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Evolution's theology
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Christ died as the culmination of God's unfolding revelation to man. Without his death the tension within the Judaic sacrificial system could not have been resolved. As such Christ's death is central to the mythology of Christianity and cannot be removed or indeed diminished because to do so would throw away the main transformative elements which make Christianity worth following. Interpreting Christ's death through the lens of sacrificial atonement is overly simplistic and reduces the greatest event of history to a demeaning exchange of goods.

    -Simon now removes his Girardian hat!-
  • Paul November 2011
    Simon, are you saying that Christ's death was revelatory but not redemptive?
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Revelatory is redemptive.
  • Michael November 2011
    Paul is also saying that animals did not die before adam and eve went scrumping!

    That is complete absurdity
  • Paul November 2011
    Okay, so what is Christ's death redeeming us from? Does it have anything at all to do with Genesis 3, which is what Paul seems to be saying in Romans 5 (for example)?
  • Michael November 2011
    Gensis 3 evokes the woeful human condition, it is not historical.
  • GavinM November 2011
    "If it is the case that "it is not His physical death itself that rescues us from sin but what it expresses of God's love and character" then I could still conceive of other ways that God could have expressed himself without Jesus dying."

    Indeed, I agree with you. But this is the way God played it out and the key is probably as Simon points out rooted in the completion of the Jewish sacrificial system.

    "We do still die after Christ, but Christ's death and resurrection mean that after our death in Christ there remains a future resurrection of our physical bodies. So that "last enemy", death (physical and spiritual), is indeed defeated through the death (physical and spiritual) of Christ. Christ has already won the victory at the cross, but we wait for his appearing before we share in all of the benefits of that victory."

    Again I agree with you there. I think it is important that we keep in mind the whole story of Creation/Fall/Salvation/Recreation. Christ death and resurrection are the focus of that, but not the final telling of it. Physical death will be eliminated, or rather removed, from the human condition, but only in time. And this will be a new and distinctive part of the New Creation, not a restoration to a previous period in the Old. Christ's resurrected nature and body rightly foreshadow and point towards that which is still to come for humanity.
  • AnthonySmithAnthonySmith November 2011
    I think I pretty much agree with that, Gavin.
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Awww - group hug!
  • tharrison November 2011
    I'm happy accepting a degree of seperation between physical and spiritual death (and physical and spiritual life for that matter), although both were essential in the crucifiction and death of Jesus to fulfil prohesies, show clear symbology and (most importantly) deal with the sin of the human race once and for all, however it would make sense physical but not spiritual death existed before the fall. As mentioned, physical death is almost undisputable, but just out of interest is there scientific evidence of meat eating before the fall (wherever in history that is placed) - because I don't think it's just a matter of interpretation that Genesis 1:29 & 30 strongly suggest vegetarianism before this point? I realise that isn't a majorly important theological discussion, I'm just curious ...
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    "is there scientific evidence of meat eating before the fall"

    Carnivores couldn't survive eating just vegetation - e.g. T.Rex (or Lions for that matter) are not exactly set up to munch grass! Just looking in a carnivores mouth will provide evidence that their vegetation eating ancestors are far more remote than the biblical timespan allows!

    BTW 'no death before the fall' also raises problems with bacterial/cellular death and the Malthusian principle.
  • Paul November 2011
    Simon, I think you need to be careful to deal with the creationist argument about death and the fall as it is actually put forward, and not a strawman. I don't know of any creationists who argue that there was no bacterial or cellular death before the fall. They specifically talk about the death of animals, and perhaps not all animals either. They would also say that the physical death of humans before the fall is sufficient to create a theological conflict with evolution, let alone any consideration of animal death.
  • SimonSimon November 2011
    Note my comment about cellular and bacterial death was a BTW after I addressed animal death, although the Malthusian principle still holds be it bacteria, animals or indeed the classic horse poo argument!

    Seeing as you "outed" yourself as a creationist on the other thread, how do you deal with the rather obvious fact that animal death (and indeed human death) certainly occurred prior to 6000 years ago - did God plant the dinosaur bones to test the faithful?
  • Paul November 2011

    Yes, I'm a young-age creationist, primarily on biblical and theological grounds. I think the Bible teaches that physical death is causally connected to the entrance of sin into the world, and that has obvious implications for how I understand the fossil record and the conventional dates applied to it. However, I can also understand why so many of my fellow Christians feel compelled by the scientific data to interpret the Bible differently, though I disagree with them. In fact, the article by Todd Wood (to which Anthony linked in the other thread) sums up my own position pretty well.

  • SimonSimon November 2011
    So why do you rate your (fallible) interpretation of a not so crucial theological point (in salvation terms) above excellent evidence to the contrary as provided by scientists - of all faiths - from almost every discipline? 

    Or, to put it another way, do you honestly think it possible that so many of us scientists are actually deluded/brain washed/ party to an international 'Darwinist' conspiracy?