The Big Tent ... and Genealogical Adam!

(George Brooks) #142


Dr. Carter’s input is exciting to me!

Why? Because someone who has been reading all of Joshua’s writings would know the answers to Carter’s objections. Can you see where he is going wrong?

If not, I can write up an answer - - and you, or I or the both of us - - can send him a response. I leave it to you. You have done the hard part… you have successfully opened up a discussion.

Answering the questions is the easy phase!

(Christy Hemphill) #143

“Riles” implies an emotional response, which is not really an accurate description of my reaction. I already discussed my issues at the top of this thread in post #2, and #30, and #48. Nothing that has been said has changed my mind.

(George Brooks) #144


I am constructing a master list of your concerns … based on a screen capture for posts #2, #31, #41, #48 and even your most recent posts #52 and #53. [Full inventory is at the bottom of this post for the purpose of convenience.]

Below are THREE of your issues, for which I have produced an answer/response. I will return with some additional answers shortly.

Issue #1: Concordism

“I agree with Josh that many Christians want concordism, but I would say we should try to talk them out of wanting that instead of providing a “scientifically palatable” option. Concordist approaches aren’t all that popular with lots of BioLogos people.”

Brooks Response: Since I’m a universalist, I’m not really worried about anyone’s failure to achieve salvation. What I’m concerned with is extremists taking the whole country to “Crazy Town” by pushing the choo-choo train of science off the tracks and crashing into the University libraries all across the country. To me, the logical problem IS the lack of a “scientifically palatable” option for Creationists.

Your last sentence on this (“Concordist approaches aren’t all that popular with lots of BioLogos people…”) is not only an understatement, it seems to be a major barrier to making progress. BioLogos shouldn’t be so focused on making BioLogos people happy … but on trying to address the anxieties of Creationists. Remember what Paul said:
"1 Corinthians 9:19-23 (NIV): "Though I am free and belong to no one, I have made myself a slave to everyone, to win as many as possible -
[i] To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews.
[ii] To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law.
[iii] To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.
[iv] To the weak I became weak, to win the weak.
. . . I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings."

Issue #2: Original Sin vs. Original Guilt

“I’m not sure that is what Josh believes, but it is the theology held by many people who need their specially created original couple. It is the difference between the concept of original sin and original guilt. Original sin says humans sinned and since all humans inherit a nature prone to sin. Original guilt says that all humans are born guilty for Adam’s sin because somehow in Adam, everyone sinned. It’s based on a mistranslation of Romans 5:12, expounded by Augustine.”

Brooks Response: @Christy, it should be re-assuring to know that neither Joshua nor I want to make Original Sin (nor Original Guilt) a mandatory aspect of Genealogical Adam. When the topic comes up, because there is a literal Adam and Eve in the Geneal.Adam scenarios, Creationists are able to find their source of sin, if they choose to find it in Romans 5:12. I’m a Unitarian Universalist, so this is not one of my personal requirements. It is merely a requirement that those Creationists or Denominations that invest their faith in such matters have their historical Adam & Eve.

Issue #3: “I asked what is the point on insisting Adam and Eve have to be specially created first humans if you DON’T believe it is necessary to uphold the doctrine of original sin.”

Brooks Response: My apologies, Christy. I didn’t specifically answer this because I thought it would be obvious. If you don’t believe you need Adam/Eve to uphold a doctrine, then you can skip over that part. If you are one of the few Creationists who promotes special Creation of Adam even if you don’t them Adam for theological or metaphysical purposes, then I would want to get to know you better… because “that would be a new one” for me!

Posts #2, #31, #41, #48, #52








You have way too much time on your hands.

(Randy) #146

I don’t think that this is the issue. You don’t believe in the GA and I don’t, but we both believe that it can be at the table.

I feel like we’re metaphorical Methodists and Anglicans :). From my very limited understanding, Methodists felt they had a “method” for bringing people into the church. However, the difference is that when they found their effective manner, they went to those outside the church–not to the Anglicans–to talk. Maybe @TedDavis can correct my analogy, but by all means, let Apollos water and Paul plant… They’re not the same, and only some people will respond to one interpretation. It’s ok to not agree–and those on the discourse don’t represent all of Biologos :slight_smile:

On the contrary, Biologos ( the Haarsmas (“Origins”), and the new upcoming IVP book @jstump mentioned will affirm that. Vive la difference!

PS I think it’s great that you are talking about a very important issue.

(Mervin Bitikofer) #147

George, why is it so important to you to imagine that Christy is “riled up” … and must be stewing at home right now over an inventory of “issues” that you’ve so kindly compiled here for her (just in case she isn’t clear what it is that she’s “worked up” about?) With all of this agonizing effort to help somebody else realize how agitated they are, it does appear that somebody must be riled up about something. Hint: I’m pretty sure it isn’t Christy. :sunny:

[Christy can and does speak up quite capably for herself of course, and needs no help from me. I’m just venting a little bit because I think I may be getting a little agitated at how agitated you are that Christy is insufficiently agitated. I think I may be developing an issue you may have to help me through.]

(Christy Hemphill) #148

You think that this one thing, special creation of Adam and Eve is going to address the anxieties of Creationists? I’m super skeptical. The whole way they read the Bible is the reason they can’t come to terms with science. If you don’t address the way they read the Bible, you are going to keep bumping up against scientific concordance issues again and again.

It is a huge over-simplification that the WHOLE issue Creationists have with evolution is Adam and original sin. You keep selling it as a magic bullet, and I’ll say it again; I don’t think it is. I don’t believe it solves any more theological problems than it opens up. The Creationist that Randy contacted pretty much had the same reaction. It doesn’t make all of science palatable to Creationists, far from it. The way you truly address the anxieties of Creationists is convincing them God doesn’t judge them as lacking in faith or faithfulness for accepting provable facts of science. God doesn’t require that you believe things that aren’t true just to prove you take his word seriously.

Fine. But why be complicit in accommodating mistaken views?


George is quite adept at derailing discussions.

(George Brooks) #150

Ha! @beaglelady,

Shucks, the recent “deceleration” of posting traffic at BioLogos has left me with quite the bounty of free time!

(Mervin Bitikofer) #151

He’s in stellar company in that regard. I regard myself as gifted that way as well. :slight_smile: … but not here or now. Christy is already resuming the on-topic high-quality programming …

(George Brooks) #152


So which is it? Am I derailing the discussion, or deep-diving to answer every aspect of the struggle over Genealogical Adam. Let’s not forget that this is the thread that earned me yet another badge for bringing visitors in to read the thread!

This is the very thread for strangers to read how much (or how little) BioLogos folks are interested in the Genealogical Adam scenarios!

I used the word “riled” because ever since I started spending time with my new girl (Miss Peaceful Science), I’ve heard some of the craziest rejections of the idea of Genealogical Adam! … and more than half of the wildest objections have come from folks right here at BioLogos!

I sometimes can’t quite figure out whether people just haven’t heard a clear enough explanation, or they think Joshua is somehow converting to Creationism!

@Swamidass has been very generous with his ability to share this graceful creation, Miss Peaceful Science, with me. She has become family!

(George Brooks) #153


I like your clarifications, but mostly because I understand what you meant by them.

When you just say “he doesn’t [actually] believe in Genealogical Adam…”, this can be interpreted in many ways that are not correct interpretations.

The part I don’t believe is that Jesus was or is a God. I’m a Unitarian.

But to the extent that I believe God does supernatural things, I certainly believe that a God that can create a temporary Eden on Earth can certainly have the similar powers to create 2 caretakers for that Eden!

So the questions and answers become increasingly complex for those who have much larger aspects of their faith invested in Christianity (and in the writings of the Bible) - - and yet they reject something as simple as God creating caretakers for Eden!

(Randy) #154

Right, @gbrooks9 Mr Brooks, that’s the way I meant. Sorry I wasn’t clear. I don’t have a problem with God creating caretakers either.

My own objections would be like yours, though slightly differently. The issue of why or how or if a “homoousion” occurred isn’t that important to me. As I currently understand things, I don’t think that it would be moral of God to ascribe sin or guilt or responsibility (in disagreement with WLC’s book on the Atonement and translation of legal history). I go to a church (the members of which I love) who believe, like Dr Carter, that genetic Adam is the cause of all evil and suffering in the world. I don’t think they are wrong or immoral for believing that–I think they are mistaken. So, probably my disagreement with the GA isn’t related to science.

But–do you think that your discussion will be helpful for the other threads going on, say the one currently also with YEC? Can you engage with that too?

I do think that Dr Carter’s ideas are a bit more nuanced than we think.

I am kind of interested now in asking my pastor about this. He was a Bible prof and has a doctorate.

I resonate with your concern about trying not to let religion and fear mess up science. And I do think that the GA is a valid one to discuss with others at the table.

Good for you.

And, I totally derail all the time! Thanks.

(George Brooks) #155


This is more or less a chicken-and-egg dilemma, is it not?

When I first met Karl Giberson at ENC, he was a fierce defender of Henry Morris and Creationism… and persisted in his positions for 6, 7 or more years.

20 years after I met him, he had become a physics professor. And it was physics that convinced him that God probably didn’t literally do so many of the things that he once thought God did.

My great great grandfather was an Episc. priest under the leadership of my distant cousin Bishop Phillips Brooks;
he has a vague resemblance to Karl, doesn’t he?

The Rev. James Hattrick Lee, who would eventually die in Rome while on sabbatical, sent a letter, dated during the greatest days of the Victorian Age, to Bishop Brooks explaining why he had to leave the priesthood! Darwin’s writings had changed his views on what was possible in the natural world. And he could no longer, with honor, teach Six Days of Creation.

It would seem there can be many reasons why people lose their original faith. No doubt one of the reasons can include the convincing presentation that the Bible is filled with more figurative narrative than originally imagined. And so, by all means, proceed along those lines.

But should we not also agree that there other reasons, and other different “levers”, that can move the beliefs of people other inclinations? I would be quite gratified if BioLogos didn’t invest all its eggs into just one basket. And maybe … just maybe… I would be less ambivalent about the BioLogos basket if it could tell the difference between “God that Designs Creation by means of Evolution” - - versus “God who thinks Designing is too big of a chore.”

(George Brooks) #156


Hmmm… I think there were either too few pronouns or not enough.

“Do I think that my discussion will be helpful for the other threads going on…” My answer is “Yes, absolutely.”

You add: “… say[,] the one currently also with YEC?” Can you engage with that too?"

I’m not sure which one you mean. Pop a link or URL over to me … and I’ll give it the college try!

(Christy Hemphill) #157

What’s this?

(Christy Hemphill) #158

Again, I think the reasons we are attempting to move the beliefs of people of other inclinations matter. I am not motivated to get people to accept science for science’s sake. If a Creationist is happy and intellectually fulfilled as a Creationist, more power to them. So I don’t find GA a very useful tool in my tool kit, if that is the main job you envision it doing.

(George Brooks) #159


Interesting that we have distinct differences in this regard.

Anti-science zealots scare the Brazilians [**FN 1] out of me! That may be why @TedDavis and I look at historical problems in Faith and Science differently.

Should the I.D. movement ever just sputter out completely, I would probably be able to enjoy your views much more tranquilly.

[**Footnote 1: “Brazilians” - - a neologism that is used in energetic communications where the user might not have any notion of what he could possibly mean! See punch line to a humorous story that appeared after 9/11:

[Joke Setup]
The Secretary of Defense was giving the President his daily briefing. He concludes by saying:
"Yesterday, 3 Brazilian soldiers were killed."

[Engaging Transition]
“OH NO!” the President exclaims. “That’s terrible!”

[Embellishment for Style and Color]
His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching as the President sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, “How many is a brazillion?”

(Christy Hemphill) #160

But most run of the mill Creationists are not anti-science zealots.

(George Brooks) #161

I would re-word this, @Christy

“Most run of the mill Creationists are not zealots, but they are mostly anti-science.”