I am a little confused as to the point you are making. You state that we all came from one man 60,000 years ago, yet humans have been around for 200,000 years. So the “chromosome Adam,” is said to be the parent of “modern,” if you will, humanity. Yet mitochondrial Eve, from which all homo species (or that is what I thought it was getting at) came from, is 200,000 years old. So then could not that be the “Eve” of the Bible, and “Adam” (of the Bible, not chromosomal) be the first of the species that “Eve” was the part of? In other words, though he is called “chromosome Adam” I do not see why this must make him the Adam of the Bible. You gave proof for the first of the species through Mitochondrial Eve, so could not Adam have been her mate? And then from this point the species continued to evolve until it reached the Chromosomal Adam? Thus accounting for the diversity of our genetic make up. So by proving mitochondrial Eve, it is then necessary that she would have had a partner by which to pass on her genetics and that partner and Eve are the first of the human line that continued to adapt until it reached modern man. Her mate then, would be Adam, and the Chromosomal Adam would be a different person. So in short, Adam was the mate of Mitochondrial Eve, and thus they are still in line with evolution.
I didn’t state that chromosome Adam must be the Adam of the Bible. I simply stated that he wasn’t Mitochondrial Eve’s mate. I cannot stress this point enough, evolution is change in the traits of biological populations. There is no ancestral couple. A couple cannot qualify as a population.
“Unlike her biblical namesake, she (Mitochondrial Eve) wasn’t the only woman on Earth. In a sense, she’s just a quirk of statistics. But if that’s the case, then she’s easily the most important quirk of statistics who ever lived (Continue Reading).”
Perhaps this graphic will explain her importance in the human genome:
In other words, “[t]his individual passed down her mitochondria relatively unchanged to every human alive today, and all females will continue to pass down her mitochondria indefinitely.” It is also useful to know that she isn’t our only common ancestor. Again, the notion of two ancestral parents is inconsistent with Evolution.
Perhaps now would be a pertinent time to put forth the distinction made by the Church in regards to human evolution. The Church does allow for the possibility that the body of man (that for which you have been auguring) could have been created by evolution and the inter species mating (accounting for the Neanderthal DNA). Thus everything you have argued in regards to the science the Church does not reject. Where the distinction is made is within the creation of the soul. It is that which separates Adam and Eve from the rest of the previous species. Pope Pius XII explains
the teaching authority of the Church does not forbid that, in conformity with the present state of human sciences and sacred theology, research and discussions … take place with regard to the doctrine of evolution, in as far as it inquires into the origin of the human body as coming from pre-existent and living matter—[but] the Catholic faith obliges us to hold that souls are immediately created by God (Pius XII, Humani Generis 36)
So regardless of how the body came to be, the Church holds the narrative of Adam and Eve to be the first “humans” insofar as a human is defined as a composite of body and soul. Therefore the Church has absolutely no issue with what you say (besides the denial of God of course) yet creates a very clear distinction of what it means to be a human person.
To be frank, this is a contortion and nothing more. A literal belief in Genesis 1 survived until Darwin and amongst the uneducated and obdurate, it still survives. The notion of a soul is an issue of faith — based on absolutely no evidence. Furthermore, a soul would only matter if libertarian free will were true. However, it is not true. Volition isn’t free from the multifarious variables that influence it. Sam Harris makes a strong case in “Free Will”:
“But even if the human mind were made of soul-stuff, nothing about my argument would change. The unconscious operations of a soul would grant you no more freedom than the unconscious physiology of your brain does.
“If you don’t know what your soul is going to do next, you are not in control. This is obviously true in all cases where a person wishes he could feel or behave differently than he does: Think of the millions of committed Christians whose souls happen to be gay, prone to obesity, or bored by prayer. However, free will is no more evident when a person does exactly what, in retrospect, he wishes he had done. The soul that allows you to stay on your diet is just as mysterious as the one that tempts you to eat cherry pie for breakfast.”
Sam Harris (Free Will, p.12)
More and more evidence is demonstrating that h.neanderthalensis wasn’t so different from h.sapien. In other words, why didn’t they have a soul? Why didn’t ergaster, erectus and australopithecus have souls? Little is known about their behavior, but bipedalism suggests that they were intelligent. How can one distinguish between a being with a soul and a being without a soul? Is self-awareness the basis? If so, elephants and dolphins would qualify as having a soul. Is free will the only criteria? If that’s the case, the veracity of free will must first be proven; unfortunately, the type of free will that is germane in any conversation regarding the soul is illusory. There is no evidence for a soul and I would argue that what we know about humans isn’t consistent with the idea of a body and soul distinction.
Forgive the preachy aspect of my last post, I read through it again and you are right about that. I did not mean to imply that evolution is a means by which God can be known. I meant that through knowing evolution man is able to understand the human person better. From this knowledge of self (which knowledge of evolution does not fully grant) man is then able to delve into the metaphysical realm, where a discovery of God could be made. Hopefully that is less preachy and more clear.
It is more clear, but I don’t see how a knowledge of evolution leads one to the metaphysical. Moreover, if god intended for us to come to a deeper knowledge via an understanding of evolution, he has failed utterly. Evolution is relatively young when compared to other scientific facts. Furthermore, there are many mysteries within Evolutionary Biology. It will be generations before we understand it fully and with the constant opposition, it will probably take longer. Nonetheless, a knowledge of evolution doesn’t lead to the metaphysical and it sure as hell doesn’t lead to the Judeo-Christian god.
As for why God was not specific within the Bible with regards to science, it is simply because the Bible was not intended to be a science book. The Bible’s purpose, and infallibility is within its teachings in regards to salvific truth. Thus the inclusion of such things as the Big Bang Theory and the acceleration rate of gravity would not have been pertinent to the actual message. I understand the frustrations that arise when trying to read the Bible as anything other than what it was meant to be, be that a science book, history book… etc. But I do not claim a history book to be false because it does not include the specifics of science nor vice versa. So again, the reason the specifics of science where not put within the Bible is because it is not meant to be a science book.
The Bible is unreliable altogether. If its purpose was to simply convey the message of salvation, it failed utterly. Any educated person can speak of the unreliability of the Gospels and the Epistles. The Bible is no different from its contemporaries — specifically other mythological literature. There is no message other than the one that was agreed upon by agenda driven zealots. In other words, the aspects that distinguish the Bible from similar stories were agreed upon by agenda driven zealots in different periods of time so that the stories may coincide with the message they were trying to get across. For example, the Old Testament writers wrote, rewrote, edited and reedited in particular the Pentateuch and the book of Isaiah in order to solidify the notion of Monotheism — a relatively new idea that wasn’t prevalent in the ancient world. Even the early Jews had four dominant deities, namely Yahweh, El, Baal, and Asherah. Polytheism was to be expected of the ancients including the early Jews who had plenty of contact with the Egyptians and the Babylonians who were themselves Polytheists. For more info watch here. Karen Armstrong’s book is simplified in this video; perhaps it will be more useful to read “A History of God” if you haven’t already done so. Her scholarship is verified by her fellow scholars. Introduction to the Old Testament is a Yale open course that will clarify any issues you may have.
Again, I don’t see why he would waste such time writing or inspiring sacerdotal laws and clear atrocities. Slaying the Amalekites has absolutely nothing to do with salvation. Well, unless you’re William Lane Craig who argues that the children who were slayed were actually saved. However, the story makes perfect sense in light of Yahweh’s character. He was the god of war or alternatively, the god of the armies. This is the reason why most of the tales end in victory or with a promise entailing retribution, salvation, and/or conquer.
In any case, an omniscient god, who wants all people to be saved (1 Timothy 2:4), would recognize the appeal of science and would have been concerned with accuracy wherever science is mentioned. However, there is inaccuracy when it is mentioned. We live in a time when science challenges the idea of god. An omniscient god would have foreseen this time and addressed it — especially if he is interested in the salvation of all people. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. He was more concerned with Bronze Age literature and ritual. Thus, it is more accurate to say that the men of those times were concerned with such matters; god — assuming there is one — would not have been and would not be concerned with such matters. It may be useful for you to consider that Atheists aren’t the only ones who take this position; Deists have made similar arguments — particularly Thomas Paine in “The Age of Reason”. In other words, Atheism isn’t the default position. I would be equally satisfied if you considered Thomas Paine’s god or Spinoza’s god. They are more rational considerations after all.
As for the connection of Christ with Adam, as was aforementioned, “Adam” came to be when his soul was created, regardless of where he was within the evolution process. So the connection between Adam and Christ is still there. Also if you could point me to the sources you use to state, “Scholars agree: the divine Christ didn’t exist” that would be most helpful. I would question the absolute lack of emotional investment within your search, but as I do not know you personally I will take you on your word. That being said, I do have an investment within Christianity but to fudge the research or follow bad logic would be an insult to the very Creator I am trying to defend by the use of the reason he gave me. So while I do have an investment in my research (otherwise I do not know why I would look into it) it does not interfere with the things I find to be true, as to muck up my reason would be a denial of what I am searching for in and of itself.
I addressed the issue of the soul in an earlier section. For the record, a soul doesn’t account for their genealogical connection — a connection that is contradictory in and of itself when the genealogies in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke are compared side by side.
Scholars do agree; the divine Christ didn’t exist:
- Introduction to the New Testament History and Literature
- Why I Don’t Buy the Resurrection Story by Richard Carrier
- The God Who Wasn’t There
Richard Carrier and Robert M. Price have written at length about this topic; Carrier has also debated known apologists and honestly, they were all outclassed. There are also others; however, I am not yet familiar with their work. I’ve named Carrier and Price because I’m familiar with their work. When I compare their scholarship to the likes of William Lane Craig, Lee Strobel, and other apologists, my assertion is well supported. Jesus the man may have existed, but the Christ that Christians believe in did not exist. If the scholarship isn’t enough, think of Matthew 27:53 and the ascension. Any historian that was a contemporary of Christ would have recorded such astonishing events; even non-historians could have given themselves the right to do so. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. Therefore, it is safe to conclude that Christianity is founded on a myth.
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