The Instigator
OtakuJordan
Pro (for)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
AndrewB686
Con (against)
Winning
16 Points

Evolution is a valid cosmology for Christians

Do you like this debate?NoYes+2
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 5 votes the winner is...
AndrewB686
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/25/2013 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 2,830 times Debate No: 41227
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (23)
Votes (5)

 

OtakuJordan

Pro

Evolution is a valid cosmology for Christians because the Creation narrative (i.e., the first three chapters of the book of Genesis) can be interpreted as metaphor without harming the essential tenets of the Christian religion.
AndrewB686

Con

Hello, I thank you for instigating this debate and look forward to hearing your opinion.

-First of all, evolution is the change in the inherited characteristics of biological populations over successive generations.
https://en.wikipedia.org...

-It does not examine the origins of life on earth, that topic relates to the theory of abiogenesis or panspermia. (or in your case through god)

-This debate will deal solely with the theory of evolution and its processes compared or contrasted with the Biblical account in genesis, NOT with the initial creation of the universe.

-I will lay out my arguments in the next round and look forward to hearing yours, thank you for the opportunity to debate this topic of vital importance.

-Best of luck

-AndrewB686
Debate Round No. 1
OtakuJordan

Pro

Thank you for accepting my challenge, Andrew. Best of luck to you as well.

My case rests on my belief that interpreting the creation narrative found in Genesis as metaphor does no harm to the essential tenets of the Christian faith. There is, therefore, no reason why Christians should reject theistic evolution as heretical.
AndrewB686

Con

-I will now present my arguments against theistic evolution being compatible with the Christian doctrine.
-Thank you to my opponent for providing me the opportunity to do so.

-Before examining the day-age theory, I would like to point out a couple of discrepancies in the order of creation.

1) The sun and the plants

Genesis 1:11

11 And God said, Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees bearing fruit in which is their seed, each according to its kind, on the earth. And it was so.

-This was the third day.

Genesis 1:14

14 And God said, Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night. And let them be for signs and for seasons, and for days and years,

-This was the fourth day.

-The order, according to this passage, is false due to the fact that evolutionary theory states the sun existed for billions of years before life existed; also, photosynthesis could not take place with light from solar radiation.

2) Birds and terrestrial animals

Genesis 1:20

20 And God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens."

-This was the fifth day.

Genesis 1: 24

24 And God said, "Let the earth bring forth living creatures according to their kinds"livestock and creeping things and beasts of the earth according to their kinds." And it was so.

-This was the sixth day.

-Again, this order contradicts evolutionary theory. Birds evolved from animals that dwelled on the ground, more specifically dinosaurs. A prime example would be Archaeopteryx.

3) Whales

-This references the next verse, whales (tanniyn in the original Hebrew) are presumably grouped under the marine category of animals; thus they would be created on the fifth day. This is a contradiction because whales evolved from land animals, an example would be an early precursor to whales, Ambulocetus.

-Now I will move on to larger contradictions between genesis and theistic evolution.

1) Hebrew origin of the word "day"

One cannot reconcile evolution with Christianity because genesis explicitly states god created the world in six, twenty-four days. While the day-age theory may be popular among old-earth creationists, if one is to delve into the etymology of the worlds then one will find this to not be the case. The Hebrew word "yom" refers to a twenty-four day, unlike the English word day which can have alternate connotations, but "yom" always refers to a literal day when preceded by a number, as in the first day, second day, or third day. It is obvious Moses was referring to specific days, also evidenced by his use of the words "evening" and "morning", "light and "dark", and "night" and "day".

2) Keeping the Sabbath holy

-Theistic evolution allows no room for a Sabbath, thus dissolving the fourth commandment of all worth and merit. The Abrahamic tradition of honoring the Sabbath is based off of the notion that the world was created on a weekly cycle. Without this seven-day recurrence, as would be the case if evolution is true, the Sabbath would possess no amount of importance or sacredness.

3) Original sin and death

-If life did develop through the gradual process of evolution, then it is impossible to comprehend the notion of an original sin and death. According to genesis 1:10, 12, 18, 25, and 31, everything was created as "good" or "very good". The fossil record has excavated a plethora of examples that show a past, eons before the existence of humans, where disease, death, cruelty, and predation was rampant. If this were the case than god would have had to include death in his original plan for humanity, as opposed to it manifesting in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve.

4) Allegorical nature of genesis allows for a liberal interpretation of other aspects of the bible

-If we are to consider the creation narrative in genesis to be an allegory, than we are free to deem other nonsensical aspects of the bible as such. The transcendence of Elijah into heaven, the story of Jonah, and the numerous miracles and the resurrection of Jesus Christ all are fair game for revaluation if one aspect of the bible is regarded as "figurative". This may be pure speculation, but the viability of this perception is allowable when one interprets creation to be through evolution, as opposed to through divine creation.

http://www.bibleinfo.com...
http://www.reasons.org...

-This was a simplified version of the latter article mentioned above, although I strongly recommend you read latter source due to detailed analysis of the creation story contrasted with the theory of evolution.

-I will end my arguments here, I thank my opponent for taking the time to read what I have presented to you. I look forward to hearing your response in the near future.

-Best of luck

-AndrewB686
Debate Round No. 2
OtakuJordan

Pro

Argument #1 - A dichotomy between the days of creation in Genesis and evolution is not a dichotomy between evolution and Christianity
After all, it is precisely because theistic evolutionists believe that the Genesis creation account is scientifically impossible that we reject it or view it as metaphor. Interpreting the Genesis days as metaphor or rejecting them altogether does nothing to harm essential Christian doctrine.

Argument #2 - The nuances of the word yom do not negate theistic evolution
As I stated earlier, rejecting the days of the Genesis account as error does no violence to essential Christian doctrine. Also, words may be used in metaphor even when they have a set meaning. The word "sea" means a vast expanse of water, but if I told you that I was drowning in a sea of grief you wouldn't ask me how I managed to stay so dry.

Argument #3 - The concept of Sabbath remains intact even the first three chapters of Genesis are metaphor
It may even be that God decided to relate the creation account to us in metaphor so that he could use it to teach the concept of the seven day week, knowing that we could not get such a concept from the actua machinations of science.

Argument #4 - Original sin and death are not essential to Christian doctrine
As a matter of fact, I attend a church which believes in a literal six-day creation story but does not believe in original sin. All that is really necessary to Christianity is that sin, period, exists. Romans takes care of that problem. Alternatively, there could have been a sin that made humanity fall from God's grace, but it most likely wasn't eating a piece of fruit.

Physical death prior to this sin is, likewise, not a problem. It is a spiritual death that the figurative Adam and Eve brought upon themselves, and it is a spiritual death that Christ saves us from.

Argument #5 - While viewing parts of Genesis as metaphorical may cause us to question whether Christ's ressurrection was metaphorical, it does not necessitate it
It is up to the individual believer to examine the evidence for their Christology and see if it is lacking. Seeing Genesis as metaphorical does nothing to cause Christians to view the ressurrection as metaphorical, but rather sets us on the path of questioning whether or not it is. This sort of questioning can be a wonderful thing as it can serve to deepen one's faith.

Defining essential Christian doctrine
I should have done so earlier. I believe it to be the divinity of Christ, the death and ressurrection of Jesus Christ, the atonement of sin and the Trinity.

I am familiar with both Bible Info and Reasons. They are fundamentalist groups and hearing such arguments from them is no surprise.
AndrewB686

Con

-Thank you for presenting your arguments.
-I will now form a rebuttal to each of your individual contentions.
-Also I apologize for bringing "fundamentalist" groups into the equation, but considering this is an internal debate between opposite ends of the Christian spectrum, a conservative stance is necessary.

Rebuttal 1 | "A dichotomy between the days of creation in Genesis and evolution is not a dichotomy between evolution and Christianity"

-What you define as "essential Christian doctrine" appears to disregard the majority of the old testament. I am not a Christian, but from what I know about Christianity, interpreting the creation narrative as a metaphor, or outright rejecting it, severely limits the validity of the rest of the bible. If the word of god is not inerrant or infallible than how are we to determine the minute portion that is factual?

Rebuttal 2 | "The nuances of the word yom do not negate theistic evolution"

-That is precisely what I sought to eliminate in the last round. The word yom in the Hebrew language has a strict framework for how it can be used. When preceded by a numerical digit, the words always, with no exceptions, refers to a literal, twenty-four hour day. Whether or not you choose to believe that and still consider yourself a Christian is beyond my control.

Rebuttal 3 | "The concept of the Sabbath remains intact even (sic) the first three chapters of Genesis are metaphor"

-The one sentence you provided is pure speculation. There is no evidence in the bible (first time I've ever said that) to support your assertion. The Sabbath has its origins on the seventh day when God rested and determined that all he created was good.

Genesis 2:2-3

"And on the seventh day God ended His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done. Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made."

http://www.biblegateway.com...

-Without this notion of rest and sanctification attributed to this particular day, keeping the Sabbath holy has no measure particular measure of worth of significance. Evolution is slow, gradual process and there would be no need to limit existence into a rigid, seven-day framework if it was not created in a literal seven-day process.

Rebuttal 4 | "Original sin and death are not essential to Christian doctrine"

-I know a lot of Christians, some more conservative than others, but I have never in my life heard of a Christian who disregards the notion of an original sin. The purpose of the original sin was to set man in a state of separation from god in order for a Christ figure to redeem man from his spiritual damnation and allow for the opportunity of salvation. Without this concept, there would no need for Jesus Christ, seeing that his intended purpose was to save mankind from this original sin. Sin would have a mysterious origin that man would not understand, not unlike the initial creation of the universe, without an initial spark.

-Again, you are making a claim that is unwarranted and has no factual evidence. Deeming the piece of fruit from the tree of good and evil a metaphor in and of itself for something even more mysterious has no basis by which to defend. Also, physical death would take place unless an original sin had previously occurred. God considered everything he created to be good and without flaw. The notion of death would be a chink in the armor of perfection that god had intended. All of the atrocities that occur in today's world, according to the bible, the result of this original sin. If this had not occurred, we would still be in the garden of Eden.

Rebuttal 5 | "While viewing parts of Genesis as metaphorical may cause us to question whether Christ's resurrection was metaphorical, it does not necessitate it"

-I do not argue questioning everything to be a bad thing, but from the perspective of a Christian, viewing the creation narrative as a metaphor does call into question the rest of the bible. The bible doesn't hold a lot of water if only certain aspects of it are intended to be understood the way in which they were written. By opening the entire bible up for interpretation, you create the possibility of multiple, contrasting views that causes a divide in the followers of god. Catholicism and Protestantism clearly exemplify this, and neither has any more merit than the other if they both deem certain aspects literal and some figurative.

-That is the end of my rebuttal, I thank my opponent for taking the time to read my response and look forward to hearing his in return.

-Best of luck

-AndrewB686
Debate Round No. 3
23 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 10 records.
Posted by Salisbury 3 years ago
Salisbury
A metaphorical interpretation of biblical creation clearly does not denote evolution and Pro has not given any sufficient reason to suggest otherwise.

In the past, when evolution was just "a theory" and a lot of people didn't want to hear about it - everyone was perfectly fine with a literal translation of the bible. (As it had been taken since forever.) But suddenly when there's undeniable evidence of evolution, christians have been forced to face the contradiction and find loopholes. So they started looking at figurative translations.

Con has convinced me that metaphorical and figurative translations, not only undermine the original text, but invalidate the authenticity of the entire religion and everything it claims to be based upon.
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
I will accept if you issue the challenge.
Posted by Jakeross6 3 years ago
Jakeross6
I would like to challenge you to the debate with the Resolution of this : Original Sin is Biblical and Necessary for the Christian Doctrine.
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
I would be interested in seeing you expound upon your belief that an *original* sin/death are necessary for Christianity.
Posted by Jakeross6 3 years ago
Jakeross6
It is sad that this debate is only two rounds, as it would have made a great debate if the Pro had been ready to defend his position rather than letting Con assume the Pro's burden of proof. Conduct and spelling was good on both ends.

As for the arguments, it is shown by the Con that as the bible is written, evolution would be impossible. However, since evolution does indeed occur and at the very least it is proven that the Earth was not created in a series of days. Also not shown by Pro is what the metaphor would be. This is a statement of fact by the bible and a metaphorical meaning is not defined. So, for not defining the metaphorical meaning and not accepting the burden of proof that any instigator of a debate must accept, he loses the argument points.

Con used sources, Pro didn't. This gives him sources.

A note to the Pro:
"Argument #4 - Original sin and death are not essential to Christian doctrine
As a matter of fact, I attend a church which believes in a literal six-day creation story but does not believe in original sin. All that is really necessary to Christianity is that sin, period, exists. Romans takes care of that problem. Alternatively, there could have been a sin that made humanity fall from God's grace, but it most likely wasn't eating a piece of fruit.

Physical death prior to this sin is, likewise, not a problem. It is a spiritual death that the figurative Adam and Eve brought upon themselves, and it is a spiritual death that Christ saves us from."

This is absolutely wrong. Without original sin and death, all the burnt offerings, sacrifices, and even Jesus's death would be completely unnecessary and ineffective. Original sin and death is the entire premise of the bible and nothing works in the Bible without it, even if Jesus's death was Metaphorical for some reason. (Which, by the way, is the entire foundation of Christianity.)
Posted by Installgentoo 3 years ago
Installgentoo
This debate is retarded.
Posted by AndrewB686 3 years ago
AndrewB686
Exodus is still dependent upon the events that transpired in genesis. The command to keep the Sabbath holy seems arbitrary and irrelevant if god measures time on an evolutionary scale.
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
Unless of course, God gave us the command to keep it holy? Also, remember that it is not in Genesis where we are told to keep the Sabbath holy but in Exodus.
Posted by AndrewB686 3 years ago
AndrewB686
Loving one's neighbor would still be beneficial in a world dictated by evolution. Keeping one day holy would not be necessary, or even plausible, if evolution is true.
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
Keeping the Sabbath day holy and loving your neighbor are both moral principles.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by Maryland_Kid 3 years ago
Maryland_Kid
OtakuJordanAndrewB686Tied
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 Checkmark-1 point
Made more convincing arguments:-Vote Checkmark-3 points
Used the most reliable sources:-Vote Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:06 
Reasons for voting decision: Creationism is the easier and simpler to take away in the Bible. Con did a good job.
Vote Placed by Yraelz 3 years ago
Yraelz
OtakuJordanAndrewB686Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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 Checkmark2 points
Total points awarded:03 
Reasons for voting decision: For evaluation of this round I considered the framework set within the first constructive: does evolution harm the essential tenants of the Christian religion. At the end of the debate I end up agreeing with Con's assertion that the fallibility of god casts doubt on the three tenants which Pro delineates. From there I buy two of cons arguments. First I think that original sin being an illusory metaphor probably drops Pro into a swamp of infinitely regressive wishful thinking. I don't see how Con could ever win a debate wherein that level of metaphor is justified, and Con points out this absurdity, " Deeming the piece of fruit from the tree of good and evil a metaphor in and of itself for something even more mysterious has no basis by which to defend." Secondarily I grant that Con his argument regarding original sin resulting in physical death. The fact that physical death must have existed previously means that gods perfection was flawed which casts doubt on the other three tenants.
Vote Placed by janetsanders733 3 years ago
janetsanders733
OtakuJordanAndrewB686Tied
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 Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:32 
Reasons for voting decision: I would say good job to both debaters. However, I think Con doesn't realize that Genesis 1 is mostly poetic. And, that death and disease in animals does not disprove Genesis. Animals don't have moral conscience's. Of course there would be death prior to the fall of Adam within the Animal Kingdom. However, the Bible is talking about a spirtual death through sin. Adam and Eve became seperated from God through their sin. Adam and Eve would have been perfect in their bodies from the beginning. Then they sinned and were imperfect.
Vote Placed by Jakeross6 3 years ago
Jakeross6
OtakuJordanAndrewB686Tied
Agreed with before the debate:--Vote Checkmark0 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 Checkmark-2 points
Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by Ore_Ele 3 years ago
Ore_Ele
OtakuJordanAndrewB686Tied
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: Both sides held proper conduct and grammar. For sources, Con did provide more, however the sources provided did not defend his position that a christian must take the bible literally. For arguments, Con strayed from what he needed to focus on. While it is easy to argue that the bible says one thing, that is not what Pro was arguing. Pro argued that the one thing was not literal, but metaphorical. Con needed to argue that a christian would have to take the literal meaning of Genesis and he never really got into that. He brought up the definition of Yom, but never sourced it. Upon a quick google search, I cannot find any non-biased sources to back up the claim that Yom cannot be a metaphor and must be exact. Pro correctly pointed out that "Christianity" is focused around several key points of the bible (namely, Jesus Christ) and so some aspects of the bible are not important for exact belief. Con never provided a concrete defense for this.