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An old painting reminds me of what is at stake in the Adam and Eve wars

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Further to New York Times’ story about Bryan College prof uproar is really about the New York Times, there is a small reproduction of a painting hanging in the basement at my (Catholic) church in Ottawa, Giovanni di Paolo’s The Annunciation (c. 1445). This was before the Reformation, hence any viable form of Protestantism, and before Christian or Catholic Darwinism (for sure):

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From a commentary on the painting:

Giovanni di Paolo’s Annunciation is believed to be one of five predella panels that belonged to the lower portion of a large, as yet unidentified, Sienese altarpiece. The central area of the panel shows the most important part of the painted narrative — the Archangel Gabriel announcing the impending birth of the Christ Child to the Virgin Mary. Outside her elegant Italian Gothic house, a lush garden reflects the spring season of the Annunciation. The fertile landscape also provides an appropriate setting for the secondary representation at the left — Adam and Eve’s dramatic expulsion from the Garden of Eden. Giovanni used the figure of God the Father, who occupies the celestial realm in the upper left corner, to link the Expulsion to the Annunciation. God both points out the exiled couple’s disgrace and looks ahead toward the Annunciation in anticipation of divine redemption. Finally, at the right, Joseph warms his hands at a fireplace, symbolic of Jesus’ future birth in the winter.

For nearly two millennia, Catholic Christians saw Christ as the second Adam (and his mother Mary as the new Eve) who would undo the mess the first couple had made of things.

Now, it is possible to work the faith around in such a way as to argue for a symbolic first couple and a real second one. But the traditional story begins to fade then.

And on what grounds is this done? To placate Darwin’s followers? Would anything in fact placate them?

To accord with the scientific evidence? Ah, on that just wait, it will come round again to any given position on subjects like this, some time within the next two decades, not the next two millennia.

So Bryan College and it profs need to decide whether the decades or the millennia should count more, and how and why. – O’Leary for News

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14 Replies to “An old painting reminds me of what is at stake in the Adam and Eve wars

  1. 1
    Mung says:

    Surely they should also be forced to profess belief in a literal global flood from which only eight members of the human race emerged alive, and that from either a single pair or one of seven pairs of animals which emerged from the Ark all extant animals descended by Darwinian evolution.

  2. 2
    StephenA says:

    Forced? Who should do the forcing and why would it be a good thing?
    Saying that people should do something is not the same as saying people should be forced to do something. I think people should brush their teeth at least once a day, but I don’t think that they should be forced by law (or any other method).

    That minor quibble aside… the Flood doesn’t have the same connection to the good news of Jesus’s redemption of humanity as the Fall does. That said, once you have accepted that Adam and Eve were real people you would be hard pressed to find any remaining reason to claim that the Flood was not also a real event.

  3. 3
    News says:

    StephenA, it would make very little difference to the message of the New Testament whether or not there had been a flood – global or otherwise. The story is handed down to us for our advisement but not much more hinges on it. One could say the same of the disastrous reign of Saul.

    The problem with excising Adam and Eve as historical persons is that it unbalances a balanced narrative.

  4. 4
    Mung says:

    News:

    The problem with excising Adam and Eve as historical persons is that it unbalances a balanced narrative.

    But excising Noah as a historical person, and the global flood as an historical event, doesn’t?

    Jesus:

    As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man.

    Peter:

    By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed.

    News:

    it would make very little difference to the message of the New Testament whether or not there had been a flood – global or otherwise. The story is handed down to us for our advisement but not much more hinges on it.

    How do you figure that?

    Say I’m a young earth creationist. You tell me not much hinges on whether there really was a global flood and whether Noah actually existed as a historical person. Why should I believe you?

    News:

    The problem with excising Adam and Eve as historical persons is that it unbalances a balanced narrative.

    Wouldn’t that depend on the narrative?

    Denyse, when did God cease his creative acts?

    Is God an active designer, or did He quit that job?

    If God quit that job, when and why did he quit?

    Does intelligent design theory depend on whether or not God is continuing to produce new designs?

  5. 5
    Mung says:

    The OP was filed under Christian Darwinism.

    So I feel it is appropriate to ask when did God leave off and when did “Christian Darwinism” take over?

    After day seven? After the flood?

    I’m trying to understand the antipathy here to “Christian Darwinism.”

    If God is not still creating new designs, what is the alternative?

    If God is not still creating new designs, the alternative, for a Christian, is Christian Darwinism. If not, why not?

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Richard Dawkins: ‘I am a secular Christian’ – May 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Richard Dawkins, the prominent atheist and scientist, has admitted that he is a “secular Christian” because he hankers after the nostalgia and traditions of the church.
    Speaking at the Hay Festival, where he was presenting the first volume of his memoirs An Appetite For Wonder, the evolutionary biologist claimed that although he does not believe in the supernatural elements of the Christian church, he still values the ceremonial side of religion.
    The author made the comments after being questioned by an American minister in the audience who claimed that he no longer believed in miracles or that Jesus was resurrected, but still considered himself a Christian and preached the teachings of Christ.
    “I would describe myself as a secular Christian in the same sense as secular Jews have a feeling for nostalgia and ceremonies,” said Dawkins.
    “But if you don’t have the supernatural, it’s not clear to me why you would call yourself a minister.
    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/cul.....an.html?fb

  7. 7
    StephenA says:

    @ News

    Exactly. You put it much better than I did.

    @ Mung

    “How do you figure that?

    Say I’m a young earth creationist. You tell me not much hinges on whether there really was a global flood and whether Noah actually existed as a historical person. Why should I believe you?”

    The explanation for the introduction of sin into the world relates directly to the explanation for the salvation from sin, which was the entire purpose of Jesus’s life, death and ressurection. The flood is an example of God’s judgement. Its relevance to the issue of salvation is less direct.

    But as I said before, if you do accept Adam and Eve as being real people, then there really isn’t much reason to reject the Flood as being a real event.

  8. 8
    tjguy says:

    News says:

    StephenA, it would make very little difference to the message of the New Testament whether or not there had been a flood – global or otherwise. The story is handed down to us for our advisement but not much more hinges on it. One could say the same of the disastrous reign of Saul.

    As far as the foundation of the gospel goes, I agree. But as far as the record of the NT goes, like Mung pointed out, the NT clearly refers to the flood as a literal historical event and even prophesies that a day will come when people reject a historical flood.

    So, in reality, a literal historical flood is necessary if we claim the NT is part of Gods Word and that Jesus is the Son of God who speaks truth and grace.

    The flood has a lot of types that relate to salvation.

  9. 9
    tjguy says:

    Mung asks:

    Is God an active designer, or did He quit that job?

    If God quit that job, when and why did he quit?

    Does intelligent design theory depend on whether or not God is continuing to produce new designs?

    I think we can say that God is still an active designer. And that does no violation to the biblical teaching that He ceased his creative work on Day 6.

    David writes this in Ps 139:
    “For you formed my inward parts;
    you knitted me together in my mother’s womb.
    14 I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
    Wonderful are your works;
    my soul knows it very well.
    15 My frame was not hidden from you,
    when I was being made in secret, intricately woven in the depths of the earth.”

    So yes, God is still active as a designer and even still creates some things as this article points out.

    It is important to understand how the word “create” is used in the Bible. Once this is understood, then an accurate biblical answer to your questions can be made. This article does a good job of that:

    http://www.icr.org/article/new.....-creating/

  10. 10
  11. 11
    T_Paz says:

    Is God an active designer, or did He quit that job?

    God is not an active designer. He quitted his job.

    If God quit that job, when and why did he quit?
    He quitted his job the seventh day. The reason was that the son of men would become co-creators but they failed.

    Does intelligent design theory depend on whether or not God is continuing to produce new designs?

    No. God is not continuing to produce new designs.

    A traditionalist catholic.

  12. 12
    T_Paz says:

    Does intelligent design theory depend on whether or not God is continuing to produce new designs?

    Inteligent desing does not depende on wheater or not God is continuing to produce new designs. God quitted his job the seventh day.

  13. 13
    tjguy says:

    T_Paz, yes God did finish some if his creative work, but He is still involved in some acts of creation.

    http://www.icr.org/article/new…..-creating/

  14. 14
    T_Paz says:

    The link does not work.

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