I'll had another question for theistic evolutionists:
If God did decide to use a naturalistic mean to create humans, why did he put death, and suffering, etc. as an integral part of the process ?
Oh, and by the way, that point number 3 isn't an accurate description of the reason God created humans and in fact, it is very often represented this way by atheists as a strawman as to make God look Narcisist etc.
God created humans as to be in perfect relationship with them and see them grow etc. etc. just for the same reason parents want to have children. In this regard, I doubt anyone would call parents Narcisists.
A very superficial overview of christianity will give you this impression of the concept of Hell etc.
Unfortunately, I doubt you will find many theologians (if any) who would have made such a comparison, and as of such you making this comparison of christianity, with the further intent of discrediting the christian worldview upon this point, is another strawman.
Also note that I was adressing the particular claim that God, by his intentions of creating us, was Narcisist. Your question is a totally different issue, the one that God, by punishing us to Hell, is evil. Very different issues. (Does this fall into 'Red Herring' ? I'm not a pro at identifying fallacies)
I don't want to derail the topic at hand, but if you want to start a new thread on this, I'll gladly discuss this. It would be great simply to discuss who is the christian God, because ssooo often assertions are made about him and his intentions that are false/half-true, so that the strawman can be put down as to declare victory over the christian worldview. This is not done intentionaly usually, it only stems from a bad concept of God, and so I would think that a topic on the 'train of thought' we were having would be very fruitful, if only so that atheists can attack the christian God on what he is, rather than what he is not.
Young Earth Creationists will sometimes argue that a god who goes about using naturalistic processes is a weak god, while I think the very opposite is true. It is far more spectacular in my mind, to create a universe which in itself, using the properties that the Creator gave it, can create a world like ours. The vastness of it, the age of it, the beauty of it, seems to represent the existence of an omnipotent, eternal Creator much better than one that was just poofed into existence 6000 years ago.
I have never seen any recommendable creationist association saying that usign naturalistic processes would make God weak. They fully acknowledge that God could have done it anyway he had wanted to, and that he would still have been all-powerful. FOr them, it comes down to not what he 'could' have done, but what he 'said' he did. Him purposefully wanting natural selection as a way to produce humans also has theological problems for the christian worldview, because it implies that death and suffering were an integral part of God's plan for us. This goes against many other parts of the christian worldview. (The bible clearly identifies death as an enemy and an intruder in this world).
This also clears up a bit your own question further down in your post. I believe death is an intruder in the created universe, and so it is bad. I also think that this reflects quite well the reality of it. You only have to see a mourners grieving over the death of a loved one, and you can see that it brings more pain than joy. I love corals, but I'd sacrifice them any day of the week and twice on sundays so that death wouldn't be an integral part of our world. I mean, world war two and the Nazi regime brought amazing technological advancements, does it mean wasn't bad in every sense of the term ?
And even if this 'God' did make a world with death as a key feature of it, why did he make us evolved so that we mentally suffer when we lose a loved one ? At least, he could have made us indifferent to death, so that we view it as he does: just another aspect of our universe.
FInally, a 6000 year old universe is just as vast, and just as beautiful as 14billion year old universe. The only difference is the age really. And so if you think a 6000 year old universe takes away all the mystery and greatness of being able to explore it, I would suggest you say that to Newton or Galileo, or pretty much any scientist before the 19th century.
Ok, I just wrote a beautiful reply before everything crashed and I lost it ...
I won't rewrite the God is weak part. To make a summary of what I wrote,The christian God using natural forces to creat out does not make him any weaker or stronger, because he remains the christian God. Many christians believe in evolution, and that this is how God chose to make things, whil still believing that God is omnipotent, moniscient, etc. just as described in the Bible.
But if you start from the point that God used natural laws to create us, and then makes assumptions about God such as 'well maybe God didn't know what was going to happen, and just started the machine to see', etc. then obviously this version of God is a weaker one, and in fact it is no longer the God described in the Bible, but rather your own personnal opinion God who is either not omnipotent, not omniscient, etc. etc.
But I also do think, for theological reasons, that the christian God cannot have used death and suffering to create humans. This is because it has immense theological implications.
Suppose the genesis account is literal. Then death is the consequence of sin, which in turn was caused by Adam and Eve breaking the relationship with God by disobeying. Death becomes and intruder in this world, one that is the last enemy to be destroyed (1 corinthian 15:26) Jesus Christ comes to die for our sins, in order to restore this relationship so that we can once again have direct access to God. He defeats death through his ressurection. With death the consequence of sin, the christian message is crystal-clear and coherent.
But suppose the genesis account is metaphoric. Then death was always an integral part of God's will for our universe. In fact, since death and suffering is no longer the consequence of sin, then there are no consequences to sin. In fact, it means that sin also was planned by God for this universe. And why then does Jesus have to come and die for our sins ? Why do we even have to be saved from anything ? Why would God judge us for something he himself had planned for us ? If death really was God's intention, then christianity becomes nothing more then good morals at best. Which really is just a terribly watered-down version of what it really is.
Ironically enough, atheists comprehend this much, much more then christians usually. For example, here is a quote from Prof. Dawkins:
Oh but of course the story of Adam and Eve was only ever symbolic, wasnít it? Symbolic?! Jesus had himself tortured and executed for a symbolic sin by a non-existent individual. Nobody not brought up in the faith could reach any verdict other than barking mad!
Also from Richard Bozarth writing in American Atheist:
Christianity has fought, still fights, and will continue to fight science to the desperate end over evolution, because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesusí earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the Son of God. If Jesus was not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing.
That last quote is one of my favorites, because Bozarth clearly understands the deep theological implications of such a position.
This is why I think the idea of death and suffering being the intentions of the creator for the universe theologically excludes the christian God, or to try to reconcile both is the first step to a series of theological compromises that, in the end, looks nowhere near the christian message. This can be often seen here on EvC, where the theistic evolutionist christians usually compromise on the authenticity of the Bible, on the nature of the christian God, on the resurection of Jesus christ, on the reality of Hell, etc.
So hey, if someone wants to believe that some God used evolution to create us, fine by me. But it cannot be the christian God.
Yes, this version of God is not biblical. You are describing the god of Deism. Biblical Christianity has no room for the concept of the universe as a "machine." The universe, and its functioning, are sustained instant-by-instant by the God who created them.
Of course, I totally agree. Note that this presupposition (That God upholds his creation) is one of the primary why science developped in a christian background. ''Since the Christian God never changes and he upholds his creation, then we can observe it and deduce laws that we know will not change, etc. etc.''
What you say is true regarding the death of man only. There is no biblical or theological basis to extend this to animals or plants. In fact, God is praised for feeding animals to the carnivores that He created (Ps 109, Job 38-42).
I find however, that you cannot say that death and suffering applied only to humans without doing some serious eisegesis. Paul clearly says that:
quote:Therefore just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned
So death entered the world through sin, and this is why 'the world has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time'' (romans 8:22)
Sin had a universal effect on all creation, this is seen throughout the Bible, and in fact was pretty much as much a Theological truth throughout christianity as ''Jesus rose from the Dead''. This only changed when the ToE came along, and christians started to compromise the biblical teaching, weaving eisegesis into it.
Wanting to apply death as the result of sin only to humans is one such example. Not only does it not fit with biblical teaching, it is also very difficult to apply to Evolution. When, in the human-ape lineage, did homos stop being animals subject to death, and started being humans not subject to death until they 'sinned' ? Where do you draw the line ? Is the attempt to draw any kind of line anywhere reasonable, considering everything that in evolution, everything is gradual to soem extent (even in ponctuated equilibrium) ?
First, it would be nice if you could say a bit what position you are proposing here, and with what objective. It seems it is to say that animal death was there before the sin entered the world, but is this in order to make evoluton compatible with the bible ? or is it simply to say 'well the bible doesn't really specify this ...'. It's a bit confusing for me since I asked a question about how you could the fit this even with the ToE without a response. Anyhow:
Exegetically, Paul was speaking only of man here, not of plants or animals. This is quite clear from the context and argument of Rom 5 (see, e.g., v. 14). "World" here refers only to the human race (as in Jn 3:16). Paul is setting up an analogy: sin and death came through the original Adam; grace and life come through the New Adam (Christ). If you try to interpret Rom 5:12 to include death of animals, then you would have to conclude that Jesus also offers eternal life to animals!
I thought about this as soon as I had posted my post. The thing would be to check in the original language the word 'world'. I don't have a greek bible however (internet site?)
And of course, it would not surprise me that Paul put the emphasise on death relating to humans, since he is talking to non-jews who knew absolutely nothing about the fall, sin etc. etc. and how it relates to their current situationas humans, This does not exclude animals, and in fact I think that including strictly humand death in this verse, and nothing else, puts it at odds with the greater scope of christian doctrine on the fall. Because, extending the effects of when sin entered the world to animals and the whole of creation by that matter, does not mean they can be 'saved' and have 'eternal life' by Jesus's sacrifice, but it does mean that this creation will one day be restored to its pre-fall state, which is exactly what the Bible teaches about the new earth etc. in apocalypse.
The fact also that God said everything was 'very good' in Genesis does not correlate well with the idea that animal death was existent, and by inference this means cancers, etc. which would mean God would consider these things to be 'very good'.
Rom 8 is difficult to interpret, and I'm not sure what the best interpretation is. I am sure that most readers bring lots of unexamined presuppositions to the text. For example, 8:20 says that God subjected the creation to futility, but what does this mean? How much of the cosmos is in view by Paul here? (Could he again be only referring to man?) When did God do this--at the original time of creation? at the Fall? How did God do this--by changing the structure of the creation? by allowing man to wreck it by being a poor steward of creation? All of these seem plausible.
Interpretations will remain interpretations, but my view is that the sin of man had an effect on all the creation, which would be why it is groaning with pain (In my french version, it says 'the whole of creation is groaning as in the pains ...'').
If this is not so, then this means it was God's desire that his creation would be in such a condition. Clearly this is in opposition to the nature of God, which made everything initially very good. I find that the Bible is much more consistent with itself, with the nature of God, with it's representation of the world, when looked in this way. Trying to make it seem as though maybe the animals and the rest of the creation is not included poses much more problems and dichotomy in the christian worldview, in my humble opinion.
And as I've said, this was the universal position of the church throughout it's history, up until ToE became 'fact' and the Bible had ti be 'reinterpreted'. This means that it is the clear and simple meaning of it, and that trying to make it otherwise is eisegesis.
"World" in both Jn 3:16 and Rom 5:12 is kosmos. This has a wide range of meanings; the actual meaning must be determined from context.
So I guess I determine that this would include the whole of creation, while you determine it to be only humans ?
Can you show us where the Bible teaches this? I see it teaching something very different. Rather than restoring the earth to its "pre-fall state," God will completely destroy the present creation and make an entirely new, different, and better heaven and earth. This is analogous to personal salvation; God does not restore us to the "pre-fall state" of Adam and Eve, but to an entirely new, different, and better state.
Yeah, that's probably more what I had in mind. My use of the expression 'pre-fall state' was probably not good. It happens sometimes since french is my first-language, I sometimes have difficulty expressing a particular idea.
Anyhow, it does not really change the point I was trying to make: God will also restore the whole creation, not just humanity, to an entirely new, different, and better state, Which means that the whole of creation was impacted by sin.
I'm not sure how you infer (human) cancer from animal death. And it seems that you are reading your own preconceptions into "very good." God's created order is presented as something good in Ps 109 and Job 38-42 yet includes animal death.
I was infering animal cancer. And coud you give specific verses in ps 109 and job 38-42 ?
Again, you are eisegetically reading your own ideas into "very good." The Hebrew says "very good," not "perfect," even though they had words for "perfect".
I don't read perfection when I read very good, since only god is perfect. I rather read some sort of 'right on target' kind of expression, similar maybe to how Paul uses the greek word that means 'to miss the target' when talking about sin.
False. Nearly all conservative Bible scholars from the early to mid-1800s thru the mid-1900s believed that the earth was old and that animals had died before man was here. These scholars included Scofield, Spurgeon, Barnhouse, Ironside, Unger, J Vernon McGee, and many, many others who did not accept the ToE as "fact."
Since Darwin published in 1859, and that the idea of evolution was present before that (see Lamarckianism), and the idea of an old earth even before that (see Cuvier, etc.) I have no doubt that the early-to-mid 1800's is precisely the time where the compromise was made. Try finding earlier.