- …and the modern virtues don’t work either 22/03/2019
- Nowadays, even the sins don’t work properly 18/03/2019
- Bonjour, France 16/03/2019
- The tree in Berkeley’s square (no nightingale) 13/03/2019
- Predictability, reproducibility and determinism in chaos 09/03/2019
Category Archives: History
One of the objections to the Genealogical Adam hypothesis is the case of isolated tribes who, perhaps, have never interbred with descendants of Adam in any plausible historical time-frame.
Here’s a nice little news item along the lines of the story I referred to on wolves back in 2013, here. It shows one way the idea that we got from “fallen creation” teaching since the sixteenth century – that predators are a result of the fall and so are evil – has damaged our world. I explore this false, but near-universal, teaching of a fallen creation fully in my book, God’s Good Earth, which I’m pleased to say now looks like coming to publication at some stage not too far off.
I think my reply to the last critique made by Jay313 to my recent C S Lewis post warrants a longer treatment than an inline comment. So here it is as a post.
Last night Channel 4 aired the documentary on the genome sequencing and facial reconstruction of Cheddar Man, the 8,000BCE mesolithic skeleton discovered in Gough’s Cave in Cheddar Gorge a century ago. It was interesting and well done, though of course the “Hey Presto” effect of unveiling the reconstruction was lost because his photo has been splashed over every newspaper and TV channel for the last fortnight.
Genesis chapters 1-11 continue to intrigue because, for all their “under-determination” of meaning for us moderns, and their mythic style, they keep resonating with details of the most ancient human history. And so, quite apart from any theological reasons, I can’t go along with those who regard them as ahistorical, nor have much sympathy with the idea that they are purely late, exilic, additions – they wear their great antiquity prominently.
It’s my impression (which admittedly may be mistaken) that the Reformed churches in America, at least, find it hard to avoid agnosticism on matters of creation and origins. Or when they don’t, they find it theologically necessary to cut across what they see as the current opinions of science, leading to a degree of cognitive dissonance. They’re not unique in that, of course – some Evangelical theology nowadays seem to be based on cognitive dissonance as a virtue.
At this point in the series, let’s move on to consider the world outside Eden, and perhaps before Eden, by summarising what I’ve already concluded from adopting the “compositional strategy” of the Pentateuch or Torah proposed by John Sailhamer, and applied to the beginning of Genesis by Seth Postell. I put this overview in list form in the previous post, so please refresh your memory there if you need to.
I’ve just finished Seth D Postell’s 2011 book, Adam as Israel: Genesis 1-3 as the Introduction to the Torah and Tanakh, which although perhaps a little scholarly (ie interactive with the “academic literature”) for the average reader is a great eye opener in considering the whole question of understanding the first chapters of Genesis.
I’ve commented more than once on how the accusation “You don’t understand evolution” gets slapped on practically everybody, from Fundamentalists to senior evolutionary biologists. If you already know your ignorance you’ll be used to hearing it should you ask the wrong questions at places like BioLogos (I’ve had it thrown at me there twice this week already, though I’ve studied it a bit over the last 50 years or so). Even if you’re highly trained, though, you are not immune (as my piece linked above demonstrates). In both cases, the ultimate reason is probably the same.
Our house, according to our neighbour (who was there) was built in 1969, but on a 2½ acre plot that was already surrounded on three sides by traditional “devon banks”, and on the fourth by a lane. So it’s a field with some kind of history, but mostly unknown to us as we’ve only been here eight years.