Al Mohler on Adam and Eve vs. The Facts

Phil Plait just linked back to a 2009 post of his that’s a favorite of mine. “I’m skeptical of denialism” discusses the important distinction between a skeptic and a denier.

It’s helpful to understand where Plait is coming from. He’s an astronomer and the veteran of an epic battle with moon-landing deniers. Those are the folks who claim that human beings have never walked on the moon — that the Apollo missions were a giant hoax and that Armstong, Aldrin and the rest were really filmed at a top-secret government sound stage somewhere.

Moon-landing deniers don’t call themselves that. They call themselves moon-landing skeptics — thus laying claim to the mantle of science-y critical thinking.

Plait — who is himself a scientist and therefore, professionally, a skeptic — won’t let them get away with that:

Skepticism is a method that includes the demanding of evidence and critical analysis of it. That’s not what Moon hoax believers do; they make stuff up, they don’t look at all the evidence, they ignore evidence that goes against their claims. So they are not Moon landing skeptics, they are Moon landing deniers. They may start off as skeptics, but real skeptics understand the overwhelming evidence supporting the reality of the Moon landings. If, after examining that evidence, you still think Apollo was faked, then congratulations. You’re a denier.

A skeptic, as Plait says, engages the evidence carefully without imposing or requiring any foregone conclusions about what it may or may not indicate. An especially skeptical skeptic may insist on a very high standard of proof, but is still open to the possibility of such proof. A skeptic, in other words, follows the evidence as far as it leads. Skeptics may refuse to go beyond that evidence, but they will never refuse to accept such evidence if it is credible and honest.

And because of that, skeptics themselves are credible and honest.

Deniers are neither.

Deniers are not open to following credible evidence unless it leads to where they want it to lead. They will accept any evidence — no matter how flimsy — if it seems to support their foregone conclusions, thus displaying a credulity incompatible with skepticism. And more importantly, they reject any evidence — no matter how incontrovertible — that goes against their foregone conclusion. Because deniers adamantly refuse to accept such credible and honest evidence, the deniers themselves cannot be regarded as credible or honest.

Neil Armstrong walked on the moon. The evidence for that is overwhelming and beyond any reasonable doubt. That some people cling to un-reasonable doubts does not earn them the right to be called skeptics, it simply makes them deniers.

Deniers don’t care what the evidence says. They believe what they want to believe, and if that belief is proven false they simply deny that such proof exists. Hence the name.

Most deniers don’t want to acknowledge that this is what they’re doing, so, like the moon-landing deniers, they prefer to call themselves skeptics. That adds another layer of dishonesty and it’s an insult to actual skeptics — an insult to the people who are principled in their care and respect for evidence so that they can be as honest and accurate as possible in their relationship to reality.

All of which is why I’m grateful to Al Mohler, president of Southern Baptist Seminary. Mohler is the one denier I know of who owns up to his denialism. Heck, he brags about it.

Mohler makes no claims to being a “skeptic” about evolution or the rest of science. He simply, forthrightly rejects it. He denies it as contrary to his preferred interpretation of the Bible. And he doesn’t deny that he’s a denier.

That doesn’t make Mohler’s denialism any more credible or honest than any other form of denialism, but it’s refreshing to encounter one denier who is at least honest about his dishonesty.

Evangelicals Question the Existence of Adam and Eve” NPR’s Barbara Bradley Hagerty reports, citing several devout evangelical scientists who say that the biblical story of the Garden of Eden should not be regarded as a historical account.

Asked how likely it is that we all descended from Adam and Eve, Dennis Venema, a biologist at Trinity Western University, replies: “That would be against all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years, so not likely at all.”

Venema says there is no way we can be traced back to a single couple. He says with the mapping of the human genome, it’s clear that modern humans emerged from other primates as a large population — long before the Genesis time frame of a few thousand years ago. And given the genetic variation of people today, he says scientists can’t get that population size below 10,000 people at any time in our evolutionary history.

To get down to just two ancestors, Venema says, “You would have to postulate that there’s been this absolutely astronomical mutation rate that has produced all these new variants in an incredibly short period of time. Those types of mutation rates are just not possible. It would mutate us out of existence.”

Al Mohler is having none of that. It’s not that he’s skeptical of “all the genomic evidence that we’ve assembled over the last 20 years,” it’s just that he doesn’t care that it exists and thus prefers to pretend it doesn’t.

“This stuff is unavoidable,” says Dan Harlow at Calvin College. “Evangelicals have to either face up to it or they have to stick their head in the sand. And if they do that, they will lose whatever intellectual currency or respectability they have.”

“If so, that’s simply the price we’ll have to pay,” says Southern Baptist seminary’s Albert Mohler. “The moment you say ‘We have to abandon this theology in order to have the respect of the world,’ you end up with neither biblical orthodoxy nor the respect of the world.”

Mohler likes to focus on “the respect of the world” because that’s easier than talking about his towering disrespect for the world. God so loved the world. Al Mohler doesn’t even like to look at it, let alone study it, learn from it or learn about it.

If I hadn’t been reading Mohler’s writing for years, I might suspect that Bradley Hagerty was unfairly cherry-picking a quote that would make him seem ridiculously self-congratulatory and egomaniacal. But that’s actually a restrained and relatively humble statement there from Mohler, whose central theme whenever discussing his rejection of science is that his denialism is a noble act of great courage — that he is bravely making himself a martyr by boldly preferring unreality to evidence, fact and truth. If a brave defense of his peculiar notion of “biblical orthodoxy” demands that he turn his back on the facts as we know them to be, then very well, Al Mohler, Bold Champion of “Biblical Orthodoxy,” will deny whatever truth needs to be denied. Al Mohler, Brave Protector of Mohlerian Mohlerianity, will happily deny that which is undeniable.

That might make him a self-aggrandizing delusional blowhard, but at least he doesn’t try to pretend that he’s just a “skeptic.”

I want to return to this NPR story on Adam and Eve in another post, but for now let me just highlight Amy Julie Becker’s excellent response, which begins:

I read the Bible literally. Which is why I don’t believe in an historical Adam and Eve. …

We need to get some English majors involved in this debate. Reading Genesis literally does not necessitate an historical Adam and Eve. It does necessitate respect for the text itself. It requires us to let the text tell us how to read it.

Yes. Mohler and the others demanding a historical Adam and Eve aren’t just denying and abusing science, they’re also denying and abusing the Bible. They are rejecting what the text says about itself, imposing on it a reading that it does not readily allow.

  • Steven T Abell

    If true, this is another interesting overlap in mythologies: look up Lif and Lifthrasir from Norse Myths (wikipedia has a good article). Interesting difference: these are the two humans who survive Ragnarok at the end of this cycle, not the two at its beginning.

  • Hawker Hurricane

    An internet petition isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.

    Sorry, politicians tend to ignore the internet.  Too easy to spam signatures.

  • picklefactory

    Robyrt: No amount of empirical evidence is relevant in any way, because God has decreed it and that’s the final word. Obstinate, yes; malicious, no.
    To paraphrase: “My interpretation of the Bible says that God has decreed it, so that’s that.”

    I think that this is not even a line of reasoning. It’s like William Lane Craig defending Biblical genocide: God said to do it, so it’s OK. “I read it in a book, so I will wall myself off from my own humanity in order to defend it, no matter what the cost.”

  • Reverend Ref

    If something is true, isn’t it then a fact that it’s true? Is there such a thing as an untrue fact?

    Let me see if I can’t clarify what I’m getting at here.  A fact is something that can be verifiable and proven.  Things such as 1+1=2 or that I am the genetic offspring of my biological parents or that I went to a particular university.  Those are facts.

    A truth expresses something deeper and more profound.  1+1=1 is a truth (mother+father=child; man+woman=marriage [just a particular example, not advocating for DOMA]; we are made in God’s image). 

    So it’s not that a fact isn’t true, but that a fact isn’t necessarily a truth.

    And since we’re being skeptical today: if we’re created in the image of God, what evidence do you have in support of that truth?

    The only evidence I have is pretty much the same evidence everyone else has — gleanings from the Bible and my own personal faith.

    And a correction from my original comment:  “The opposite of faith isn’t doubt; the absence opposite of faith is certainty.”

  • Reverend Ref

    And now that I’ve gone to the trouble to try and restate what I originally wrote, I see you’ve done it in a much more concise and elegant manner.

    Thank you.

  • Green Eggs and Ham

    What kind of evidence would you like?  I am not sure that the claim is even a truth-functional proposition.

  • Anonymous

    Adam and Eve are metaphorical objects constructed to embody and explain both the loss of innocence that every child goes through beginning with the recognition of one’s own mortality, and why so many adults are such dicks.

    And also why snakes don’t have legs.  That’s critical too.  Although it always seemed like a dick move for God to curse an entire suborder just because Satan happened to choose a member of that group for his disguise.  If A&E had been tempted by a panda bear, then today you could go to China and see thousands of fuzzy white-and-black legless balls rolling from place to place, and it’d be the most adorable thing ever.

    One of Bachmann’s latest bits of hatefulness is supporting the view that the filthy humanist Renaissance spoiled the Godly and devout Dark Ages, for serious.

    Another fun thing about pandas is — [record scratch] — wait, back up.  She said what?  Is there a link I can follow to learn more about this, because, dang.  My coworker once opined that America should go back to the policies that made the Roaring Twenties so great (forgetting, I guess, how that era turned out), and I thought that was pretty regressive, but dang.

  • chris the cynic

     I mean my fiancee. She only proposed in February and I’m still getting used to the change in terminology

    Congratulations.  May the blessings of Steve be upon you.

    -

    -

    By the way, why is it always Adam and Steve never Eve and some other woman?  Is it just because it’s hard to come up with a Female name that sounds as much like Adam as Steve sounds like Eve? Or because they’re worried that the prospect for primordial lesbians won’t squick people out?  Or something else entirely?

  • Anonymous

    One of Bachmann’s latest bits of hatefulness is supporting the view that
    the filthy humanist Renaissance spoiled the Godly and devout Dark Ages,
    for serious.

    *gibbers* What? What in the name of sweet little fishies is she thinking? Just…. WHAT? *googles* Here.

    Bachmann also adores Schaeffer follower Nancy Pearcey, a prominent
    creationist whose recent book is “Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the
    Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning.” That’s Leonardo as in “da
    Vinci,” whose famous drawing of “Vitruvian Man” shows a human being
    inscribed within a perfect circle and a perfect square. The artist made
    the ungodly error of putting humanity at the center of time and space.

    @Vermic:disqus
    : That’s it, the first thing I’m doing with a time machine is going back and convincing the devil to use a panda instead. (Why are you looking at me like that?)

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752002772 Andrew Glasgow

    Well, ironically Darwin would be on the side of the fundies; technically an “Adam and Steve” would not get anywhere genetically. I seriously doubt anyone’s going to play up the father of evolution as an ally.

    An Adam and Eve wouldn’t get anywhere genetically either. One couple is far too small a genetic base for the entire human race. Even if you suppose they had no genetic defects that would become deadly when their children mated with each other, there would probably be far too little variation to cope with changing environments and diseases, and even if the population survived, also far too little to produce the full scope of humanity as we know it today. There was a reasonably large population of humans throughout our species’ history, and in all likelihood there were at least some homosexual members of the population at all times.

    As for Darwin, if you asked him about homosexuals during his lifetime, he probably wouldn’t know what you meant. If you asked him about sodomites, or pederasts, he probably have expressed negative views typical of most of Victorian English society at the time. (We are creatures of our times, after all.) It’s possible he might have, in the later decades of his life, read the publications of Karl Heinrich Ulrichs and been convinced that being a lover of men was not a perversion or a aberration, but it is admittedly unlikely. So what? Darwin also came up with the concept of gemmules, and that was wrong. He believed in the inferiority of other races, and that was wrong, although it should be noted that he detested slavery and believed that though inferior, they were nonetheless human and deserving of respect and freedom. He accepted, as many biologists did at the time, that acquired characteristics could be inherited, and that was wrong. Darwin was wrong about many things. I don’t really see what point you’re trying to make.

    If we went back in time and said, “Good Mr. Darwin, do you believe sodomites should be given the right to marry each other instead of women,” he would likely say no. If you brought Darwin forward in time, explained the changes in history, allowed him to learn about everything we discovered about biology and in the process the fact that sexual orientation is largely determined by genetic and/or developmental factors, and is not an aberration; if we also explained that people wish to be able to marry those that they love and that forbidding this is seen as a grave injustice; if we further explained that studies have shown that same-sex couples are equally capable of raising children; if we finally offer him examples of loving same-sex couples living normally together as a family — well, what would he do then? I can’t guess — it’s all a question of whether what he learned in his life in Victorian England would influence him more than the new information he had been given. It’s an entirely moot point in any case, as whether he would have been an ally is completely irrelevant to gay rights in the 21st and 1/10th century.

  • Anonymous

     

    And also why snakes don’t have legs.  That’s critical too.  Although it
    always seemed like a dick move for God to curse an entire suborder just
    because Satan happened to choose a member of that group for
    his disguise.  If A&E had been tempted by a panda bear, then today
    you could go to China and see thousands of fuzzy white-and-black legless
    balls rolling from place to place, and it’d be the most adorable thing
    ever.

    To be fair, I think the bigger dick move was punishing all women with the pain of childbirth forever, although I might be biased because I’m a woman and not a serpent.

    But some literalists actually don’t believe the serpent was Satan.  It was actually kind of a recent thing that all the bad guys in the Bible got conglomerated into the one Satan.  Some people believe the serpent was just simply a talking serpent and nothing more.

  • Anonymous

     

    And also why snakes don’t have legs.  That’s critical too.  Although it
    always seemed like a dick move for God to curse an entire suborder just
    because Satan happened to choose a member of that group for
    his disguise.  If A&E had been tempted by a panda bear, then today
    you could go to China and see thousands of fuzzy white-and-black legless
    balls rolling from place to place, and it’d be the most adorable thing
    ever.

    To be fair, I think the bigger dick move was punishing all women with the pain of childbirth forever, although I might be biased because I’m a woman and not a serpent.

    But some literalists actually don’t believe the serpent was Satan.  It was actually kind of a recent thing that all the bad guys in the Bible got conglomerated into the one Satan.  Some people believe the serpent was just simply a talking serpent and nothing more.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752002772 Andrew Glasgow

    By the way, why is it always Adam and Steve never Eve and some other woman?

    It’s because women don’t matter, duh.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=752002772 Andrew Glasgow

    By the way, why is it always Adam and Steve never Eve and some other woman?

    It’s because women don’t matter, duh.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve occasionally heard “Madam and Eve”, but mostly I think it’s just the general disappearing of lesbians when it comes to topics of homosexuality.  Lesbians aren’t as threatening to the Patriarchal hierarchy, and they also tend to blend in more than the stereotypical gay man.

  • Anonymous

    I’ve occasionally heard “Madam and Eve”, but mostly I think it’s just the general disappearing of lesbians when it comes to topics of homosexuality.  Lesbians aren’t as threatening to the Patriarchal hierarchy, and they also tend to blend in more than the stereotypical gay man.

  • chris the cynic

    Some people believe the serpent was just simply a talking serpent and nothing more.
    If you read the text in isolation, that’s really how it seems to be.  If there’s anything in the Adam, Eve, Serpent, Steve, Panda story that implies the serpent was anything more than a talking serpent, I’m certainly not familiar with it.

    -

    @facebook-752002772:disqus 
    That had occurred to me.

  • chris the cynic

    Some people believe the serpent was just simply a talking serpent and nothing more.
    If you read the text in isolation, that’s really how it seems to be.  If there’s anything in the Adam, Eve, Serpent, Steve, Panda story that implies the serpent was anything more than a talking serpent, I’m certainly not familiar with it.

    -

    @facebook-752002772:disqus 
    That had occurred to me.

  • Leo Tokarski

    This seems as good a post as any in which to quote Augustine of Hippo.

    Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

    I’m not sure if it’s amazing or depressing how well those centuries-old words still apply today.

    EDIT: On second though, I’m going with depressing.

  • Leo Tokarski

    This seems as good a post as any in which to quote Augustine of Hippo.

    Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion.

    I’m not sure if it’s amazing or depressing how well those centuries-old words still apply today.

    EDIT: On second though, I’m going with depressing.

  • picklefactory

    The way Alex put it makes sense to me.

  • http://www.blogger.com/home?pli=1 Coleslaw

    An internet petition isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on.Sorry, politicians tend to ignore the internet.  Too easy to spam signatures.

    http://www.montrealgazette.com/news/todays-paper/Police+finally+take+notice+Twitter+threats/5238610/story.html:

    Bombarded with “a few hundred” screen shots of various Twitter threats alleged to have been issued by a St. Laurent man – and by more than 3,200 email complaints from all over the world so far this week – Montreal police said Wednesday they have begun a criminal investigation.
    The threats apparently include death and decapitation.A fast-growing online petition launched Monday demanding Montreal police “Take ‘Mabus’s death threats seriously” quickly swamped police email facilities, spokesperson Lt. Ian Lafrenière acknowledged: “It was kind of crazy.”

    Read more: http://www.montrealgazette.com/Montreal+police+start+probe+Twitter+threats/5238610/story.html#ixzz1UlEJojE3

  • http://twitter.com/FearlessSon FearlessSon

    If A&E had been tempted by a panda bear, then today you could go to China and see thousands of fuzzy white-and-black legless balls rolling from place to place, and it’d be the most adorable thing ever.

    … distracted… by the… cute… mental imagery… 

  • picklefactory

    I saw that pop up on PZ Myers’ blog earlier this week and thought, “It’s that same guy with mental problems that shows up on Slacktivist and pastes in incoherent threats!” I didn’t know he was an equal opportunity threatener. Hopefully he will get some psychiatric help.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    Come up with a generic Western-European female name that rhymes with “Adam” and I’ll see if I can find some fundamentalist blogs and spread it around.

  • Consumer Unit 5012

    Ada and Eve?

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002351929256 Katie Lewis

    It always amazes me that people can insist that a ‘literal’  reading of Genesis means that Adam and Eve were the only people, when Cain later goes off and marries a woman from another group of people.  Where these people came from isn’t explained, of course.  There are reasons for this, but all of them involve accepting that Genesis isn’t the literal truth.

  • Aliaras

    The thing that weirds me out is, if you READ THE BIBLE, you notice that there are not one but *two* creation stories, one right after the other. Genesis 1:1-2:3 does the seven days thing: earth, night, and day on day 1, heaven and earth on day 2, land, water, and plants on day 3, sun and moon and stars on day 4, fish and birds on day 5, animals and humans on day 6, and then of course God rests on day 7. It’s very unclear how many humans were created, just that there were male and female humans.

    Then, in Genesis 2:4, creation happens in a day, not a week. God creates a man first, then plants (in the Garden of Eden), and then animals, bringing each animal to the man to name. He then puts the man to sleep and makes a woman out of his rib, and the rest is the familiar story of Adam and Eve. 

    Those are both different. You can’t take them both literally, unless you sort of smooth over that and mush them together. 

  • Nomuse

    I respect that, too.  As a long-time follower of the fight against the anti-Apollo nitwits, I’ve become far too familiar with the goal posts on casters; the evidence these “skeptics” are waiting for is always (conveniently) the one piece of evidence they are sure they will not be shown.  When it turns out they underestimated the ability of reality to provide just that piece of evidence, hilarity ensues.

    (An oft-quoted Apollo Hoax believer comment; “I meant, BESIDES Doctor James Van Allen…”)

    But in specific regards to Creationism, ID, Flood Geology, and all that rot, it confuses this non-believer greatly why these are considered a good thing.  An actual omnipotent supernatural entity creates the Earth as it likes, without having to work around inconvenient chemistry or cosmology.  The “God” of Creationism is the do-nothing god; in as many places as possible, this god is shown to be superfluous and the processes are shown unfolding naturally.  Am I not understanding the meaning of the term “miracle” here?

  • chris the cynic

    I feel like it can work, you just have to assume that there’s a flashback involved and Eve isn’t created alone.

    The Adam and Eve story starts when there are not yet plants but there is already land.  I think that puts us at day three in the first chronology.  (Specifically it puts us somewhere between the end of 1:10 and the beginning of 1:11.)  So to me it reads like a flashback that means we’ll be seeing what we just saw from a different angle.  (The Bible as Vantage Point, I suppose.)  There isn’t really any big problem in combining the two until you get to the creation of Eve, if we are to take this as being the sixth day then there should also be a male created at this time (for lack of a better name, call him Steve) but he is left out of the more detailed story.  Poor guy.

  • Anonymous

    Now you’ve done it… he’ll be here in the next 24 hours ><

    Oh crap, does he google himself?

  • Cathy W

    My 13-year-old (atheist) daughter is reading the Bible for the first time – she identified it as a gap in her basic cultural literacy. “Where did Cain’s wife come from?” was her first question. 

    I’d hazard a guess that a lot of “literal” readers of the Bible spend a lot of brain power on not thinking about that too hard.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    No, but like evil supernatural beings, he can sense when you say his name. May God — if there is a God — have mercy on our souls — if we have souls.

  • Anonymous

    It always amazes me that people can insist that a ‘literal’  reading of
    Genesis means that Adam and Eve were the only people, when Cain later
    goes off and marries a woman from another group of people.  Where these
    people came from isn’t explained, of course.  There are reasons for
    this, but all of them involve accepting that Genesis isn’t the literal
    truth.

    Oh, no, never underestimate the capabilities of creationists to talk themselves round to positions that squick other people out.

    Answers in Genesis says:

    The Wife

    If we now work totally from Scripture, without any personal
    prejudices or other extrabiblical ideas, then back at the beginning,
    when there was only the first generation, brothers would have had to
    marry sisters or there wouldn’t have been any more generations!

    We’re not told when Cain married or many of the details of other
    marriages and children, but we can say for certain that Cain’s wife was
    either his sister or a close relative.

    By “close relative” they mean niece.  By their argument, Cain can’t have any aunts or uncles, so aunts and cousins are out.  And unless Cain has got children outside of marriage, she can’t be his daughter.

    God, they say, allowed incest in these first generations, and only later did he outlaw it, and presumably only after he outlawed it did it become repellant to most people.

    They also poo-poo the idea of a “‘race’ of women.”  I think they’re making an error of the same sort as Ray Comfort makes when he says that a male elephant and a female elephant (his example) had to have evolved separately, but close enough in time and space to get together and propagate their species, but I can’t explain exactly why they’re wrong.

  • Anonymous

    I think some fundamentalists have gone so far as to say that Cain married his sister, but it was ok because God made it ok.  They’ll say that God put some magic in their genes so the normal inbreeding problems wouldn’t arise.

    It is my understanding that the biblical creation of Adam and Eve was meant explain the beginning of Yahweh’s specific chosen people.  There are two different stories and the first one is about plural gods creating everything, including man and woman.  Then their specific God created Adam and Eve.  I think the Jews believed during OT time that all those other gods actually existed, but they just weren’t supposed to worship them.  So they would have read the story of Cain with the understanding that other people existed, but they were the creations of other gods.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_GVT7C7S6IP2OC44PFUZGAJ4OBM JohnK

    Okay, come up with two more.

  • Hawker40

    I sit corrected.

  • http://twitter.com/shutsumon Becka Sutton

    When fundies deny evolution in the face of the evidence they call God a liar. Words can be figurative and we know from the Gospels that our God is fond of using allegory. Empirical evidence is something else.

    I like Origen’s thoughts on the Genesis creation story myself.

    “What person of intelligence, I ask, will consider as a reasonable
    statement that the first and the second and the third day, in which
    there are said to be both morning and evening, existed without sun and
    moon and stars, while the first day was even without a heaven? […] I do
    not think anyone will doubt that these are figurative expressions which
    indicate certain mysteries through a semblance of history.” 

  • Samantha C.

    If it helps, I understand it in theory the way I do Truths in Fiction. It might not be a factual true fact that Frodo and Sam went to Mordor with the One Ring, but it is a Truth that friendship grants incredible emotional strength, as illustrated in the fictional example. It’s not a verifiable falsifiable scientific sort of truth, and it can be contradicted by a thousand examples of times when friends let you down. But that’s the sort of Truth I think is beign talked about.

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Well, I remember several times on the old site someone would say his real name or handle and then BAM, there he’d be, spamming away.  I’d assume that means he Googles himself frequently, but it’s possible it’s coincidence.  Still, I do remember people mostly taking up the habit of calling him “he who must not be named” for awhile.  Then again I was only on the old site for ~2-3 months before the move (as an active commenter – I lurked quite a bit longer)

    Err, long story short – probably.

  • Rich D.

    Just to chime in on the science side all humans CAN be traced back to a single woman using genetics, by examining mutations in mitochondrial DNA which is passed down from the mother to children.  All humans can also be traced back to a single man,  by examining mutations in the Y chromosome that is passed down from father to sons.

    However this does not imply that there was a single man and woman ancestor of the entire human race, and in fact Mitochondrial Eve is older than the estimated range for Y-Chromosomal Adam (he’s still being searched for) by about 60,000-14,000 years.

  • Rich D.

    Just to chime in on the science side all humans CAN be traced back to a single woman using genetics, by examining mutations in mitochondrial DNA which is passed down from the mother to children.  All humans can also be traced back to a single man,  by examining mutations in the Y chromosome that is passed down from father to sons.

    However this does not imply that there was a single man and woman ancestor of the entire human race, and in fact Mitochondrial Eve is older than the estimated range for Y-Chromosomal Adam (he’s still being searched for) by about 60,000-14,000 years.

  • chris the cynic

    There is in fact an ancient Jewish book, considered canon by the Ethiopian Orthodox Church, which tries to explain Cain’s wife.  According to the book of Jubilees Cain married his sister Awan.

    Awan sounds like a good name, and apparently it’s female.  So I propose “Awan and Eve,” even though it doesn’t rhyme.  Presumably Eve named her daughter after he lover.  As for why the incest afterward, I’ve got nothing.  God should have created a much larger population, perhaps around 10,000.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100002351929256 Katie Lewis

    Thank you for reminding me of the traditions that try to explain where Cain’s wife came from, and why incest isn’t icky when God says that its ok.  I’d forgotten about them, although, to my mind, the explanations show that the Bible-by itself-is contradictory and illogical, and needs human agency to make some sort of sense of it.  A ‘literal’ reading causes as many problems as it solves.

  • Anonymous

    Not a B.A. in English, but I just like it and took a lot of English classes even though I didn’t need them. One prof. gave us an interpretation of Adam and Eve that I liked because it was different than the usual “loss of innocence/mortality” metaphor. She thought it might be about humanity moving away from a simple agrarian/nomadic life of plucking what was needed from the trees, and into a more complex world, and the problems that accompanied that transition. It wasn’t a perfect metaphor, but it wasn’t the interpretation I had always heard. I can’t remember exactly how the prof. explained it, though, so … yeah. I didn’t think it quite worked but I did think it was interesting. 

  • No-one

    So we’re made in God’s image? Behold!!

    uggc://zrqvn.cubgbohpxrg.pbz/vzntr/Fnvybe%20Ohoon/geryvbe/cbfgre70008354.wct

    ROT13′d because, seriously! Also, brain bleach from the stall by the exit, $40 per gallon.

  • Anonymous

    I just thought of a question. If there’s no Adam and Eve, wouldn’t that mean there’s no original sin? Do all Christians believe in original sin? Or only the ones who read Genesis “literally”? (This isn’t exactly on topic, but I’m clueless and curious now.)

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Bah, Sailor Bubba is taaaaaaaaame.  Srsly.

  • Matri

    I dunno man, that thing is just wrong!

  • http://mistformsquirrel.deviantart.com/ JJohnson

    Meh.  Having seen stuff like (DO NOT GOOGLE – Very NSFW) Meatspin, Goatse, Lemonparty and worse… not to mention having a thing for crossdressing* I just… don’t find anything remotely disturbing about it.

    I mean it’s a bad cosplay sure, but I’ve even seen worse than that to be honest.

    Maybe the internet has left me jaded *shrug*

    *Sailor Bubba ain’t my type though.


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