August 14, 2011
Christianity tells us that we are all sinners and doomed to Hell, unless we accept Jesus as our Savior. The reason we are doomed is that we are all sinners. The Apostle Paul says in Rom 5:12:
Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:
The reason that we are all sinners is that we “inherit” the “Original Sin” of Adam. As sinners we deserve death. Only Jesus’ death could atone for Original Sin.
That puts Christians in an awkward position.
Christians have to hold that there really was an Adam and Eve and a talking Serpent in the Garden of Eden. They have to accept the creation story of Genesis. Most Christians have abandoned this position in favor of concepts like “divinely guided evolution”. A few Christians still argue in favor of creation a la Genesis but the arguments have been exposed over and over as baseless dogma and have rapidly lost traction among all but the most fundamentalist of Christians.
Or, Christians can accept evolution, even if they qualify it as divinely guided evolution. Then there was no Adam in a garden with Trees of Life and Knowledge. If there is no Adam, there is no Original Sin. There is only our nature (is it sinful?). And our nature is the product of evolution (is it divinely guided?). If there is no Original Sin, then why did Jesus die?
June 9, 2008
Gen 2:19-20 explains how animals got their names:
Now the LORD God had formed out of the ground all the beasts of the field and all the birds of the air. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds of the air and all the beasts of the field.
Let’s assume for the moment that the above passage was written by mere mortals (the Elohist source to be exact) who lived around 850 bce in the Land of Israel. The statement that Adam named all of the birds and land animals sounds reasonable enough – there simply weren’t that many different animals in that area which the writer would have been familiar with. Now let’s assume that the above passage was written under divine inspiration (the verbal, plenary inspiration theory) where God guided the author to transmit his divine message exactly as he intended it. Suddenly, the statement seems ludicrous because we would expect God to know how many animals he created. For example, God would surely be aware of the Giant Pandas he created that are native only to China, or the Capivara found only in Brazil, or Beluga Whales and Polar Bares found only in the Arctic Ocean, or the Platypus found only in Australia. Adam would have his work cut out for him naming the myriad of animals found world wide – and the Beluga Whales would have died of dehydration and heat exhaustion in the process! But it gets worse. What about trilobites that died in the mass extinction at the end of the Permian about 250 million years ago (there are more than 10,000 fossil species of just trilobites alone!)? Did Adam name them? What is the ancient Hebrew word for it (or a word for it in any ancient language)? What about all of the other millions of extinct species of animal? What about the microbes (e. coli, amoebae, extremaphiles, etc., etc.)?
Walk me through it one more time: why should I believe that the first chapter in Genesis (for starters) is the divine Word of God?