1. We have added a Gift Upgrades feature that allows you to gift an account upgrade to another member, just in time for the holiday season. You can see the gift option when going to the Account Upgrades screen, or on any user profile screen.
    Dismiss Notice

Theistic Evolution

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Eran of Arcadia, Aug 6, 2006.

  1. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    23,090
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Sunshine and Lettuce Capital of the World
    As Perfection's thread deals only with the scientific evidence behind the theory of evolution, but there seems to be plenty of grounds for debate on the theological implications therein, I offer this as a companion thread. This will be basically to debate whether a belief in God (in general) or in Christianity (in particular) is compatible with the scientific theory of, and evidence related to, evolution by natural selection.

    Perf's thread is for the scientific merits of the relative views, so this will not focus on that. Rather, here we can talk about theological issues. As most Creationists seem to be Christian, that may be the focus, but anyone, of any religious bearing, can add.

    It would help if I defined my terms:

    Creationism, with a capital "C", is the idea that God created the earth, with all life more or less as it exists now (with some room for variation). This idea is often accompanied by the idea that the book of Genesis is literally true, and/or that the earth is only a few thousand years old. However, creationism with a lower-case "c" refers to the idea that the earth was created by a divine being of some sort, with no specific identification of the methods used.
     
  2. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    23,090
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Sunshine and Lettuce Capital of the World
    So to begin:

    It has been alleged, first of all, that a belief in Jesus as the Christ is not compatible with acceptance (I will not use the word "belief") of the theory of evolution by natural selection (hereafter "evolution"). This is because evolution contradicts a strictly literal interpretation of the first books of Genesis. Thus, people are willing to disregard the wealth of evidence behind evolution because they feel that to do so is necessary to accept Christ.

    However, it first must be understood that "the Bible" is not a single book. Genesis and the Gospels were written at different times, by different people with different motivations. Thus it is quite possible that the Gospels could be true (at least in their essentials - that Jesus is the Christ) and the entire book of Genesis is false.

    But again, it is possible that the book of Genesis (at least the first few chapters, our concern here) are true, not on a literal factual level but on another entirely. The Bible, including the Old Testament, is full of symbolic language, metaphors, parables, and other uses of non-literal speech. At the time of Genesis's writing, the Israelites were surrounded by other Semetic tribes and peoples. They had creation myths similar in form to what appears in Genesis - in the use of imagery of light and darkness, and that it was a fairly recent event. What differs is the meaning. Genesis claims that one God, supreme over creation, created the earth, intentionally and according to a plan, and was pleased with the results. This, to me, seems more important than how many days He was said to take.
     
  3. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Messages:
    30,387
    Actually, Genesis is in perfect harmony with evolution and the scientifically accepted age of the earth even if read literally.

    Science makes no attempt to answer what force is behind evolution, whether it is a natural occurance or whether there is an ultimate force guiding it, even if guiding it in only the most basic ways (nudge here and there to acheive ultimate design parameters). Therefore, there is no harm is assigning the force behind evolution to God.

    Mind you, I am not advocating teaching that in school, but neither am I advocating teaching totally randomness either. Teach that it happens and let the kids make up their minds. As this isn't the point of Eran's thread, though, let's start discussing the merits of teaching this or that in schools. I just wanted my position clear on that.
     
  4. Cuchullain

    Cuchullain Prince

    Joined:
    Jul 25, 2002
    Messages:
    358
    Location:
    Deepest, darkest New Jersey
    I have no problem reconciling my Catholic faith with my belief in evolution, because I do not take Creationism literally. Man evolved from the apes --- yet we still have apes. I believe that the hand of God gave mankind a boost up the evolutionary ladder. Even when I was in the seminary, I never believed that the Bible should be taken literally.
     
  5. ybbor

    ybbor Will not change his avata

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2003
    Messages:
    5,773
    Location:
    Chicago Suburbs
    because anytime I see the right arrangement of the words "Genesis", "days", "creation, and "evolution" I am complled to post this link (which IIRC I originally got from VRWC, correct me if I'm wrong), I have posted this message.
     
  6. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Messages:
    30,387
    Indeed you did, Ybbor.

    Ever since I was a small child and became enamored with dinosaurs (hey, what little boy DIDN'T?), and learned enough about them, I've never doubted the validity of the secularly accepted age of the earth. I always figured the 'days' in the beginning of genesis were meant to be periods of time, but that did bother me because it conflicted with my view that the Bible is to be taken literally.

    That article was the first I read that pretty much validated my views I've held since I was a youth that the earth is ancient AND which also allowed it to be held as such with a literal reading of the Bible.
     
  7. Dionysius

    Dionysius Emperor

    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,319
    an oddity.
    opinions? [on the page the link leads to]
    on a less ridiculous topic, why do so many people take the bible literaly?
     
  8. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall Night Elven Ghost Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    43,544
    Location:
    New Suramar City, Vekta, United Terran Systems
    Youre not the only one. Even the late John Paul II accepted evolution so long as it does not contridict the spiritual beguinnings of man :).
     
  9. bhsup

    bhsup Deity

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    Messages:
    30,387
    Probably ought to make it another thread, so as not to draw away from the evolution stuff. Be happy to answer it if you make one.
     
  10. soul_warrior

    soul_warrior Termite!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    6,443
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    i never held any strong faith, but was raisedwith some knowledge of the bible (6 years study at school)
    that is basically my belief too.
    i wont go so far as to say God did it, but i wont argue this moderate point.
    i will ponder this tonight, as it seems to makesome nuts in my loose mind go click ;)
    thanks for an idea.
     
  11. Dionysius

    Dionysius Emperor

    Joined:
    May 29, 2006
    Messages:
    1,319
    hey. opened the thread.
     
  12. soul_warrior

    soul_warrior Termite!

    Joined:
    Oct 25, 2004
    Messages:
    6,443
    Location:
    Sydney, NSW
    yeah.
    a bible literal thread would be nice.

    i need to find out some stuff regarding events inbiblical times.
    i know some science reasons and explanations but would also be VERY interested in the religious reasonings.

    are the any jews or muslims (or as the immortal apu said, misc.)out there to shed more light?
    im an aetheist jew, so have a limited point of view,but wouldlike to further my horizons on this...
     
  13. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    23,090
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Sunshine and Lettuce Capital of the World
    I have just been reading Hen's Teeth and Horse's Toes, a collection of essays by the late Stephen Jay Gould, in which he discussed natural biology, the movement in the 18th and 19th Centuries to demonstrate that the natural order and harmony of nature proved God's existence. It was scientists working within this framework who made observations about continental uplift, burial rates, rates of evolution, and other geological and biological phenomena to come to the conclusion that the earth is much older than a feew thousand years old.

    However, they also tried to use first principles to show that what appeared to be chaos or suffering had to be order; thus, within this system, animals were predated to avoid starving to death. They did not, however, deny the existence of death in general, one of the driving forces of evolution, which is known to exist but has been called by some Creationists too cruel a method for God to use.
     
  14. JoeM

    JoeM Imperator

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2001
    Messages:
    2,612
    Location:
    Centre of the maritime world
    It too agree that the issue is just a consequence of a more general opinion in the supremacy and literal interpretation of the Bible.
    In Catholicism this is less of a problem because of our equal strength given by Tradition.

    The reason for this seems to me to be a consequence of certain Absolutist principles that we can gain from faith, i.e. Moral absolutes. However, although I agree with these, it is not necesarily consequent that we have absolutes in every aspect of faith.

    My holistic opinion on the Bible stems from the inescapable fact that people of the time could not conceive of certain things, e.g.; extremely large numbers, complex theories such as evolution.
     
  15. GenMarshall

    GenMarshall Night Elven Ghost Agent

    Joined:
    Jun 17, 2002
    Messages:
    43,544
    Location:
    New Suramar City, Vekta, United Terran Systems
    Just to back up my statement that I have made earlyer. On October 22nd, 1996. Pope John Paul II made an address to the Pontifical Academy of Science to update the Church's position to accept evolution of the human body. Pope John Paul II reenforces that his predecessor, Pope Pius XII has affirmed that there is no conflict between evolution and the doctrine of the faith regarding man and his vocation. In the same address, Pope John Paul II rejected any theory of evolution that provides a materialistic explanation for the human soul. "Theories of evolution which, because of the philosophies which inspire them, regard the spirit either as emerging from the forces of living matter, or as a simple epiphenomenon of that matter, are incompatible with the truth about man." - Pope John Paul II.

    For more on Catholicism and Evolution. I redirect you to the full text of the Message to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences: On Evolution
     
  16. JoeM

    JoeM Imperator

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2001
    Messages:
    2,612
    Location:
    Centre of the maritime world
    @CG

    I've got a quandary about the soul (just the one ;) ) any good links you know about Catholicism and where souls come from?
     
  17. Azash

    Azash La Sombra

    Joined:
    Apr 30, 2005
    Messages:
    3,484
    Location:
    The Net
    The question isn't about the teachings, rather the existence of the man himself. The teachings are still as valid.
     
  18. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2002
    Messages:
    49,824
    Location:
    Salisbury Plain
    Yes it does, natural selection.
     
  19. Eran of Arcadia

    Eran of Arcadia Stormin' Mormon Retired Moderator

    Joined:
    Oct 16, 2004
    Messages:
    23,090
    Gender:
    Male
    Location:
    The Sunshine and Lettuce Capital of the World
    But is there a force behind natural selection?

    (Well, yes, sex, death, and random mutations - but is there anything behind those?)

    So it is possible, given our limited understanding, that the "laws" of science are being used in some way to reach a certain end.
     
  20. Perfection

    Perfection The Great Head.

    Joined:
    Apr 9, 2002
    Messages:
    49,824
    Location:
    Salisbury Plain
    Well certainly one could ascribe the lowest level (quantum stuff) phenomena to some spiritual entity (though I view it as useless and unscientific), but ascribing higher level phenomena (like evolution) as something other than the collective action of lower level phenomena goes against current scientific theory.
     

Share This Page