The Instigator
Avalanche
Pro (for)
Winning
31 Points
The Contender
Avamys
Con (against)
Losing
18 Points

Evolution does NOT preclude Christianity

Do you like this debate?NoYes+9
Add this debate to Google Add this debate to Delicious Add this debate to FaceBook Add this debate to Digg  
Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 9 votes the winner is...
Avalanche
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/24/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 4 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 8,446 times Debate No: 29530
Debate Rounds (5)
Comments (210)
Votes (9)

 

Avalanche

Pro

Topic:

Evolution does NOT preclude Christianity


As I'm on the Pro side of the debate, I will argue that evolution as scientific fact doesn't invalidate anything about Christianity.


Definitions:

Christianity: The monotheistic religion based on the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. A Christian follows the teachings of Jesus.

For the purposes of this debate, we should put denominational "Christian" doctrine aside. Christianity in this debate is SOLELY based on the teachings of Jesus. With this in mind, PLEASE quote the Bible (the best source we have) when referring to tenets of Christianity, rather that your church's philosophy (if you have a church, that is).

By "evolution," I refer to the the scientific theory that all life on earth evolved from a single organism. Through millions of generations, the organisms adapted to the environment and thus diversified. This also means that we humans evolved from animals.

Understand that a scientific "theory" isn't the same as the colloquial definition of the word "theory". Wikipedia summarizes, "A scientific theory is 'a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment."'

To put this into context, 97% of scientist agree that the theory of evolution is fact.
http://www.people-press.org...

Rules:

1. This first round is just for acceptance, please do not begin with your argument.

2. Please cite your sources. Again, don't just say, "A Christian must believe this" or "a Christian must believe that". Christians disagree on what being a Christian entails. The best source we have on Christ is the Bible. Therefore, it is VITAL to quote the Bible rather than just spout off church or denomination-specific doctrine.

3. The final round is for closing statments.


One last thing, you don't have to be a Christian to enter the debate. Anyone is welcome. However, to participate well in the argument, you will have to have a good understanding of Christianity and the Bible. Please though, if you accept, take the debate seriously and try to put in a good argument.

Well, that's pretty much it. If you have any questions, feel free to use the comments. :)
Avamys

Con

I accept your challenge.
Debate Round No. 1
Avalanche

Pro

Why is this important?

46% of Americans believe in creationism, that man was created by God without evolution. 32 % believe in theistic evolution and 15 % believe in evolution without any divine intervention. 2/3 of church-goers don't believe in evolution and 25 percent believe in theistic evolution. A large group of Christians see a conflict between their religion and evolution. For this reason, they reject evolution.

This presents a problem. Evolution is easily the best description of the development of life on earth. 97% of scientists accept evolution as scientific fact. When someone rejects evolution, they reject the probable truth.

Why is this a problem? Because Christians reject the truth based a misplaced sense of “duty” to reject anything that appears to conflict with the Bible. This creates MASSIVE tension between Christians and non-Christians. It makes Christians look ridiculous and it alienates Evolutionists from theism itself.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

http://www.people-press.org...

But is there actually a conflict? Let's take a look.

God wrote two books

Speaking as a Christian, God gave us two revelations. One is what we call the Bible, the accounts ranging from ancient Jewish tradition to the early Christian church. Some believe this book to be the ACTUAL word of God and some believe it be the INSPIRED word of God written by humans. The other revelation is creation itself.

“The heavens declare the glory of God, the skies proclaim the work of his hands.” -Psalm 19

A Christian accepts that God is the direct author of the physical world. A Christians also accepts that the Bible is either directly from God or inspired by God. These are two things a Christian must accept. A Christian must also accept that both Creation and the Bible (with God as the source) are some form of truth.

As both of these sources are true, a Christians accepts that these truths CANNOT contradict. If they appear to contradict, one does not disprove the other. The problem doesn't lie in the source material (Earth or the Bible) the problem lies in our interpretation of it.

There I said it. Interpretation.

Interpretation is the slippery-slope of any discussion about the Bible. But we must interpret the Bible, there is no other choice. Taking the Bible completely literally is an interpretation in itself. A 2011 Gallup poll found that 3 in 10 Americans interpret the bible literally. However, 49% of Americans believe that the Bible is inspired by God, but, it is not meant to be taken completely literally.

http://www.gallup.com...

Evolution is an interpretation of the physical world. The most knowledgeable people in the area accept that it is the TRUE interpretation.

If there are 2 works authored by God, both unshakable truth, and there is an inconsistency, the problem MUST lie in the interpretation. If there's an inconsistency, we must closely reexamine BOTH interpretations. To reject evolution (because of a paragraph in Genesis) is to ignore one of God's revelations to mankind.

Does a Christian need to accept the old testament literally?

In general, it a Christian belief that Jesus brought about the New Covenant. Jesus says in Matthew 5:17:

“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them.“

Paul's commentary in Hebrews 8 may be helpful:

7 For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second.

8 For he finds fault with them when he says:

“Behold, the days are coming, declares the Lord,
when I will establish a new covenant with the house of Israel
....
11 And they shall not teach, each one his neighbor
and each one his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’
for they shall all know me,
from the least of them to the greatest.
12 For I will be merciful toward their iniquities,
and I will remember their sins no more.” [Jeremiah 31:31-34]

13 In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away."

St Augustine of Hippo (354 – 430 CE) has been extremely influential in the theology of what we call Christianity. Here is what he had to say:

It not infrequently happens that something about the earth, about the sky, about other elements of this world, about the motion and rotation or even the magnitude and distances of the stars, about definite eclipses of the sun and moon, about the passage of years and seasons, about the nature of animals, of fruits, of stones, and of other such things, may be known with the greatest certainty by reasoning or by experience, even by one who is not a Christian. It is too disgraceful and ruinous, though, and greatly to be avoided, that he [the non-Christian] should hear a Christian speaking so idiotically on these matters, and as if in accord with Christian writings, that he might say that he could scarcely keep from laughing when he saw how totally in error they are. In view of this and in keeping it in mind constantly while dealing with the book of Genesis, I have, insofar as I was able, explained in detail and set forth for consideration the meanings of obscure passages, taking care not to affirm rashly some one meaning to the prejudice of another and perhaps better explanation.” De Genesi ad literam 1:19–20, Chapt. 19 [408]

The accounts in Genesis were not always taken so literally by Christians as the Fundamentalists do today. Augustine lived in the 4th century, and he spoke of this very problem. Augustine believed that accounts such as Genesis were written to make sense to the people of the day, and are not meant to be literal truth. How could it be literal, observation of the physical world contradicted it.

The friction caused by the apparent contradiction between evolution and the Bible is astonishingly similar to the friction Galileo faced. The Bible states:

“The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” -Psalm 93:1

“He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” -Psalm 104:5



The Church, naturally, rejected the thought that the Earth moved around the sun. To say that “science” contradicts the scripture debases the entire Bible. Since the Bible is ultimate truth the science must be incorrect, right?

Galileo was a devout Christian his entire life. He wrote:

"[In] St. Augustine we read: 'If anyone shall set the authority of Holy Writ against clear and manifest reason, he who does this knows not what he has undertaken; for he opposes to the truth not the meaning of the Bible, which is beyond his comprehension, but rather his own interpretation, not what is in the Bible, but what he has found in himself and imagines to be there.' "
"This granted, and it being true that two truths cannot contradict one another, it is the function of expositors to seek out the true senses of scriptural texts. These will unquestionably accord with the physical conclusions which manifest sense and necessary demonstrations have previously made certain to us."

Galileo did not see his discoveries as contrary to the Bible, but contrary to specific interpretations of the Bible by people. Today, it is (almost) universally accepted by Christians that the Earth does in fact, move. This doesn't debase the scripture because it is not what is important in the scripture. The Bible is not a science journal.

A Christian must accept that God is all-powerful. He could pull off Creation in any way he chooses. As Christians, faith is not dependent on the technicalities of creation.

I apologize that my argument is a little disjointed and unsourced. I wrote the majority over the last hour. I will try to do better in the next round.

Avamys

Con

I can see that you spent a lot of time doing research, and I appreciate that. You have some strong points, but yes, you can improve with the organisation. Keep it up!

Here are a few questions I would like you to consider.
Firstly, you mentioned that Galileo was a Christian but that he proposed the Earth went around the Sun, in which the Church leaders disagreed. Now I would like to clarify. The Bible does not say anything about the Sun going around the Earth. The leaders thought it was true because God made life possible on Earth so they thought our planet was superior over others and that the other planets revolved around us. However, what has that to do with evolution? Here we are not debating whether this fact precludes Christianity.
Secondly, I would like to point out that the evolutionary theory agrees that one phenomenon leads to another. Christians believe that too, but, they think that it all starts and ends with God. Evolutionists do not think so. They think that another thing that is explainable by science started it. That's why they say that chemical reactions were the first phenomenons that created the world. Christians believe that it is God, as the Bible says "In the Beginning, God created the world." They believe that God created life.
Christians believe God made everything. Evolutionists say that it all started with the Big Bang but fail to explain where time , space and matter came from, and refuse to admit that there is a creator.
This is the main difference in the two theories. Christians believe everything started with God, evolutionists do not think so.
Debate Round No. 2
Avalanche

Pro


You bring up some interesting points. I'll do my best to address them.


You wrote:


“Firstly, you mentioned that Galileo was a Christian but that he proposed the Earth went around the Sun, in which the Church leaders disagreed. Now I would like to clarify. The Bible does not say anything about the Sun going around the Earth. The leaders thought it was true because God made life possible on Earth so they thought our planet was superior over others and that the other planets revolved around us. However, what has that to do with evolution? Here we are not debating whether this fact precludes Christianity. “


You're right, the Bible doesn't say anything about the Sun going around the Earth. However, the church-leaders assumed that the Sun moved around the Earth because the Bible DOES say that the Earth is stationary.



He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” -Psalm 104:5



The church-leaders held that the Bible was inerrant, EVERYTHING said in its pages was complete truth spiritually, historically, and SCIENTIFICALLY. To the church-leaders at the time, if a scientific theory contradicted the Bible, it HAD to be false. If the theory were to be proven, it would debase the entire Bible and thus Christianity, in their opinion.


To say that the Earth moved around the Sun, was to contradict the Bible. To contradict the Bible (even in scientific matters) was not acceptable because it couldn't possibly be the truth. The more evidence Galileo presented, the larger the threat to Christianity grew. If Galileo could prove the Earth went around the Sun, it would prove the Bible wasn't inerrant and could be wrong. If parts of the Bible weren't true (even in scientific matters) than how could any of it be true? This is what the leaders thought. If the Bible couldn't be trusted, Christianity would unravel. This was not acceptable to the leaders of the Church. They suppressed the idea, ridiculed Galileo, and later imprisoned him.


So what happened next? The idea that Earth revolved around the Sun was forwarded by Newton (a devout Christian and believer in God) and was later proven. This blatantly contradicts the literal interpretation of the Bible. Does this debase the Bible? Does this disprove God? According to 16th century church-leaders, it really should. But the 16th century church leaders aren't Jesus and aren't God. They ignored the physical work of God in favor of the work inspired by God.


Today, it is almost universally accepted (by Christians and non-Christians alike) that the Earth moves around the Sun. All Christians today are able to reconcile the fact that the Earth orbits the Sun (heliocentrism) with the Christian faith. Christians interpret Psalm 104:5 metaphorically, rather than scientifically like they used to.




So what does this have to do with evolution?


If Earth's revolution around the Sun doesn't preclude Christianity, than why should evolution preclude Christianity? Here's the formula that applies to both situations:



The Old Testament Bible says something relating to the physical world > science proves something else > the passage must be re-interpreted to match the true findings of the physical world



When a passage is re-interpreted to match the physical world God made, it will likely be truer to God's original intention, because God made the world. If a person does actually believe God is the creator, they must accept the truth about the physical world. They should not fear it (as the Church did with Galileo's findings) because it comes from God, the same presumed source as the Bible.




"Science can have a purifying effect on religion, freeing it from beliefs of a pre-scientific age and helping us to a truer conception of God. At the same time, I am far from believing that science will ever give us the answers to all our questions." --Nevill Mott, English physicist, awarded Nobel Prize in 1977


Evolution is fact about the physical world. God made the physical world. Christians must accept the truth about God's work.





Here is the next thing you wrote:


“Secondly, I would like to point out that the evolutionary theory agrees that one phenomenon leads to another. Christians believe that too, but, they think that it all starts and ends with God. Evolutionists do not think so. They think that another thing that is explainable by science started it. That's why they say that chemical reactions were the first phenomenons that created the world. Christians believe that it is God, as the Bible says "In the Beginning, God created the world." They believe that God created life.”


You state that “Christians believe everything started with God, evolutionists do not think so.” I agree that Christians believe everything started with God, but where do you get that evolutionary theory has to exclude any sort of Creator?




Berkeley University summarizes the theory of evolution as follows:


“The central idea of biological evolution is that all life on Earth shares a common ancestor, just as you and your cousins share a common grandmother.


Through the process of descent with modification, the common ancestor of life on Earth gave rise to the fantastic diversity that we see documented in the fossil record and around us today. Evolution means that we're all distant cousins: humans and oak trees, hummingbirds and whales.”


http://evolution.berkeley.edu...


This says nothing about how “this process started in a completely physical way without supernatural intervention” or “those initial chemical reactions couldn't possibly have been instituted by a creator.” No, that is not included in the theory. Evolution's tie to religion is cultural baggage originating from a Biblical literalist backlash. Neither theism nor atheism is included in the theory of evolution. Evolution is truth about the physical world, it has nothing to do with the supernatural.




"Science is...a powerful way, indeed - to study the natural world. Science is not particularly effective...in making commentary about the supernatural world. Both worlds, for me, are quite real and quite important. They are investigated in different ways. They coexist. They illuminate each other."


--Francis Collins, American physician-geneticist and director of the National Human Genome Research Institute





Why couldn't God have created human life in a physical way (evolution)? Why would it have to be in an instant?


If I sculpt a vase out of clay, I first put a big lump of clay on the wheel. It looks really ugly and lop-sided. I then start to spin the wheel, I push the clay to give it a better shape. I scrape out the inside, so it can hold things. The clay cracks a little. No problem, I'll patch it up and smooth it over. Now it is good! I make it beautiful, but it takes a few hours. Am I not the creator of the vase just because I didn't create the pot in an instant? Should I have just touched the clay, and zzzzing it turns into beautiful vase? Am I a less powerful creator because I don't instantly do it? Does this disprove that I am the creator?



No. In fact, I would be a more caring creator if I took the time and effort to make the vase beautiful and functional. Doing things in the physical world takes a little time. It took me hours to make a physical vase, God created the entire physical universe and all it's life (including beings who could comprehend this), why don't we cut him some slack!


Avamys

Con

Here are my rebuttals.
I quote from your argument 'Through the process of descent with modification, the common ancestor of life on Earth gave rise to the fantastic diversity that we see documented in the fossil record and around us today. Evolution means that we're all distant cousins: humans and oak trees, hummingbirds and whales.'
Well, here is a quote from the Bible. 'the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7.' WELL, HERE IT SAYS GOD MADE THE FIRST MAN FROM 'THE DUST OF THE GROUND', NOT MODIFY (EVOLVE) HIM FROM A MONKEY, LIKE WHAT EVOLUTION SUGGESTS. GOD MADE MAN SEPARATELY, BUT EVOLUTION SAYS (ACCORDING TO YOUR QUOTE) THAT WE ARE ALL DISTANT COUSINS. THERE IS A CONTRADICTION HERE.
Here is another quote '...he took one of the man's ribs and closed up the place with flesh. Then the Lord God made a woman from the rib he had taken out of the man, and he brought her to the man. Genesis 2:21-22' Here it clearly states that the woman was made from the rib from the first man, NOT EVOLVE FROM AN APE OR MONKEY.

But you said 'Why couldn't God have created human life in a physical way (evolution)? Why would it have to be in an instant?' Well, no one really knows, but this contradicts the Bible as it clearly says God created the world in six days, not have it evolve over hundreds of years. And as I said above, the Bible clearly records the unique way God created humans. And that method has nothing to do with evolving from apes or monkeys.

I look forward to hearing your clarifications.
Debate Round No. 3
Avalanche

Pro

You bring up some great questions. You wrote:

“Well, here is a quote from the Bible. 'the Lord God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. Genesis 2:7.' WELL, HERE IT SAYS GOD MADE THE FIRST MAN FROM 'THE DUST OF THE GROUND', NOT MODIFY (EVOLVE) HIM FROM A MONKEY, LIKE WHAT EVOLUTION SUGGESTS. GOD MADE MAN SEPARATELY, BUT EVOLUTION SAYS (ACCORDING TO YOUR QUOTE) THAT WE ARE ALL DISTANT COUSINS. THERE IS A CONTRADICTION HERE.”

Yes, your absolutely right. There is a contradiction between the words in the Bible and the theory of evolution (which is truth about the natural world). This is only a contradiction IF you take the Bible completely literally. Here are some other things Christian would believe are scientifically true if the Bible is to be taken literally:

Rabbits chew cud - “The rabbit, though it chews the cud, does not have a divided hoof; it is unclean for you.” -Leviticus 11:6

Bats are birds - “You may eat all clean birds. But these are the ones that you shall not eat: the eagle, the bearded vulture, the black vulture, . . . the stork, the heron of any kind; the hoopoe and the bat.”

- Deuteronomy 14:11-18

The earth is stationary, and always will be - “The LORD reigns, he is robed in majesty; the LORD is robed in majesty and is armed with strength. The world is firmly established; it cannot be moved.” -Psalm 93:1

and “He set the earth on its foundations; it can never be moved.” -Psalm 104:5

If a Christian does take Bible literal and inerrant in scientific terms, they MUST believe the things I listed above. That the Earth doesn't orbit the sun, that bats are birds, and that rabbits chew cud. Do you know of any Christians that believe any of one these things?

If a Christian believes the Earth moves around the Sun, THEY CANNOT TAKE THE BIBLE FULLY LITERAL IN SCIENTIFIC AREAS.

If a Christian believes the rabbit is not a cud-chewing animal, THEY CANNOT TAKE THE BIBLE FULLY LITERAL IN SCIENTIFIC AREAS.

If a Christian believes the bat is not a bird, THEY CANNOT TAKE THE BIBLE FULLY LITERAL IN SCIENTIFIC AREAS.

Therefore, we can conclude that almost all Christians CANNOT TAKE THE BIBLE FULLY LITERAL IN SCIENTIFIC AREAS.

So, what does this have to do with evolution? Well, if a Christian doesn't have to take the bible fully literally, than why would 6-day creation have to be taken literally?

GOD FORMING “the man from the dust of the ground” (genesis 2:7) COULD EASILY BE JUST AS METAPHORICAL AS THE EARTH “can never be moved” (psalm 104:5).

This statement will cause Christians to run around like chickens with their heads chopped off. People (Christian and non-Christian) will ask:

“Well, then how are we to know which parts are metaphor and which parts are literal? Could the entire Bible be a metaphor? Could Jesus himself be an allegory for something else? If we're taking any of the Bible metaphorically than how can we take any of it literally? What does evolution mean for original sin or "the fall"? Is Bible completely invalid as a guide to life because we don't know which parts are metaphor or just plain unscientific? Does this mean we should just throw the Bible away?”

I'll address these one at a time:

Q: How are we to know which parts are metaphor and which parts are literal?

A: We can't know for sure, but if a part of the Bible contradicts with God's direct work (CREATION) than that part of the Bible is very probably metaphor. So, 6-day creation is probably metaphor because there is much evidence to support the Earth is billions of years in the making. God making man from dust (and woman from him) is probably metaphor because there is evidence (observed directly from God's creation) that humans evolve from apes.

Q: Could the entire Bible be a metaphor?

A: I suppose it could, but it isn't likely. There are extra-biblical accounts of many of the figures in it, such as David, John the Baptist, Augustus Caesar, Paul, and (controversially) Jesus. Much of it does line up with history. The further back you go in the Old Testament, the less extra-Biblical evidence there is to prove the existence of those people and events. The New Testament may be more important to take literally (though not completely), because there is MUCH more evidence of its historicity. That's not to say the Old Testament is invalid, it is just more likely to be metaphorical truth.

Q: Could Jesus himself be an allegory for something else?

A: Though it is controversial, there is extra-biblical evidence in support of Jesus. It is deeply recorded in history that the early days of Christianity caused quite a stir, it seams unlikely that it this was caused by a mythical man. Also, it is more important for Christians to believe in a physical Jesus Christ because he is central to our religion. After all, we're not Moses-ians or Bible-ians, we're Christians. Jesus used a lot of allegory though, he said, "I have said these things to you in figures of speech. The hour is coming when I will no longer speak to you in figures, but will tell you plainly of the Father.” (John 16:25)

Q: If we're taking any of the Bible metaphorically than how can we take any of it literally?

A: We must decide how to interpret the passages of the Bible based on its context in history, the author's possible intention (science or moral instruction), and its contradiction with history or science. We must also judge how important the passages are in comparison to other passages in Bible (such as the words of Jesus or the Ten Commandments).

Q: What does evolution mean for original sin or "the fall"?

A: Well, that could be metaphorical. Original sin may represent that we all sin in our lives. For all I know, the "fall" could represent the point at which apes evolved enough into humans that we could be held accountable for our moral actions. I don't know.

Q: Is Bible completely invalid as a guide to life because we don't know which parts are metaphor or just plain unscientific? Does this mean we should just throw the Bible away?

A: No, the Bible can still be a guide for moral behavior, even if it is isn't scientifically accurate or some parts of it aren't literal. If the Bible is in deed, inspired by God, than it must contain truth in some form. We must figure out what that is. The words of Jesus are the best place start, providing a standard to judge the rest of the Bible.

You state, “And as I said above, the Bible clearly records the unique way God created humans. And that method has nothing to do with evolving from apes or monkeys.”

Again, the Bible says A LOT of things that CANNOT possibly be true, IF you take the Bible fully literally. Evidence in God's physical world proves that a Christian cannot take the Bible fully literally, because it conflicts with the obvious physical truth.

A Christian must IGNORE God's work of creation to accept that the world is stationary as the Bible says. But this Christian only looks at half of the revelation of God, their belief is UNTRUE.

In the same way, a Christian must IGNORE God's work of creation to accept the 6-day creation. But this Christian only looks at half of the revelation of God, their belief is UNTRUE.

A real Christian must look at both the revelation of the Bible and the revelation of God's physical world. When a contradiction occurs, a Christian must reexamine BOTH interpretations of these revelations. As a general rule, science is usually right about the physical world, the words of Jesus are usually right about the moral issues. There is no reason the think the Bible was EVER meant as a science textbook.

Avamys

Con

I have to admit your point about taking the Bible literally is correct. Some parts of the Bible are metaphors and are not to be taken scientifically.
However, I would like to point out that, as the Bible says, humans were made to govern the Earth, and are very special. Would the Bible be metamorphic about such an important being? The Bible was also very detailed about the creation of Man (as well as female) and the description is not a mere sentence like your examples.

I would also like to list this verse as an example:
'So God created man in his own image...' Genesis 1:27

Let us now look at the meaning of create in this verse.
'To cause to come into being, as something unique that would not naturally evolve or that is not made by ordinary processes.' (http://dictionary.reference.com...)
'1. To bring something into existence:
he created a thirty-acre lake
over 170 jobs were created
2. Cause (something) to happen as a result of one"s actions:
divorce created only problems for children' (http://oxforddictionaries.com...)
Yes, here it says that it can be a result of one's actions, but here we are talking about the creation of something that physically exists, not a problem. You cannot say 'God's "tampering" with apes created the existence of humans.' (Note: You cannot say 'humans' because it is a noun so it cannot be a 'something to happen'.)
In the Bible it means that God created humans from scrap, from original materials, not modify (evolve) an ape or a monkey.
I am interested in hearing your rebuttal.
Debate Round No. 4
Avalanche

Pro

Let's have a look at the two accounts of Genesis.



Genesis 1:19-27 (King James Version):

19 And the evening and the morning were the fourth day.

20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.

21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

. . .

23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.

24 And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so.

25 And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

26 And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: . . .

27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.



Genesis 2:4-19 (King James Version):

4 These are the generations of the heavens and of the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens,

...

7 And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.

8 And the Lord God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed.

9 And out of the ground made the Lord God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.

. . .

18 And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.

19 And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.





In Genesis chapter 1, God created the animals BEFORE man and woman.

In Genesis chapter 2, God created man (Adam) BEFORE the animals and THEN created the woman from the man.

If we are to take this literally, than which did God create first, the animals or man?

Also, consider Genesis 2:4. First it mentions the “generations” when the earth was created, this implies creation was LONGER than a literal week. THEN it mentions “the day that the Lord God made the earth,” this implies creation was SHORTER than a literal week.

Tell me, which is it? A literal week? Longer? Shorter?

If the Bible is taken literally, its report of Creation is completely contradictory. God could NOT have literally and physically created the single man BOTH before AND after he created the animals. God could NOT have physically and literally created the world in a single week AND a single day AND generations.

A Christian believes that the whole Bible contains truth IN SOME FORM. The only way both the Creation accounts in Genesis could be true is if it is NOT TAKEN LITERALLY. If it is taken literally, ONE OR THE OTHER ACCOUNT IS BLATANT UNTRUTH. However, if we take the Creation accounts as metaphor, allegory, or just a simplification, these accounts in the Bible can still contain TRUTH.

THEREFORE, WE CAN CONCLUDE THAT THE ACCOUNTS OF CREATION IN GENESIS CANNOT BE TAKEN LITERALLY FROM A CHRISTIAN PERSPECTIVE. As Christians, we MUST take these passages as metaphor, allegory, or a simplification of the events.

Obviously, if a Christian does not need to take the Creation accounts in Genesis as literal truth of the origin of human life, this leaves the door wide open to what science concludes, EVOLUTION.

Original Sin

I addressed the issue of original sin in my last post, but I will cover it again in the form of a Q and A.

Q: If the creation accounts in Genesis are not literal, does that mean the story of the Adam and Eve is not literal?

A: Yes, very probably. The idea that the entire human species descended from 2 individuals (as recently as 10,000 years ago) is scientifically unsound. It is an impossibility considering human genetics.

Q: Can original sin exist without a literal Adam and Eve?

A: Why not, original sin is a human condition, why would it HAVE to be linked with a literal historic event (the fall)? Some denominations uphold that original sin is NOT dependent on Adam, but rather EACH individual person. The Methodist Church, founded by John Wesley, upholds Article VII in the Articles of Religion in the Book of Discipline of the United Methodist Church:

Original sin standeth not in the following of Adam (as the Pelagians do vainly talk), but it is the corruption of the nature of every man, that naturally is engendered of the offspring of Adam, whereby man is very far gone from original righteousness, and of his own nature inclined to evil, and that continually.”

Q: Isn't original sin central to Christianity? Doesn't Jesus' sacrifice rely on original sin?

A: The doctrine of original sin was put together by Augustine in the 4th century, using the writings of Paul (Romans 5:12-21). The Catholic church and many protestant denominations do hold original sin to be Biblical. However, many Eastern churches and some protestant denomination have do not include original sin in their doctrine. Jesus does not speak of original sin. Therefore, the doctrine of original sin varies by the church, and it is NOT absolutely central to the Christian faith. The sacrifice of Jesus isn't just atonement for Adam's sin, but rather that of every individual person who has sinned (which is everyone).

Conclusion

Why doesn't evolution preclude Christianity? Here is a summary:

  1. It is UNDENIABLE that the Bible uses metaphor, there are verses concerning science the we KNOW aren't correct. The Bible is not meant as a technical science book.

  2. The Creation accounts in Genesis are conflicting. They conflict in both when man was created compared to animals AND how long creation took place. A Christian MUST take these passage as allegory or a simplification (rather than literally) if they ACCEPT THE BIBLE AS TRUTH.

  3. The concept of original sin is NOT undermined by a metaphorical interpretation in Genesis. Original sin is NOT dependent on the actions of Adam, but rather the actions of all human being individually. All have sinned.

  4. God gave us two revelations: the Bible and the physical Creation. If these two things conflict, there MUST be an error in interpretation. Since there is MASSIVE scientific evidence for evolution, we are likely MISINTERPRETING THE SCRIPTURE.

With this in mind, the accounts in Genesis are likely parable. Perhaps it was a simple way to communicate the evolution of creation to the people of BC Israel. Perhaps “the fall” is the point at which the human species crossed the threshold of complexity to comprehend moral issues. With this, came evil. Of course, I can't say for sure.

Anyway, if a Christian does actually believe in God, he will not be afraid to embrace the scientific truth of evolution. The direct work of God (the physical world) CANNOT conflict with the God's inspired message (the Bible). The problem occurs in the human interpretation. Because of the overwhelming evidence for evolution, and the unlikelihood of the literal 6-day creation, a Christian must conclude that GOD USED EVOLUTION TO CREATE ALL LIFE, INCLUDING HUMAN LIFE.

"From religion comes a man's purpose; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another. They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hands are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped." --William H. Bragg - Awarded Nobel Prize in 1915.

It has been a pleasure to talk about this with you. You've brought up some excellent points and questions. You have been quite patient with my long explanations and you are respectful to other viewpoints. Thank you.

And thanks to everyone for reading!

Avamys

Con

Thank you for putting so much time and effort into this debate. You have been very respectful, and you have clear and logical thinking. I apologise that my arguments are quite short.

Yes, some parts of the Bible are literal. You argued that the part about the creation of Adam and Eve, the first humans, was literal. However, I would like to put forth a question. The Bible says that 'God took a rib' from Adam and created Eve. This action itself may be literal as you say, but have you ever thought that it is a way to express that God created woman from man? The action of taking a rib might not be true, but what it symbolises is that God created woman from man, not from monkeys or apes. Evolution believes that human, male or female, were descended from monkeys or apes.

As for your point that the first human beings, Adam and Eve, are literal, I do not agree. The Bible details how they committed the first sin by eating the forbidden fruit, and how they blamed each other, how God punished them and how they bore their sons Cain and Abel, etc. There are a lot of detailed descriptions. If you have read the Bible, you should know that sin is a very important thing in God's eyes because it is what separates him from us, and the reason why Jesus was sent onto the Earth. The first sin was what started all of this, and I do not think the Bible would be literal in such an important part, as it is not literal in many other important parts like how Jesus died for our sins. Yes, all humans sin individually, but the first sin was what caused us unable to communicate with God directly and the first humans to be driven out of the Garden of Eden.

You had this point :'God gave us two revelations: the Bible and the physical Creation. If these two things conflict, there MUST be an error in interpretation. Since there is MASSIVE scientific evidence for evolution, we are likely MISINTERPRETING THE SCRIPTURE.'
This is not true. Although there is a lot of evidence for evolution, it does not mean that the Bible is fully literal in the creation part and that we are interpreting it wrongly, that these two concepts do not clash.

I would like to remind you that although there is a lot of evidence for evolution, not all of the details must be true. Six day creation is not an unlikelihood as a powerful being which can create time and space has the power and ability to do that as well. People, including scientists at that time, once believed that the Sun went around the Earth. They had lots of so-called evidence which, of course, was proved wrong. this may be the same with evolution. As years past and technology develops, we will be able to discover more and more about the past, and perhaps new evidence will bring light to this matter. Perhaps evolution will still be right, but some facts like humans evolved from apes would be wrong. No one knows for sure, that's why we call it a theory.

I had a great time debating with you. You really did a lot of research and I appreciate that.
Debate Round No. 5
210 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Sagey 3 years ago
Sagey
As far as I'm concerned, Deism is the same as Atheism, because we don't care about how the Universe originated, in both cases, God does not exist now, so whether the universe and Evolution was started by molecular reactions or a God, at the present, it makes absolutely no difference.
Science cannot disprove Deism and Deism believes in Evolution, neurology and other sciences in exactly the same way as Atheism and Humanism, so they are equal to Atheists.
Posted by Chase200mph 4 years ago
Chase200mph
Ironic that the Christian mind shifts to deism and its many philosophical constructs as a defense mechanism every time it comes to a faceoff with science.
Posted by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
Deism can also be an attempt to reconcile fact with superstition. However, I would say that the logical progression along this path would be theism -> deism -> atheism.
Posted by devient.genie 4 years ago
devient.genie
'I believe that there is a god (super-powered being) who existed originally. This cannot be explained, but there are a lot of puzzles about dark matter too..."

TRANSLATION: I dont know everything, nobody knows everything, therefore since we dont understand something, god did it :)

Deism is the result of exposure to theistic writings, much like stinking is the result of exposure to second hand smoke :)
Posted by Avamys 4 years ago
Avamys
Thanks Sagey. However, I believe that there is a god (super-powered being) who existed originally. This cannot be explained, but there are a lot of puzzles about dark matter too...
Posted by Chase200mph 4 years ago
Chase200mph
The universe came from magic, where did magic come from? God! Where did God come from? Magic!
"..and this is why In hated Sunday school.
Posted by Sagey 4 years ago
Sagey
Besides, you mean the origin of this universe we are inside, it is believed that there are other universes out there, possibly billions of such universes or even an infinite number of them.
Some believe they have discovered distortion in our universe due to having another universe close by.
One of these theories has universes being born all the time from such objects as black holes.
Aye M8! :-D0
Posted by Sagey 4 years ago
Sagey
Well Avamys: Dark matter has always filled the universe, it is just like an invisible gas, though some say that the universe was nothing but endless expanses of neutral hydrogen, whether it was hydrogen or dark matter, space has never been a vacuum and none of it exhibits any intelligence, thus it didn't need to have any origin. Anything capable of thought, must have been formed (originated) some way. A god would have to be built or formed before it could produce a thought. Thoughts are controlled patterns, so there must be a control system built to control these patterns called thoughts. Such patterns would be recognized by scientific means.
Yes, if a god existed, it would need to be built from dark matter or neutral hydrogen.
Aye M8! :-Dx
Posted by Avamys 4 years ago
Avamys
Yes I have heard of the theory of dark matter, but it still really doesn't explain the origin of the universe, as, I may ask again, where did that come from?
Posted by Sagey 4 years ago
Sagey
There is still a bad script on this website that screws with people's browsers. Firefox stated it was Chrome script that locked it up. Now I've installed Chrome, it is even worse, not only does it freeze, I get double posts sometimes, because the first 'Post Comments' has no reaction, button doesn't change shade as if it was pressed. I keep getting crash warnings.
No browsers work properly on this site.
9 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 9 records.
Vote Placed by Xerge 4 years ago
Xerge
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: counter jimloyd
Vote Placed by jimloyd 4 years ago
jimloyd
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: oh yes it does
Vote Placed by jh1234l 4 years ago
jh1234l
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:51 
Reasons for voting decision: Conduct: The rules says that don't just say, "A Christian must believe this" or "a Christian must believe that". Then pro said that "A Christian must accept that God is all-powerful. " Arguments: Pro had a strong case, con has only asked questions. Sources: Pro used many sources, con used few.
Vote Placed by wolfman4711 4 years ago
wolfman4711
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:40 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made arguments while con made stupid questions.
Vote Placed by morgan2252 4 years ago
morgan2252
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:50 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro uses some sources, while con uses none. Arguments to pro because pro definitely seems to know what he's talking about, has clearly done his research, and does a great job setting up his arguments. Conduct and spelling and grammar were good on both sides.
Vote Placed by BigSky 4 years ago
BigSky
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:30 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro made actual arguments, con asked irrelevent questions.
Vote Placed by Deadlykris 4 years ago
Deadlykris
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:-Vote Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:07 
Reasons for voting decision: Pro's argument came down to the same old "it's literal until it's proven wrong, then it's metaphor" argument. If the bible was the inerrant word of God, whether authored or inspired by him, then the meaning would be clear to anyone who reads it. EDIT: counter votebomb by KeytarHero.
Vote Placed by KeytarHero 4 years ago
KeytarHero
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Agreed with after the debate:Vote Checkmark--0 points
Who had better conduct:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:Vote Checkmark--1 point
Made more convincing arguments:Vote Checkmark--3 points
Used the most reliable sources:Vote Checkmark--2 points
Total points awarded:70 
Reasons for voting decision: I'm giving all seven points to Pro due to the obvious biased voting of the two voters before me. Pro's argument was strong, even though I reject Evolution, msyelf. Con didn't even respond to his arguments, just asked him a few irrelevant questions that really didn't pertain much to Pro's arguments. Pro definitely won this debate.
Vote Placed by DeFool 4 years ago
DeFool
AvalancheAvamysTied
Agreed with before the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Agreed with after the debate:-Vote Checkmark-0 points
Who had better conduct:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Had better spelling and grammar:--Vote Checkmark1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:--Vote Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: I see the following argument presented for discussion: 1) A Christian follows the teachings of Jesus 2) It is possible to be a Christian (and follow the teachings of Jesus) while at the same time rejecting large portions of scripture, such as Psalm 104:5, which states that the earth cannot be moved. 3) That this contradiction can be resolved by arguing that the bible should be treated as a work of fiction, and not literally true (as Augustine suggests). No one alive is more an atheist than I am, and I define "atheism" as the belief that the bible is not literally true. Con notes this, and argues further that if directly proving that the bible is absolutely wrong does not invalidate the literature as factual - what on earth possibly could? I award arguments to Con.