Evolution and Metaphor

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by Mark Osgatharp, Oct 26, 2003.

  1. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    The evolutionistz who feign Christianity must also feign respect for the Scriptures. So rather than say the Scriptures are a bunch of hokey, they patronize Moses by asserting that his statements about creation are "metaphorical."

    A metaphor is a comparison of one thing with another for the purpose of illumination. Through a metaphor we learn something about one thing by it's points of similarity with another. For example, when Christ said he will come as a theif we learn that, as a theif suprises his victim, so the Lord will suprise many when He comes.

    If we assume that evolution is the literal creation mechanism and that Genesis is only intended as a metaphor of it - which is to say that Genesis is intended to illuminate evolution - then we turn the whole concept of metaphor upside down. For, in fact, nothing in Genesis illuminates or illustrates anything about evolution.

    In other words, there are no points of comparison between creation in Genesis and creation by evolution. It is all contrast. Wherefore, then, is the metaphor?

    Here are some outstanding points of contrast between the Genesis account of creation and creation by evolution. Anyone with an honest mind can see the Genesis is no metaphor for evolution. It is either fact or fiction. Truth or error. But please don't insult Moses' intelligence by claiming that he intended to write a metaphor of evolution.

    1. In Genesis God creates instantaneously and directly by the word of His mouth. In evolution God creates indirectly through the process of natural laws.

    2. In Genesis the creation is a accomplished in short order and a relatively short time ago. In evolution creation occurs over eons of time.

    3. In Genesis every creature and plant brings forth after it's own kind. Evolution depends on creatures and plants bringing forth, at some point, a kind other than their own.

    4. The order of Genesis depends on a short creation week, for the plants were created before the sun, and though plants might surive a few days without sun they cannot so survive indefinately.

    5. Genesis presents the whole human race as descendants of an original sexual couple. Evolution presents the whole human race as descendants of an original asexual organism or organisms.

    6. Worst of all, Genesis presents humanity as a special creation above all others created in the image of God. Evolution, by contrast, presents humanity only as the most highly developed of the brutes.

    I ask, in light of these glaring contrasts, and the absence of any similarities, how Genesis is supposed to throw light on the actual creation event, if, in fact, that event occured by evolution? How, please tell me, can an evolutionst interpret Genesis as a metaphor or parable of evolution?

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  2. Mark Osgatharp

    Mark Osgatharp
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    Another point of contrast between Genesis and evoltution, as well as between evolution and the whole of the Scriptures, is that the Scriptures everywhere present creation as being a past event, whereas evolution presents creation as an ongoing process.

    As a matter of fact, the only point of similarity I can find between creation according to the Scriptures and creation a la theistic evolution is the claim that God did it.

    What an insult to God!

    Mark Osgatharp
     
  3. Daniel Dunivan

    Daniel Dunivan
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    Mark,

    The first principles for your assertion (and the basis for the debate you intend) are incorrect. The metaphor is not one of the creation mechanism, but of the source of creation. The metaphor relates to the reader that Yahweh as the God of creation; not that creation is accomplished by evolution. The very modern creation/evolution debate is foreign to the very ancient Genesis accounts. You're barking up the wrong tree. Try again.

    Grace and Peace, Danny [​IMG]
     
  4. Dr. Bob

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    Good points, Mark. Theistic evolution is oxymoronic in both a literal and metaphoric sense! :eek:
     
  5. UTEOTW

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    I get from either a literal or metaphorical reading that:

    God is the creator of all.

    That man, being given a soul, made in the image of God, has a special relationship with God, different from the rest of creation.

    That man is sinful and rebellious and in need of the saving grace of God.

    Essentially the rest of your ojections boil down to saying that the metaphor cannot be right because the metaphor does not agree with the literal reading. If it is a metaphor, why would you expect it to also be true in a literal sense? Your objections do not make sense in that light. A metaphor meant to convey important concepts would not be expected to agree with reality. For example, if I say that a man followed in his father's footsteps would you try and prove me wrong by following the guy around work and pointing out that not once did he actually step in any footsteps left by his father?
     
  6. Trotter

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    The reality is that God created all of the universe in six 24-hour days. Anything else isn't metaphorical, it's just a lie.

    In Christ,
    Trotter
     
  7. NeilUnreal

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    I don't believe Genesis is a metaphor. I believe the Genesis account of creation is re-telling of the common creation myths and speculations of that time and place, showing how God trumps the pantheon of "gods" the other cultures wrote into the same myths.

    Genesis is myth, not metaphor. That is, it is a means of conveying truth, not of representing truth.

    -Neil
     
  8. Artimaeus

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    What truth? If it doesn't mean what it says, then it must mean something else. Who gets to be the arbiter of truth? You? Me? What makes you think Exodus-Revelation is not also a myth to illustrate a truth? "In the biginning.." is true or it isn't. I don't care if it "illustrates truth". If it isn't true then I have no use for it. It is of no more significance than "The Fox and the Grapes".
     
  9. Paul of Eugene

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    With my own eyes I have seen the great galaxy in Andromeda, by means of light that took 2.8 million years to get here from there. I have also seen the Clouds of Magellan, sattelite galaxies to the Milky Way, and the light from them took over 200,000 years to get to my eyes. I have been to the Smithsonian Instituted and examined the skull of Tyronnosaurus Rex, dead for 65 million years, with teeth that are only good for eating flesh. I have seen the vestigal bones in whales from the times their ancestors had hind legs.

    These things are not cunningly devised fables; they are what they are because God made them the way God made them.
     
  10. C.S. Murphy

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    16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
    2 Tim 3:16

    Friend are you actually a Baptist?
    Murph
     
  11. C.S. Murphy

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    my question is how exactly can anyone know the age of the bones. Now before you tell me all the mechanics of it you must be honest and say that it requires some level of faith to accept the date of something that goes so far beyond recorded time that you can never actually prove if it is correct. Having put your trust in a scientific experiment to set that date why not simply put your faith in God and His word, He wont let you down.
    Murph
     
  12. NeilUnreal

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    Some of Exodus through Revelation is myth; some is poetry; some is history; some is metaphor and parable. God gave us a brain and a spirit specifically to give us the capability of figuring these things out -- otherwise robots would have sufficed. I think this puzzling out of the truth is important to God's purposes in our life. It's part of the process of engraving the truth onto our hearts; we don't learn the truth, we become true beings in God. Laws and precepts can be engraved on stone or written on paper, but the truth can only exist in the experience of spiritual and sentient beings.

    Parables and myths like the Fox and the Grapes are of great significance to us. It's true that this particular metaphor did not make it into our Christian scripture. However, the creation story and the flood story are examples of myths and parables -- common in Eastern cultures of the time -- that did make it into our scripture. We use them to our profit when we understand why the authors and compilers chose to include them, what changes they made as a part of including them, and what truths they were trying to convey to us. Although it's not a part of our scripture, parables like the Fox and the Grapes could make wonderful additions to a sermon or a Sunday school lesson, and so are of significance to Christians.

    Taken literally, the Fox and the Grapes is a rather bizarre tale about two creatures behaving in a way that is biologically improbable. Taken as a parable, it is a compact, easy to remember lesson that conveys a truth about boasting and trickery. Genesis is the same way: scientifically unlikely, yet conveying truths in a way impossible with less lively description,

    -Neil
     
  13. Paul of Eugene

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    my question is how exactly can anyone know the age of the bones. Now before you tell me all the mechanics of it you must be honest and say that it requires some level of faith to accept the date of something that goes so far beyond recorded time that you can never actually prove if it is correct. Having put your trust in a scientific experiment to set that date why not simply put your faith in God and His word, He wont let you down.
    Murph
    </font>[/QUOTE]You seem to speak of "a scientific experiment" as if dinosaurs were dated once and never again. The science behind the dating of dinosaur fossils has been tested over and over again by thousands of researchers, each eager to make a name for himself by doing a more careful, better documented job than the others. The science behind the methodology is brought to you by the same folks that make computers possible and atom bombs possible; their results in these areas show they know what they are doing.

    Whereas the scientists are nearly unanimous in their assertion that the age of the earth has been pretty firmly set at 4.5 billion years, in religous circles your view that the earth must be less than 10,000 years old is definately not a unanimous view. The church is going through a transition as it did once before, when it was a shock to hear from Galileo and Copernicus that it is the earth that moves. I'm sorry for you that you persist in being on the side out of touch with reality. Perhaps it will be some comfort to you to learn that God has never let me down, He has been my constant hope, provider, and sustainer.
     
  14. Artimaeus

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    II Peter 3:3 Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers,...5 For this they willingly are ignorant of, that by the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water: 6 Whereby the world that then was, being overflowed with water, perished:

    Do you scoff because you are a scoffer or are you a scoffer because you scoff?

    [​IMG]
     
  15. NeilUnreal

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    Thanks for the offer, but I prefer to be neither form of scoffer! (Though I do appreciate a good pun. :D )

    -Neil
     
  16. C.S. Murphy

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  17. Johnv

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    Believing that it's possible that God used evolution to create is in no way oxymoronic. What happenned to "with God, all things are possible"?
     
  18. Steven O. Sawyer

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    First, let me say that even though I am a YEC "fundi" I do not consider the age of the earth a primary issue nor do I consider "old earthers" to be heretics as I would have to classify R.C. Sproul, Ravi Zacharias, Chuck Colson, William Lane Craig, etc. as heretics. Even though I don't agree with that position, I am not willing to make that judgement. These men are fine Christians whom I respect and admire in many ways (even if they are not Baptist).

    But, having said that, I do not agree that metaphors and allegories must not agree with reality. Much of the Levitical priestly laws were allegorical to Christ's life, sacrifice, and resurrection but they were also a literal reality. Much in the Bible has double or more meanings but that does not mean the literal was not real also.

    Genesis was not written poeticly like Hebrew poetry and just because we, in our limited knowledge today, cannot make a system devoted to exploring only the limited naturalistic realm of reality agree with what God plainly says was miraculous and happened in a completely different order than any evolutionist would propose does not make the Bible wrong.

    Also, it would have been very easy for God to have said that he took a creature and made man from it as a special creation - He didn't. I also have yet to see any allegorist make sense of Eve's creation as she was made after Adam by a miraculous cloning/genetic engineering from a piece of Adam's side.

    When the Lord lived on earth in flesh, He miraculously and instantaneously created wine from water, cloned prepared fish and baked bread, restored muscles, tissues, enzymes, etc. - all things that take time from a naturalistic standpoint if possible at all (raising the dead has yet to be accomplished naturalisticly) - He is, after all, the Lord of creation. I don't think He did such miracles to merely "put on a good show" as many of our modern day "charismatic" charlitans do. Also many of the things He did and said were also allegorical... that does not mean He didn't do or say them
     
  19. Johnv

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    Really? The Bible doesn't say how long a day was, so to proport that a literal Genesis day was 24 hours is to add to the Bible.
     
  20. Johnv

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    Note two things about this verse:

    1 - It applies to the OT only (the NT had not yet been completed. But, since Gen is OT, that's a non-issue here.

    2 - The verse DOES NOT say that scripture is to be used as a documentation of factual account in all areas. It only says it's profitable for instruction in reghetousness.
     

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