@mlkluther & @EvolvingLutheran I am pleased that my recent posts have ‘pricked your curiosity’ enough that you would want to learn more of a worldview that you would undoubtedly NOT subscribe to. Judging from the content of both of your posts, you have already found the path that optimizes your chances of leading a productive, satisfying life. Scripture (Matt.7:16) says “by their fruits you shall know them”, but a skillful horticulturist will promise that a variety of good fruit can be produced by grafting to a healthy rootstock.
As a matter of background, when I came home from a high school biology class praising the value of a belief in evolution, my sainted mother replied: “Maybe YOU descended from a monkey, but I did not”. I dropped the subject, because, even if I made a convincing argument, it was unlikely to change her life for the better.
My worldview, which largely replaces Original Sin with Original Blessing, owes much to Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, but his earlier, more well-known works (Phenomenon of Man, Divine Millieu) were, to me at least, somewhat obscure–due, perhaps, to the translation from the French, or (more likely) to make it easier to deflect the expected criticism from the Vatican. His later, shorter works are clearer, but I still got a clearer understanding from various interpretations, the most recent of which “From Teilhard to Omega” Ilia Delio, Ed. which I highly recommend. (available on Amazon)
As a Cradle Catholic, educated K-8 in parochial school, I had minimal exposure to study of the Bible. In both classroom and the sermons in church I was fed a “sanitized version”, especially of the Old Testament. It wasn’t until I attended a (secular) high school, choosing a career in science where I was encouraged to think for myself, that I realized there was the possibility of conflict between (1) a belief in a literal Genesis and (2) a preference for the use of experimental facts to build scientific theories upon which a reliable worldview could be built. Relying on my own untrained exegetical methods, I could not reconcile the angry, vengeful God of the Old Testament (killing all the firstborn Egyptians and sending a Flood to wipe out most of humankind) with the God Jesus described as a Loving Father. I decided that it was better if I became a “Cafeteria Catholic”, choosing the passages from Scripture that fully supported the concepts of ‘love your neighbor as yourself’ and ‘be a good steward of the marvelous planet Earth’. And there is nothing in the evidence that supports evolution that would lead one to believe that the first humans occupied some sort of Eden where living was easy and everlasting. If our interpretation of Genesis was faulty on that score, and it wasn’t Adam’s disobedience and Fall that resulted in what we now see as a ‘broken world’, perhaps it was the opposite: Humankind was given the Gift of Mind/Conscience so they could Rise above the animal nature that ‘ordinary evolution’ decreed was in store for them. Refusal to take full advantage of this Gift was Original Sin.
Taking this ‘Cafeteria’ approach to the construction of my worldview, I realize I am open to the charge of heresy: that “I am making God in my Image”, rather than the phrase in Genesis that “God made humans in His Image”. Shouldn’t I fear that this is an example of overweening Pride on my part? Perhaps. But I believe that my Creator entered into a few experiences of my personal life (twice in World War II, and at least once since then) with messages as clear as any sent to the prophets of the Old Testament–albeit with personal, rather than world wide, importance. Pretty weird, huh? Especially coming from someone who has spent the last 70 yrs. as a practicing scientist.
None of this should make good sense to most Christians–certainly not to those with Lutheran or Calvanist backgrounds. Nevertheless, there is one point I would like to get across: Don’t think that God spoke directly only to the ancient prophets and no longer does so to humans in this modern age. He may send messages in a very subtle manner that can be lost in the distractions in modern society–definitely not on Facebook or Twitter.