Why I Think Adam was a Real Person in History

(GJDS) #52

This “stand by” approach to criticising biblical based discussion for scientific inaccuracies is surely well past its use by date.

Everyone that I know acknowledges that beliefs on the physical world have changed, just as everyone knows (or should) that most comments on the earth and sun were based more on Greco-Roman science of the day, and the eagerness of public figures to accommodate that science with their outlook on the bible.

One may perhaps be tempted to draw parallels with the current enthusiasm to accommodate Adam and Eve to pop-genetics - Christian doctrine was debated for lengthy periods with numerous views, and ultimately orthodoxy was established by the Church. At no point can I find such a doctrine regarding the sun, moon and earth, in spite of the arguments by many figures.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #53

When might you argue something is ‘well past its use by date?’

If you say so. I provided a few nice examples I think of the contrary that you casually dismiss as ‘well past its use by date.’

I see. What exactly qualifies something as ‘official church doctrine’ to you?

(GJDS) #54

For a start, that the genealogy of Christ is traced back to Adam.

(George Brooks) #55

@GJDS ( & @pevaquark ):

Our enthusiastic colleague, @Reggie_O_Donoghue, actually has done one of the best jobs of pulling out obscure passages that can ONLY be interpreted from a Geocentrist perspective… and not just geocentrism, but FLAT EARTH Geocentrism! I was tremendously impressed with his resourceful interpretations! And I told him so!

I will see if I can track them down again.

But maybe Reggie can pull them out of the internet ether more quickly than I can (I am actually still at work in the office at the moment).

(Matthew Pevarnik) #56

I’m not quite sure how this is an example of ‘models coming together’ as you still kind of have 4 billion years worth of evolution lingering over the YEC position. There is not really much to add to the Christian Evolutionist position as you put it as it just throws on a supernatural event that happened one time. There is A LOT to add on to the YEC position!

Nobody can say that as it is not falsifiable in a scientific sense. I think some might reject the position for theological reasons but certainly not for a scientific reason.

Where have you been for the past two thousand years? I’m still a big fan of Thomas Ridgley’s 1731 page turner ‘Body of Divinity’ where he argued for Adam and Eve having a child every 2 years for over 800 years!

(Matthew Pevarnik) #57

I mean what kind of documentation or… official published statement? Covenant? Treatise? Novella?

(GJDS) #58

Try Patristic writings, (from memory a document on “true human” published by the previous Pope) as a beginning. You can also find doctrinal documents from, for example, the Orthodox Church.

(RiderOnTheClouds) #59

yet their voice goes out through all the earth, and their words to the end of the world. In the heavens he has set a tent for the sun, which comes out like a bridegroom from his wedding canopy, and like a strong man runs its course with joy.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #60

Like any patristic letter? Are all the letters official church doctrine for all time? But then what was taught by the church in a widespread way later was not church doctrine (i.e. some of the strong anti-Copernicanism)?

Can I include Lacantius who was a contemporary of Augustine?

“How is it with those who imagine that there are antipodes opposite to our footsteps? Do they say anything to the purpose? Or is there any one so senseless as to believe that there are men whose footsteps are higher than their heads? or that the things which with us are in a recumbent position, with them hang in an inverted direction? that the crops and trees grow downwards? that the rains, and snow, and hail fall upwards to the earth?” (Lactantius. The Divine Institutes 3.24)

Augustine was a little more hesitant, but in the City of God he had a nice section on antipodes. He partially rejects that people could be living on the other side of the Earth for Scriptural reasons. Ultimately he has some good arguments and they are popular for centuries to come on this topic.

How about St. John Chrysostom where the Earth floats on some waters?

“When therefore thou beholdest not a small pebble, but the whole earth borne upon the waters, and not submerged, admire the power of Him who wrought these marvellous things in a supernatural manner! And whence does this appear, that the earth is borne upon the waters? The prophet declares this when he says, 'He hath founded it upon the seas, and prepared it upon the floods.'1416 And again: 'To him who hath founded the earth upon the waters.'1417 What sayest thou? The water is not able to support a small pebble on its surface, and yet bears up the earth, great as it is; and mountains, and hills, and cities, and plants, and men, and brutes; and it is not submerged!”–St. John Chrysostom, Homilies Concerning the Statues, Homily IX, paras. 7–8, in A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Series I, Vol IX, ed. Philip Schaff, D.D., LL.D., American reprint of the Edinburgh edition (1978), W. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.,Grand Rapids, MI, pp. 403–04.

But all in all, the most popular thing was simply to be geocentrists as this somewhat bizarre website demonstrates very well. That has A LOT of quotes from early church fathers that spoke in a geocentric way. Does that make geocentrism official church doctrine?

(George Brooks) #61


Be sure you take these two .jpg panels to your archives (or just email them to yourself with some appropriate text string labels! [[ Which do you prefer when you take images? Do you try to do a “save as” of the image directly?
Or do you do a “screen shot” and then paste it into PAINT or some other tool to create a .jpg or other image file?

[ Be sure to click on the image to enlarge the fonts to their maximum size! ]

[ Be sure to click on the image to enlarge the fonts to their maximum size! ]

[[ Reggie took the same position as my added notes in red … the Sun was like a bridegroom,
leaving his tent after a “wonderful” night, exulting like a strong racer might - - before beginning his
daily run! If the writer believed the Sun continuously and without let-up orbited the Earth with no
shelter anywhere, the imagery of a tent or tabernacle in which the Sun could spend the night,
imagery wouldn’t have made any sense. So, not only was the Earth at the center of the Sun’s
travels… but the Earth was also depicted as being flat, flat, and flat! ]]

(GJDS) #62

Your quote mining says nothing about doctrine. To keep this exchange friendly, and perhaps to save both of time, I am aware of patristic writings that accept the four elements, others may not, others oppose Plato, Augustine seems to like Plato, while others seem to reject most of these as pagan teachings and simply affirm that God is creator. We are all likely to form opinions, as this site shows, but few Christians would modify doctrine (proper, orthodox) based on various opinions.

Doctrine is examined in greater detail and most often has involved great debate and a need for councils of bishops to arrive at an acceptable wording. The trinity is the ultimate example of this, and a second example which still draws comment and debate is Palamas’ energies of God. I seem to recall the Anglican Church publishing doctrine as well - there is lots of material to read.

(George Brooks) #63

@pevaquark and @GJDS

Does this help?

“In 748, in reply to a letter from Saint Boniface, Pope Zachary declared the belief “that beneath the earth there was another world and other men, another sun and moon” to be heretical.
In his letter, Boniface had apparently maintained that Vergilius of Salzburg held such a belief. [10] [11] [12] [13]”

[10] Loughlin, James (1907), Antipodes in The Catholic Encyclopedia.

[11] Hasse, Wolfgang; Reinhold, Meyer, eds. (1993), The Classical Tradition and the Americas, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, ISBN 3-11-011572-7.

[12] Moretti, Gabriella (1993), The Other World and the ‘Antipodes’. The Myth of Unknown Countries between Antiquity and the Renaissance, p. 265. In Hasse & Reinhold (1993, pp.241–84).

[13] MGH, Epistolae Selectae, 1, 80, pp. 178–9; translation in M. L. W. Laistner, Thought and Letters in Western Europe, pp. 184–5.; see also Jaffe, Biblioth. rerum germ., III, 191.
MGH = https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monumenta_Germaniae_Historica


(Matthew Pevarnik) #64

Who is to say that you aren’t just quote mining the parts that you like? Don’t want to call what I shared doctrine? Then yeah, that’s not doctrine! But find another part of their letters where they use Scripture to talk about the trinity-ah ha! That is doctrine. Common, you can just as easily quote mine and cherry pick in the other direction.

Let’s imagine that you have Christians who write letters, preach to congregations and talk at the water cooler about certain ideas that they use the Scriptures for–ideas like geocentrism. Now we might talk about it, preach about it, write about it and use the Scriptures as support/justification but that ain’t no doctrine of mine!

(Jon Garvey) #65

Have you read the basis on which the Reformers accepted previous doctrine (the Creeds and the first General Councils), and the way that sound doctrine was established within Protestantism (more councils, such as the Westminster Confession).?

GJDS, who is Orthodox, is quite correct to say that what saints, reformers or popes said does not constitute doctrine unless the churches ratify it. Theology (contrary to some scientistic types) is not decided on a whim any more than scientific progress is. But you have to study some theology to know that, I guess.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #66

Nice, hope you feel good about that jab.

I’m certainly aware. The consensus arriving takes time in both areas, something longer with theology than with scientific inquiry but ultimate it is those ideas that have been tested and have withstood the test of time that we would consider closer to truth in the thological world. Dare I add that geocentrism was so non-controversial there didn’t need to be too many discussion/consensus on it!

(Randy) #67

I wonder whether the fact that there are so many denominations however argues that the science of theology is not so exact. Scott McKnight, For example, commented that for almost every Church to visit in the US, there are almost an equal number of variations on theology. In contrast, most colleges and universities teach the same basic theory of evolution. Thanks. This is a good place for me to learn both Evolution and theology. Thanks. They are both God’s truth.

(GJDS) #68

It depends on the topic under discussion. I am pointing out that areas that are accepted doctrine by the large proportion of those who profess the Christian faith, would avoid pointless controversies, such as discussed here on Adam, by accepting that it is the genealogy that is discussed (as this is part of the doctrine on the birth of Christ)…

From the tone of your comments, it seems you have a negative view of the Christian faith, so I cannot see the need to continue this exchange.

(George Brooks) #69


As for at least THREE (3) categories of SPIRITUAL TRUTH: We have

A] DOGMA - “Dogma is more narrowly defined as that part of doctrine which has been divinely
revealed and which the Church has formally defined and declared to be believed as revealed.”
OR: “a definitive article of faith (de fide) that has been solemnly promulgated by the college of bishops
at an ecumenical council or by the pope when speaking in a statement ex cathedra, in which the magisterium
of the Church presents a particular doctrine as necessary for the belief of all Catholic faithful.”
OR: “a truth revealed by God, which the magisterium of the Church declared as binding.”

B] DOCTRINE - “doctrine is all Church teaching in matters of faith and morals.” Dogma
is part of the teachings, so anything other than Dogma taught by the Church is considered

C] THEOLOGOUMENON - an “Admissable Theological Opinion”

Yves Marie-Joseph Congar OP (died 1995) was a French Dominican friar, priest, and theologian.
He "… stated in 1954 that “the greater number of the Orthodox say that the Filioque is not a
heresy or even a dogmatic error but an admissible theological opinion, a ‘theologoumenon’”.

So it would seem that if we are looking for a “fixed teaching”, we won’t find much relief in “Theologoumenon”, but everything else that the Church teaches (including dogma), where there is no “multiple choice answers” is Doctrine.

(Matthew Pevarnik) #70

That’s pretty cool, thanks for sharing @gbrooks9!

Hmm, interesting conclusion. Could you point out some specifics since from my perspective all that I have been saying is that:

  1. Using church fathers’ position on origins as authoritative doesn’t make sense to me because they had no knowledge of the fossil and genetic records + knowledge of the ANE.
  2. Historically, an example of many church fathers and others writing on geocentrism- they use the Scriptures to support their view point.
  3. I get told this isn’t a doctrine and to read some the patriarchs and that what I was quoting was ‘out of date’ but you never told me what was wrong with it or what a doctrine actually was. Never the less I wanted to show that many Christians wrote, taught and preached geocentrism from the Scriptures-this is at least a fact even if it wasn’t a ‘doctrine.’ Thankfully George shared an interesting post just a little bit ago.
  4. I get told to study some theology.
  5. I get told that it seems I have a negative view of the Christian faith.

(Phil) #71

I tend to agree. When you consider the struggles involved. In just agreeing on the basis creeds, you have to figure if you can at least agree on that, the rest is just gravy.