Welcome to De-Commissioned, a place for former members of the Great Commission movement (aka GCM, GCC, GCAC, GCI, the Blitz) to discuss problems they've experienced in the association's practices and theology.

You may read and post, but some features are restricted to registered members. Please consider registering to gain full access! Registration is free and only takes a few moments to complete.
De-Commissioned Forum
April 19, 2019, 07:25:04 pm *
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
 
  Home   Forum   Help Search Login Register  
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Theistic Evolution -- or the "Old Earth Creation Model"  (Read 31508 times)
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« on: December 08, 2012, 08:25:27 pm »

Quote
EAS wrote: "While I cannot adopt Lewis' attitude of an errant God who had to experiment before finally getting the human creature 'right,' theistic evolution does not have to be entirely out of the realm of theological orthodoxy: http://craigwbooth.xanga.com/755779676/the-theology-of-theistic-evolution/ "

Linda responded: "what is your source for the Lewis view? I believe his view was becoming more anti-evolution as he aged/got older in his faith. His 'Evolutionary Hymn' of 1954 certainly mocked evolution."

Lewis made his case for his special brand of theistic evolution (NOT Darwinian evolution) in his book The Problem of Pain.  He referred to God as conducting experiments on the human creature's development until He finally got it right.  Lewis in that same volume also posits that God took a gamble by giving men free will, not knowing whether humanity would ultimately rebel or not.  Moreover Lewis refers to the notion of "total depravity" as a doctrine straight from the mind of Satan.  

Lewis' book is worth reading to gain some useful philosophical perspectives, but some of it does not hold up too well to biblical scrutiny.  Lewis was a world class philosopher/writer, not a world class theologian; nonetheless many Christians have adopted his views on theistic evolution based on his clever writing and his fame as a philosospher.  

Whether his views changed much over the years, I am not qualified to say.  What does puzzle me is why later in life he did not exercise the initiative to apply updates to his most influential works like The Problem of Pain that would have corrected things he might have considered major errors from his early years, unless he did not consider them to be errors.
« Last Edit: December 08, 2012, 08:29:50 pm by EverAStudent » Logged
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2317



« Reply #1 on: December 09, 2012, 05:04:36 pm »

I found this link interesting. Had never thought about what Lewis thought about the topic before.

http://creation.com/c-s-lewis

Quote from: article
A major source of Lewis’ anti-Darwinism views is his manuscript titled The Myth, which was not published until after he died. A second major source is his collection of unpublished letters to Captain Acworth, head of The Evolution Protest Movement.35 Lewis was less open in public than in private about his opposition to evolution for several reasons. One reason was that he was not a biologist and did not want to openly confront them as he felt somewhat insecure in the science area. Secondly, he realized that actively attacking evolution would produce a great deal of opposition to his person and writings and, as a result, would detract from his main work of Christian apologetics. Thirdly, he had once accepted theistic evolution and only as he explored the issue in detail did he come to have major doubts about Darwinism. Finally, he did produce a well-reasoned book against naturalism, titled Miracles, which was his major concern.12 This book is still in print and is considered a classic.
Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
FeministRebel
Veteran (100-299 Posts)
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 104



« Reply #2 on: December 09, 2012, 06:06:25 pm »

Except this does not jive with what we know a concept of God ought to be -- an all knowing entity, who already knows how the story ought to turn out. He's really not taking a gamble on anything, if he already knows everything. If he he doesn't know -- or indeed took a gamble -- then he is not perfect... and if he's not perfect, then he's no god. Indeed, there is no god, by this logic.
Logged
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« Reply #3 on: December 10, 2012, 12:09:54 am »

Hi FeministRebel.  Yes, I agree with you...it is illogical to assert that God experimented with humanity or gambled in creating the universe. 

To gamble means one does not know the outcome.  God knew the outcome, and in fact affirms that He can foretell the outcome of all history before it happens.  He also told us He knew we would sin and need a Savior even before He created the foundations of planet Earth.   For that reason alone Lewis' published version of theistic evolution in The Problem of Pain is simply not credible or else one must begin to doubt the perfect nature of God.

So the problem for "theistic evolutionists" is to demonstrate that God designed and used the ordinary outworkings of physics to grow the universe in the exact manner He originally desired--time length being of no consequence to Him in the least.  It is the appearance of truly human life onto the planet (which involves a supernatural-aware, self-aware, and persistent spirit) which must be addressed with all its collective issues.  Even more difficult is the question of human death and when it began (and why) which makes the subject of theistic evolution so problematic for the believer who holds to that model.

Again, I am not saying either of the two models (creation v. theistic evolution) are certainly right or wrong (though Lewis' variant of theistic evolution in The Problem of Pain was obviously wrong).  I am saying that both models have significant issues which must be addressed. 

In any case, it is improper to call someone "unsaved" because they hold to one view or the other. 

As for the atheistic view that says the universe is uncreated, well, that third model has the biggest issue of all.  It must explain, without invoking a supernatural element, how original energy and its subsequent matter-particles first came to exist.  Without a supernatural first cause behind all the laws of physics, quantum physics, and multi-verses, and the energy-matter governed by those laws, there is no way to explain the spontaneous appearance of energy from the infinite void.

Logged
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2317



« Reply #4 on: December 10, 2012, 07:58:46 am »

I've been thinking about this and am commenting as a person who has never read "The Problem of Pain". I am assuming your summary is accurate. From my limited reading, I understand that early on Lewis might have believed in theistic evolution. But, here is my point and then a GC connection that came to me last night.

C. S. Lewis, did not hold to this belief and refuted it in later works and letters.

Now, the GC connection.

Last week, someone asked about the Explanations of Criticisms paper. After I reread it, I realized one of the significant problems with GC is that they say they have changed, but they refuse to correct and keep correcting past error. Perhaps they do this under the misguided notion that error and "personal offense" are the same thing. If you offend someone, you don't need to keep apologizing. One apology will do. If you teach error, you might need to keep correcting that for the rest of your life because it is impossible in one shot to catch all the people who have been exposed to and influenced by your bad teaching.

Here is an example from that paper:

Quote from: Hopler
In the 1970s, Great Commission Churches was a grassroots movement of God, largely separate from more established churches. Most early members were "fatherless," first generation Christians--led to Christ by other young people who did not have much guidance from older believers. The situation is quite different today...Our early isolation and immaturity contributed to some errors and weaknesses that we sought to understand and address in the late 80s and early 90s. Even though we believed that most of the criticisms were unfair, exaggerated, or based on false reports, some were valid--whether universally or in specific churches. In the 1991 Errors and Weaknesses paper we acknowledged those errors, and took steps to make needed corrections. We conducted Project Care, a movement-wide effort to reconcile with any who had a grievance with us...

So, what's my point? Keeping in mind that my experience was that I had never heard of the term "Project Care" until papers like this started mentioning it a couple years ago, and that when we asked our senior pastor (who sits on the national board of GC) for a copy of the Statement of Error (that we had read about online) he acted bewildered and said he vaguely remembered some paper that was more a "clarification" paper than an error/apology statement. So, I do questionin the sincerity of the Error Statement.

That said, assuming those who wrote it, did it in good faith and meant what they wrote. Error is a big deal because it spreads. You can't just go back and say, well, we wrote a statement so people should stop criticizing it. No, what you have to do (besides stop teaching it, which is another topic for another day) is continue to correct it as publicly and as often as you must to make sure people have heard.

Back to the Lewis point. From what I understand early on he believed in theistic evolution for a brief period. He did correct this in other writings, but apparently not in The Problem of Pain (again, haven't read it to confirm). So, to this day, people who only read that book, might take away the idea that this was what he believed.

GC taught/believed/practiced many bad things in the beginning. Current leaders sat under the bad teaching. No one has ever in a public manner (the Statement of Error was not made public since leaders weren't even aware of it) corrected these errors. Furthermore, rather than correct the errors as often as necessary, they bad mouth the people who point them out. Case in point, this paper. Also, they are still teaching and practicing the things the paper refutes.

Bottom line, when you publicly teach bad stuff, it lives forever. So, the best thing is to not teach bad stuff. The end. Smiley
Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 10, 2012, 01:28:24 pm »

Linda, I agree with much of what you put into your last post.  When GC taught and practiced error they did so because they were poorly trained (they stated their own admission of that in the "error paper").  Poorly trained people ought never to become celebrity or national leaders because they are invariably going to teach incorrectly.  It was for that very reason that Paul said never to make a recently saved person into a leader; they will teach error.

I trust you are correct that Lewis eventually did mature and started teaching better theology than what he put into The Problem of Pain.  Of course, he should never have taught those errors in the first place in a mass media forum while still so immature in the faith.  

Sadly, the edition of The Problem of Pain which I had to study for seminary indicates the book was published and republished in 1940, 1944, 1996, 2000, and 2001.  It is today known as a Christian classic on the subject of theodicy.  In other words, Lewis did not "stop" teaching his erroneous view, but teaches it anew with every re-release or new edition of the book.  "Correcting" one's immature theology means taking responsibility to edit or update active publications if one were presumptuous enough to go public before they were adequately trained in hermeneutics.  

Rather than seeing contemporary Christians challenging the biblical accuracy of Lewis' works, they republish Lewis and rally behind the man and challenge his critics instead saying, "I wonder if his critics really are reading him properly?"  This is the same phenomenon of the halo effect that works for GC leadership as it does for Christian celebrities; if one is popular then they are assumed to be correct while their critics are generally assumed to be unfair for critiquing them.  

Well, Lewis did teach error.  He did say that God experimented with evolution and gambled with free will.  He did call total depravity a doctrine straight from the mind of Satan.  And he never updated The Problem of Pain to correct those errors even though it remains in print until this date.  Rather than say he is right because he is popular, we ought to say, "Lewis published substantive biblical errors in some of his philosophy books so read him with extreme discernment."  I say that of Lewis and of GC, both of whom I consider to be Christian in nature, though terribly mistaken and often unreliable in various doctrinal teachings.
Logged
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« Reply #6 on: December 10, 2012, 03:38:07 pm »

A recent article in Christianity Today admits, “Though he shared basic Christian beliefs with evangelicals, he didn’t subscribe to biblical inerrancy or penal substitution. He believed in purgatory and baptismal regeneration.”[20] His attraction to evangelicals may have been because of his evangelical-like conversion – “He had an evangelical experience, this personal encounter with the God of the universe.”[21] His works actually fell out of fashion in the 1960s only to come roaring back more recently. In fact, sales of his books have increased 125% since 2001[22] and, since his Narnia series is being made into movies, his star will continue to rise for some time to come.

So how should we view Mr. Lewis? His ability to cut through the intellectual clouds and offer insightful analysis of human nature and our relationship with God perhaps has no equal. Most of us have gained much because of the writings of C. S. Lewis. On the other hand, he was no evangelical. His theology is deficient at best in the key areas of Scripture and salvation. He believed in neither sola fide nor sola scriptura, the two battle cries of the Reformation. Those who read him must keep these things in mind, filter his teaching through the grid of Scripture and hold him to the same standards that we are to hold all others. Because Lewis was a man with an incredible ability to package his insights in thought-provoking ways does not mean that what he writes always aligns with God’s Word. He was a man who had keen analytical abilities and incredible writing gifts. But he was a man who rejected or minimized many of the most important truths given to us by God.

The above article ( http://www.svchapel.org/resources/articles/22-contemporary-issues/542-cs-lewis ) quotes several evangelical theologians who find Lewis' theology dangerously unorthodox in several specific areas: errant Scripture, Jesus was not a substitutionary sacrifice, baptism saves, etc.  

His theology is often flawed because, "He received no formal biblical training and did not seem to immerse himself in the best of sound theological literature, which may account for many of his 'rumpled' doctrinal views. He never claimed to be an evangelical and, in fact, denied much that evangelicals hold dear. And so, while Lewis’ works are certainly worth examining and pondering, the wise believer will want to proceed with caution." (quoted from above cited article)

As I noted in a previous post, his philosophies are interesting, but it would be madness to cite Lewis in support of any given theological position or worse to garner favor for a new and novel doctrine.  Read Lewis knowing his theology was very often unbiblical while his insights into the human condition were quite interesting (though also not always correct).
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 03:44:01 pm by EverAStudent » Logged
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2317



« Reply #7 on: December 10, 2012, 07:06:08 pm »

Remind me, why are we talking about C. S. Lewis? Smiley
Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« Reply #8 on: December 10, 2012, 08:14:00 pm »

Quote from: Linda
Remind me, why are we talking about C. S. Lewis?

LOL  Well, when the thread started the OP was concerned that GC had a FaithWalker seminar on how one cannot be a Christian and believe in theistic evolution.  I pointed out that one can most certainly believe in theistic evolution and be a Christian, although some forms of theistic evolution, like Lewis' variant of theistic evolution, are demonstrably unbiblical.

Quote from: Linda
what is your source for the Lewis view? I believe his view was becoming more anti-evolution as he aged/got older in his faith.  
His "Evolutionary Hymn" of 1954 certainly mocked evolution.

Didn't mean to hijack this thread. Maybe we could move this discussion

So, I moved the discussion to "off topic."   Wink

Like GC, Lewis was an excellent communicator but a rather poor theological student, eschewing formal biblical training.
« Last Edit: December 10, 2012, 08:16:43 pm by EverAStudent » Logged
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2317



« Reply #9 on: December 10, 2012, 08:51:03 pm »

Haha. Oh, yes, now I remember. Wink

Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
AgathaL'Orange
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1181



« Reply #10 on: December 10, 2012, 10:18:53 pm »

Quote
LOL  Well, when the thread started the OP was concerned that GC had a FaithWalker seminar on how one cannot be a Christian and believe in theistic evolution.  I pointed out that one can most certainly believe in theistic evolution and be a Christian, although some forms of theistic evolution, like Lewis' variant of theistic evolution, are demonstrably unbiblical.

Yes!  This drives me nuts!  Although, I'm not going to get into the latter part of this quote, because I believe there are various viewpoints that could most certainly be considered biblical by studied scholars, that might be considered unbibilical by other studied scholars.  My main point is that this idea of adding to the gospel is so frustrating to me... creation isn't in the gospel per se.  The idea of sin and the need for redemption yes but the persnickety interpretation... not so much.  I find this so frustrating that it is one of the main reasons that my eyes were opened up!  I WILL NOT debate young earth/old earth, so don't bother agreeing or disagreeing with that portion... I've had all the debate I ever want to have on the topic.  My main point is, these dudes need to focus on some more foundational parts of the faith, and being a studied person (studying God's WORD, in English, in the original language, in light of history and contemporary thought, to STUDY it) is so important, and it seems to be a very unimportant part of gCx.  Now, they read the Bible plenty, but they don't study it like the Hebrews did or people in pastoral training.  I highly disapprove of their methods, and it is a bit funny (and sad) to me that they teach these discussions and make pronouncements when they havent studied like they should from teachers who are solidly trained and prepared.  Out of curiousity I Google stalked the person who teaches our sermon every Sunday (because they are really good, concise, to the point, solid, etc.  , and I had to laugh because the man had been in school for about 20 years all around the world... he had studied under learned people and continued to study later as he now is both a clergy person as well as a professor.  It was just *so refreshing*, I can't tell you how much, to have someone so driven to study the faith, inside and outside, and to question, to keep questioning, to keep seeking.  It gives me chills and inspires me to hear of people who love Jesus and the faith so much that they devote their lives to it (he is unmarried and will always be unmarried).  I'm happy to be where I am, and reading the GC summaries of the conference seems like excerpts from a foreign land.
Logged

Glad to be free.
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2317



« Reply #11 on: December 11, 2012, 07:41:25 am »

Quote from: Agatha
I'm happy to be where I am, and reading the GC summaries of the conference seems like excerpts from a foreign land.
I know what you mean. A foreign land that I once lived in and never did fully learn the language or fit in! A foreign land that was ruled by an oligarchy. I'd much rather have a dictator than an oligarchy! One thing that strikes me about the seminars is so many of them involve "doing" things for God and, of course, they teach the idea that the pastors/leaders are men to be imitated/followed/obeyed. God seems small. Man seems big. Or, at least leader men seem big. I would never want my child to attend.

EAS, I think the original post was about old earth which, for clarification, I don't believe is the same thing as theistic evolution. You can have old Earth without TE. I believe Dobson was an old Earth guy, but don't quote me on that and he may have changed his position. (Point here, not about the greatness of Dobson or his teaching, but that Christians have differing views on this topic.) Also, what chapter in The Problem of Pain is about TE?




Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« Reply #12 on: December 11, 2012, 10:51:36 am »

Hi Linda. 

In a very broad sense there are three models of the origin of the universe with which the Christian needs to interact: 
1) Six Day Creation, otherwise known as Young Earth Creation Model
2) Theistic Evolution, otherwise known as Old Earth Creation Model
3) Atheistic Evolution, otherwise known as the Evolutionary Model which admits to no Creator at all--obviously this is also an Old Earth model

The Six Day Creation Model (Young Earth Creation Model) has been updated in recent years.  No informed and credible theologian holds to the mistaken notion that the Earth was created 6000 years ago.  That chronology was improperly based on the incorrect assumption that the biblical geneologies were unbroken and complete; we now know that assumption is utterly wrong.  How many generations or years are omitted in the biblical record from Adam to Abraham?  No one knows...10,000 years...60,000 years...100,000 years? 

Agatha, HI! 

What conclusions you reach on the mechanism of the origin of the universe is your own business.  HOWEVER, the theology you teach inside of your chosen origins model is VERY important.  It is irrelevant that Lewis believed in Theistic Evolution.  It IS relevant that Lewis taught that God was not perfect, was not all knowing, and had not authored an inerrant Scripture. 

Lewis espoused these unbiblical and false teachings about God because he felt his logic (his philosophy) dictated his brand of theistic evolution and that model dictated a fallible God who could not know the future outcome of His own actions.  Who really cares that Lewis believed in evolution?  Very few of us.  But everyone should care that this attachment to evolution drove him to teach ungodly things about the Almighty God. 

Simply because we may not be interested in specific subjects, like origins models, does not release us from being discerning about the claims made about God.  If we ignore doctrine we are inevitably carried about by every wind of doctrine just like immature children, and never able to stand for truth because we will never actually know what the truth about God is.
Logged
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« Reply #13 on: December 11, 2012, 11:32:24 am »

Quote from: Linda
what chapter in The Problem of Pain is about [Theistic Evolution]?

Hi Linda.  His assertions about Genesis being a myth and the truthfulness of evolution are scattered throughout the book.  However, here is an incomplete brief listing of where to find such comments.  I also decided to editorialize a bit as well.  Smiley

Lewis wrote, “the first man [Adam], if there ever was a being who could be so described, could not commit the first sin” -- page 69 of The Problem of Pain.  Lewis concluded that the Genesis myth was a story refined by “great doctors” of theology over eons and our present “version” of the myth “about a magic apple” is not even the original “primitive version” -- page 66 of The Problem of Pain. 

Because of Lewis' rejection of the Genesis account and his staunch belief in the evolution of man from vegetation, then having become brute animals, and later man--pages 67, 72, 78, 137 of the Problem of Pain--Lewis concludes that death pre-existed man and pre-existed the pseudo-man named Adam in mythology, and thus, there was no “first sin” at all. 

Lewis wrote, “The origin of animal [death and] suffering could be traced, by earlier generations, to the Fall of man--the whole world was infected by the uncreating rebellion of Adam.  This is now impossible, for we now have good reason [from modern evolutionary science] to believe that animals existed long before men.  Carnivorousness, with all that it entails, is older than humanity”--page 137.   

In fact Lewis wrote that, “the ‘first sin’ was essentially a social sin” of “the virtue” of the “herd-instinct” of those early human animals.  He continues to argue that the traditional Pauline doctrine of the fall is wrong because “the traditional doctrine points to a sin against God, an act of disobedience, not a sin against the neighbor.”  In Lewis' theology the first human sin was a violation of community living standards (like stealing your neighbor's dinner) and was not a rebellion against a God.

Lewis writes, “the Pauline statement that ‘as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.’  It is this passage which lies behind the Patristic doctrine of our physical presence in Adam’s loins and Anselm’s doctrine of our inclusion, by legal fiction, in the suffering Christ.  These theories may have done good in their day but they do no good to me, and I am not going to invent others. … Legal fiction, adoption, and transference or imputation of merit and guilt, could never have played the part they did play in theology if they had always been felt to be so artificial as we now feel them to be.”--pages 82, 84 

What does it say about God and the Bible if Christ's substitutionary atonement is a "fiction" which is "artificial" and "does no good"?

Lewis further wrote, “The doctrine of Total Depravity--when the consequence is drawn that, since we are totally depraved, our idea of good is worth simply nothing [e.g. (empty rags)]--may thus turn Christianity into a form of devil-worship.”--page 29 of The Problem of Pain.  So, in Lewis' perspective Total Depravity is a doctrine that embraces a form of Satan worship. 

This is NOT to say or even to imply that: 1) Lewis was not a Christian, 2) all Lewis’ doctrines were faulty, or 3) that everyone who cites Lewis’ writings agree with all he says.  It does say that Lewis was quite inept at theology per se, regardless of how skilled he was at writing fairytales or crafting philosophy.

However, Lewis clearly, based on his own words, applied the word “myth” to Genesis because he did not believe that creation was as it describes, for he believed the science of evolution disproved it.  Nor, as a consequence, did he believe that Adam was a real person.  As a further consequence, he did not believe in a first sin against God by that fictional first man, therefore, death did not originate with the unreal man’s first sin and death was always in the world since life evolved.  As an end consequence, he rejected the doctrines of the curse, Total Depravity, imputation of guilt, and imputation of righteousness. 

While I am not casting aspersions at any theistic evolutionist, I do point out that the logical implications of treating Genesis as unreal mythology have direct consequences on how one understands the curse (was there one?), death, and the imputation of righteousness.

For one, I accept the Genesis account as written, that the first created man sinned by violating the only rule he had to obey, that God cursed both him and the world, which ushered in human death for the first time, and that Christ’s righteousness is imputed to believers, though they are not deserving of it.  So, Lewis would call me an unscientific primitive brute.  So be it.

Did Lewis really mean that the Genesis story was false when he called it a myth?  That is an overstatement.

In The Problem of Pain Lewis intimates that he uses "myth" to refer to a lack of historical concreteness or literalness.  To Lewis biblical myths were fictional stories meant to teach spiritual truths. 

In simpler terms, since Genesis is a myth there need never have been:
-- a physical location on Earth such as the garden,
-- no man named Adam need ever have lived (in fact, probably did not live) so his bones are not rotting in the ground anywhere,
-- since no man named Adam lived there was also no Eve and no first marriage (which makes marriage not a God-instituted relationship but a mere societal convention),
-- no FIRST sin was committed against God's code of morality (the FIRST sin was against one's fellow neighbor according to Lewis) so no curse was issued (the curse is a fiction because it is not the real cause of pain and death),
-- no man named Cain killed his brother Abel in a rage of jealousy over religion,
-- no man named Noah built a big boat to save mankind from flood waters (which never flowed) so no geologic evidence for a global flood can ever be found, etc. 

The word "reality" is not helpful here, because like the word "myth," people freely state that they can have a different "reality" than anyone else.  Rather than reality, I would suggest that we simply state, "Adam was a flesh and blood man whom we would have met if we had been alive some x thousand of years ago" or we say, "Adam was a fictional character in a morality tale, and we could not have met him x thousand years ago because he was not flesh and blood but a figment of a writer's imagination."   

Once we know if Adam was a flesh and blood human who occupied this planet years before we were born, or if we know that he is a fictional character, we can ask and answer with ease, "Did God curse the flesh and blood Adam for committing the first sin, or was the curse a fictional literary device meant to teach something, but NOT to teach us that corporeal death never happened until it happened for the first time to Adam?"

Lewis felt Genesis was a fictional story that taught true moral lessons.  He saw the science of evolution as more credible "history" than the mythology of Genesis. 

If Lewis' variant of theistic evolution is true, then Adam was a fictional character (as was the garden and Eve), he could not have suffered a literal curse from God (since he was a fictional character), and death reigned on the planet for billions of years before this fictional story was ever spoken or penned.  In short, no original sin means there was no curse, and human death was not first brought to Earth as the penalty for mankind's sin because death is just a natural process, an inevitable and amoral aspect of life. 

A big problem with thinking of Genesis as mythology is that other Bible writers/prophets refer to the Genesis "myth" as if they believed it was real history.  Matthew wanted to show that prophecy was literally fulfilled through Jesus being the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Luke took it farther to show Jesus as the historical son of Adam.

How does tracing Jesus' family blood line back to Adam demonstrate fulfillment of prophecy?  Because God promised Adam and Eve that their "seed" (progeny) would crush the serpent’s head.  Is prophecy real or myth?

If Adam and Eve were fictional characters from a morality tale, then why would the prophet Luke (for he was inspired to write the prophecies of Scripture) bother to try to show that a fictional promise to fictional characters had been fulfilled in genuine history?  Once again, if Adam is fiction, then Luke’s account is also partially fiction, and it undermines the integrity of the whole.  How many other parts of Scripture are fiction?  Are modern critics correct when they say that the Jesus myth and the Jesus texts are mostly fictional, created only to teach high morals but were never actually done or said by the historical Jesus?

Trying to isolate Genesis as a book of fiction (that teaches moral truths) creates so many logical, doctrinal, and theological problems regarding the proclamation of God's curse on the planet, salvation, sin, the origin of human death, Jesus, and the reliability of Scripture that it becomes easier to believe that modern science still has it wrong with regard to evolution of human life than to believe that the Bible has it wrong with regard to creation.



Logged
Linda
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 2317



« Reply #14 on: December 11, 2012, 01:03:08 pm »

I'm in a hurry and didn't have time to read all this, but I think you missed a category. Old Earth Creationism.

Logged

Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift.
FeministRebel
Veteran (100-299 Posts)
***
Offline Offline

Posts: 104



« Reply #15 on: December 11, 2012, 09:19:39 pm »

"Trying to isolate Genesis as a book of fiction (that teaches moral truths) creates so many logical, doctrinal, and theological problems regarding the proclamation of God's curse on the planet, salvation, sin, the origin of human death, Jesus, and the reliability of Scripture that it becomes easier to believe that modern science still has it wrong with regard to evolution of human life than to believe that the Bible has it wrong with regard to creation."

(I'll start by saying that I realize the things I hold as truth, are pretty bold... and might offend some folks. This is NOT my intention, in any way, and if someone is offended, I am very sorry. In many ways, going to GCx helped me understand and come to terms with my 'spiritual' journey -- which is that I don't have to have a spiritual journey, at all. Atheism.)

In a way, this is true... but only because we WANT to not lose our faith. We want to believe this has to be true, and it is the word of God, and it can't be wrong, and it has to be perfect... and infallible. It is frightening to many to even fathom that it could be a myth. All of it -- the whole book. Not real, not one bit. We push it from our minds, to the point of hampering our own learning and covering the Sun with one hand (or in this case, continuing to believe antiquated, widely disproved, scientific concepts, or even obscuring the public's understanding of what a scientific theory is.)

But Lewis was a bright, bright man. He did have it right when he made his arguments that God had to have been imperfect, if you think about the nature of how we have really evolved, and the nature of the universe, and scientific developments... it's just that he didn't have the courage to take it one step further. Apostasy. The concept of a god is an illogical one. He was truly wrestling with that. And just as was realized above, it is difficult to accept parts of the Bible as accurate accounts, and disregard others as myth -- either one believes it all, or believes nothing -- precisely because of all the prophecies you stated, RELY on those older stories being true! They sort of climax into Jesus' crucifixion, and atonement, and that atonement makes no real sense without those older stories...

This is one of the reasons (among many) why I no longer believe. I cannot, and will not deny science anymore... plus the concept of worshiping a man, brutalized in an Bronze age barbaric ritual, is just pretty gross to me. (Even if it's claimed to be 'for my salvation.') Much like C.S. Lewis, I cannot reconcile science and religion -- but unlike him, I refuse to keep trying. No one can prove there isn't a god... but it isn't the job of science to prove negatives. I could say I believe in a pink unicorn, who blesses me daily, and write a magical prophecy book on it, and no one could tell me it wasn't true. It's just that there is enough LACK OF PROOF to safely believe there is none. The concept is unfalsifiable -- just as any unsubstantiated belief is unfalsifiable. People will always have yet another belief system in place as to explain away whatever the incongruity.

C.S. Lewis was using apologetics, to in fact, apologize for Biblical inaccuracy, logical fallacy, and scientific incongruity. He just didn't want to accept that it didn't add up. He wasn't ready for it. I read some of his books when I was a believer -- and they went right over my head, at that time. Now that I'm not a believer, they are a lot easier to understand. He was just someone wrestling with the question of faith, and wanting to believe at all costs.

My two cents. 

Logged
AgathaL'Orange
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1181



« Reply #16 on: December 11, 2012, 11:54:20 pm »

I always viewed C.S. Lewis as simply questioning and coming to some logical conclusions.  I read him the same way I read Madeline L'Engle, Brennan Manning, or Anne Lamott.  I don't get my doctrine from them, but I do appreciate that people care enough to spend a lot of time thinking, searching, and writing about Christianity.  I try to make it a practice not to speak for God, not to confidently proclaim who he is or what he said unless I know it to be true.  So, to me, a lot of things are open for discussion, because the fact is, we don't know how he did it all or exactly why or when.  We have a lot of questions and proclaiming a narrow answer to a question (when there is no evidence to do so through scripture or otherwise) just makes people throw their hands up.  I start with Creation (through my senses), continue through the scripture, proceed through the creeds and the historic evidence, and finish off with my own personal experience and the experiences of people I know and trust, and that's what I've got in the way of a belief system.  That's the best I can do.  So, while I won't write CS Lewis off, I'm also not going to base my belief system on him.  He was just a guy who shared his life with the world.  I appreciate that.  That's it.

What I can't stand are people who never really question.  How does that even work?  I don't get it.  How wonderful to be so easily convinced... then again I once was too.  That was a big root of my problem I think...
Logged

Glad to be free.
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« Reply #17 on: December 12, 2012, 01:04:44 am »

Hi Agatha.  We are worlds apart in our approach to things, I think.  That is probably a good thing in the greater scheme of the world.  I am a dyed-in-the-wool skeptic.  I don't believe anything until I have a concrete basis for doing so.  I tend to be one tough old bird to convince of just about anything.

It drives me crazy when philosophers posit assumptions and build belief systems on the basis of their own logic founded on their own presuppositions.  So, I readily confess that I do not hold philosophers in high esteem.  I suppose for that reason it does not rattle my cage to realize that Lewis' theology is untrustworthy when compared with biblical precepts.  

So, for my two cents, just go right ahead asking all the questions you want of anyone you want.  Challenge away, and don't stop!  Don't let anyone intimidate you into being silent.

« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 02:06:50 am by EverAStudent » Logged
EverAStudent
Private Forum Access
Household Name (300+ Posts)
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 716



WWW
« Reply #18 on: December 12, 2012, 02:06:02 am »

Hello FeministRebel.

If any Christian takes personal offense at you being an atheist then they have adopted the wrong religion!!!!  LOL

As Christians we do not have the luxury of being offended by a lack of belief because all of us were unbelievers at one time or another prior to our conversions.  Unbelief is the normal state of a human being until they come to be convicted otherwise.  

Your comment that we (I) do not want to disbelieve the Bible is partially true, but is really far too much of an oversimplification of a complex personal history.  If it could be adequately demonstrated to me that God never did create people and does not hold humans accountable for their acts of rebellion, then I would likely be in the majority that do not believe in Him.  It's not like I have walked around saying, "This idea of my personal culpability for pervasive sin and a future hellfire judgment for eternal agony awaiting me is just so appealing and alluring..."

What drives my faith is multifaceted.  It has much to do with the first cause argument, as I described in a previous post.  All matter is predicated of the presence of energy.  Where did the first primitive engergy come from?  If the first primitive energy is eternal or self-existant then it is itself some kind of quasi-god.  The idea that the universe itself is a god is simply supersition of a kind that I cannot adopt.  

Science failed me with regard to answering that big question:  Where did everything come from before the Big Bang?  That question always led me back to a genuinely intelligent Creator-Designer.  God designed the pysical laws by which all energy and matter function, then provided the energy, and the rest is literally history.  

That is essentially what the Bible says, and that alignment carries great weight with me.  So I take the Bible seriously and study it.  What I found is that most of the objections to the Bible's origins and content are based on misconceptions or outright false allegations against it by people who ought to know they are making erroneous statements (this is anallegous inversion of what many Christians do with regard to credible scientific evidences in a misguided attempt to "disprove" evolution).  

For example, the insane notion that the Bible has been constantly rewritten century after century is utterly mad and laughable when copared to the historical evidences.  For example, the "church" never had the ability to rewrite the Hebrew Bible and had no physical access to "add in" prophecies about Jesus because the Hebrew Bible was buried in the ground about 100 years before Jesus was born (it was buried by the Jews in Israel to hide it from the coming Roman threat).  In about 1945 those buried copies were finally found.  The content of those 2000 year old Hebrew Bibles is virtually identical to what we had been using all along, including all those prophecies of the then-coming Messiah, Jesus.  Even though this is hard archeological fact, the nutty allegation keeps being made that the Bible was tampered with to add in prophecies of Jesus.  How?Huh?  Did Christians really find the Jewish Bibles, dig them up, unroll them without destroying them, add in prophecies, then rebury them?  Really?Huh  

No, the Bible's pedigree has been fairly well established with archeology and literary analysis.  If it consistently predicts things that come true it is not because it is always being rewritten, it is because it genuinely predicts the future accurately.  Such accuracy does not "prove" the truth of its content, but it is a nice solid piece of evidence.  

It is those evidences which I find more compelling than the silly complaints made against the text of the Bible.  That is why I trust it and the God who claims to have authored it.  

That is also why I find that when scientists make sweeping claims that this or that piece of evolutionary thought disproves the whole of the Bible, I am inclined to doubt the claim rather than to doubt the Bible.  

Similarly, when the scientific community declared extraterrestrial aliens are real but God is a fiction, I could not get all exicted about that either.  Yes, scientists began making literal golden plaques and golden sound recordings and launching them into space, and sending powerful radio transmissions to contact aliens beyond our solar system, and building massive antenna arrays in their Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (the ongoing SETI program), but at least they are acting on their religious beliefs.  They believe in aliens, so they spend time and money trying to talk to them.  Logical, but sad.  They have more evidence right here on earth for God but they refuse to try to talk to Him.  Sad.  

I find it incongruous that scientists have no evidence whatsoever that aliens exist, but they spend their time and enormous amounts of our money on trying to talk to them (gold records and signs are not cheap).  Even worse, the belief in aliens is unfalsifiable.  Scientists can "investigate" a million galaxies and not find an alien life but still believe it is out there but just has not yet been found.  Nothing could ever disprove the belief in aliens.  I guess that is what scientists complain about with regard to God, nothing can disprove His existance either.  Scientists are in no respect more logical or superior in their beliefs over and against Christians, they just hold to different beliefs.

FeministRebel, I suspect you were probably just making up a play on words, but most Christians likely will not find it funny to claim that apologetics is a kind of apology for Christian thought.  Apologetics as a field of Christian study strictly means to provide answers to questions and challenges that have been posed.  Christian apologetics does not issue apologies for the Bible, but only gives answers to the challenges made against it.  

Have a good remainder of the day.
« Last Edit: December 12, 2012, 02:14:40 am by EverAStudent » Logged
TheAtheist
Regular (15-99 Posts)
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 33



« Reply #19 on: December 12, 2012, 07:38:20 am »

Feminist Rebel said:
Quote
I could say I believe in a pink unicorn, who blesses me daily, and write a magical prophecy book on it, and no one could tell me it wasn't true. It's just that there is enough LACK OF PROOF to safely believe there is none.

Nooooooooo! Archaeologists found Mr. Sparkley's lair!
http://polandball-news.blogspot.com.au/2012/12/unicorn-lair-discovered-in-north-korea.html
It's all truuuuuuuuuuue! Don't blaspheme Mr. Sparkley! Cheesy
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  


Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
SimplePortal 2.1.1