The Instigator
raymaster
Con (against)
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The Contender
Lupricona
Pro (for)
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Jesus was a young earth creationist

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 1/1/2014 Category: Religion
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 811 times Debate No: 43218
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (8)
Votes (0)

 

raymaster

Con

The resolution is that Jesus was a young earth creationist. By this I mean that he viewed Genesis 1-3 as a completely literal account, free of any kind of error, and not metaphorically. Pro's burden of prof will be to show from scriptures in the Bible - comprised of the 66 books of the Old and New Testaments - that Jesus' teachings support young earth creationism. My burden of proof will be to show that Jesus' teachings in the relevant scriptural passages regarding Genesis 1-3 can fit just as well with a non-literal reading of the creation account.

I have made this debate impossible to accept. Please notify me in the comments if you are interested. Happy debating!
Lupricona

Pro

Intro

This debate is solely about whether or not Jesus was a young earth creationist. I am arguing that when spreading his Gospel, he taught this doctrine. Now, as Jesus' ministry was only for the "lost sheep of Israel" (Matthew 15:24), then it becomes important to understand early Jewish thought, and how early Christians understood his message.


Early Jewish and Christian Thought

Joesephus: "Now Adam, who was the first man, and made out of the earth" (1)

Passages from the Talmud:

R. Kattina said: Six thousand years shall the world exist, and one [thousand, the seventh], it shall be desolate, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day.Abaye said: it will be desolate two [thousand], as it is said, After two days will he revive us: in the third day, he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight.

It has been taught in accordance with R. Kattina: Just as the seventh year is one year of release in seven, so is the world: one thousand years out of seven shall be fallow, as it is written, And the Lord alone shall be exalted in that day,' and it is further said, A Psalm and song for the Sabbath day,meaning the day that is altogether Sabbath and it is also said, For a thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday when it is past.

The Tanna debe Eliyyahu teaches: The world is to exist six thousand years. In the first two thousand there was desolation;two thousand years the Torah flourished; and the next two thousand years is the Messianic era. (2)

Early Christians Writings:

Barnabas: “Now what is said at the very beginning of Creation about the Sabbath, is this: In six days God created the works of his hands, and finished them on the seventh day; and he rested on that day, and sanctified it. Notice particularly, my children, the significance of ‘he finished them in six days.’ What that means is, that He is going to bring the world to an end in six thousand years, since with Him one day means a thousand years; witness His own saying, ‘Behold, a day of the Lord shall be as a thousand years. Therefore, my children, in six days – six thousand years, that is – there is going to be an end of everything.” (3)

Scriptures on the literal Genesis Account

Biblical Importance:

"Six days you shall labor and do all your work,but the seventh day is a sabbath of the Lord your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day" (Exodus 20:9-11)

Luke lists a genealogy from Adam to Jesus. (Luke, 3: 23-38)


I have shown that Scripture teaches that Adam is the first man, that an early Jew confirmed that Jewish thought believed that Adam was the first man, and that early Jewish and Christian thought also confirmed a belief in a 6000 year old earth, where the Messiah comes in the 7th millenium to bring in the Golden Age.

Also, Scriptures give chronologies, starting with Adam, all the way up to Jesus. If one calulates these numbers, one must arrive at 4000 years from Adam to Jesus (4).

Up to this point, Con can reject all of this information and argue that Jesus opposed the traditional Jewish thought and the chonology of Scriptures, as this debate is about Jesus' views. However, I argue that Jesus only affirms these ideas and never contradicts Scripture. Should Con disagree, he must show evidence of Jesus contradicting Scripture.

Jesus on Genesis

Now, the bulk of the matter; the quotes of Jesus about Creation:

"So the people of this time will be punished for the murder of all the prophets killed since the creation of the world, from the murder of Abel to the murder of Zechariah, who was killed between the alter and the holy place" (Luke 11:50-51)

Jesus puts the first muder with Abel. If the Theory of Evolution be true, and there be millions of years before Adam and Abel (who has already been dated at 4000 years before Jesus), then there was murder before Abel. Jesus could not have believed in billions of years.


"But in the beginning, at the time of creation, it was said, 'God made them male and female'" (Mark 10:6)

Jesus links the beginning of Creation with the beginning of Adam and Eve. If Jesus believed in the Theory of Evolution, he would be saying that the beginning (which was almost 14 billion years ago according to the Evolutionary theory) was when humans were created. This only works under a Young earth creationist perspective.


"But as the days of Noah were, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. 'For as in the days before the flood, they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered the ark." (Matt 24:37-38)

When Jesus comes, the whole world will bow down to him. If his arrival will be like the flood of Noah, then so also was the whole world subject to the flood. This fits under a Young Earth Creation paradigm, but not to an Evolutionary perspective, as that theory rejects a global flood 4400 years ago.

Conclusion

Jesus could not have believed in an Old Earth. He was a descendant of Adam. Adam was the one who brought death into the world. If there was death before Adam, there was no need of a Savior, and Jesus' death was meaningless.

I look forward to your arguments, Con.


(1) http://www.sacred-texts.com...
(2) http://www.come-and-hear.com...
(3) http://edinburghcreationgroup.org...
(4) http://www.hebroots.org...

Debate Round No. 1
raymaster

Con

raymaster forfeited this round.
Lupricona

Pro

I extend my argument.
Debate Round No. 2
raymaster

Con

I apologize for forfeiting the previous round. I'll begin by addressing the points Pro made, and then present a case of my own

Pro has given us two main arguments for affirming the resolution. First, he has made an argument from the common doctrines and interpretations of Jesus' time. I could probably construct this argument in a syllogism:
Premise 1: Early Jewish and Christian thought interpreted Genesis 1-3 as literal.
Premise 2: Jesus did not reject this interpretation.
Conclusion: Therefore, Jesus held a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3.
I have three responses. First, the conclusion does not follow with certainty from the premises. If the premises are correct, they establish that Jesus probably was a young earth creationist, but there could certainly be aspects of Jesus' teaching which were not included in the gospels. See for example, John 21:25 [1]: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." Extrapolating from a negative ("Jesus did not reject this interpretation") will not quite reach the desired conclusion.
Second, a literal interpretation of Genesis was not held as universally as Pro has indicated. For example, let us take a look at a passage from Antiquities of the Jews by Josephus, to which Pro graciously provided a link [2]. "Moreover, Moses, after the seventh day was over (1) begins to talk philosophically; and concerning the formation of man, says thus: That God took dust from the ground, and formed man, and inserted in him a spirit and a soul." According to information in the first endnote, "Since Josephus, in his Preface, sect. 4, says that Moses wrote some things enigmatically, some allegorically, and the rest in plain words, since in his account of the first chapter of Genesis, and the first three verses of the second, he gives us no hints of any mystery at all; but when he here comes to ver. 4, etc. he says that Moses, after the seventh day was over, began to talk philosophically; it is not very improbable that he understood the rest of the second and the third chapters in some enigmatical, or allegorical, or philosophical sense. The change of the name of God just at this place, from Elohim to Jehovah Elohim, from God to Lord God, in the Hebrew, Samaritan, and Septuagint, does also not a little favor some such change in the narration or construction. " It seems quite possible that Josephus believed a large portion of Genesis 1-3 to be enigmatical, allegorical, or philosophical, but not literal. St. Augustine also took a less than literal interpretation of the creation account. According to Christianity Today, Augustine believed that "God brought everything into existence in a single moment of creation. Yet the created order is not static. God endowed it with the capacity to develop. Augustine uses the image of a dormant seed to help his readers grasp this point. God creates seeds, which will grow and develop at the right time. Using more technical language, Augustine asks his readers to think of the created order as containing divinely embedded causalities that emerge or evolve at a later stage" [3].
Third Jesus often rejected common interpretations of scripture, such as common understandings of teachings regarding the sabbath (Mark 2:27-3:4). For these reasons, I think we cannot simply assume that Jesus favored a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3. We must look at what he actually said about it.

For his second point, Pro has included three passages in which Jesus speaks about creation. First, Luke 11:50-51. Pro argues that "Jesus puts the first muder with Abel. If the Theory of Evolution be true, and there be millions of years before Adam and Abel (who has already been dated at 4000 years before Jesus), then there was murder before Abel. Jesus could not have believed in billions of years." However, it is important to point out that the genealogies Pro refers to were not a part of the actual teachings of Jesus, nor has Pro demonstrated that Jesus actually referred to them anywhere in his teachings. The second passage is Mark 10:6. Contrary to Pro's claim, Jesus does not actually mention Adam and Eve. Furthermore, even under a young earth creationist perspective Jesus cannot actually be referring to the very beginning described in Genesis 1:1, since per this perspective, Adam and Eve came six days later. Jesus was obviously referring to the beginning and creation of mankind, and this holds no problem for a non-literal reading of the creation account. Finally, regarding Matthew 24:37-38, this is a reference to Genesis 6, and does not prove that Jesus believed Genesis 1-3 to be literal, especially since Jesus does not comment on whether the flood was global or local, or go into any kind of detailed historical analysis which would tell us whether his teachings regarding the flood logically required him to be a young earth creationist.

I will make two additional points, comprising a case against the resolution.
Point 1: Jesus referred to Genesis only to make doctrinal, and not historical or scientific claims.
Luke 11:50-51 is part of a larger passage in which Jesus is condemning the pharisees the scribes and pharisees for their hypocrisy (verse 44), not making historical or scientific claims (Luke 11:39-52). Mark 10:6 is part of a passage in which Jesus makes doctrinal points about divorce and adultery. Again, the creation account is not the central issue (Mark 10:1-9). Matthew 24:37-38 is part of a passage in which Jesus prophesies about the future (Matthew 24:4-51). The point is that Jesus never explicitly gave his view on the proper interpretation of Genesis. He only mentioned passage from Genesis in passing when they provided relevant support to his doctrines. There is no passage in which Jesus lays down the proper way of interpreting the creation account.
Point 2: Those doctrinal points still make sense if a young earth creationist perspective is rejected.
Even if Jesus was a theistic evolutionist, or an old earth creationist, etc., the points he was making in the three passages which Pro and I are debating still make sense. He was still perfectly right to condemn the hypocrisy of the scribes and pharisees, divorce was still contrary to God's plan (since the fact that he created mankind male and female holds regardless of how long it took), etc.

I conclude that there is insufficient evidence to support the claim that Jesus was a young-earth creationist. He never clearly spoke on the issue, and the passages in which he referred to Genesis 1-3 in passing still make good sense on a theistic evolutionist or old earth creationist perspective. I look forward to hearing Pro's rebuttal.

[1] All scripture quotations are from the King James Version
[2] http://www.sacred-texts.com...
[3] http://www.christianitytoday.com...
Lupricona

Pro

Thank you for your rebuttals, Con.

Con:

Premise 1: Early Jewish and Christian thought interpreted Genesis 1-3 as literal.
Premise 2: Jesus did not reject this interpretation.
Conclusion: Therefore, Jesus held a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3.

This is essentially a fair representation of what I was saying, but I would like to try to explain my position better.

Premise 1: Early Jewish and Christian thought interpreted Genesis 1-3 as literal.
Premise 2: Early Jewish thought had incorrect interpretations of Scripture.
Premise 3: Jesus corrected the incorrect interpretations (i.e. the resurrection, marriage in heaven, etc.)
Premise 4: Jesus did not correct or offer new explanations to Genesis.
Conclusion: It is more likely that Jesus' interpretation of Genesis 1-3 was in agreement with early Jewish and Christian thought.

This deductive argument is not one from ignorance. It argues that Jesus more than likely was consistent with the thought of his fellow Jews. On the other hand, since nowhere does Jesus reject the literal interpretation, it is an argument from ignorance to say that His thought was not consistent with his fellow Jews.

Con argues that Josephus explains how Moses uses philosophical and allegorical language in Genesis. This does not go against a literal understanding of Genesis 1-3. Rather, this is how most of the Old Testament is written. God acts within human history, and this has philosophical implications. For example, Eve is created from Adam's rib. This is regarded as literally true but also has the philosophical (or additional allegorical) element as showing that (as shown in the new Testament) man is the head of the woman, and the head of man is Christ. This can also be shown by the Hellenized Jew Philo, who treats the Scriptures as literal history but also uses them to explain philosophical implications. (1) I will concede that Philo did also write that God could have brought everything into a single moment of creation (and we should note that Philo came before Augustine, so Augustine "borrowed" this idea from Philo), yet he still described Adam as the first man and the beginning of creation. I am not advocating that Philo's interpretations are inspired, nor were they the most prominent of Jewish though. But even though these interpretations shorten the 6 days of creation to a single moment, Augustine and Philo would still be considered Young Earth Creationists, which is what this debate is centered around.

To further show my point, Origen was another early Christian who interpreted scriptures much more allegorical than most, yet he still is quoted as saying, "After these statements, Celsus, from a secret desire to cast discredit upon the Mosaic account of the creation, which teaches that the world is not yet ten thousand years old, but very much under that, while concealing his wish, intimates his agreement with those who hold that the world is uncreated" (2)

Con:
"However, it is important to point out that the genealogies Pro refers to were not a part of the actual teachings of Jesus, nor has Pro demonstrated that Jesus actually referred to them anywhere in his teachings."

This is completely true; Jesus never refers to the genealogies. But Con must concede that if the Gospels contain error (as in a falseness in the case of the genealogies), then we must cast doubt on the trustworthiness of any of the accounts of Jesus in the Gosples, and then neither of us can make a case in this debate as the true words of Jesus can never be known. However, I argue that the Gospels are an accurate and reliable account of Jesus history and lineage. If Con accepts the lineage, he must concede that Scripture teaches that Adam lived around 6000 years ago. If he denies the lineage contained in Luke, he must show how he can justify trusting in any of the Gospels if he doubts the credibility of one. (This is not impossible, because if he rejects Luke, even though he would also have to doubt Matthew and Mark as they probably arrived from the same source document, he may argue that only John is a credible source for the historical narrative of Jesus. If this is so, I look forward to seeing this argument).


Con:
"Furthermore, even under a young earth creationist perspective Jesus cannot actually be referring to the very beginning described in Genesis 1:1, since per this perspective, Adam and Eve came six days later. Jesus was obviously referring to the beginning and creation of mankind, and this holds no problem for a non-literal reading of the creation account."

I argue that when Jesus refers to the beginning of creation, it refers to the entire six days of creation. This is consistent with Genesis:

Genesis 2:4 "This is the account of the heavens and the earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made earth and heaven.
"

(My opponent may throw in an argument here, by arguing that since Genesis 2:4 states "in the day that the Lord...", then this may disprove a literal six day interpretation of Creation. Even if this is true, it either shortens all of creation so a single day or event, which is only consistent with a Young Earth Creation paradigm.

I still argue that Mark 10:6 does not make sense under the Theistic Evolutionary paradigm, because men and women were never created; instead, the evovled over time.


I still conclude that it is more likely that Jesus held to the general thouht of his day and age, and He did nothing to show any inconsistency with that, so any argument with Jesus not being a young earth creationist is one that is out of ignorance, or one that is made without any evidence. Also, even if he can prove that the traditional interpretation is not a literal six days, I have shown that the alternative was creation in a single moment, which still only fits Young Earth Creationsim.

(1) http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com...
(2) http://www.earlychristianwritings.com... (Chapter XIX)
Debate Round No. 3
raymaster

Con

Let me begin this round by reminding everyone of the parameters which I set for this debate in round 1 and to which Pro agreed. First, I explained that the phrase "Jesus was a young earth creationist" meant that "he viewed Genesis 1-3 as a completely literal account, free of any kind of error, and not metaphorically." Per this explanation, which pro did not challenge, if Jesus held a metaphorical interpretation of Genesis 1-3, whether he believed the earth was created over millions of years or in a moment of time, he was not a young earth creationist. Furthermore, I stated that Pro's burden of proof in this round would be "to show from scriptures in the Bible...that Jesus' teachings support young earth creationism." Mine is "to show that Jesus' teachings in the relevant scriptural passages regarding 1-3 can fit just as well with a non-literal reading of the creation account." What this debate must come down to is which of us has better fulfilled our respective burdens of proof.

Let us begin by examining the case I made in the last round, comprised of two points, and see if it adequately fulfills my burden of proof. "Point 1: Jesus referred to Genesis only to make doctrinal, and not historical or scientific claims." And "Point 2: Those doctrinal points still make sense if a young earth creationist perspective is rejected." These two points collectively uphold my burden of proof to show that Jesus' teachings regarding Genesis 1-3 can fit just as well with a non-literal reading of the same. As far as I can tell, Pro has not argued that Jesus' references to Genesis were designed to make not only doctrinal but also historical or scientific claims. Furthermore, while he has argued that some of the details of these references better accord with young earth creationism, he has not disputed my point that the doctrinal points Jesus was making in these passages would still have made perfectly good sense if Jesus had held a non-literal view of Genesis. I believe, then, that I have sufficiently upheld my burden of proof in this round.

Let us then look at the points Pro has made and see if they sufficiently fulfill his burden of proof. First of all, I would like to consider his deductive argument from early Jewish and Christian thought. I accept his revision to the structure of the premises, however there are still two problems. First, Pro's burden of proof was to argue that Jesus' teachings supported young earth creationism. However, this argument does not refer to any of Jesus' teachings, but rather to the fact that Jesus did not criticize Young earth creationism, i.e. to what Jesus did not teach. Pro has argued that this is not an argument from ignorance, but rather an argument that Jesus probably believed in young earth creationism if he didn't bother to correct it. This still falls woefully short of his burden of proof, however, since it is extremely unlikely that we have all of Jesus' teachings and doctrines. John 21:25, for example, says: "And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written." The second problem is that, as pro admits, it was often held that the earth was created in a moment - not literally in six days. I again readers to examine my explanation in Round 1 of what I meant by the statement "Jesus was a young earth creationist."

I would like to make three other points of rebuttal as well. 1) Pro argues that Josephus' belief that Moses used philosophical and allegorical language does not negate a literal interpretation of Genesis since literal statements can have philosophical implications. I would respond by making a distinction between a text having philosophical/allegorical implications, and a text fundamentally being philosophical/allegorical. There is clearly a difference for example, between saying that God making man out of the dust has philosophical/allegorical implications, and saying that the description of God making man out of dust should be regarded, not as the way it really happened, but as a metaphorical description of the creation of man. The belief that God created everything in a moment would also be a clear example of a text being read as fundamentally being philosophical/allegorical as opposed to simply having philosophical/allegorical implications.

2) Since Pro's burden of proof is to argue from Jesus' teachings that he believed in young earth creationism, the genealogies are simply not relevant to this debate, as they are not part of Jesus' teachings. On that basis, I would prefer to avoid getting into other debates about how much of the gospels one has to accept in order to be logically consistent, etc.

3) With regard to my point that a young earth creationist perspective does not solve the alleged problem of male and female existing from the beginning, Pro has cited Genesis 2:4 and argued that under theistic evolution men and women were not created but rather evolved. Pro has not explained how Genesis 2:4 supports his point. Furthermore, his dichotomy between male and female being created and evolving is simply a false dichotomy, as the theistic evolutionist position would hold that male and female were created through evolution. [1]

I conclude by reiterating that the evidence that Jesus was a young earth creationist is simply not adequate to fulfill Pro's burden of proof in this debate. On the other hand, I believe I have sufficiently demonstrated that Jesus' statements about Genesis were designed to support doctrinal claims, not to make historical and scientific claims, and that his doctrinal claims are perfectly consistent with a non-literal reading of Genesis. This was my burden of proof, and I urge you to vote con. I will close by thanking Pro for an excellent debate and wishing him the best of luck.

[1] http://www.theistic-evolution.com...
Lupricona

Pro

Con's opening: I understand the paramaters. I acknowledged that Philo and Augustine had unconventional ideas in regards to interpreting Genesis, but they still regarded the earth to only be thousands of years old. However, the conventional wisdom of Jewish interpretation of that time was a literal interpretation of Genesis 1-3, which is what I have already shown.

Con's Point 1: Jesus referred to Genesis only to make doctrinal, and not historical or scientific claims.

Jesus could not have referred to Genesis only to make doctrinal claims. He argued that God created male and female in the beginning, and this is the reason for a marriage union between a man and a woman. If this event did not exist as historically described, then there is no basis for the Christian definition for marriage. If this was just an allegorical message, then polygamous marriage should be accepted, because there would be no first male and female- there would be the arrival of male and female humans from the process of evolution.

Con's Point 2: Same argument as Point 1 rebuttal/conclusion.

Con's criticism of my deductive argument:

Con seems to have misunderstood my point. It does not matter that Jesus may have said more that we don't know (and I would argue that the Gospels include all of the relevant and important messages that he taught). My deductive argument showed that not only is it more likely that Jesus was a young earth creationist, but rather Con must argue from ignorance to say that Jesus was anything other than a young earth creationist. Obviously, an argument from ignorance does not mean his argument must be wrong, but it is not a valid argument to accept his conclusion.

Con's Rebuttal 1: It was not Josephus who argued that God created in an instance- it was Philo and Augustine who said this. I do not see any evidence of Josephus explaining any parts of Genesis 1-3 in a non-literal sense.

Con's Rebuttal 2: Con misunderstood my argument for the genealogies. As the gospels contain the genealogies, if they are not true, then we cannot trust the rest of the gospels as they would contain false histories, thus showing that we cannot accept their historical account of Jesus. He knew he could not win this argument, so I understand why he refused to come up with an answer to my criticism.

Con's Rebuttal 3: Con doesn't seem to understand how evolution works. Evolution does not create anything- mutations over time change one animal into another. There is no real point to where 'apes' became human- it would all be very fluid.

My Conclusion

Con only has one argument against Jesus being anything but a Young Earth Creationist- an argument from ignorance. As already stated, this does not mean he is wrong, just that he has no valid arguments to where we can accept his conclusion. I argue that my deductive argument is valid, and if the voters agree, they should vote for me,

Thank you Con for a wonderful debate. Cheers!
Debate Round No. 4
8 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 8 records.
Posted by raymaster 3 years ago
raymaster
I'll change the acceptance parameters straightway, then :)
Posted by Lupricona 3 years ago
Lupricona
I accept the format, raymaster, and look forward to the debate.
Posted by raymaster 3 years ago
raymaster
Thank you for your interest, Lupricona. If the following format is agreeable to you, I will edit the debate so that you can accept the challenge:
Round 1: Parameters, acceptance, and Pro's opening case
Round 2: Con's opening case, Con's first rebuttal, Pro's first rebuttal
Rounds 3&4: More rebuttals.

Thus, each of us will present one case and three rebuttals.
Posted by Lupricona 3 years ago
Lupricona
I would like to debate you, raymaster.
Posted by raymaster 3 years ago
raymaster
Jesus didn't say very much about Genesis, so contradictions shouldn't be a problem.
Posted by abelsmack 3 years ago
abelsmack
It is hard to prove either way. The new testament is very contradictory as to what Jesus was supposed to have said or done anyways. I think this will be more about who is the better debater vs who has the most accurate belief.
Posted by Skepticalone 3 years ago
Skepticalone
Ditto, Otak.
Posted by OtakuJordan 3 years ago
OtakuJordan
I look forward to reading this debate.
No votes have been placed for this debate.