Friday, July 6, 2012

Message from The Flying Rodent

The Flying Rodent wrote here:

Ms. Linsley: Congratulations--you have just destroyed the Gospel. At the core of the Gospel lies the biblical teaching that Adam is the fount of (a) the entire human race, and (b) human sin. Before being saved by Christ, sinners are "in Adam"--i.e., descended from him and under the cloud of original sin. Conversely, "in Christ" we are redeemed and restored to our Creator. Take away a literal Adam who is literally our forebear and one of the original two sinners--and you nullify the Gospel that is built on that foundation.

You want to put yourself in a position of "defending" the Bible's authenticity, and while that's a laudable desire, you have simply failed to fulfill that goal. You have read ideas into the Genesis text that simply aren't there, and have put yourself in opposition to Biblical teaching as a whole.

Dear Flying Rodent,

You give me too much credit.  The Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is indestructible.


Jonathan Cariveau said...

While I think he's being a bit over-dramatic, I do have to say, as a Catholic, he has a point. It is a point of Catholic dogma, De Fidem that God literally created the first two true humans, male and female, by directly creating the spiritual dimension of man, the soul, in them, and that we are their descendants who share in their rejection of who God created human beings in His Image to be. This is harmonious with evolutionary theory, but it is not harmonious with making the original human parents simply allegorical. You can interpret practically everything else in Genesis as allegorical, but you either have to dismiss the Catholic Faith and its principles of who God is, who we are as human beings, the nature of evil, the nature of human sin and rejection of our divine dignity as the Imago Dei, and finally, the nature of Redemption in Christ, the one who as God restores His own Image in man, or else keep as a simple principle that our original parents were literal individuals. This could be 100,000, 200,000, 300,000, or any number of years in the past; the date does not matter, the exact harmonization with legitimate evolutionary science does not matter, the rest of Genesis does not matter, but that literalness of the first two humans is the point from which all essential Catholic doctrine flows.

This is intuitive, if you think about it. Catholicism is the teachings of Jesus Christ, from His earthly ministry to Church history and Tradition. At the very core, the whole nature of Catholicism as a religion and Jesus Christ in His Person is to confirm our humanity as being of definitive Divine origin, and to renew the brokenness of that humanity due to our rejection of the divinely lofty office that is the Image of God through egoism and rebellion. That's it in a nutshell. In short, Catholicism seeks to make us more fully human, for only by becoming more fully ourselves, by undoing the primitive Fall and the rejection of human dignity, can we be made partakers of God's nature and divinized. If you start to deny or doubt the very nature of man, which is what happens when you deny the origin of his current state of brokenness and the lack of his true dignity through sin, you deny the Faith that has as its only end the restoration and glorification of that nature of man.

You are in my prayers, dear sister.

Jonathan Cariveau said...

Just to clarify, as a philosopher, I fully accept the basic tenets of evolution and understand it in a Thomistic context of causality; it is just another part of my overall theistic worldview and philosophy of life and of mankind. I am not a young earther, but I am a Catholic, and I believe that the Catholic explanation of the origin and destiny of humanity is holistic and entire, and fills in the gaps of understanding mankind. I also firmly believe and hold that what you believe as far as the concrete origins of man has a direct impact on your view of his destiny, and more immediately, it has a direct impact on the philosophy of man that characterizes law, culture, society, ethics, government, art, science, human morality, human dignity, and every level of civilization and humanity. I think that the Catholic teaching on the origin of man answers this by leaving a genuine philosophical framework whereby science can be reconciled with human reason and human nature and his perspective on the universe and on all reality.

Jonathan Cariveau said...

Oh, I apologize! I wrote those thinking mistakenly that you had converted to Catholicism, but I now see that you are Eastern Orthodox :) What I wrote still represents my perspective on life, but I see now how everything fits now. Much of what I said is substantially the opinion of the most orthodox of the Orthodox, though, at least from my experience.

Alice C. Linsley said...


Thank you for your prayers, which I welcome.

I suspect that we would agree on most of the substance of the Faith. I have concerns about this statement: "Catholicism seeks to make us more fully human." Since you say you accept evolutionary theory, I assume that you see Catholicism as a vehicle for the evolution of humanity.

I see a contradiction in what you write. You cannot accept received Holy Tradition and accept the totality of Darwin's theory. They are incompatible and mutually exclusive. The Tradition of Scripture and the Fathers is that humans were created human from the beginning by divine fiat.

You might find these articles interesting:

Thanks for your thoughtful comments.