Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Del » Mon Nov 04, 2019 8:45 pm

coco wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:26 pm
Del wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 5:00 pm
coco wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 4:46 pm
Del wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:47 am
The Fundamentalists are doing to biblical faith what the political Leftists are doing to culture and life: They are changing the definitions of words.

For example, gender used to mean "biologically male or female."

Likewise, inerrancy used to mean that the Sacred Scriptures are "truly inspired by God and faithfully handed down to us." We understood that Sacred Scripture is a collection of many genres -- books of history, mythology, poetry, wisdom, prophecy, and inspired songs.
While a Fundamentalist/inerrantist might want to add to this definition (like adding, perhaps, "free from error"), I can't imagine a Fundamentalist/inerrantist disagreeing with this definition. Can you provide an example of a Fundamentalist/inerrantist who does not agree with this definition? This should be an easy task, presuming that Fundamentalists/inerrantists distort language as often as Leftists.
I don't know any of these guys' names. So perhaps I am criticizing a secular straw man image of a Fundamentalist, rather than the real thing.

All I know is that the Bible is inerrant... And that life, the universe, and everything were NOT created in a literal six days.

So the meaning of inerrant must be larger than the creationist's interpretation of it.
I have very little contact with Fundamentalists. I have much more with inerrantists in general. I don't identify myself in the former camp, though I would in the latter. In other words, I would say that Genesis 1-2 are free from error, etc. I do not pretend to have every answer for every question about this subject.

I know that there are problems if one wants to consider Genesis 1-2 as poetic in nature, including:
- There are zero examples of Hebrew poetic conventions in these chapters.
- These chapters contain numerous uses of the Hebrew vav consecutive, which signals the historical genre.

I also admit that there is a possibility that God might have treated time as a dependent variable rather than an independent one during the act of creation, such that time itself had a rate of change. He is certainly big enough to do so.
I'm using "poetic" in its broadest sense. Not just meter and rhyme and other poetic devices.

Consider Lord of the Rings. It is certainly written in the form of a historic novel, and the author even presses this by claiming that it is a translation from a "Red Book of Westmarch," a supposedly authentic copy of testimony and writings from historical Hobbits.

It's still the language of poetry, and should be enjoyed as such. The truths are much deeper than if it were a mere historical account.

Likewise, the writers and readers of Genesis 1 did not believe that they were recording scientific history. That "firm teaching" was invented in the early 20th century by a sect of American Christians with the radical dogma that inerrancy must mean literally.
===================================================

I firmly believe in the inerrancy of Sacred Scripture. [I got into a long feud about with a liberal Catholic feminist who got herself hired as our parish's chief catechist. I ended up getting her fired, sad to say. But she believed that a lot of the New Testament wasn't really accurate. "Do you believe that Jesus really said that?" I couldn't teach that to our kids.]

But we have run up against the fundamental dispute between Protestants and Apostolic Christians.
- Protestants insist that the Bible is sufficient, and a Church can be built up Scripture alone.
- Apostolic Christians see that the Bible was never intended to explain itself. It was written to be used within a Sacred Tradition --first within Judaism, and in the fullness of time, within the Church that Jesus established.

This fundamental divide must necessarily shade the way that the believer understands "inerrancy."
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Fainn » Mon Nov 04, 2019 10:47 pm

I start reading a commentary on Genesis next week. Will keep you informed.
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Stanley76 » Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:24 am

You guys are way above my intelligence level. I can't even figure out how many angels will fit on the head of a pin or why anybody would want to put them there.
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by ChildOfGod » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:58 am

I've held a sort of different line on this that I haven't expressed here. I DO NOT hold this as truth and DO NOT believe anyone else should hold this belief - it's just something I've concocted that may make sense to some... Does an author always start with the creation of the universe, tell every detail about what happened since up until the time of the birth of the main character? No. An author starts the story at the time that matters and we all make assumptions about things, history, the physical universe, etc., that happened before page 1. Like any author, perhaps God created the Universe with a past? That is he created it having had dinosaurs and meteor impacts and extinctions, etc.? Is that heretical?

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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Del » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:31 am

ChildOfGod wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:58 am
I've held a sort of different line on this that I haven't expressed here. I DO NOT hold this as truth and DO NOT believe anyone else should hold this belief - it's just something I've concocted that may make sense to some... Does an author always start with the creation of the universe, tell every detail about what happened since up until the time of the birth of the main character? No. An author starts the story at the time that matters and we all make assumptions about things, history, the physical universe, etc., that happened before page 1. Like any author, perhaps God created the Universe with a past? That is he created it having had dinosaurs and meteor impacts and extinctions, etc.? Is that heretical?
I don't mind authors of fiction who presume a fictional past.

I am troubled by the thought of a God of Truth who creates a real universe with a fictional past.
======================================

All of God's Creation is a Scripture. Creation tells us about the Creator.

The written Inspired Scripture gives us some clues to help us understand both the Creation and the Creator -- for example, it is clear that humanity is a special creation, one most like God, "made in Our image." Humanity is the best Scripture for understanding God.

We need to respect that God's Scripture (believed by Judeo-Christians) and God's creation (studied by philosophers and scientists) must teach the same truth. Any effort to use Scripture to deny science -- or use science to deny Scripture -- is merely evidence that someone is thinking wrong about reality.
=====================================

There is no need to read books like Genesis 1 or Job or Tobit as literal history, when they can be read more richly and deeply as parables.

Just as there is no need to delete Maccabees I and II, just because they are Books of literal history.
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by jruegg » Thu Nov 07, 2019 5:03 pm

1 chapter of Genesis in the Hebrew looks a lot like ancient poetry.
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Thunktank » Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:58 pm

Why is it so hard for people to understand and see that Genesis is absolutely rich in theology and soteriology? In fact everything from the Holy Trinity, to the preface of our salvation is found within the first few chapters of Genesis. Genesis isn’t “science” as we know it, but it tells the truth from the perspective given to prophets. It’s the Prophet’s science. It is true in it’s own way, not in our modern way or relatively recent concept of “biblical inerrancy” way.

Now there are things we know today using modern scientific methods that make previously assumed beliefs difficult. Beliefs like no death before the fall, or world wide floods. But again, if we can put on the eyes of the prophets we might find the point wasn’t missed.

The Fathers knew how to draw on it’s importance. It’s purpose and importance was so great that some hardly cared about whatever the contemporary scoffers thought about the beginning of the world. In fact some Fathers fought against them because the narrative they would give often portrayed itself as an affront to the Genesis account. This is still the way things are. When we seek truth we need discernment and we need to remember the Christian truth. The rest is just science and the modern scoffers who continually adjust their beliefs as their knowledge changes. Christians have a knowledge that has been revealed by the Word.
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by DepartedLight » Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:27 pm

Thunktank wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:58 pm
Why is it so hard for people to understand and see that Genesis is absolutely rich in theology and soteriology? I made it this far In fact everything from the Holy Trinity, to the preface of our salvation is found within the first few chapters of Genesis. Genesis isn’t “science” as we know it, Dinosaurs. Am I right? but it tells the truth from the perspective given to prophets. It’s the Prophet’s science. It is true in it’s own way, not in our modern way or relatively recent concept of “biblical inerrancy” way.

Now there are things we know today using modern scientific methods that make previously assumed beliefs difficult. Beliefs like no death before the fall, or world wide floods. But again, if we can put on the eyes of the prophets we might find the point wasn’t missed. When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Hosea 1:2&3

The Fathers knew how to draw on it’s importance. It’s purpose and importance was so great that some hardly cared about whatever the contemporary scoffers thought about the beginning of the world. In fact some Fathers fought against them because the narrative they would give often portrayed itself as an affront to the Genesis account. This is still the way things are. When we seek truth we need discernment and we need to remember the Christian truth. The rest is just science and the modern scoffers who continually adjust their beliefs as their knowledge changes. Christians have a knowledge that has been revealed by the Word.
Genesis 38 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Joshoowah » Thu Nov 07, 2019 11:21 pm

FredS wrote:
Mon Nov 04, 2019 11:45 am
I don't understand what the hell is going on today, but I'm finding myself largely in agreement with our Catholic guys.
I have been for a long time on this particular topic, though more so the Orthodox perspective. This is, of course, mainly linked with saints of the past having varying views on Genesis, with all views relatively accepted within tradition as 'orthodox' (e.g. allegorical, literal, historical, etc.).
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Roadmaster » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:11 am

Stanley76 wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:24 am
You guys are way above my intelligence level. I can't even figure out how many angels will fit on the head of a pin or why anybody would want to put them there.
Way above mine as well. I do offer this quote which may or may not pertain. I don't agree with this guy on a lot of things but I do kind of like this one.

"I believe in the theory of evolution, but I believe as well in the allegorical truth of creation theory. In other words, I believe that evolution, including the principle of natural selection, is one of the tools used by God to create mankind. Mankind is then a participant in the creation of the universe itself, so that we have a closed loop. I believe that there is a level on which science and religious metaphor are mutually compatible." ~ Christopher Langan
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by tuttle » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:51 am

Just an observation.

If our beef is that the Bible isn't a science book. And we lean heavier on our scientific understanding than on simple belief of a faith handed down, in such a way that we've been forced to conclude that the Genesis account cannot be interpreted literally, then what is preventing any other miraculous account in the Scriptures from the same treatment? The virgin birth? Healing the blind and the lame? Turning water into wine? And above all others, the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

I'm not saying we should use the Bible as a science book, nor am I even saying that the Genesis account can't be read poetically. But at what point do we draw the line? Sure, we can walk a wire that says evolution is compatible with Genesis 1 because we don't have to fully embrace the creation account as literal, but what keeps you from saying the same thing about the virgin birth or Christ rising from the dead?
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Thunktank » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:57 am

tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:51 am
Just an observation.

If our beef is that the Bible isn't a science book. And we lean heavier on our scientific understanding than on simple belief of a faith handed down, in such a way that we've been forced to conclude that the Genesis account cannot be interpreted literally, then what is preventing any other miraculous account in the Scriptures from the same treatment? The virgin birth? Healing the blind and the lame? Turning water into wine? And above all others, the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

I'm not saying we should use the Bible as a science book, nor am I even saying that the Genesis account can't be read poetically. But at what point do we draw the line? Sure, we can walk a wire that says evolution is compatible with Genesis 1 because we don't have to fully embrace the creation account as literal, but what keeps you from saying the same thing about the virgin birth or Christ rising from the dead?
Tradition.
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Thunktank » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:58 am

DepartedLight wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 10:27 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:58 pm
Why is it so hard for people to understand and see that Genesis is absolutely rich in theology and soteriology? I made it this far In fact everything from the Holy Trinity, to the preface of our salvation is found within the first few chapters of Genesis. Genesis isn’t “science” as we know it, Dinosaurs. Am I right? but it tells the truth from the perspective given to prophets. It’s the Prophet’s science. It is true in it’s own way, not in our modern way or relatively recent concept of “biblical inerrancy” way.

Now there are things we know today using modern scientific methods that make previously assumed beliefs difficult. Beliefs like no death before the fall, or world wide floods. But again, if we can put on the eyes of the prophets we might find the point wasn’t missed. When the Lord first spoke through Hosea, the Lord said to Hosea, “Go, take for yourself a wife of whoredom and have children of whoredom, for the land commits great whoredom by forsaking the Lord.” So he went and took Gomer daughter of Diblaim, and she conceived and bore him a son. Hosea 1:2&3

The Fathers knew how to draw on it’s importance. It’s purpose and importance was so great that some hardly cared about whatever the contemporary scoffers thought about the beginning of the world. In fact some Fathers fought against them because the narrative they would give often portrayed itself as an affront to the Genesis account. This is still the way things are. When we seek truth we need discernment and we need to remember the Christian truth. The rest is just science and the modern scoffers who continually adjust their beliefs as their knowledge changes. Christians have a knowledge that has been revealed by the Word.
Genesis 38 Revised Standard Version Catholic Edition (RSVCE)

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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by tuttle » Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:13 pm

Thunktank wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:57 am
tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:51 am
Just an observation.

If our beef is that the Bible isn't a science book. And we lean heavier on our scientific understanding than on simple belief of a faith handed down, in such a way that we've been forced to conclude that the Genesis account cannot be interpreted literally, then what is preventing any other miraculous account in the Scriptures from the same treatment? The virgin birth? Healing the blind and the lame? Turning water into wine? And above all others, the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

I'm not saying we should use the Bible as a science book, nor am I even saying that the Genesis account can't be read poetically. But at what point do we draw the line? Sure, we can walk a wire that says evolution is compatible with Genesis 1 because we don't have to fully embrace the creation account as literal, but what keeps you from saying the same thing about the virgin birth or Christ rising from the dead?
Tradition.
And yet Tradition teaches a literal Adam...
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Thunktank » Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:57 pm

tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:13 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:57 am
tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:51 am
Just an observation.

If our beef is that the Bible isn't a science book. And we lean heavier on our scientific understanding than on simple belief of a faith handed down, in such a way that we've been forced to conclude that the Genesis account cannot be interpreted literally, then what is preventing any other miraculous account in the Scriptures from the same treatment? The virgin birth? Healing the blind and the lame? Turning water into wine? And above all others, the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

I'm not saying we should use the Bible as a science book, nor am I even saying that the Genesis account can't be read poetically. But at what point do we draw the line? Sure, we can walk a wire that says evolution is compatible with Genesis 1 because we don't have to fully embrace the creation account as literal, but what keeps you from saying the same thing about the virgin birth or Christ rising from the dead?
Tradition.
And yet Tradition teaches a literal Adam...
Yes, and what’s the problem? There was a first human created in the image of God. A person set apart from the rest of creation with a spirit (nous) who was able to perceive God the Uncreated. . .
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by tuttle » Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:09 pm

Thunktank wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:57 pm
tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:13 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:57 am
tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:51 am
Just an observation.

If our beef is that the Bible isn't a science book. And we lean heavier on our scientific understanding than on simple belief of a faith handed down, in such a way that we've been forced to conclude that the Genesis account cannot be interpreted literally, then what is preventing any other miraculous account in the Scriptures from the same treatment? The virgin birth? Healing the blind and the lame? Turning water into wine? And above all others, the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

I'm not saying we should use the Bible as a science book, nor am I even saying that the Genesis account can't be read poetically. But at what point do we draw the line? Sure, we can walk a wire that says evolution is compatible with Genesis 1 because we don't have to fully embrace the creation account as literal, but what keeps you from saying the same thing about the virgin birth or Christ rising from the dead?
Tradition.
And yet Tradition teaches a literal Adam...
Yes, and what’s the problem? There was a first human created in the image of God. A person set apart from the rest of creation with a spirit (nous) who was able to perceive God the Uncreated. . .
Are we talking about an Adam whose parents were beasts or an Adam formed from the dust.

Did God breath his spirit into a hominid or into a newly created (parentless) man?

Which version does Tradition maintain?
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Del » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:28 pm

tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:51 am
Just an observation.

If our beef is that the Bible isn't a science book. And we lean heavier on our scientific understanding than on simple belief of a faith handed down, in such a way that we've been forced to conclude that the Genesis account cannot be interpreted literally, then what is preventing any other miraculous account in the Scriptures from the same treatment? The virgin birth? Healing the blind and the lame? Turning water into wine? And above all others, the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

I'm not saying we should use the Bible as a science book, nor am I even saying that the Genesis account can't be read poetically. But at what point do we draw the line? Sure, we can walk a wire that says evolution is compatible with Genesis 1 because we don't have to fully embrace the creation account as literal, but what keeps you from saying the same thing about the virgin birth or Christ rising from the dead?
Genesis 1
Creation (and the scientific study thereof) and Genesis 1 are both "scriptures" that reveal the Creator to us. Material creation is still a miracle. Science cannot answer the fundamental question of why there is something, instead of nothing.

So even if Genesis 1 is not a scientific account of how God created, it is still fundamental for us to see Genesis 1 as an explanation of why God created.

Genesis 1 reveals three fundamental things to us:

1) That God created the universe on purpose, as an act of love.
2) That God created Man as a unique item of creation "in God's own image," the only Rational Animal capable of giving loving obedience back to God.
3) That God respects His Holy Day just as He commands us to: with Holy Rest.

The Gospels
If we had incontrovertible scientific evidence that the Gospel miracles didn't happen, then we could perhaps treat them as parables.

But the simple fact is that the Gospel accounts aren't presented to us as inspired poetic myths, in conflict with any historical or scientific evidence. The Gospels writers insist that these are eyewitness accounts of actual events that occurred.

All of those miracles and fulfillments of prophecies are reported so that we can believe the most important miracle: that Jesus really does change the bread and wine into His Body and Blood during Christian worship. We receive the Unblemished Lamb of God as our savior in the New Passover.

Conclusion
So.... Christians can discuss whether taking Genesis 1 literally is perhaps foolish and missing the main point of Genesis 1.

But Christians must accept the Gospel accounts as eyewitnesses to history, or else we are being utter fools as Christians. We would miss the whole point of salvation history if we don't trust the witnesses.
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Del » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:47 pm

tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:09 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:57 pm
tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:13 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:57 am
tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:51 am
Just an observation.

If our beef is that the Bible isn't a science book. And we lean heavier on our scientific understanding than on simple belief of a faith handed down, in such a way that we've been forced to conclude that the Genesis account cannot be interpreted literally, then what is preventing any other miraculous account in the Scriptures from the same treatment? The virgin birth? Healing the blind and the lame? Turning water into wine? And above all others, the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

I'm not saying we should use the Bible as a science book, nor am I even saying that the Genesis account can't be read poetically. But at what point do we draw the line? Sure, we can walk a wire that says evolution is compatible with Genesis 1 because we don't have to fully embrace the creation account as literal, but what keeps you from saying the same thing about the virgin birth or Christ rising from the dead?
Tradition.
And yet Tradition teaches a literal Adam...
Yes, and what’s the problem? There was a first human created in the image of God. A person set apart from the rest of creation with a spirit (nous) who was able to perceive God the Uncreated. . .
Are we talking about an Adam whose parents were beasts or an Adam formed from the dust.

Did God breath his spirit into a hominid or into a newly created (parentless) man?

Which version does Tradition maintain?
To be honest, Sacred Tradition does not demand either version -- of evolution or of clay.

Sacred Tradition respects that man has a duty -- since Adam -- to study and understand Creation, as part of our stewardship. It's part of "naming" all of the plants and beasts -- we are given to study and understand their natures. So we do science, and trust it as much as it is trustworthy.

But however God did it, we do believe there was a First Man -- a person who spoke, who named the things around him, who did art in his cave, who knew God (and disobeyed Him), and who made the first clothes.
===============================

I happen to believe that God fashioned Adam out of the clay and breathed rational nature in to him, as Scripture says. I believe that this First Man looked like the fully evolved hominids surrounding him. Scripture hints that there were other humans on the earth -- whom Cain feared -- even if Adam and Eve were alone at first in the Garden.

But this is just my personal synthesis of Scripture and scientific discovery. I can't teach this with authority.
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Thunktank » Fri Nov 08, 2019 9:54 pm

tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 2:09 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 1:57 pm
tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 12:13 pm
Thunktank wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:57 am
tuttle wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:51 am
Just an observation.

If our beef is that the Bible isn't a science book. And we lean heavier on our scientific understanding than on simple belief of a faith handed down, in such a way that we've been forced to conclude that the Genesis account cannot be interpreted literally, then what is preventing any other miraculous account in the Scriptures from the same treatment? The virgin birth? Healing the blind and the lame? Turning water into wine? And above all others, the resurrection and ascension of Christ?

I'm not saying we should use the Bible as a science book, nor am I even saying that the Genesis account can't be read poetically. But at what point do we draw the line? Sure, we can walk a wire that says evolution is compatible with Genesis 1 because we don't have to fully embrace the creation account as literal, but what keeps you from saying the same thing about the virgin birth or Christ rising from the dead?
Tradition.
And yet Tradition teaches a literal Adam...
Yes, and what’s the problem? There was a first human created in the image of God. A person set apart from the rest of creation with a spirit (nous) who was able to perceive God the Uncreated. . .
Are we talking about an Adam whose parents were beasts or an Adam formed from the dust.
Tradition doesn’t speak to this either/or.

Dude, either way, we (the whole world) are made of star dust.
Did God breath his spirit into a hominid or into a newly created (parentless) man?
Humans are hominids too.

I don’t know exactly how God did it. But at some point God made a hominid and gave it a spirit in the image of his own. Yet created, not uncreated.

I can only guess that a hominid with hominid parents became the first, therefor, no longer a “beast.” Tradition doesn’t say because the knowledge of life’s gradual creation wasn’t specified in the Bible. The writers and prophets of the ancient Middle East had other concerns.


Which version does Tradition maintain?
Tradition doesn’t say anything about your loaded questions. :lol:
“Fear is the path to the dark side. Fear leads to anger. Anger leads to hate. Hate leads to suffering.” -Yoda

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Fainn
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Re: Biblical inerrancy with respect to the creation narratives

Post by Fainn » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:19 pm

Stanley76 wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:24 am
You guys are way above my intelligence level. I can't even figure out how many angels will fit on the head of a pin or why anybody would want to put them there.
How many angels can dance on Pinhead's face?
Farts are either proof that God is a man or a sign of a fallen world.

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