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PaulS

Evolution and Original Sin

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6 hours ago, PaulS said:

As a former believer in salvation, I came to question the whole 'salvation' story when, amongst other things, I learnt and better understood evolution.  To me, and perhaps this is why some Christians very strongly deny evolution, is that the science of evolution punches a great big hole in the whole redemption story, IMO.

I was raised being taught that mankind inherited the burden of sin simply for being born.  Why?  Because Adam and Eve sinned against God which in turn cursed all mankind.  Now I realise some may see Adam and Eve as myth/metaphor however the point still remained that humans were born lacking and required redemption.  But why only humans, and why only when we were humans?  Where was the need for redemption when we were Neanderthals, apes, or amoebas?

I don't think stories in the Bible must necessarily be understood literally or as scientifically verifiable facts to be sacred and meaningful.  That is a common approach to the Scriptures in my church denomination; neo-orthodoxy rather than liberalism or fundamentalism.

I see too much needless suffering in the world, based on nothing more than empty fear and hatred, to be unconvinced that salvation no longer matters.   As a Lutheran, I believe salvation entails more than going to heaven when one dies, it also implies being open to living a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ because the evil of the world is contained by the hope in God's promises.    Through trust in God's promises as a gathered community around the Word, life is transfigured into a sacred calling or vocation where we become God's hands in the world doing God's work.

Edited by FireDragon76
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17 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

I don't think stories in the Bible must necessarily be understood literally or as scientifically verifiable facts to be sacred and meaningful.  That is a common approach to the Scriptures in my church denomination; neo-orthodoxy rather than liberalism or fundamentalism.

Absolutely.  Meaning comes in all sorts of shapes and forms and definitely a number of writers of the various books, letters and writings that now comprises of 'The Bible' have made contributions that have held meaning for many.

17 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

I see too much needless suffering in the world, based on nothing more than empty fear and hatred, to be unconvinced that salvation no longer matters.   As a Lutheran, I believe salvation entails more than going to heaven when one dies, it also implies being open to living a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ because the evil of the world is contained by the hope in God's promises.    Through trust in God's promises as a gathered community around the Word, life is transfigured into a sacred calling or vocation where we become God's hands in the world doing God's work.

So do you think this 'evil' of the world existed when we were just apes or is it a more modern development?  Should the amoebas and lower life forms proceeding homosapiens also have been open to living a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ during their time or was sin and redemption not an issue back then?

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10 hours ago, PaulS said:

As a former believer in salvation, I came to question the whole 'salvation' story when, amongst other things, I learnt and better understood evolution.  To me, and perhaps this is why some Christians very strongly deny evolution, is that the science of evolution punches a great big hole in the whole redemption story, IMO.

I was raised being taught that mankind inherited the burden of sin simply for being born.  Why?  Because Adam and Eve sinned against God which in turn cursed all mankind.  Now I realise some may see Adam and Eve as myth/metaphor however the point still remained that humans were born lacking and required redemption.  But why only humans, and why only when we were humans?  Where was the need for redemption when we were Neanderthals, apes, or amoebas?

There is absolutely no scientific evidence that any species developed into another species.  Evolution is the theory that the species most likely to survive extinction are not those which are most fit for reproduction but the ones which are the most adaptable to change.

The idea that humans developed from Neanderthals, apes or amoebas is an evidence free, faith-based extrapolation.  It has never been scientifically observed and has no proposed MoA.  

There is proof that evolution caused the extinction of once plentiful species.  There is proof many species have survived for aeons without any significant change.  But there is no proof of one species ever evolving into another.  All of the demonstrated change in life over time occurs at the sub-species level.

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13 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

Lutherans consider God as Savior as a more central theological locus, a more important idea, than having God as Creator.  We are less "creation oriented" in our thinking and more "salvation oriented".  Grace, rather than human ability, is also a core theological locus of Lutherans.  Salvation is not about becoming a better person, but was accomplished in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, and is applied to us today through hearing the Gospel and receiving the sacraments.  

We have an incarnational theology, it is one of our defining characteristics that often sets us apart from some other Protestant traditions.  However, we do not speculate about what the world would have been like without sin.  God loves this world and its people as it is, not as we think it should be.

I know Jack Spong or Matthew Fox may have different theological emphases, but we, as Lutherans,  work within a theological tradition that is distinct from Episcopalians.  We are specifically a confessional church body, and interpret the Bible within a confessional tradition that is Christocentric and Pauline.  We see ourselves in theological continuity with the early church, indeed, our confessions have the same status for us as do the early councils of the Church.

I too consider God as Savior, but it is always tied to God as Creator (and Sustainer); it is the same God. To me, there is no distinction: I create my child, I love my child, I want my child to have the fullness of life, I want to share life with my child (this is Creator) and if my child fails, has difficulty, needs help then I am still there for her (this is Savior/Healer).The God who saves is first (so to speak) the God who creates.

I too accept grace/gift - the gift of life and, as part of that, the realization that I am only able to become 'Human' though the gift of Other who gives Self in and through the created order. God comes to us and enables us to become fully Human, in and through others (grace). Salvation enables us or empowers us to become sons and daughters of the Father (after the 1st born Son): this suggests we no longer sin and thus by definition are better people. So.........grace enables us to become better people.

The Word, spoken in the beginning, the Word that echoes through all, is the same Word that is embodied (incarnated) and heard clearly in the man Jesus - in his life, death and Life.       Again, not applied to things, given to men and women. Jesus did not apply, he was with and for others; he gave (gift/grace) himself to others so they might have Life.

How are other Protestant traditions not accepting or defined by incarnation theology??? Further, speaking about the 'world without sin' is not mere speculation, it is, rather, a statement/belief about the God we believe is Savior: that he didn't need sin to love us, that as Love ItSelf, he loves us, as he did Adam & Eve, before sin entered the world. It is a fully biblical position. Don't Lutherans know this? Don't they know the sun shines and the rain falls on all, even as it? Don't they know the Good Son in the tale of the Prodigal is already with and loved by the Father? It is not speculation about how we think the world should be, it is s faith statement about who God IS!

Spong and Fox may be different but these men and these other Christian traditions also 'confess' God and his Christ. How can you say they do not?

As for the councils - that is for another day.

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9 hours ago, Burl said:

There is absolutely no scientific evidence that any species developed into another species.  Evolution is the theory that the species most likely to survive extinction are not those which are most fit for reproduction but the ones which are the most adaptable to change.

The idea that humans developed from Neanderthals, apes or amoebas is an evidence free, faith-based extrapolation.  It has never been scientifically observed and has no proposed MoA.  

There is proof that evolution caused the extinction of once plentiful species.  There is proof many species have survived for aeons without any significant change.  But there is no proof of one species ever evolving into another.  All of the demonstrated change in life over time occurs at the sub-species level.

So you believe the human species simply appeared or was created in its current form?

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9 hours ago, thormas said:

..............The God who saves is first (so to speak) the God who creates.

................ Salvation enables us or empowers us to become sons and daughters of the Father (after the 1st born Son): this suggests we no longer sin and thus by definition are better people. So.........grace enables us to become better people.

................ Jesus did not apply, he was with and for others; he gave (gift/grace) himself to others so they might have Life.

So how do you see this applying to the earlier species that led to homo sapiens Thormas?  Did amoebas and neanderthals require 'salvation'?  Did they need god's 'grace' to become better amoebas or neanderthals, or is this only something that has developed with homo sapiens? 

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

So you believe the human species simply appeared or was created in its current form?

Yes.  

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

So how do you see this applying to the earlier species that led to homo sapiens Thormas?  Did amoebas and neanderthals require 'salvation'?  Did they need god's 'grace' to become better amoebas or neanderthals, or is this only something that has developed with homo sapiens? 

I don't think so, do you?  

I accept evolution, including the evolution of man. Seemiingly, there is a movement from lower to more complex forms of life and with higher forms of life there seems to be a further movement from consciousness to self-consciousness. If that is not so or you disagree,please let me know your take on things. Now, I like most people accept that a rock is a rock and can impact its environment and that environment can also impact it (sometimes literally). Then we have trees and plants and I also accept that there seems to be a natural process about them that is inherent (for lack of a better description right now) yet this process is dependent for its fruition on other things like sun, rain, soil, birds, wind and such. And animals like lions, tigers and bears have instincts which guides and/or rules them and these animals both impact and are impacted by their environment and the other 'things' in that environment or that make up that environment. Now, I for one have never thought that rocks, trees or bears need to be saved, since it appears they are complete in themselves, aided by instinct, 'at home' in their environments and are all they can be: for example a baby lion is going to be a lion, it is inevitable under the right circumstances, so to speak. It's never going to be a bear or a rock or a tree, it may not make it to full lion maturity but all it can be is already established. So, I would think it is a bit crazy for anyone to suggest that anything other than man need to be saved. However since we don't know everything, is it possible that other beings on the earth (whales?) or other beings in our past (neanderthals?) or other beings in other galaxies might have self-consciousness and be more like humans than a tree, rock or a bear and need salvation? Sure. I'm open. You?

One final note: St. Paul speaks of all creation groaning for completion (roughly speaking since I don't have a Bible in front of me). Now I still don't take this as a cry to be saved, I actually take it as poetry but I do like the image of all of creation moving to completion (whatever that might mean).

 

Edited by thormas

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13 hours ago, thormas said:

I too consider God as Savior, but it is always tied to God as Creator (and Sustainer); it is the same God. To me, there is no distinction: I create my child, I love my child, I want my child to have the fullness of life, I want to share life with my child (this is Creator) and if my child fails, has difficulty, needs help then I am still there for her (this is Savior/Healer).The God who saves is first (so to speak) the God who creates.

I too accept grace/gift - the gift of life and, as part of that, the realization that I am only able to become 'Human' though the gift of Other who gives Self in and through the created order. God comes to us and enables us to become fully Human, in and through others (grace). Salvation enables us or empowers us to become sons and daughters of the Father (after the 1st born Son): this suggests we no longer sin and thus by definition are better people. So.........grace enables us to become better people.

The Word, spoken in the beginning, the Word that echoes through all, is the same Word that is embodied (incarnated) and heard clearly in the man Jesus - in his life, death and Life.       Again, not applied to things, given to men and women. Jesus did not apply, he was with and for others; he gave (gift/grace) himself to others so they might have Life.

How are other Protestant traditions not accepting or defined by incarnation theology??? Further, speaking about the 'world without sin' is not mere speculation, it is, rather, a statement/belief about the God we believe is Savior: that he didn't need sin to love us, that as Love ItSelf, he loves us, as he did Adam & Eve, before sin entered the world. It is a fully biblical position. Don't Lutherans know this? Don't they know the sun shines and the rain falls on all, even as it? Don't they know the Good Son in the tale of the Prodigal is already with and loved by the Father? It is not speculation about how we think the world should be, it is s faith statement about who God IS!

Spong and Fox may be different but these men and these other Christian traditions also 'confess' God and his Christ. How can you say they do not?

As for the councils - that is for another day.

You have potentially packed alot of ideas into such a small space.  

 

Our emphasis on God as Savior is implicit in our tradition, but is even further reinforced because of our experiences in the 20th century.  Doctrines of orders of creation were used to justify the rise of a regime that committed the worst atrocities that Europe has ever encountered.    Therefore, we find appeals to the original ordering of creation suspect.   But we go further and criticize it on theological, and not just ethical, grounds as well. 

 

We don't view "being better people" as how we would describe salvation, because that implies that God can only truly love us when we are something more than what we are.   We believe in actual, radical grace.  Paul says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   Moralism has no place in our theology.

 

We don't view human beings as being without sin in this life.    We believe human beings are born sinners.  We are Augustinian in that sense.  The Christian is a forgiven sinner.  We also believe God loves everyone, but everyone that is saved is chosen by God.  God doesn't save a hypothetical humanity, but actual human persons.

 

 

 

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6 hours ago, Burl said:

Yes.  

Okay, thanks for clarifying.  

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7 hours ago, thormas said:

I don't think so, do you?  

No,but I don't see 'salvation'or 'redemption' as something homo sapiens require either.  That is what I am digging around about in this thread.

7 hours ago, thormas said:

I accept evolution, including the evolution of man. Seemiingly, there is a movement from lower to more complex forms of life and with higher forms of life there seems to be a further movement from consciousness to self-consciousness. If that is not so or you disagree,please let me know your take on things.

No, I definitely agree with this. I think life on earth started as bacterium and evolved from there.

7 hours ago, thormas said:

Now, I like most people accept that a rock is a rock and can impact its environment and that environment can also impact it (sometimes literally). Then we have trees and plants and I also accept that there seems to be a natural process about them that is inherent (for lack of a better description right now) yet this process is dependent for its fruition on other things like sun, rain, soil, birds, wind and such. And animals like lions, tigers and bears have instincts which guides and/or rules them and these animals both impact and are impacted by their environment and the other 'things' in that environment or that make up that environment. Now, I for one have never thought that rocks, trees or bears need to be saved, since it appears they are complete in themselves, aided by instinct, 'at home' in their environments and are all they can be: for example a baby lion is going to be a lion, it is inevitable under the right circumstances, so to speak. It's never going to be a bear or a rock or a tree, it may not make it to full lion maturity but all it can be is already established. So, I would think it is a bit crazy for anyone to suggest that anything other than man need to be saved. However since we don't know everything, is it possible that other beings on the earth (whales?) or other beings in our past (neanderthals?) or other beings in other galaxies might have self-consciousness and be more like humans than a tree, rock or a bear and need salvation? Sure. I'm open. You?

I think you're missing my point - I'm not asking if those other things in our current world need saving etc, but am asking that if one considers man needs saving from sin, then how does this fit with the time when man wasn't man, but was a neanderthal, or an ape, or even way back when we were bacteria.  Do you, or people who think we need this salvation consider why and when this 'need' came into being?  

I guess what I'm trying to understand is how can this need to be saved not look like a man-made concept that neatly fits with our human existence but doesn't fall into a hole when one thinks of our existence before becoming homo sapiens.  To me it's looking like all this language about Jesus as 'saviour' and the need to be 'saved' looks like a human construct.  

If however people look at it more as an 'improving' of our species and cultures away from ignorance and violence then I'm good with that.  I just don't necessarily see the need for it to be isolated to Jesus as an influence in working toward that.

Do I make any sense?

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1 hour ago, PaulS said:

I think life on earth started as bacterium and evolved from there.

An astounding faith statement!  A scientific and reasonable impossibility, but science and reason are not everything.  Can you elaborate on this?

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5 hours ago, Burl said:

An astounding faith statement!  A scientific and reasonable impossibility, but science and reason are not everything.  Can you elaborate on this?

No, because I'm not interested in debating the science of evolution.  There's enough information out there to explain it.  If it doesn't work for you then so be it.  I was only asking you to clarify earlier because I'd thought you wrote in another thread that you understood evolution and agreed.  Your posts in this thread confused me.  But now I know where you stand, I'll leave it at that thanks.

But I am still interested in discussing with others in this thread who believe in sin, salvation etc AND who do accept the science of evolution.

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13 hours ago, PaulS said:

I don't see 'salvation'or 'redemption' as something homo sapiens require either. 

I think you're missing my point - I'm not asking if those other things in our current world need saving etc, but am asking that if one considers man needs saving from sin, then how does this fit with the time when man wasn't man, but was a neanderthal, or an ape, or even way back when we were bacteria.  Do you, or people who think we need this salvation consider why and when this 'need' came into being?  

I guess what I'm trying to understand is how can this need to be saved not look like a man-made concept that neatly fits with our human existence but doesn't fall into a hole when one thinks of our existence before becoming homo sapiens.  To me it's looking like all this language about Jesus as 'saviour' and the need to be 'saved' looks like a human construct.  

If however people look at it more as an 'improving' of our species and cultures away from ignorance and violence then I'm good with that.  I just don't necessarily see the need for it to be isolated to Jesus as an influence in working toward that.

Do I make any sense?

You do make sense.

I didn't miss the point, just trying to lay the groundwork and answer your question about "this applying to the earlier species that led to Homo sapiens" and "Did amoebas and Neanderthals require 'salvation'?" So, I think the other creatures have been covered and I have no earthly idea about Neanderthals - were they conscious of self? No idea but if they were then it become interesting. When man did not yet roam the earth (so to speak), it seems there was no need for salvation from sin because there was no sin. Further, I don't know a precise moment when 'the need' came into being because I have no exact idea (but I bet it was on a July 20th) when man's consciousness of self took hold and he was truly different than all other creatures. However, whenever that happened, one supposes sin began and so did salvation. Salvation is a man-made concept since it is ours but it doesn't follow that, because it is man-made, it does not describe and say something real about the human experience.

When a lion cub grows to maturity, it is a lion; it is not more or less lion than they lion next to it: a lion is a lion is a lion. Our experience indicates it is not the same with humans. As we grow to maturity and even before we get there, we recognize that some of us do human well, others don't and some do it very badly: unlike a lion, human is sometimes not human. For us, in our ordinary experience, we recognize that some of us are failing at the very thing, actually the only thing we can be: human (the lion is incapable of failing to be a lion). 

There is a further realization:  that we need others to enable us to be and to do; we need the words of others and the love of others to learn, grow and thrive. The need is not only when we are young and growing to adulthood, but throughout life (it should be obvious from our experiences with hospitals, rehab centers, long term care facilities and prisons that people, all people need this very human interaction). Seemingly, what we need is not part of the 'original packaging;' none of us have it until it is given; none of us own what we need.

All of us need others but, perhaps, especially the prodigal sons and daughters: they need to hear (to be called, awakened, challenged by the words of others) and they need to be loved - encouraged (literally given the courage) to change and try again and again to be human. For the prodigal, this is healing; this is saving.

If no one owns what s/he gives this suggests something more is necessary, something more must give what is necessary for men and women to become truly human. For some, this is God: the Word of Life spoken in and through our words; Love given in and through our love - that 'builds' human beings. Man needs God to be human and some of us must be healed first before we can continue on our path to become whole. God/Life/Healing/Salvation is 'given' in and through the human community. 

'All' Jesus did was shout this Word (of life) from the rooftops in order to awaken, challenge and call us into life- the better to be heard; 'all' he did was shower all with love wherever they were found (the sun shines on all, the rain falls on all) - the better to show how it's done. Jesus embodied the Word (the same word that is spoken by and in women and men) and he embodied the Love (the same love given by men and women). Jesus embodied (incarnated) God so that in him, literally, the word that calls us could be heard and the Love that empowers us could be experienced; Jesus, by giving flesh to Word and Love, simply showed where God already was. Also, it is not isolate to Jesus.

So the concept of salvation is ours, thus man-made. The concept of how man comes to be is also man-made. However, both (are believed by some to) reflect a reality that is not man-made: how we interact in the world, how we grow and become 'human' is a given in which we find ourselves. So too is the reality that some must be healed before they are able to get back to the work of being human (analogous to a sick man needing to be healed before being able to get back to his life, not only back but fully engaged in life). 

I don't see any hole to fall into when one thinks of our existence before becoming Homo sapiens. First, it was not our existence if it is pre homo sapiens. And, second, isn't that the same existence that all of creation, from the stars and black holes to the trees and animals on earth have with God? I don't see a hole, I simply see creation groaning, moving toward fulfillment (whatever that might look like) and man (and perhaps others), the one conscious of himself, the one both full of anxiety and capable of being like God, at the leading edge as consciousness moves to self-consciousness which in turn is called 'into' Consciousness Itself. Now here's what I wonder about: does all creation move to this Consciousness? 

Then the question becomes, while the idea of "God" (discussed above) is man-made (certainly the words are), is it also an ahamoment (an insight) about the reality that is given and in which we have our being?

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Thanks for the in-depth response, Thormas.  I think what you're saying is that you attribute the development of sin and the need for salvation as something that came about at a certain point in our evolution when home sapiens first gained a certain level of self consciousness.  Prior to this level of self consciousness there was no sin, and the reason you're referring to salvation as being  remedy for sin is that it is a way of better living one's life.  Am I understanding you correctly?

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On 7/30/2018 at 2:05 AM, FireDragon76 said:

Our emphasis on God as Savior is implicit in our tradition, but is even further reinforced because of our experiences in the 20th century.  Doctrines of orders of creation were used to justify the rise of a regime that committed the worst atrocities that Europe has ever encountered.    Therefore, we find appeals to the original ordering of creation suspect.   But we go further and criticize it on theological, and not just ethical, grounds as well. 

This seems reminiscent of the baby and the bathwater. To become so suspect of a major part of the tradition seems a shame. But, isn't this picking and choosing biblical passages or entire themes to suit ones purposes? How can a Christian consider God as Creator or the 'ordering of creation' suspect? You can't mean you simply doubt the story and opt for evolution because evolution has no place for Augustine's original sin (see below).

On 7/30/2018 at 2:05 AM, FireDragon76 said:

We don't view "being better people" as how we would describe salvation, because that implies that God can only truly love us when we are something more than what we are.   We believe in actual, radical grace.  Paul says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.   Moralism has no place in our theology.

Actually it doesn't imply that, for it is God that enables us to be 'better people' or, to say the same thing with different words: to have a greater 'likeness' to God; to be more Christ-like; to change (metanoia) and become new men, new women; to become a son or daughter of the Father, etc.  We can only be 'better people,' only overcome sin/self-centeredness (i.e. salvation from sin) because of God, the God who does not merely love but is Love.  It is only Love (God) that overcomes self-centeredness (the original sin of 'Adam' and the self same only sin of mankind).

It is not whether or not God can only truly love us when we are something more than what we are; it is that we can only be(come) more, because we are Loved or to get to how it works: we can only become more or better people or overcome sin/selfishness if and to the degree we incarnate God - if we embody and become love!

Grace is gift, gift is given, what is actually given is God: God gives himSelf! What is radical is the Power of Love (i.e. God) - literally the only power by which man becomes like Christ. This is indeed radical. There is no moralism here, this is salvation theology.

On 7/30/2018 at 2:05 AM, FireDragon76 said:

We don't view human beings as being without sin in this life.    We believe human beings are born sinners.  We are Augustinian in that sense.  The Christian is a forgiven sinner.  We also believe God loves everyone, but everyone that is saved is chosen by God.  God doesn't save a hypothetical humanity, but actual human persons.

Well the reality seems to be that human beings are self-centered (i.e.sinners). I will leave Augustine for another time.

What does chosen mean? Does God choose not to save some people? If we can only be saved by love (which is God) then God must not love all because that is the only way to be saved.   Sounds like the guy on the beach who yells to the drowning boy, "I love you" but does nothing to save him or worse, choses not to?  Say what? Finally, what hypothetical humanity? Humanity is actual people - no hypothetical about it: no people, no humanity. 

 

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5 hours ago, thormas said:

This seems reminiscent of the baby and the bathwater. To become so suspect of a major part of the tradition seems a shame. But, isn't this picking and choosing biblical passages or entire themes to suit ones purposes? How can a Christian consider God as Creator or the 'ordering of creation' suspect? You can't mean you simply doubt the story and opt for evolution because evolution has no place for Augustine's original sin (see below).

Actually it doesn't imply that, for it is God that enables us to be 'better people' or, to say the same thing with different words: to have a greater 'likeness' to God; to be more Christ-like; to change (metanoia) and become new men, new women; to become a son or daughter of the Father, etc.  We can only be 'better people,' only overcome sin/self-centeredness (i.e. salvation from sin) because of God, the God who does not merely love but is Love.  It is only Love (God) that overcomes self-centeredness (the original sin of 'Adam' and the self same only sin of mankind).

It is not whether or not God can only truly love us when we are something more than what we are; it is that we can only be(come) more, because we are Loved or to get to how it works: we can only become more or better people or overcome sin/selfishness if and to the degree we incarnate God - if we embody and become love!

Grace is gift, gift is given, what is actually given is God: God gives himSelf! What is radical is the Power of Love (i.e. God) - literally the only power by which man becomes like Christ. This is indeed radical. There is no moralism here, this is salvation theology.

Well the reality seems to be that human beings are self-centered (i.e.sinners). I will leave Augustine for another time.

What does chosen mean? Does God choose not to save some people? If we can only be saved by love (which is God) then God must not love all because that is the only way to be saved.   Sounds like the guy on the beach who yells to the drowning boy, "I love you" but does nothing to save him or worse, choses not to?  Say what? Finally, what hypothetical humanity? Humanity is actual people - no hypothetical about it: no people, no humanity. 

 

I am not critiquing creationism vs. evolution.  I believe God is the Creator, I couldn't be a Lutheran otherwise.  I'm critiquing the idolization of a magisterial reason, nature, and natural law, what is implicit in the "orders of creation".   I don't think that's a good approach to a Jesus-shaped faith, even if that's the approach many churches tend to take towards the issue.  

 

Two resources for you, for understanding our Lutheran approach:

https://www.amazon.com/Reading-Bible-Martin-Luther-Introductory/dp/0801049172

http://www.underthesunblog.com/david-corner/so-wrong-for-so-long/

And if you need more help understanding Dave's perspective, this book by Gerhard Forde is excellent:

https://www.amazon.com/Justification-Faith-Matter-Death-Life/dp/1620322102

 

 

 

Edited by FireDragon76

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On 7/29/2018 at 6:26 PM, FireDragon76 said:

I don't think stories in the Bible must necessarily be understood literally or as scientifically verifiable facts to be sacred and meaningful.  That is a common approach to the Scriptures in my church denomination; neo-orthodoxy rather than liberalism or fundamentalism.

Agreed.

On 7/29/2018 at 6:26 PM, FireDragon76 said:

I see too much needless suffering in the world, based on nothing more than empty fear and hatred, to be unconvinced that salvation no longer matters.   As a Lutheran, I believe salvation entails more than going to heaven when one dies, it also implies being open to living a life as a disciple of Jesus Christ because the evil of the world is contained by the hope in God's promises.    Through trust in God's promises as a gathered community around the Word, life is transfigured into a sacred calling or vocation where we become God's hands in the world doing God's work.

Can't agree with you there, but if how you act and what you do contributes to the human race continuing to develop into a more peaceful species, then no issue with me.

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18 hours ago, thormas said:

Yes.

 

Then no real argument from me other than I would say this 'sin' is subjective depending on the circumstances, but also that it does exist in animals.  Take your lions for example - they commit acts of betrayal, they carry out infanticide to protect their bloodlines, they murder their competition for resources, etc.  Maybe we call it animal instincts instead of sin, but perhaps our 'sin' is just our animal instincts still being worked through as we develop as a species.

Also, I think many animals also realise they need others to enable them to be and to do - try surviving as a lion without the pack to assist in hunting.  It might be on a lower level than our 'needs' at this point in our societal development, but once upon a time we had similar needs when we were a troupe of monkeys.  So again, I see where we are at now as simply a continuation of our species' development.  Of course focus on working towards being a more peaceful species is beneficial.

I think we are truly human the way that we currently are - the good bits and the bad bits, it's just that at our current level of intelligence and development, many can see the benefits of continuing toward a better version of human.  Sometimes religion can add to that and sometimes it can detract.  

 

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5 hours ago, PaulS said:

Then no real argument from me other than I would say this 'sin' is subjective depending on the circumstances, but also that it does exist in animals.  Take your lions for example - they commit acts of betrayal, they carry out infanticide to protect their bloodlines, they murder their competition for resources, etc.  Maybe we call it animal instincts instead of sin, but perhaps our 'sin' is just our animal instincts still being worked through as we develop as a species.

Also, I think many animals also realise they need others to enable them to be and to do - try surviving as a lion without the pack to assist in hunting.  It might be on a lower level than our 'needs' at this point in our societal development, but once upon a time we had similar needs when we were a troupe of monkeys.  So again, I see where we are at now as simply a continuation of our species' development.  Of course focus on working towards being a more peaceful species is beneficial.

I think we are truly human the way that we currently are - the good bits and the bad bits, it's just that at our current level of intelligence and development, many can see the benefits of continuing toward a better version of human.  Sometimes religion can add to that and sometimes it can detract.  

I regard sin as self-centeredness or selfishness which differs, in kind, from love of others and also from (healthy) love of self. The 'destruction' that results from real selfishness seems evident across history, is universal,  easily recognizable and considered toxic.Sin or selfishness presupposes self-consciousness and choice (self over, even to the detriment of others).

Everything you have said of lions goes to instinct which does not presuppose (or require) self-consciousness or choice. In addition, the argument that animals sin, based on your examples, would not be considered credible or realistic (based on experience) by most of us - even without the benefit of scientific research. We consider animals hunting, and thus competing, for resources as natural (i.e. instinct), so too the protection of the bloodline and what you have termed 'betrayal.' And if we throw in scientific research and include those animals, other than man, that are considered, or might be, self aware - the question becomes one of definition and degree. Is awareness of the animal self in a mirror equivalent to a baby's 'awareness of self' and, even here is the baby's awareness of self a harbinger for something (much) more and also therefore, categorically different from other animals as they grow to full maturity? I have no issue with allowing that some other animals might be self aware (actually this is extremely exciting to ponder), however, is this the same as or different from man's self-consciousness:  if the same, is it awareness to a different degree and if that degree is considerable then it is a difference in kind - therefore truly different and not the same? Still, if you look at man with a history, with language, with culture, with its science and philosophy, medical discoveries - and with its decision to dominate and destroy also - this seems radically different from animals; even animals with some self awareness act on instinct. I know about 'language' in some animals and their own communities but to the best of our considerable knowledge, there still seems to be a difference, a major difference, in degree and in kind that would lead most of us to see animals capable of sin (or human like selfishness) to be neither realistic nor credible.

Furthermore, sin as merely our animal instincts doesn't seem to give us much because it seems apparent (given ordinary experience and science of the vast majority of other creatures) that humans don't have or are not ruled by instincts as are animals: choice trumps instinct; self-consciousness overrides instinct. 

Again with the lions as I recognize their need of, for example, the pack and they need nurturing to survive and  grow. No issue at all. I don't see it as a 'lower need' than ours because their need, as you point out is essential to their survival; rather I see it as instinctual enabling for a lion to be a lion. Again, different from a human being. Further, you are correct about the need of the troupe of monkeys - however we were never a troupe of monkeys; they might have been in our line of development but they were animals, they were a different being, they are not 'us' and what we are or became is radically different.  

Plus, the very idea of 'working toward being a more peaceful species' or "better version of human" speaks to self-consciousness and choice (actually a choice against self-centeredness and toward/for others, i.e. compassion) not instinct. Seemingly lions don't ponder a better version of lion or think about working toward being a more peaceful species of lions.

Again, I am using the word human to speak of more than species and I'm also recognizing a common awareness that we share: that some of us are 'more human' than others because of the way we act in the world (which also reflects who we are). Again, the rapist, the child molester, the serial killer, the Hitlers are stripped of humanity, of their human-ness, in our ordinary language: they 'are' monsters, animals, inhuman, and with the school shooter, we refuse to use their name (thus further stripping them of a human identity). By their actions they are know: they have failed, are failing, to be the only thing they can be: human. We don't say this about lions (they that one over there is failing to be a true lion and its lion-ness is diminished, however we do call them animals - but they are).

And the beat goes on.

Thanks.

 

Edited by thormas

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10 hours ago, FireDragon76 said:

I'm critiquing the idolization of a magisterial reason, nature, and natural law, what is implicit in the "orders of creation".

You'll have to explain this one........

 

Although I appreciate the Amazon referrals, I have a long list of books I'm reading. But feel free to provided some detail on justification by faith if you are able.

Edited by thormas

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Anyone or thing whether person, animal, or what one might consider a lower form of life that measures or judges others of their kind with condemnation in my view needs saving from the guilt and condemnation it reeks on themself. Do forms of life other than man have such a problem? I don't know. but i suspect not. ?

Just my 2cents,

Joseph

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4 hours ago, thormas said:

You'll have to explain this one........

 

Although I appreciate the Amazon referrals, I have a long list of books I'm reading. But feel free to provided some detail on justification by faith if you are able.

David Wagschal's blog is well worth reading.  The sort of religious ideology you are describing fits into the "Imperial Consensus" he critiques.

 

I came from an Eastern Orthodox religious tradition that was steeped in language of theosis, just as David did.   I don't like its results; it's a subtle confusion of Law and Gospel and lends itself easily to spiritual abuse.

Edited by FireDragon76

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57 minutes ago, FireDragon76 said:

David Wagschal's blog is well worth reading.  The sort of religious ideology you are describing fits into the "Imperial Consensus" he critiques.

Really - Imperial Consensus?

Will I checked his blog, put in 'imperial consensus' and really got nothing. It seems so important to you, I assumed it was a major thing. The only reference I found was to what seems to be the traditional understanding of Christianity, so I assume traditional theism.

However, what I was presenting was not traditional theism, I simply linked creation and salvation which is biblical through to progressive and panentheistic and thus more nuanced than what must be considered imperial by the Lutherans???

Edited by thormas

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