manifestation of a general principle stating that good things (e.g. stability) are more fragile than bad things. It seems that in good situations a number of requirements must hold simultaneously while to call a situation bad any one failure suffices.
    • T.S. Note: Obviously, when a singularity appears in a stable system, there is no “sharp point of a boundary”; the singularity itself is a sharp point: a “stab-wound”, so to speak, which destabilizes the stable system in expanding shock waves and is not itself overcome by the stable system unless immediately excised and cauterized. An atheist’s inability to recognize Divine omnibenevolence in God’s failure to excise and cauterize the wound is a contributory factor perpetuating evil.

Atheists, on the other hand, appear to assume that the Cosmos has always been and always will be an unstable, i.e. “not Good” dynamical system, incapable of ever being or becoming “Good” anytime and anywhere.

Generally speaking, atheism’s maxim is: “Cosmically and globally, reality sucks! It always has and always will. Locally, reality may suck from time to time, and more around you than around me, but it would suck a little less if we could persuade Christians to stop believing and hoping.”

I’m not sure why you think my argument which you labelled 21b has anything to do with atheism? Don’t you think that if two closely related species share a common trait, that it is reasonable to conclude that their most recent common ancestor shared the same trait? If chimps and humans both have two eyes isn’t it reasonable to assume their most recent common ancestor also had two eyes?

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Romans 3:23 says “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. Doesn’t this mean that no normal human can consistently avoid sinning throughout a normal lifetime because of their nature? Jesus isn’t exactly a normal human being.

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I’m pretty sure you already know the answer.

  1. That verse states a simple truth. Humanity collectively chooses sin. They are not forced into it. They choose it. Humans evolved, they were not plucked out of a thought. Jesus was a regular man. There was nothing supernatural about him. He faced sin and free will just like you, me and everyone else. He simply always decided to follow through with righteousness.

So you’re paradigm of “ God must be evil or weak because of how humans engage free will “ is simply not true. Every time you did something evil, or you continued to let a bad thought play out the only person responsible is yourself. You are responsible for your actions.

What nonsense! If I say, we cannot avoid breathing and drinking microplastics, I suppose it is technically true that this is a result of our nature because it is our nature to eat and drink. LOL But the real cause is not our nature but the fact that we have filled the environment with microplastics. Sin is no different. These are self-destructive habits that we cannot avoid because of our nature to learn and imitate those around us. But that nature to learn and imitate is not the cause of sin any more than breathing and drinking is the cause of microplastics.

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I agree with what you said, but this wasn’t what I was referring to. By tendency, I meant the behaviour is not uncommon. If you obverse a chimp, you are almost certain to see it display examples of aggression and violence at some point. This is because such behaviour is part of their nature.

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So does that verse imply every human that makes it into their adult life will choose sin and fall short because of our “nature”
Which just means free will? Yes. Every adult ever has sinned because of our free will. The only exception was Jesus.

What’s the alternative? God completely erases free will? That’s dumb.

What do you think should be specifically changed?

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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