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Author Topic:   Bible accepts evolution
platypus
Member (Idle past 3916 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 1 of 80 (368923)
12-11-2006 2:27 AM


Not sure if something along these lines have been proposed before, I am relatively new here. But this recently came up, so I wnat to bring it up.

At the Beyond Belief 2006 conference (http://beyondbelief2006.org/Watch/) there was a very interesting exchange between Joan Roughgarden and Richard Dawkins (which I would recommend watching if you have time). What I would like to focus on are two comments made by Joan in her recent book "Evolution and Christian Faith." (http://www.amazon.com/Evolution-Christian-Faith-Reflections-Evolutionary/dp/1597260983)

She describes two passages in the Bible that report evolution.

1) Genesis 30:30- 31:12
Jacob and Laban get into a bit of a skiff, and come to the agreement that Jacob will take care of Laban's sheep, and as payment will be able to keep all of the brown or speckled sheep in the herd. And then the sheep all become brown and speckled, thus Jacob get holy recompensation for his suffering under Laban. God speaks to Jacob (through his angel, Gen 31 11-12) " Lift up now thine eyes, and see, all the rams which leap upon the cattle are... speckled... for I have seen all that Jacob has done unto thee." The implication that God influenced which sheep interbreed in order to steer the course of evolution in Jacob's favor. Here, God accepts natural selection and uses it to achieve his goals. He does not simply wave his hand and cause all the sheep to become speckled- rather, he used the subtle process of selective breeding over 7 years to cause all the sheep to become brown.

2) Jesus's parable of the mustard seed. Matthew 13. I won't quote this directly, cause it is a bit long, but the point is, Jesus describes how a farmer spreads mustard seeds along the ground. Some fall on rocks, and are eaten by crows, some fall on bad soil and spring up quickly to be scorched, but a few fall on good soil, and those few spring up 30-fold, or 60-fold, or 100-fold. He compares this to how his words are recieved by listeners, and how he does not expect to convince everyone of his teachings, but those that he does convince will be extremely fruitful. What is interesting to note here is what Jesus is describing is essentially genetic drift- a random process of fixation of some genes over others when the total number of surviving individuals in a population is low. The mustard seeds are spread, and only a few survive, but those few that survive spring up like mad. In other words, Jesus accepts that a random process of gene spreading can lead to fixation of a few of these genes. Emphasis on random, since many creationists seem to have problems with that word.

Not really sure what category this belongs to...


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AdminNosy
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Message 2 of 80 (368963)
12-11-2006 10:03 AM


Thread moved here from the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
ringo
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Posts: 16613
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
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Message 3 of 80 (369084)
12-11-2006 4:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by platypus
12-11-2006 2:27 AM


platypus writes:

Jesus describes how a farmer spreads mustard seeds along the ground.

Actually, the sower and the mustard seed are two different parables. (In the Bible, mustard tends to be more of a weed than a condiment.)

Jesus accepts that a random process of gene spreading can lead to fixation of a few of these genes.

Where do you read "fixation" of genes?


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This message is a reply to:
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platypus
Member (Idle past 3916 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 4 of 80 (369143)
12-11-2006 7:48 PM
Reply to: Message 3 by ringo
12-11-2006 4:12 PM


fixation
A few seeds spread 100 fold, whereas most spread not at all- maybe fixation is the wrong word. But whatever alleles are found in the rapidly multiplying species become dominant. The story describes a change in the allele frequency of a population due to a random event.
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ringo
Member
Posts: 16613
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 5 of 80 (369144)
12-11-2006 7:59 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by platypus
12-11-2006 7:48 PM


Re: fixation
platypus writes:

The story describes a change in the allele frequency of a population due to a random event.

I don't think it does. There's no indication that the 30-fold/60-fold/100-fold increase is passed on to the next generation. It's like saying one of my daughters is five-foot-ten and one is five-foot-six and one is five-foot-two. That isn't "evolution", it's happenstance.


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platypus
Member (Idle past 3916 days)
Posts: 139
Joined: 11-12-2006


Message 6 of 80 (369216)
12-12-2006 1:45 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by ringo
12-11-2006 7:59 PM


Re: fixation
Let's say there are three kinds of mustard seeds, seed A, seed B, and seed C, corresponding to three different alleles. Let's say we spread 100 seeds of each A, B, and C, and of these 300 total seeds, only 3 survive. These 3 that survive produce 100fold more offspring each. The allele frequency of the next generation is determined by which three alleles are in the three seeds that survive, and this selection process is random. There are pretty good odds that the 3 survivors will not be an A, B, and C, thus the allele frequencies are likely to drastically change.

Granted, it's reading into the passage a bit. The important point is not the allele frequency change, but the acknowledgement by Jesus of random selection in a context that can be applied to evolutionary theory.


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Larni
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Posts: 3976
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 7 of 80 (369235)
12-12-2006 4:48 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by platypus
12-11-2006 2:27 AM


The bile accepts evolution, but....
It's difficult to actually see if the xian god is letting evolution happen or magically making the rams etc go all speckled.

If one reads this as an acceptance of evolution, what does this do to ones interpretation of Genesis?


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ringo
Member
Posts: 16613
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
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Message 8 of 80 (369277)
12-12-2006 11:32 AM
Reply to: Message 6 by platypus
12-12-2006 1:45 AM


Re: fixation
platypus writes:

The important point is not the allele frequency change, but the acknowledgement by Jesus of random selection in a context that can be applied to evolutionary theory.

Where do you see "acknowledgement of random selection"?

Some of the seeds fell on more fertile ground, some on less fertile ground. (Note Jesus' explanation of the parable: some of His words fall on "deaf ears".) The "selection" of which plants survive seems to be based on nutrition.

There is no reason to assume that the different yields were caused by different "kinds" of seeds (once again, not mustard seeds ;) ).

There is no reason to assume that the birds didn't eat seeds more-or-less equally from the different enviromnments.

In other words, there is no reason to assume a random component.


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jaywill
Member (Idle past 104 days)
Posts: 4519
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005


Message 9 of 80 (371297)
12-20-2006 10:24 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by platypus
12-11-2006 7:48 PM


Re: fixation
Without double checking I think that Ringo's point is valid. It is two different parables. In one it is specifically mentioned that it is a mustard seed. In the other it is just a seed. We do not know what kind of seed it is.

The mustard seed grows out of proportion abnormally. The parable is about the kingdom of the heavens. So it relates to abnormal develpment of the kingdom of the heavens. Now what on earth is that?

The parable of the mustard seed growing abnormally is about the abnormal development of Christiandom. The gospel of Christ was lowly, small, humble, and feeding. It was corrupted and grew abnormally into a world wide religion. This religion houses many evil things and persons in its "branches". Even demonic things and evil spirits came in to hide out and roost in the branches of historic Christianity. So the abnormal growth of the mustard seed is a prophecy of how the church that Jesus established would in the future grow into a worldly religious / political system within which hide all manner of evil "birds".

Now if anyone doubts the validity of this interpretation they should consider similiar sounding ones offered in the Old Testament. It is left to the serious student to find them.

The other parable is positive in nature. And we are not told what kind of seed it is. But through various levels of frustration is eventually finds "good soil". The good soil is the heart of the believer in the gospel who takes care of her heart after hearing and believing the word of the kingdom.

Of the four kinds of soil, four kinds of human hearts are depicted. No not physical hearts. It means hearts as a composite of the man or woman's mind, emotion, will, and conscience. Things in the heart fristrate the growth and maturity of the word of Christ. The cared for heart is good soil and bears fruit for God and man.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.


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Archer Opteryx
Member (Idle past 1760 days)
Posts: 1811
From: East Asia
Joined: 08-16-2006


Message 10 of 80 (371357)
12-21-2006 8:14 AM
Reply to: Message 9 by jaywill
12-20-2006 10:24 PM


Re: kingdom of heaven within you
jaywill:

The parable of the mustard seed growing abnormally is about the abnormal development of Christiandom. The gospel of Christ was lowly, small, humble, and feeding. It was corrupted and grew abnormally into a world wide religion. This religion houses many evil things and persons in its "branches". Even demonic things and evil spirits came in to hide out and roost in the branches of historic Christianity. So the abnormal growth of the mustard seed is a prophecy of how the church that Jesus established would in the future grow into a worldly religious / political system within which hide all manner of evil "birds".

Now if anyone doubts the validity of this interpretation they should consider similiar sounding ones offered in the Old Testament. It is left to the serious student to find them.

Here you supply your own negative spin. Yeshua nowhere suggests, as you do, that the growth and flourishing of a healthy mustard tree should be seen as some kind of ominous development. But your pessimistic interpretation is just the negative version of the traditional take on this story. Tradition says the 'kingdom of heaven' is the coming 'church' that the storyteller is here to 'establish.'

But did Rabbi Yeshua of Nazareth know he was 'establishing a church'? Why would he even think in such terms? No church existed in his day. He showed no interest personally in being anything other than a Jew and this applies to others he met.

We may fairly ask what he anticipated. What kind of kingdom did he proclaim? That's not the same as asking what new organized religion came to be in the decades that followed. Yeshua could easily have understood something very different by the term 'kingdom of heaven.' It may have been nothing like a church at all, good or bad.

The other parable is positive in nature. And we are not told what kind of seed it is. But through various levels of frustration is eventually finds "good soil". The good soil is the heart of the believer in the gospel who takes care of her heart after hearing and believing the word of the kingdom.

Of the four kinds of soil, four kinds of human hearts are depicted. No not physical hearts. It means hearts as a composite of the man or woman's mind, emotion, will, and conscience. Things in the heart fristrate the growth and maturity of the word of Christ. The cared for heart is good soil and bears fruit for God and man.

Now you say the kingdom of heaven is human hearts, not a church.

Sounds good to me. But surely you can see that this interpretation is completely different in kind form your first one.

Why switch horses in midstream like this? You don't have to.

Maybe the 'kingdom of heaven' Yeshua proclaimed was--in every case--a revolution in the human heart. Maybe that was his interest all along. Maybe the term has nothing to do with the 'establishment of a church.'

___

Edited by Archer Opterix, : HTML.

Edited by Archer Opterix, : typo repair.


Archer

All species are transitional.


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jaywill
Member (Idle past 104 days)
Posts: 4519
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005


Message 11 of 80 (371368)
12-21-2006 9:43 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Archer Opteryx
12-21-2006 8:14 AM


Re: kingdom of heaven within you
Here you supply your own negative spin. Yeshua nowhere suggests, as you do, that the growth and flourishing of a healthy mustard tree should be seen as some kind of ominous development. But your pessimistic interpretation is just the negative version of the traditional take on this story. Tradition says the 'kingdom of heaven' is the coming 'church' that the storyteller is here to 'establish.'

Your first erroneous assumption to which you vigorously leap, is that because I said that the parable of the deformed mustard seed is negative, I am pessimistic. Not true.

There can be a negative parable without there being the prevailing triumph of that negative situation. Clearly, the deformation of the facade of the kingdom of the heavens will not prevail. So do not assume pessimism on my part or on the part of Christ.

The church and the kingdom of the heavens in Matthew are very closely related. This is proved by chapters 16 and 18 of Matthew. The keys to the kingdom were given to the Apostle Peter who just so happened to preach the first gospel messages in the book of Acts. In those messages of Peter thousands came into the new testament church life.

There was a key for the Jews to come in. And there was latter a key for the Gentiles to come in. Peter was there speaking on both occasions. I think the "keys" have to do with Peter's gospel preaching.

But did Rabbi Yeshua of Nazareth know he was 'establishing a church'? Why would he even think in such terms? No church existed in his day. He showed no interest personally in being anything other than a Jew and this applies to others he met.

Read Matthew 16. And pay special attention to the words "I will build My church"

We may fairly ask what he anticipated. What kind of kingdom did he proclaim? That's not the same as asking what new organized religion came to be in the decades that followed. Yeshua could easily have understood something very different by the term 'kingdom of heaven.' It may have been nothing like a church at all, good or bad.

The church is a matter of grace. The kingdom is a matter of authority and discipline. The kingdom is the discipline aspect of the church. To be in the kingdom is to submit to the authority of the King. You may be saved and forgiven but go on and live your own life as before. Or you may be saved and forgiven and go on to grow in the divine life, learning to be in submission to the authority of Christ.

So the kingdom and the church are very closely related. Since God's will is not simply that people be saved and forgiven, but that they change and live differently, the gospel of the kingdom is preached first. Matthew comes first as the welcome center of the New Testament. "I save you so that you may live in My kingdom."

Now the church is a matter of receiving grace and mercy. But the kingdom is a matter of excercise and discipline. So these are two aspects of the same thing. Or they are very closely related. The Savior is also the King.

I'll look to your other comments latter.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.


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jaywill
Member (Idle past 104 days)
Posts: 4519
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005


Message 12 of 80 (371393)
12-21-2006 11:55 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by Archer Opteryx
12-21-2006 8:14 AM


Re: kingdom of heaven within you
Maybe the 'kingdom of heaven' Yeshua proclaimed was--in every case--a revolution in the human heart. Maybe that was his interest all along. Maybe the term has nothing to do with the 'establishment of a church.'

Jesus told the disciples that among those born of women the greatest one born was John the Baptist. However, He went on to say that he who was least in the kingdom of the heavens was greater than John the Baptist (Matthew 11:11). Now why?

John the Baptist was a forerunner of Jesus Christ. He was close to Christ in that regard. But the new testament disciples have Christ dwelling within them. So their relationship with Christ was ever closer. Even the least of them is closer to Christ by virtue of the fact that each and every true constituent of the new covenant church has Jesus Christ dwelling in them in His spiritual presence.

What makes a person great, by the way, is her or his closeness to the great One - Jesus Christ. The closer to Jesus, the greater. John was closer than all others born of women. But he who is least in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than JOhn the Baptist in that Christ has come to indwell them. This indwelling began to take place from the establishment of the new testament church.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.

Edited by jaywill, : No reason given.


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ringo
Member
Posts: 16613
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 3.0


Message 13 of 80 (371401)
12-21-2006 12:34 PM
Reply to: Message 12 by jaywill
12-21-2006 11:55 AM


Re: kingdom of heaven within you
jaywill writes:

Jesus told the disciples that among those born of women the greatest one born was John the Baptist.

Just a few questions - not an ambush. ;)

Jesus was born of a woman, so wasn't He saying that John was even "greater" than He was? Doesn't that suggest that "the last shall be first" is more about equality than about "measuring" who is greater? Is it really necessary to bring in a spooky in-me/out-of-me, push-me/pull-you interpretation?

And what does this have to do with the Bible accepting evolution? I'm guessing you'd agree with me that the parables in question don't "acknowledge" evolution. (And yes I'm sitting down. :D )


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jaywill
Member (Idle past 104 days)
Posts: 4519
From: VA USA
Joined: 12-05-2005


Message 14 of 80 (371406)
12-21-2006 12:52 PM
Reply to: Message 13 by ringo
12-21-2006 12:34 PM


Re: kingdom of heaven within you
It has admitedly nothing to do with Evolution.

Jesus was born of a woman. True. But Jesus is the main One in the kingdom of the heavens being its King. So the least in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than John. And of course the greatest in the kingdom of the heavens is greater than John.

Jesus did not say "The Kingdom of God is within you." He said "The kingdom of God is in your midst" . He was in their midst so the kingdom of God was in their midst. He is in the kingdom and is the main one in the kingdom. He's the king of the kingdom.


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4Pillars
Inactive Member


Message 15 of 80 (371422)
12-21-2006 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by platypus
12-11-2006 2:27 AM


Macro-Evolution is a Lie
Dear platypus,

You are apparently unaware that most Christians accept descent with modifications and the adaptive nature that drives Micro-evolution. In fact, Genesis 6 documents us descents with modification or micro-evolution of the union of the sons of God (prehistoric mankind) and the daughters of Adam (Human) producing giant offspring becoming mighty men of old.

Again, Microevolution is God's way of keeping "kinds" within their own "kinds". Micro assures that dogs remain dogs.... cats remain cats...they evolve or change...but within their own "kind". IOW, Micro-evolution is observable and happens every time a baby is born.

What we reject is the leap of logic and faith being employed by blind people like you who will try to apply the same mechanism to explain macro-evolution (the goo-to-you theory). Come on get real.

Macro-evolution is strictly historical with no evidence to show except lots of speculations. It is classic equivocation by evolutionists to mean macroevolution when they speak of evolution, but turn to microevolution when asked for evidence.

How convenient.


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