The Instigator
KeytarHero
Pro (for)
Winning
23 Points
The Contender
InquireTruth
Con (against)
Losing
16 Points

Evolution and The Bible are incompatible

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
KeytarHero
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 6/15/2011 Category: Religion
Updated: 5 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 9,410 times Debate No: 17073
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (144)
Votes (9)

 

KeytarHero

Pro

This is a debate about whether or not the Bible supports Evolution. This is not a debate on whether the evidence supports Evolution or Creation (or even Intelligent Design). Merely that the Bible does not support a belief in Evolution. As such, I would ask that my opponent be a Christian, supposedly of the Old-Earth/Theistic Evolutionary kind.

Also, this is regarding macro-Evolution (i.e. the gradual change of one species into another).

No semantic arguments, please.

Any other questions, please ask in the comments section.
InquireTruth

Con

Introduction:

Are the Bible and evolution compatible? With many contemporary theologians affirming evolution and the verity of biblical authority, it seems a very astute and particularly pressing question to ask. So far as I can see, there are three ways in which the resolution can be addressed:


(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible.

(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible (requiring 1).

(3) Evolution is supported by the Bible (requiring 1 and 2). (Though this is irrelevant to the resolution as worded, I include it only because my opponent used this wording in his opening round.)


Now, (1) would work something like a theodicy – inasmuch as compatibility need not be likely or even at all true, it need only be possible. This allows a Christian to take seriously the overwhelming scientific consensus of the evolution of species without having to deny the truth of the Bible or its respective authority.

Further than this, however, and requiring the truth of (1) – insofar as probability deals directly with the likelihood of possibilities – (2) insists that the compatibility of the Bible and evolution is somewhat greater than 50%. Or, in other terms, compatibility is seemingly more likely true than false. The benefit of (2) is that a theistic evolutionary position needn’t ride on the far fringes of possibility in order to affirm compatibility. In fact, this position means that there are no good reasons for affirming that evolution and the Bible are NOT compatible.

On mighty step further, though, (3) affirms that compatibility is not only possible and probable, but that the Bible actually supports the grandiose hypothesis that species evolved over a long duration of time. This position is much harder to affirm but much more powerful if true.

I am of the mind that, per the resolution as stated, the truth of (1) would fulfill whatever burden I may carry in this debate. But I would not really be challenging myself or others if I did not also seek to give reasonable evidence for (2) and (3) as well.

(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible.

This position is relatively easy to affirm, as it requires very little evidence. In fact, its falsehood would require some sort of undeniable and contradicting premise like, say, “the Bible is always literal.” Of course, if the aforesaid statement is true, then the statement, “The Bible is sometimes not literal,” is necessarily false. But the first statement certainly does not seem true! The Bible is rife with poetry, parables, hyperbole and literary flourish. Certainly Solomon did not literary think a certain woman’s breasts were like fawns (Song of Solomon 4:5)! Jesus did not actually want us to cut our hands off or gouge our eyes out when they lead the body astray (Matthew 5:29)! And help us all if everything is literal in the book of Revelation (see Revelation 13)!

Instead, the statement, “the Bible is sometimes not literal,” is far more congenial with scholarship and any plain reading of the Bible. This means that any scripture that seems to indicate that humankind or animals were instantaneously created is possibly not literal, allowing for Christians to affirm evolution (and evolutionary biologists to affirm Christianity) without necessary contradiction.

(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible (requiring 1).

In order for (2) to be unlikely, it must be more likely that the creation accounts in Genesis 1 & 2 are a literal, historical and scientific recounting of the origin of the universe, earth and biological life. Contrary to that, do we have any precedent for thinking that the Bible may speak in ways that identify with the audience but may not be ideal or necessarily literal? I think we do.

Consider many aspects of the Mosaic Law. It is relatively clear that certain commands are largely contingent upon the realities of the human condition relative to the social milieu in which the addressees of those commands exist. For instance, in Matthew 19:8, Jesus informs his listeners that the Mosaic Law that permitted divorce was not the ideal or the way God intended it to be. However, as stipulated, there were certain prevailing conditions (hardness of heart) that required the Bible to deliver its message in a more progressive, less ideal way.

The question is, then, are there any obvious, prevailing conditions that may have made it necessary for the creation account to be depicted in a way that was understandable and accessible by its original recipients? I certainly think there is. For instance, there are no good reasons for thinking that a literal, scientific accounting of the way in which God created the universe and all that dwelled within it would have made sense to minds not privy to such intricacies. In fact, such an account would lead to far more confusion and dissension than it would clarity – just consider the rigidity and obtuseness of those trying to fathom a heliocentric model.

Even more telling, however, is the fact that the creation account in Genesis is reflective of other ancient, Mesopotamian creation accounts. The original readers would have been aware that this account was not literal. It was simply the use of story to portray timeless, divine truths. Is this obvious in the text? I think so.

The fact of the matter is that the Bible is full of the number 7 - from the seven days of creation to the 7 seals of Revelation. But the creativity of the creation account is seen in the way the days parallel. What we have is a marvelous parallel of the realms: sky (or the celestial realm), water, land.

Realms:

The first day God creates the celestial realm.
The second day God creates the waters.
The third day God brings forth the Land.

Then we see that each following day parallels the previous days with the entities that inhabit those realms:

The fourth day God creates all the celestial entities that inhabit the sky.
The fifth day God creates all the animals of the sea
The sixth day God creates all that inhabit the land.

Moreover, the context seems to confirm this inference of non-literalism. The author of Genesis seems to be readapting preexisting mythological stories for his own purposes. The genealogies that follow in 4:17-5:32 have a remarkable similarly to early Sumerian king lists that predate Genesis by thousands of years [1]. These lists carry many of the same features. While those in the genealogy in Genesis have insanely long life spans (even though no paleoanthropologists have yet discovered any ancient skeletal remains that are even remotely close to that sort of age), the Sumerian kings have impossibly long reigns. More remarkable is that the two Sumerian lists each end with the character who supposedly survived a flood (like Noah).

This shows us that God used the familiar as a way to explore the divine. Literal interpretations rob Genesis of this beauty. Needless to say, I think we have a reasonable basis for affirming that the creation accounts in Genesis were probably not literal, therein allowing for evolution and the Bible to be compatible.

(3) Evolution is supported by the Bible

(p1) God does not lie (Numbers 23:13).

(p2) Evolution of species true

(p3) Creation account is literal

We cannot affirm all three premises without contradiction. If (p3) is true, either (p1) or (p2) must be false. If (p2) is true either (p1) or (p3) is false. (p1) is not false.

Therefore, the question is, out of (p2) and (p3), which is most likely true. Given the overwhelming evidence for evolution, it seems more likely true than false. (p3) given point (2), seems more likely false than true. Therefore, (p1) and (p2) are most likely true. That is to say, God, who does not lie, always supports that which is true. Evolution is likely true. Therefore, the Bible (or the God described therein), likely supports evolution.

Conclusion:

I will expand upon these points in more detail as the debate unravels. Moreover, I will have to use some forthecoming round for sources.

Debate Round No. 1
KeytarHero

Pro

I would first like to thank the Contender, InquireTruth, for taking me up on this challenge. I will make an opening argument then respond to Inquire's argument.

-Opening Argument-

As I have stated, the Bible is incompatible with macro-Evolution. This is not simply because the Bible doesn't explicitly teach Evolution, this is because the Bible explicitly teaches against Evolution. While many modern theologians are seeming to accept an old-age model of the Earth, and macro-Evolution itself, this is a recent phenomenon. Before Darwin entered the scene and posited his book On the Origin of Species, Christian theologians and the developers of modern science were creationists, in that they believed in the supernatural origin of the universe and of life. [1] This goes to show that by accepting Evolution now Christians are not allowing the Holy Spirit to interpret Scripture for them, but science. I wholly believe that religion, specifically Christianity, and science are compatible. But this is a major issue that they clash on. The Scriptures tell us that God uses "the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and uses the weak things of this world to put to shame the things which are mighty" (1 Cor. 1:27).

It is true that the Scriptures are rife with allegory. However, the Scriptures are also rife with history. In fact, the book of Genesis is a history book. Why should we take the first two chapters of Genesis as allegory and the rest as history, especially when the first two chapters read as history just like the rest of the book? When the Bible speaks of creation of the universe and the creation of man, it is told as if it happened that way, not as if in prose.

Contention One: The language used

Genesis 1 tells us that the universe was created in six days. If the days were anything other than literal, then you must show why. The Hebrew word used for "day" in Genesis one is yom, which can certainly have a range of meanings. However, outside the book of Genesis, the word yom, coupled with a number (e.g. "first day"), 359 times and is always a literal day (as defined by evening and morning). There are also other words in Hebrew which are suitable for long periods of time (e.g. olam or qedem), but none of these words are used. [2] If Genesis 1 would be the exception, then you must show why we should take them as anything other than literal days.

Contention Two: Adam and Eve

The Bible is quite specific that Adam was created in God's image, of the dust of the earth (Gen. 1:26, Gen. 2:7), and Eve from Adam's rib (Gen. 2:21). If these are supposed to be allegorical, you must show how the allegory fits. God says that they were created that way, they were not evolved. Why shouldn't we accept the account as written, unless you are taking into account outside sources which is not a proper method of Biblical exegesis. Also, why not simply tell us that humanity evolved, rather than trying to hide it by telling us we were created that way instead?

Contention Three: The Jewish Workweek

When God established the Ten Commandments, He commanded the Jews to keep the Sabbath day holy (Ex. 20: 8-11). As God created the universe in six days and rested on the seventh, so the Jews were to work for six days and rest on the seventh day. This commandment wouldn't make any sense unless the days were literal. Suppose the Creation days were 1,000 years. God would have been telling them to work for 6,000 years, then rest for 1,000 years. This doesn't make any sense, considering the oldest person whom ever lived was Methuselah, and he lived to be 969.

So considering these points, and considering that there seems to be great evidence for an old earth and evolution, I submit that while God created the universe from 6,000 to 10,000 years ago (a young earth), that God created the universe with the appearance of age. We see that God created Adam and Eve as fully-functioning adult male and female, though only being a few seconds old, and Jesus changed water into aged wine. As such, since the universe is an interconnected whole, God created the universe with the appearance of old age so that everything can be working for us when He created us on day six. This also explains why we can see light from distant stars.

-Rebuttal-

Now to respond to Inquire's arguments.

(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible

It is not enough to say your burden has been satisfied by showing it's possible. As I have shown, the Bible clearly teaches against Evolution and old age. If you are going to say that Evolution and an old earth are possible and compatible with the Bible, then you must show how the Bible was using allegory to touch on these subjects. Whenever Jesus spoke in parable, we received an explanation to these parables. Yet there seems to be no explanation to the language used in Genesis 1 about creation. Since Genesis 1 and 2 specifically speak against Evolution, you would bear the burden to show how they are even possibly compatible.

It is true that the Bible is not always literal; however, it is not always allegorical. As I have shown, Genesis is a book of history. If you are going to read Evolution into it, you must show why we should take the first two chapters of Genesis as allegorical and the rest of it literal. Surely, there is good reason to do so.

(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible

It should be pointed out that while there are scientific statements in the Bible, the Bible is not a science book and it was never meant to be. It is a theological and historical book. As God was speaking to people with a very limited understanding of the Earth, He did not speak to them in realistic, scientific terms because they likely would not have understood. God had to speak to them in terms they understood because the main purpose of the Scriptures was to teach how they might be saved.

There is no reason to suppose the people could not have understood an evolutionary explanation for creation. If they can accept that a God they can't see created the universe in six days, I certainly think they could have accepted that the God they can't see evolved them from lower forms of life.

It is true that different cultures share a creation story, an account of a flood, etc. But these simply lends credibility to these events. After all, these aren't just stories recorded in the Bible, but these were actual events that inspired authors from different cultures to write about them. They all had their own theology behind it, but surely one can be correct. I will try to touch more on this in the following round. Simply saying that a literal interpretation robs Genesis of "beauty" is no argument at all. If it really happened, it really happened. It didn't "not happen" because we want Genesis to be a more beautiful rendering.

(3) Evolution is supported by the Bible

I agree that God does not lie. In fact, the Scriptures say "let God be true, and every man a liar" (Romans 3:4). If all of humanity believed a false concept because it appeared true, it is still false. We agree on your (p1). However, we disagree on which of your other premises is false.

God hates sin. Therefore, it is likely true that God will abandon us all, let us die in our sins, and allow us to go to Hell. However, the Scriptures tell us that this will not happen because of God's love and compassion for us. Evolution may seem "likely," but the Scriptures do not support it. As my characters are running low, I will touch more on your second and third contentions, as well as your next round arguments in my following rebuttal.

[1] Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, Geisler, Norman L., Baker Book House Company, p. 168
[2] http://www.answersingenesis.org...;
InquireTruth

Con

"this is because the Bible explicitly teaches against Evolution."

Now, the bible certainly does not explicitly teach against evolution, in that would require an actually developed understanding of the theory and a response to it. The real concern is whether or not the Bible implicitly teaches against evolution, in that it posits some sort of premise that is in necessary contradiction with the theory of evolution. My opponent goes on to insist that since in bygone days virtually all theologians were creationists, this is ample and reasoned evidence that current non-creationist theologians have abandoned the movement of the Holy Spirit.

Does this sound reasonable to you? But let's remember what I said in my first round: "It is relatively clear that certain commands are largely contingent upon the realities of the human condition relative to the social milieu in which the addressees of those commands exist." That is to say, the message always trumps fact in the Bible. The original church required women to cover their heads and men to have them uncovered. Moreover, the original Church gave EVERYTHING they owned to the church. The original Church did not mandate freedom of slaves but only benevolent treatment of them. Evangelical Christianity today does not adhere to any of these practices today. According to my opponent's logic, this can only mean one thing: they have abandoned the Holy Spirit (I would say they are following the heart of the Gospel which is often skewed by literal readings of culturally specific passages).

"In fact, the book of Genesis is a history book."

Now, how is this clear? This seems merely to be an ipse dixit. If it is history it certainly has not been verified as such by any other means of criticism. But if the literary structure of Genesis seems more like story than it does historical fact and there are no other means of verifying that Genesis was retelling historical things, how does one rationally insist otherwise?


Contention One: The language used


The use of yom is wholly irrelevant to my case. I think it DOES literally denote a 24 hour period. The use of day in its literal sense, however, no more makes the story itself literal than Jesus' use of day in his parable of the worker's in the vineyard makes his parable literal.

The fact of the matter is that the language in Genesis 1 is poetic and the very content of the story not just implies, but necessitates a non-literal or, at bare minimum, a non-chronological reading. The author of Genesis uses the term, tohu wa-bohu (formless and empty) in Genesis 1:2. This rhythmic and poetic phrase sets the pace of the 7-day literary motif that is common among literary texts of that time period (see the Epic of Gilgamesh). The story goes on with the first days of forming and the last days of filling. To take this literally would not just be strange given the common motif and paralleled structure, it would be nonsensical. If the sun was not created until day 4, what light on earth is God separating from darkness (1:4,5)? Well, the author says that God put the sun "in the expanse of the sky...to separate light from darkness" (1:17,18). The latter part of the aforementioned is quoted directly from 1:4. But how could it possibly be the sun that was doing the separating on day one (like 1:17,18 insists) if it was not created until day 4? How did plants, including fruit trees, survive without the required photosynthesis for their existence if they were created before the sun?

We COULD answer these objections by positing numerous, unstated and wholly ad hoc auxiliary hypotheses like, "God sustained the plants," or "God was the source of light and he merely turned it off and on to represent days before he created the sun." But like many failed theories, when we have to start creating numerous epicycles within epicycles to make our theory work, we are giving ourselves fewer and fewer reasons to believe it is true. The issue is resolved, on the other hand, by simply insisting that the Genesis account is not, and was never meant to be, literal.


Contention Two: Adam and Eve


Even without refutation this contention is not powerful. I will leave it for now.


Contention Three: The Jewish Workweek


This contention depends on an argument for non-literal days. My argument is that the story, as a whole, is non-literal and was largely used to figuratively represent the Sabbath to begin with.

"...since the universe is an interconnected whole, God created the universe with the appearance of old age"

Then God is deceitful. Through every test and study available, the earth declares that it is old. The earth was created and therein determined (unless of course the earth was endowed with freedom) by God to portray this unearned age. Moreover, this theory insists that an apparently omnipotent God is unable to create a fully functioning young earth. No, instead, the universe must be created with literally billions of apparent, though not real, years.

which then, is more likely:

That an omnipotent God could not create a universe that was both young and appeared young.

or

The creation account is not meant to be taken literally and thus the universe is probably as it appears.


(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible


I think my opponent confuses this contention with the second, namely that of probability. Something is possible so long as there does not exist some sort of necessary and conflicting premise. So my opponent must show that the creation account is NECASSARILY literal and could not, no matter how unlikely, have been non-literal. If he cannot show this, then he has not fulfilled the burden as he would have only shown that evolution and the Bible are probably incompatible and not necessarily - necessity is required of any absolute statement.


(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible


"It is true that different cultures share a creation story, an account of a flood, etc. But these simply lends credibility to these events.
"

So because there are so many creation stories, it is likely that creation happened? These creation stories are so significantly different that to say they lend credence to something true is unfathomable. The flood stories, on the other hand, are localized and lend credence to a very large, localized flood. The problem is, though, is that these stories of which our Genesis account shares many details and, in many cases, changes the main characters without changing the plot, predate the authorship of Genesis by thousands of years (see Enuma Elish). So the assertion that Genesis is historical and literal but, say, the Enuma Elish, is not, does not seem likely or evident.


(3) Evolution is supported by the Bible


"If all of humanity believed a false concept because it appeared true, it is still false.
"

It still stands though, that the likelihood of what appears to be true is actually true is greater than that which appears to be false - supporting my second premise.

------
(p1) God does not lie

(p2) God intended for the proper application of all of our tests and studies of the earth and universe to yield a very old age...

(c1) ...BECAUSE Genesis is literal and the earth is young but, inexplicitly, requires old features.

(c2) ...BECAUSE Genesis is not literal and the earth is old

Which of (c1) or (c2) fits best with the premises and seems more likely true? Consider the ramifications of (c1). What if God also needed a flat earth or for the earth to be the center of the universe but also needed it to appear differently? This could be true of anything in our universe, including the belief that Genesis is literal. Since it is fundamentally inexplicable why God requires some things to appear a way that they are not, my opponent has no way of knowing whether or not Genesis merely appears to be literal because of some unknown requirement. So if we have false beliefs, whose fault is it really?

Source:
http://www.sacred-texts.com...;

Debate Round No. 2
KeytarHero

Pro

Well, let's look at what explicit means for a moment: "fully and clearly expressed or demonstrated; leaving nothing merely implied; unequivocal."

This would certainly fit the definition. In order to be an explicit teaching, the Bible doesn't have to give a dissertation on a topic and then a thorough rebuttal. Genesis 1 indicates that the days were days as we understand them to be. It is also quite clear that Adam and Eve were created of the dust of the earth, and from Adam's rib, respectively. That seems to be pretty clear to me. From the language of the text, alone, you could not get anything other than a standard week for the week of creation. You must introduce elements foreign to the Scriptures in order to interpret the passage any other way.

Actually, I believe the modern church has, in fact, gotten away from the Holy Spirit's leading. In the early centuries, A.D., churches met in peoples' living rooms. Now we have mega churches where one can get lost if they don't want to serve in the church or really get to know anyone. I wouldn't say the message always trumps fact in the Bible. After all, we're supposed to love each other better than ourselves. The original church sold all their possessions to give to the poor because they were so moved by the Holy Spirit. As far as the treatment of slaves, the Bible never supports slavery. In fact, rather than kill pagans it was better to take them as slaves and once they did, they had to treat them benevolently.

The Book of Genesis reads like a history book. If you didn't look at outside sources you would never even think to question that the book of Genesis was meant literally. It certainly doesn't seem figurative from the language used. You can only get that by looking outside the Bible. No one was around during the creation of the world, so of course it can't be verified. However, it was delivered supernaturally to Moses by God and I don't think Christians should question the Word of the Lord. I also don't think there's sufficient cause to read it as anything other than literal.

Contention One: The language used

The sun was not created until day four. However, God did say "let there be light." This light was His shekinah glory. In the new Heaven and new Earth (as described in Revelation 21:23), there was no sun or moon because God's glory was the light of the city. This is the same light that God called into being when He said those words. This is not an ad hoc explanation but a perfectly reasonable one. I don't think He turned the light off, but I think the passage of time was the same. If a day was 24 hours, whether God's light shone the entire time would be irrelevant. God said He separated the light from the darkness, meaning there was still darkness (just not where His light was shining). It would still be a 24-hour period. And it's not unreasonable to suppose that God sustained the plants before the advent of photosynthesis. That seems a relatively small matter compared to creating the entire universe.

Contention Two: Adam and Eve

I disagree that this contention is not powerful. Whenever Jesus spoke in parable, He always explained what the parables meant (and it was recorded in Scripture). If Genesis 1 is meant to be taken figurative, then tell me how Adam being created from dust and Eve being created from Adam's rib can be representative of the evolutionary process. Tell me how the evening and morning passing (which is how the Jews regarding day to day), signaling each new day, could be representative of an indeterminate amount of time. These must have good explanations if they're to be taken as figurative.

Contention Three: The Jewish Workweek

How does the story figuratively represent the Sabbath? The Sabbath was the seventh day of the week, which is the day in which God rested. How do you take the story as a whole to be figurative of that one day?

God is not deceitful. The Bible is God's word. If God created the universe as billions of years old and didn't tell us, that would be deceitful. Without looking at outside sources, you could not get an old earth. By claiming that Genesis is figurative, since it doesn't offer an explanation as Jesus did with His parables, then God would be deceiving us, with His very Word, by not telling us the truth.

The Scriptures, not science, is our source of spiritual truth. God created the universe with the appearance of age. He gave us His word so that we would know how the earth was created, and that it is not as old as we think it is. If we don't take God's word for it, we are to blame, not Him.

When Jesus turned water into wine, He turned it into good wine. The headwaiter was praised because of it. The miracle was a few seconds old, but it was, for all intents and purposes, aged wine. Adam and Eve would have appeared to have been adults to the naked eye, even though they were created just a few seconds before. Appearances can be deceiving, but God is not deceiving.

(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible

I did ask at the outset for no semantic arguments. I have shown that the Bible indicates the universe was created in six days, and that Adam was created from dust and Eve was created from Adam's rib. This clearly shows that evolution did not happen and that the universe is young. The only way to get otherwise is by looking at outside sources, which is not a proper way to interpret the Scriptures. I have shown that evolution and the Bible are not possibly compatible because the Bible teaches the opposite.

(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible

The difference between the Enuma Elish
(3) Evolution is supported by the Bible

I still don't think the likelihood of what appears to be true is greater than the likelihood that it is false. We see in at least two situations (Jesus turning water into wine and the creation of Adam and Eve) that God created with the appearance of age. So we have precedent. Judging from the passages themselves, without looking at outside sources, we could not draw any conclusion other than it should be taken literally.

InquireTruth

Con


Since evolution is not expressly stated in Genesis 1 or the entire Bible for that matter, any argument against it from the Bible will necessarily be from passages where its negation is implicit. There is simply no hiding behind dictionaries on this matter. But that's okay, because it is irrelevant to this debate.


I would like the readers to take notice - that is if they already have not - of what seems to be a pretty dramatic shift in this debate. My opponent continues to assert his position without evidence or any cogent refutations of what I have presented. His position has turned more into a clinging to low probabilities than it does a reasonable, firmly placed intellectual position.


"The Book of Genesis reads like a history book. If you didn't look at outside sources you would never even think to question that the book of Genesis was meant literally. It certainly doesn't seem figurative from the language used."


Now, you will notice that this completely ignores the internal evidence given in my last round. The rhythmic phrase tohu wa-bohu (formless and empty) in Genesis 1:2; the paralleled days of forming and filling; the 7-day literary motif, the wacky literal requirements of light before the sun and the internal, textual evidence against it. These are all things gathered within the text that seem to indicate poetry, not history or science. Moreover, KeytarHero's bizarre assertion that looking at outside sources is somehow disingenuous is difficult to assess. Does looking at the cultural setting and the literary styles that existed during the authorship of Genesis help in interpretation? I certainly think it does.


Imagine you go to a fiction, short-story festival and you read someone's short story that they have on display. The story may seem literal. In fact, there may be very few textual evidences that indicate otherwise. However, the probability of it being fiction goes up dramatically when the setting of a fiction, short-story festival is considered. According to my opponent, however, such a consideration of cultural and social setting is illegitimate.


Contention One: The language used


My opponent's position does not work with the text and, ironically, requires looking at a source that is wholly outside the text in question (Revelation was written thousands of years after Genesis). Genesis makes it clear that the light created was to "separate light from darkness," (Genesis 1:4b). After this, each day is ended with the phrase, "there was evening and there was morning." The Hebrew word used for evening is ereb. This word denotes the time of the day when light is absent from the sky (e.g. night). In order for this to occur under my opponent's logic, God must have, at some finite moment, imbued his glory with light that visibly emanated to earth and, subsequently, was turned off and on in order for morning and evening to occur. Even further, my opponent will have to answer as to why the sun, created on day 4, is described using the exact same Hebrew phrase in Genesis 1:4b.


Purpose of light:


The light created in Genesis 1:3 : "Separate light from darkness," (Genesis 1:4b).


The sun created in Genesis 1:16: "Separate light from darkness," (Genesis 1:18b).


All that is going on in this debate is my opponent is asserting more auxiliary, wholly ad hoc premises in order to affirm a literal reading. A non-literal reading does not require positing any of these very peculiar scenarios where God must sustain the plants before the sun and must himself be the source of light yet nothing changes in the text when lights are actually created by day 4. We don't need to assume that God created the universe with the appearance of age or that snakes literally talk. It seems like story, not history.


Contention One: The language used


Identifying stories in the Old Testament is not the same as Jesus' parables. Moreover, Jesus does not always identify the meaning of his parables, so that argument is particularly weak. Further, Adam and Eve need not have a direct metaphorical or figurative meaning, as character's in stories are often used for the purpose of illustrating one primary truth. However, given the names of Adam (literally mankind) and Eve (literally life-giver), it is not very difficult to see that the author was probably using these characters has typological or metaphorical representations of humanity at large.


Contention Three: The Jewish Workweek


Using figurative language and metaphor without afterwards explaining yourself means you are deceitful. At least according to my opponent. What are we to make of the book of Revelation? Furthermore, what are we to make of the parables that Jesus did not explain? Even worse, however, is that among the parables that Jesus did explain, they were usually only explained afterwards to his disciples, meaning Jesus was being intentionally deceitful to the audiences that gathered to hear him preach. My opponent's use of scripture and logic are too inconsistent to trust that a formulated theology that springs from it is sound.


His argument hinges on the idea that, inexplicably, God required a universe that appeared old. Yet explained, however, is how this does not exist as a defeater for his very position. The text does not tell us that the universe would or need to appear old, but we know that it does. That means that, according to my opponent, things do not seem like they appear.


My opponent believes that Genesis 1 seems literal. He must show the relevant difference between the universe and Genesis 1 that allows one of them to be as it seems and the other to not. According to my opponent, it may be the case that Genesis 1 only SEEMS literal but, inexplicably, is not. In my view, on the other hand, given that Genesis seems non-literal, I can affirm without contradiction or defeater.



(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible


This is not a semantic argument. This is an argument that seeks to show the bare minimum necessary for affirming my burden per the resolution.


(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible


This was not addressed. Though I would like to see my opponent's reasoning for why an omnipotent God would prefer to create a young universe with appearance of age rather than a young universe that appeared young.


(3) Evolution is supported by the Bible


"I still don't think the likelihood of what appears to be true is greater than the likelihood that it is false."


Then the defeater for my opponent's position is only that much stronger. If what which appears true is not necessarily more likely than that which appears false, the likelihood of him being wrong, even in this very assertion, is at least 50%.


Moreover, his argument from Adam and Eve begs the question, inasmuch as it relies upon the truth of the matter in question. So that is not strong. His ONLY argument, then, is the assertion that because Jesus turned wine into apparently old wine (which itself is an assumption made from something outside the text), we have precedence for thinking that the earth is old... This is very flimsy theology that ignores the particularly relevant differences. By virtue of changing the ontology of ANY substance via miracle, the substance would HAVE to appear as something it is not. For instance, the wine would have to appear as a substance that had gone through a very particular process of fermentation after being made out of grapes that were picked and pressed - even though it did not. However, creating the universe ex nihilo, there is no ontological change of one thing to another. It is a literal creation out of nothing. This means that there is no fundamental reason for why it need to appear as anything other than what it is. The appearance of age as some sort of requirement only means that God is either not powerful enough to create something to appear as it actually is, or is sufficiently deceitful in wanting a universe that lies when observed.


Debate Round No. 3
KeytarHero

Pro

When I talk about outside sources, I refer to "contemporary wisdom." As I have already shown from the Scriptures, if everyone believed a falsehood but God said something else was true, God would be the one who was true. He also uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise.

Looking at the historical and cultural context is important when attempting to properly interpret the Scriptures. We, of course, must consider who God was speaking to. However, I don't believe it's enough here to say that God didn't tell them how the world was actually created simply because He was talking to people less educated than we are now.

For instance, the Jews certainly understood the passage of time, and how big a number a billion is. Would it not have made more sense for God to tell the Jews the earth was billions of years old, rather than simply indicating that He created everything in six days? Wouldn't that have saved a lot of confusion? The Bible is indeed filled with poetry, but that doesn't mean we have license to take everything we disagree with as poetry.

You can write rhythmically and poetically about a true event that happened. Simply using poetic language doesn't mean the text is drastically different than what the poetry is indicating.

The number seven is also an important number in the Scriptures. But does everything that comes with the number seven figurative? Were there seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19), or were they figurative of something else? Joshua was ordered to march around Jericho seven times (Joshua 6). Did he have to literally walk around it seven times, or was the number figurative of something else? Bearing the number seven does not mean it should be taken figurative. The number seven would be just as important if God created the universe in seven literal days, as it would if He created the universe in seven figurative ones.

The difference between the Bible and a book of fiction is that the book of fiction is obviously not to be taken as literal. That's why we have a "fiction" section at bookstores. However, the Bible is meant to be taken literal unless there is good reason not to (e.g. Jesus' parables). I don't know any good reason why God would not have just indicated the Earth was really, really old if it actually is.

Contention One: The Language Used

The Contender misunderstands my position here, and perhaps I could have been clearer. The thing is, the same God who inspired the book of Genesis inspired the book of Revelation (2 Timothy 3:16). Besides the historical and cultural context, a more important method used for Biblical exegesis is to compare Scripture with Scripture. We can see that the "light" in the early days of Genesis is God's glory because we see that God uses that same light in the new Heaven of Revelation 21. It is not a stretch to see that they are both the same light.

When the text uses the phrase "there was evening and there was morning," since there was no sun or moon yet to denote the passage of time, those phrases are used to indicate that a day, as we understand it, was still passing. God could have created the universe in one day if He so chose, but He chose to take seven to establish the Jews' workweek, and because seven is a number of significance.

If God created the light, He could certainly turn it off to keep the flow from day to night if He wanted to. On day four, the passage says that He created the sun and moon to rule the day and night, respectively. Day and night were occurring up until that point, but He didn't create the sun and moon until day four to rule over them. In Genesis 1:4, it was God dividing the light and darkness, and in Genesis 1:18, it was the sun.

I fail to understand how the Contender can believe in a God who created the universe, but who can't create it in only six days or who can make snakes talk.

Contention Two: Adam and Eve

If we're going to believe in a God who can create the entire universe, then it's no stretch to take the miracles of the Old Testament literal. Again, what do these allegedly poetic illustrations mean regarding how we came about? Why would God say Adam was created from the dust of the Earth, and Eve from Adam's rib? How does that fit into an evolutionary process? It's easy to make the Bible say whatever you want it to. But if you're going to try and indicate that the passage was figurative and not literal, there must be explanations for why a certain part says what it does.

Contention Three: The Jewish Workweek

Which of Jesus' parables did He in no way explain? And as I said, they were all recorded in Scripture. Even if He didn't explain them to everyone right away, they were written down and recorded into Scripture so that we would understand. He wasn't being intentionally deceitful to anyone. And I believe that my view is more consistent on whether or not God was being deceitful. The Scriptures are God's Word. Modern science is not. If science seems to indicate the universe is greatly old, but the Scriptures say that it is not (which is God's Word), the Scriptures should be trusted. However, if the Scriptures (which are God's Word) tells us the universe is young when it's really old, that would be directly deceitful from God Himself.

It is not my case that Genesis 1 merely seems literal. Judging by the text alone, one cannot get an old universe from it. Only when taking into consideration outside forces can one read into the texts what is simply not there. The universe seems old to our instruments and senses, so we should trust that over the Holy Spirit's guiding (which, ironically, we can't see or feel God and yet the contender has still come to faith in Him just the same).

(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible

I understand what the Contender is trying to argue here, but it is still my contention that if the Bible says something happened a certain way, there is no possibility for it happening another way, or God would be lying to us. If Genesis 1 should be taken literal, there is no compatibility with a figurative rendering.

(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible

I really don't have enough characters to go into all the reasons, but the short answer would be He needed to create it with the appearance of age because all the parts had to work right from the get-go. I'll give you an example. This is a huge universe. Scientists contend the universe began with a big bang and now the universe is expanding. However, in order for the planets, stars, and all cosmic stuff to be properly aligned, He didn't just place them all right next to each other and then they started expanding. He placed them far apart from each other. While that process may have taken a long time, God started it out right from the start.

(3) Evolution is supported by the Bible

One does not need to look at outside sources to know that Jesus turned water into aged wine. In fact, according to the text (John 2), the waiter was praised for bringing the best wine last. We know from the text that Jesus turned water into aged wine, the best that there could be.

As I have already illustrated, the reason the universe appears old is because God set everything in place. Whereas scientists can "know" how old our universe is by observing distant stars, if the universe is only about 6,000 or 10,000 years old, then we are seeing light from distant stars that we logically shouldn't be seeing yet. And yet we do see them. This is because of the appearance of age. God created the stars to light up our night sky, with their light already in transit when He first created them. This would give them an appearance of age, even though it is still a young universe. It is not deceitful, it is how things had to have been done.
InquireTruth

Con

"He also uses the foolish things of the world to shame the wise."

This is not a powerful argument for at least one very particular reason. Namely, if it is true, my opponent must admit that by all accounts my position is more likely and reasonable. My opponent presents his case as if it were reasonable and, by his accounts, likely. But what is foolish about believing in that which is reasonable and likely? So far as I can see, nothing at all is foolish about it. So my opponent can believe 1 of 2 things.

(1) That his position is unreasonable and foolish.

(2) My position is unreasonable and foolish

If (1), he must admit that my position is more reasonable and likely in comparison to his proffered conclusion. If (2), he must admit that my position works with his argument and is thus possibly true given its foolish status. So no matter the choice, the resolution is negated. To make matters worse, however, is the fact that there are innumerable foolish positions that one may affirm, millions and billions of which are incompatible with the Bible. According to my opponent, these foolish positions are likely true given the mere fact that they are foolish. In fact, so foolish is this line of reasoning that it must be true!

"You can write rhythmically and poetically about a true event that happened. Simply using poetic language doesn't mean the text is drastically different than what the poetry is indicating."

There is simply no winning with my opponent. First, he maintains that there is no reason to think it is not literal. When confronted with evidence of clear poetic usage and the Genesis story's reliance on preexisting mythopoetic stories, he maintains that poetic language and rhyme does not mean that the story could not also be literal. Well, of course it does not necessarily mean that the story could not also be literal. What it does, show, however, is that there is very clear precedent for concluding that the Genesis story does not refer to actual, historical and scientific events - the possibility to the contrary notwithstanding.


Contention One: The Language Used

My opponent's position on this matter is one that is particularly hard to swallow. His position is that light in Genesis 1 was God's glory. Let's look at the evidence. First, of course, there is no mention of this in Genesis. Second, it contradicts pretty clear textual evidence to the contrary. As a tertiary concern, it is also completely ad hoc.

As I mentioned in my previous round, the Hebrew word ereb denotes a period in the day where light is absent from the sky, namely night or evening. It is used specifically in reference to the separating of darkness from light (which is specifically referenced as being the duty of the sun). In order to maintain a literal interpretation, my opponent must conclude that, before the existence of the sun, God literally turned his glory off and on so that evening and morning actually happened.

At this juncture, though, I would like to bring up why my position is the best explanation given our current historical models. For instance, C. Behan McCullagh gives seven conditions that compose a successful argument for the best explanation (1).

A cursory look at those conditions will quickly reveal that my opponent's position is not very strong. For instance, my opponent's position fails the rule of parsimony. In order to affirm that the creation account is literal, we must commit ourselves to at least the following beliefs (that are, by consequence, ad hoc): the earth was created with the appearance of age; God's glory was the light for the first three days in Genesis; the sun was the light starting on day 4 and on; the poetic phrases and Hebraic parallelism do not negate a literal interpretation; Genesis' use of preexisting creation myths is irrelevant. But all these things need not be assumed if we abandon the presupposition that the Genesis account must be read historically. We can take the poetic language and the reliance on existing creation myths seriously. We needn't create new, auxilerlly understandings in order to reconcile contradictions like the earth's age and light being created before its source.


Contention Two: Adam and Eve

It is a basic illogical fallacy to assume the truth of a position given the absence of an alternative. So even if I could not come up with a formulated reason for what things mean in Genesis given a poetic, non-literal approach, it is wholly irrelevant to the fact that there is abundant evidence that the Genesis creation account is not literal. As I explained in my previous round, the details of the story need not have direct application as the story may have been to combat other creation myths and establish things like the Sabbath and that YHWH created.


Contention Three: The Jewish Workweek

"Which of Jesus' parables did He in no way explain?"

First, of course, is Jesus' own words that the purpose of his parables were to "conceal" heavenly meaning from those whose hearts were hard (cf. Mt. 13:10-17). Furthermore, the following parables have no direct explanation in the text:

- New Cloth on an Old Garment

- New Wine in Old Wine Skins

- The Parable of the mustard seed (specifically it is unclear how one should interpret this in light of it being representative of the kingdom of God).

- The Parable of the Leaven

- The Parable of the Householder

- The parable of the fig tree

etc...

Moreover, saying that by the text alone I cannot get an Old Universe is not substantially different than saying that from the Lord of the Rings text alone I cannot get modern rocket science. Of course I cannot, that would first have to presuppose that the Bible, or the Lord of the Rings, is such a book that would contain content on such matters. In essence, it must presuppose that the Bible is a science book -- which it is not. Furthermore, my opponent creates a false dichotomy between scripture and the revelations of science. It is scripture that tells us that God is evident in nature (Romans 1:20 Psalm 19). If the universe seems old and the Bible says it is young, there seems to be a contradiction. So far from God being evident in nature, a literal interpretation of Genesis makes God the antithesis of it.


(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible

The Bible says that we must cut off the hand and gouge out the eye the causes sin? Is it possible that this is not literal? If yes, than my opponent tacitly agrees that the Bible does not always say what it means. In other words, it uses literary style and flourish to make a point that is not directly denoted by what is said. If it is just possible, even if totally unlikely, that the Genesis account is not literal, then it is possible that evolution and the Bible are compatible and the resolution is negated.


(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible

To say that God needed the appearance of age in order for things to work from the "get-go" is a statement that God is not all powerful, or, at least, did not create ex nihilo. Why is it that a God who is all-powerful cannot create a universe that appears as it is. The star example is poor because it was God who created the stars out of nothing. Surely he could have made stars in such a way that their light did not need billions of light years in order to reach earth. Surely an omnipotent God could make conditions such that his created universe looked just as young as it actually was - there is certainly nothing logically incoherent about thinking so. The options then, can be presented thusly:

(x1) God is not omnipotent and could not create a universe without the appearance of age.

(x2) God is omnipotent and purposefully, though not out of necessity, fashioned the earth and universe in a way that appears much older than it actually is (the struggle being to determine how this is not deceitful).

Choose as you will, but both options are contradicted by scripture.


(3)


Relevent difference between wine and creation ex nihilo.

Debate Round No. 4
KeytarHero

Pro

Again, I would like to thank the Contender for this debate. As this is our last round, I will not make any new arguments. I will just respond to his points.

My argument about using the foolish things to shame the wise stands. If God's Word says one thing, but modern science says another, it is God's Word that should be believed. If God created everything in six days, but modern science says it took much longer, then I think we can take God's word over our own. He was actually there. After all, if God really didn't mean six literal days, then how long would each day be? Were they all the same exact amount of time? These questions have no answer unless you look at the passage of Genesis 1 literally. There's no way to know otherwise. The only way to read Genesis 1 as anything other than literal is to look at outside sources, not to consider the passage in its own context.

The resolution is not negated given his choices. My position is more reasonable because I'm taking the word of the One who created the universe over his. The Scriptures also tell us that the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing (1 Cor. 1:18). Yet using the Contender's logic we should reject Christ on the cross because it is more reasonable to believe that Jesus really wasn't the Messiah. Believe that God created the universe in six days (as He said He did) with the appearance of age seems much more reasonable to me than to read into the text something it just doesn't say.

I can see how you would draw the conclusion that there is precedent for not taking the Genesis account literal. However, if you take the text alone there is really no reason to doubt that it should be taken literal. There is nothing in the text to indicate that certain parts are literal and certain parts are figurative. It all reads as one long, historical narrative.

Contention One: The Language Used

My contention is not ad hoc. It is completely supported in Scripture. All Scripture is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). The book of Revelation is inspired of God, just as the book of Genesis. These poetic works that the Contender claims should influence our understanding of Scripture is not inspired of God. We see in Revelation 21 that God's glory will be the light in the new Heaven and Earth as a sun is not needed. This is perfectly reasonable to assume that the light in Genesis 1 is the same until the sun and moon were created. It doesn't contradict any textual evidence.

If God did cause His light to shine in the beginning of Genesis 1, there is no reason to suspect that He could not have caused His light not to shine during the evening to set the precedent for the forthcoming sun and moon.

Again, you can't simply cry "ad hoc!" and make it true. Believing the universe was created with the appearance of age is no more ad hoc than believing that Christ was born in Bethlehem, even though only the wise men from the East knew to go looking for Him (and they weren't even sure where to find Him (Matt. 2)).

Contention Two: Adam and Eve

I suppose there really is no good answer to this. The problem is that you can make the Bible say whatever you want it to say (e.g. that we evolved or the universe is really old, both of which contradict Scriptures). It just seems too easy to claim that the Genesis account should be taken figuratively, yet nothing in the Genesis account makes sense from a figurative standpoint. If you can't answer these questions, then why take it figuratively? So that you don't appear foolish in front of people? There is good reason to believe the universe was created with the appearance of age, and if you can't explain what these things mean from a figurative standpoint, it seems best to consider them from a literal standpoint since it's quite clear what these things mean if you take them literally.

Contention Three: The Jewish Workweek

Jesus may have concealed those things at the time, but He did explain them to His disciples, and they were recorded in Scripture. Regarding the parables, even the ones which aren't properly explained are still understandable from the context. In fact, just before the Parable of the Householder, Jesus asked His disciples if they understood what He was saying to make sure they were keeping up (Matt. 13:51). Even if you're correct about the true meaning of the Parable of the mustard seed being unclear how to be interpreted, that's because as humans we could never understand Heaven until we actually get there. However, if you're going to apply that to creation, it still doesn't explain why God needed to rely on misinformation rather than simply saying, the universe is billions of years old. Surely the Jews understood the passage of time, and large numbers. There is really no reason to inspire Genesis 1 in such a way as to confuse its readers. After all, the entirety of the Scriptures should be understood by everyone, not just those cultures whose science progresses far enough.

The difference between the Bible and the Lord of the Rings is that one is God's Word, and one is not. Tolkien did not deign to say this was how the universe was created, or this is how rockets work, etc. However, God was telling us how He created the universe, and I believe He did so truthfully.

These passages show that God is evident in nature, not that He is bound by it. The very creation alone testifies to God's handiwork, His creation. The universe was created with the appearance of age because it must have been, not because God was trying to deceive (I will explain again in detail below).

(1) Evolution and the Bible are possibly compatible

As I have shown the Bible teaches against Evolution, therefore it is not possibly compatible. However, this is still a semantic argument because you can really make the Bible say whatever you want it to say. That's why we have so many cults and false religions that spring off of Christianity. Evil men twist the Scriptures to make it say whatever will benefit them the most. This is not a good argument.

(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible

To claim God creating the appearance of age means He is deceiving us is a strawman. Yes, God created everything out of nothing. But consider this: One way scientists measure the age of the universe is how long it takes the light from stars to reach Earth. We can see light from stars a billion light-years away, so the universe is at least a billion years old. If God didn't create stars that far away, our night sky would either be almost completely empty (as we couldn't see the light from any of them), or He would have had to change the speed of light to make it quite a bit faster in the past. The huge span of the universe is just a testament to God's creative power. To claim Genesis 1 must be figurative because the universe appears old is really to limit God. You're essentially saying that God could not create a universe with the appearance of age, although there is clear precedent that He did in the Scriptures.

(3)

There is not much of a difference here. Jesus didn't just change water into wine, He changed it into the good stuff. He changed the molecular structure of the wine so that it taste as if it had been aged for many years.

Again, I thank the Contender for rising to the challenge of the debate. While I can certainly see why the Contender would believe Genesis 1 could be taken literally, I believe that it is more faithful to the text to read it as literal. Only the Scriptures are inspired of God, not these other sources that are being used to interpret the Scriptures for us. As such, I really think we should take the word of God over the words of humanity, which is, of course, deeply flawed.
InquireTruth

Con

I would like to thank my opponent in this debate, KeytarHero, for a great topic and a great exchange of ideas.

This talk of foolishness is not particularly relevant, but it is fun. The simple fact of the matter is one cannot construct an argument around what my opponent may call, "the principle of foolishness." That is to say, the probability of any given thing is causally increased by any increase in foolishness. His position seems to be that because his view seems foolish his position is therefore correct - the Bible does, after all, absent its respective context, say that God uses the foolish things to shame the wise.

As already noted, his position would have to be foolish for this principle to apply. But irrespective of the foolishness of such a position, the principle is fundamentally wrong. There are innumerable foolish positions, all of which cannot be true simultaneously. The amount of foolish, false propositions far outweighs the amount of foolish, true propositions. Foolishness is simply not an accurate indicator of truth or the probability thereof.


Contention One: The Language Used

In this debate I have shown that the Bible uses a very neat 7-day literary motif in which all the days parallel from "formless" and "empty to "form" and "filling." Moreover, the language employed is rhythmic, with the phrase tohu wa-bohu. Parallelism is an ancient Hebraic poetry form and the 7-day motif was shared by many Ancient Near East creation story predecessors. Genesis 1 refers exclusively to God as Elohim while chapter 2 refers exclusively to God as Yahweh Elohim. The genealogy in Genesis with its very long ages is so strikingly similar to the ancient king's list that predate it by thousands of years that no thinking Hebrew could miss the resemblance. Same with the Epic of Gilgamesh and the story of the flood.

The internal evidence and external evidence in and surrounding the Genesis creation stories point to something very clear, they are not meant to be taken has literal, historical accounts. Nothing needs to be resolved in terms of the age of the earth and textual inconsistencies if I am right.

My opponent, on the other hand, has decided to bite the bullet and suggest that God's glory-light can reasonably be inferred as the source of light in Genesis and, it seems, this glory-light was turned off and on to symbolize morning and night. We have to infer, too, that this glory-light produced the correct amount of heat to sustain the already created life and that it produced the energy required for photosynthesis. Even worse though, is that this glory-light could not have turned ALL the way off, as then there would be no heat and the earth would suffer an ice age. Perhaps we have a new theory percolating beneath the surface of this discussion.

As you can see, far too many inferences are required for this theory to work. In fact, the only reason one posits this theory is reconcile textual inconsistencies if Genesis is literal - not because it seems likely or is reasonable. Thus, it seems, it is totally ad hoc.


Contention Two: Adam and Eve

The basic premise of my opponent's argument is: the prerequisite to being figurative is that we must know all that it means. This is disingenuous and decidedly false. We have good evidence for believing that Genesis was not written as a historically literal account - whether it is clear what it means when we read it that way notwithstanding. If this was truly a prerequisite, then we must also conclude that the book of Revelation is literal, since, of course, we do not know all that it means in a figurative sense and we can clearly understand it in a literal one - as bizarre as literal reading may be.

As already stated, it is a basic illogical fallacy to assume the truth of a bad theory simply because of the absence of a compelling alternative. As I have already stated also, I think Genesis has many functions as a figurative enterprise, namely to combat other preexisting myths and to give truths about our value in God's eyes.


Contention Three: The Jewish Workweek

My opponent's argument is one from silence. If the earth is really old then God would have told us... This is far too presumptuous even among humans. Can you really assume what it is that God would have done? Are you like Job, thinking you know the mind of God? Moreover, I think it is pretty easy to see that telling the Jews that the earth is actually billions of years old and that we evolved from lower species would have been both irrelevant, insubstantial and distracting from his purpose. The only reason he would tell them this is if we presuppose from the beginning that Genesis is a literal, historical recounting - but that begs the question.


(2) Evolution and the Bible are probably compatible

I understand fully that if God were confined to only one set of physical laws and constants and he wanted to instantaneously create the universe and human life on a planet called earth shortly thereafter, he would have to create the universe in a way that, to us, would appear old. But this presupposes that an omnipotent God is confined to making specific physical laws and constants.

My argument is that we have no good reasons for believing that an omnipotent God would not create a universe where, for instance, the light of stars travelled much faster or the stars were much closer and their heat was much less. Certainly God is not confined to ONLY making a universe that must appear old. Even I could think of possible universes that, in creating them, would not require the appearance of age.


(3) Evolution is supported by the Bible

My opponent is not understanding my point about the wine. My point is that there is a relevent difference between creating wine and creating the universe out of nothing. By virtue of miraculously turning water into wine, Jesus is taking the ontological properties of one thing and changing them into another. That means that the wine would have to reflect processes that never ACTUALLY occurred. However, the universe, being created out of literally nothing at all, does not require an ontological property change and thus need not reflect processes that never actually occurred. There is no good reasons for thinking that an omnipotent God, with literally no restrictions, would be bound or obliged to create a universe that seemed or required more age than it possessed.

As it stands, a non-literal reading of Genesis fits the evidence best and thus allows for Evolution and the Bible to coexist in harmony.

Thank you,

InquireTruth


Debate Round No. 5
144 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by sadolite 5 years ago
sadolite
There is no theory of evolution. There is just a list of creatures that Chuck Norris has allowed to live.
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
Izbo10 might as well say, "Ich bin der Geist der stets verneint!" (I am the spirit of perpetual negation!) to us...
Posted by Man-is-good 5 years ago
Man-is-good
KeyTarHero, Izbo10 is still here and spouting his nonsenical bigotry. I don't think, after all those days and weeks, that he is convinced that he will convince anybody...
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Izbo, you're still around, spouting your nonsense? Do you actually realize you have no hope of convincing anybody?
Posted by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
Retarded arsenals reasoning for thinking a part of the bible is figurative is that it obviously isn't true. Has he even thought maybe just maybe ancient people could just be wrong on their beliefs and it is time to outgrow this nonsense.
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Alex, if God does not speak in the way of words we speak, then all of Scripture should be rejected as not being the words of God. You do realize God spoke audibly to the prophets, right? Can you give any Scriptural support for your views?

Reformed, I'm not entirely sure of what you mean? Are you talking about the canopy theory? As far as I understand that theory, it doesn't exist anymore because the waters used above the firmament were released at the time of the great flood.
Posted by alex0828 5 years ago
alex0828
Keytar, I am a Christian but God does not speak in the way of words that we speak. Allow me to explain, 6 days to God could be 6 trillion years, in fact, time is a human measurement, time merely exists to humans.
Posted by ReformedArsenal 5 years ago
ReformedArsenal
Keytar,

There are lots of good reasons to interpret Genesis 1-12 as Figurative or Mythological accounts. That doesn't make them any less true, it just means they weren't intended to tell literal history persay.

Here's a question for you. Where is the dome that is supposed to be covering the earth from Genesis 1? The Firmament that holds back the waters above? Where is it?
Posted by KeytarHero 5 years ago
KeytarHero
Alex, you can believe that Jesus is your Savior, but you can't take God's word for it that the world was created in six days? Sorry, but it's all or nothing. If you reject one part of Scripture, you must reject it all because none of it would be reliable. There is no evidence that Genesis 1 should be taken any other way than literal, and I have made my case for it in this debate which I'm doubting you've even read.

I have reasonable faith in God, even taking Genesis 1 literal (again, this is in my argument). The problem is, you are allowing "science" to interpret Scriptures for you and not the Holy Spirit. I have no problem saying that the universe *appears* old, I just think it appears older than it actually is.
Posted by alex0828 5 years ago
alex0828
Oh comon Keytar Hero, where were the dinosaurs? What about cavemen? Keytar there is a difference between blind faith in something and reasonable faith. I have total faith in Jesus Christ as my savior and that Holy Spirit inspired scripture, but really? There is so much irrefutable evidence pointing towards evolution. As Christians we are not expected to believe everything in the Bible is historical, the basis of Christianity is that 1. The Bible is our instructions on how to live a good life. 2. Jesus is our savior.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by izbo10 5 years ago
izbo10
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Total points awarded:60 
Reasons for voting decision: All you have to do is actually read the book and you will see that who wrote the bible had no idea that evolution was even possible. They made up stories that do not fit evolution. This revisionist history that they are not literal needs to stop.
Vote Placed by Alex 5 years ago
Alex
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Con presented 3 points that he need only prove one possible in order to win the debate. I believe he successfully proved 2 of the 3. The debate wasn't "which one is more likely" as that would be entirely different, he need only show that it is possible they are compatible. Which he did.
Vote Placed by VocMusTcrMaloy 5 years ago
VocMusTcrMaloy
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: 3 to Con because of a negative resolution (logically impossible to prove). Should have been "Evolution and the Bible Are Compatible" with Pro/Con reversed. Being a negative resolution, Con had the logical BOP. 5 to Pro for Con's fig. interp. of Gen. 1
Vote Placed by PARADIGM_L0ST 5 years ago
PARADIGM_L0ST
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: This was an excellent debate by both sides. While both sides clearly laid out compelling reasons, and while Con argued admirably, there was no truly compelling way for Con to sell his position convincingly. Had Pro been a novice at debate, Con might have been able to establish reasonable doubt, but as it were, Pro's points were ultimately too much to defend against from a biblical perspective. Pro affirmed the position convincingly.
Vote Placed by Meatros 5 years ago
Meatros
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: Good debate - both of you did a wonderful job. I'm posting my RFD in the comments.
Vote Placed by ApostateAbe 5 years ago
ApostateAbe
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: The debate was long and rambling, but both sides argued wonderfully. Pro started out strong, but he derailed himself by defending the objective truth of creationism instead of the Biblical incompatibility of evolution. Pro made more convincing arguments of the relevant subject and a little better grammar. Con, the statement, "the book of Genesis is a history book," is not ipse dixit. It is prima facie (even with the poetic format of the creation account). Yeah, I can use ten dollar words, too.
Vote Placed by Darknes 5 years ago
Darknes
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I don't know how Con could be losing. Keytar avoided giving straight answers to his arguments half the time.
Vote Placed by popculturepooka 5 years ago
popculturepooka
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I think Con clearly and decisively won on all argumentative points. Con forcefully made the case for the language of Genesis lending itself better to a non-literal reading. His case for the seeming "ad-hocness" of Con's many positions (like evidence for an old earth) was compelling. I think he also successfully showed that the Bible and evolution are compatible which all he needed to prove.
Vote Placed by Gileandos 5 years ago
Gileandos
KeytarHeroInquireTruthTied
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Reasons for voting decision: I believe that Inquire's "possible" compatibility fell short. KeyTar showed that a historical reading and framework showed clearly that any "compatibility" was clearly recent. Great Job. Keytar also had better sources.