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← Adam and Eve: Literal or Literary?

Adam and Eve: Literal or Literary? - Comments

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 1 by Bernard Hurley

It makes me wonder whether the FSM was created already cooked or whether the Great Chef in the sky chose a particular dish of spaghetti bolognese to have a special relationship with Him.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 17:05:55 UTC | #482324

sara g's Avatar Comment 2 by sara g

I read the comments and was kind of frustrated at first. Then I started recognizing the mental gymnastics of people who are just starting to question why their holy book makes no sense. Some of those folks will definitely be showing up here some day and telling us their stories of how they escaped their religion.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 17:36:11 UTC | #482334

elmo14's Avatar Comment 3 by elmo14

I'm sad to say that I myself live in Edina, MN, in fact, only a block or so away from Colonial Church. Reading this post was just yet another rude awakening to "mental masturbation" and religious lunacy that for the most part in everyday life is operating under my radar... For a very long time I kind of just assumed that no one really believed in all this bullshit, and just went to church because of tradition and a sense of community. I actually went to church, against my will though I had learned pretty quickly not to vocalize my opposition..., until I was confirmed in the 9th grade. I can remember sitting with a group of my peers in a room being taught the story of creation. I didn't really think anything of it at the time; I didn't pay much attention to anything during conformation as I was well aware, though not necessarily well informed, that the bible was not historically accurate and should only be taken as allegory. But looking back, I'm pretty sure there were many of my peers who believed it to be literally true. It was the only subject our Pastor deemed it necessary that our parents accompany us, and I can really only speculate why, but I have to assume it was because of the inherent conflict with reality when taken to be literally true... I guess the point I am trying to make, and the reason I felt compelled to post something, is that I seize to be amazed that otherwise completely rational people can be so incredibly deluded when it comes to religion. And am even more so deeply saddened and incredibly frustrated at the misconceptions associated with the term atheism. Just as I was utterly baffled to find out some of my good friends, who I had been friends with for several years, didn't understand in the reality of evolution but were actually, I shit you not, believers in young earth creationism; they were equally as surprised, after a lengthy and heart felt open conversation, to realize that everything they had been told about atheism was just a bunch of contrived and ignorant bullshit.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 17:43:41 UTC | #482337

TrumpetPower!'s Avatar Comment 4 by TrumpetPower!

Oh, for fuck’s sake. Really?

In the year 2010, there are actually people so blitheringly idiotic as to think that there really was an Adam and an Eve?

God damn, but these people are stupid.

I’m sorry, but I have a hard time feeling any sympathy for grown adults who still believe in the literal truth of faery tales like that one. If you want to look for literary meaning or anthropologic insight in ancient mythology, go ahead and knock yourself out. But next thing you know the BidiotLogos crowd will be trying to explain how talking shrubberies (on fire, no less!) can teach reluctant heros in proper magic wand technique.

Oh, wait….

Cheers,

b&

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 17:58:47 UTC | #482346

passutoba's Avatar Comment 5 by passutoba

Not having the religious mindset that assumes a god and nurdles around to be as accommodationist as possible, I find this article staggeringly ridiculous in its willingness to even indulge the idea of A&E being literal.....so glad about that. Imagine how many chin-stroking christians you could get to a 3-day conference on this matter, earnestly discussing the issue over limp sandwiches and crap coffee without a hint of irony or introspection, let alone a sense of absurdity.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:03:46 UTC | #482348

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 6 by Bernard Hurley

Einstein once said "Only two things are infinite: the universe and humans stupidity - and I'm not sure about the universe!"

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:10:43 UTC | #482350

Ben_Ridge's Avatar Comment 7 by Ben_Ridge

It's true that Christians having these kinds of discussions amongst themselves may seem silly to us, but shouldn't we just be happy that they accept evolution? I think it's alright if they want to waste time pondering over the Adam & Eve literal/figurative debate. At the end of the day I hope we're not trying to make the world think just like us. That's why I appreciate Kenneth Miller so much; sure I think his take on evolution as the method god chose to bring about humans is superfluous, but who cares if Christians want to entertain themselves with a few extra mental back flips? I just want people to accept what seems to be true based on the evidence; I really don't care if they ALSO believe in god.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:21:52 UTC | #482354

Dark Matter's Avatar Comment 8 by Dark Matter

"Sometimes I wonder whether the world is being run by smart people who are putting us on, or by imbeciles who really mean it" Mark Twain

Updated: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:39:44 UTC | #482358

sharpcj's Avatar Comment 9 by sharpcj

Ben, it matters because these seemingly innocent discussions inevitably end up spilling over into reasonable society. These groups work themselves up into a theologically reasoned (oxymoron) frenzy and before you know it Adam & Eve is being taught as literal alongside literary explanations in our schools, taking time away from evidence based education and setting up the next generation of Biologos comment makers. The cycle has to be broken somewhere.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:46:50 UTC | #482361

sara g's Avatar Comment 10 by sara g

Passotuba, they can't have this conversation without a bunch of introspection. It is just very painful to reject the lifelong absurdity of, first, biblical inerrency, and hopefully next, superstition in general. No one who has fallen into the trap this deeply is going to wake up one day and realize something so important to them is a load of crap. Leaving the fantasy has to start somewhere.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:48:44 UTC | #482364

serotonin_wraith's Avatar Comment 11 by serotonin_wraith

The family line in the Bible from Adam to Jesus is about 4000 years. So, the Bible has Adam and Eve living 6000 years ago.

6000 years ago, humans had already spread far and wide, so if God did test a certain couple from this time, most of us are not their descendants, we've inherited no original sin, and we have no reason to care about Jesus' sacrifice, the basic foundation of Christianity.

Wow, they pretty much show there's no reason to be a Christian.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 18:50:26 UTC | #482366

Marcus Small's Avatar Comment 12 by Marcus Small

I find this man's reasoning somewhat strange. So Jesus, Paul, Moses and king David could not have been historical figures if Adam and Eve turned out to be mythological because they happened to mentioned in the same collection of books. Right so tell me Harrell, was Alfred the Great an historical figure, given his alleged descent from both Cerdic, a somewhat shadowy historical/ahistorical figure AND Wōden.

The bible is not historically inerrant, wake up.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 19:48:29 UTC | #482382

Charisma's Avatar Comment 13 by Charisma

For the serious student of Scripture and science, making a choice between literal and literary is impossible too. Can’t there be a middle option? Perhaps.

WTF? It's either true or it isn't!

Updated: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:05:32 UTC | #482386

Johnhds's Avatar Comment 14 by Johnhds

I don't think people are stupid as the other commentors. I feel people are looking for something or someone to believe in and that is where the religions come into play.

Perhaps the bible is just a book of stories. Is there any scientific proof from dna that dates back to the first person(s)? Is there any absolute proof that all the stories in the bible didn't actually occur?

History like any other story has its roots in the truth and in urban legends.

People should believe what they like and not worry about proof or facts. Besides...they won't anyway. Commentors...does it really matter what others believe?

Updated: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:11:34 UTC | #482389

TrumpetPower!'s Avatar Comment 15 by TrumpetPower!

Comment 14 by Johnhds :

Is there any absolute proof that all the stories in the bible didn't actually occur?

Um, actually, yeah. At least, as much as science ever deals in absolute proofs.

The Genesis accounts of the origins of the Earth are as bizarrely off the mark as any other primitive creation story. We know that the Milky Way wasn’t spurted out of Hera’s breast, for example, with every bit as much certainty as we know that the Bible is bullshit. And the Flood? Just as batshit insane as the notion that the sky is a dome that rests on pillars.

Indeed, once you start digging into it, there probably isn’t a single bit of factual truth at all in the Bible, aside from vague handwaving-type references to historical figures. We know that Augustus Caesar was real, but he sure as Christian shit stinks didn’t order no census like the one in the Nativity story. Indeed, the whole thing is such obvious fantasy and fiction it’s mind-boggling that anybody could even pretend otherwise.

Cheers,

b&

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:20:56 UTC | #482391

Philoctetes                                        's Avatar Comment 16 by Philoctetes

Is there anything more wasteful of space, time and effort than Theology. A bunch of blind drunk football fans can hold a more coherent debate that this theological tosh. You have to admire the mental gymnastics though, but what a waste of neurones that could be better employed. It is quite staggering that some people will spend their lives trying to make the understandable misconceptions of bronze age man not just relevant but superior to the stringent proofs of scientific methodological informed conclusions of a less ignorant age. The bible was not written by a supernatural being it was written by misguided individual men. We accept that people can have great minds and justify the respect that their contemporaries bestowed on them. Take Aristotle, well informed by the standards of his age, in advance of his times, insightful, persuasive and the producer of long lived ideas, many of which were adopted by the christians. But just about all of them demonstrably wrong in the light of progressive understanding of the way things really work. Or Newton, apart from gravity and calculus (oh, and light) a bit of a nutter with supernatural beliefs considered fanciful even in his own day.

This is why it is important for us to continue bashing our heads against the brick wall of religious credibility. Belief and non-belief is now an issue. Now that nothing is sacred and a strawman for a pope, we know that every ludicrous rant by the so called church intellectuals is a sign of the disintegration of their demon haunted world. Of course they are shrill and irrational, it is hard defending the indefensible. We should be witnessing the last acts of desperate men, but we need to be on our guard in the knowledge that the early christians destroyed the enlightened views of the ancient world with their burning of the Library of Alexandria and nasty books generally and Islamic enlightenment in the 11th Century was suppressed by theocratic order, the consequences of which are with us a thousand years later.

Then again perhaps this whole article was just a laugh, a fishing expedition to get us atheists twitching and fuming. I mean it is impossible to take seriously, it has to be a joke, surely no one is really that stupid. I'm sure the author is giggling about how he managed to wind up the dumb atheists yet again

Updated: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:42:23 UTC | #482397

sara g's Avatar Comment 17 by sara g

"The problem is that creating with age makes God seem to be tricking us into thinking things are older than they are with no clear reason for doing so."

Perhaps god only wants really credulous followers to make it to heaven. By surrounding himself with folks who'll believe him before their own eyes he makes himself look smarter. Kind of like if I have only obese friends, I look like the skinny one.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:41:31 UTC | #482398

katt33's Avatar Comment 18 by katt33

The Adam and Eve thing, one of a number of biblical things, bothers me in the sense that if they are literal then procreation and all of humanity is the byproduct of incest and that is a sin. Until it suited God's purpose it would have been okay to have incest. Would that not create a race of sickly, demented children that would have died out? Doesn't make any sense.

Could figures in the bible, some of them be real and others symbols, or icons created for whatever purpose? Yes, very likely a mix of a grain of real with embellishment. If all these books would be looked at strictly from a point of view of allegory, with some historical elements, that those of that time felt necessary to create, it would probably not be so divisive.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 20:53:43 UTC | #482401

dac74's Avatar Comment 19 by dac74

This person has found things in Genesis that I don't recall being there. I looked it up, and there was nothing in chapter 2 about God creating Adam and Eve "supernaturally, midstream in evolution’s flow." Not even a footnote. (Although I didn't check the King James version).

Blockquote Can’t there be a middle option?

Yes there can be, but it involves interpreting the bible in an extremely ad hoc manner to get it to say what you want. Eisegesis is probably the word.

Paul and Jesus believed in Adam and Eve because they were first century Jews, as I would have done if I was born at the same time into the same culture. It's completely asinine to continue to believe such things in the 21st century.

Are Moses and Jesus fictional? The former yes; the latter is a better bet for historicity, but it's not impossible he's simply the creation of Paul and the writer of Mark's Gospel, two of the most influential people of the past 2000 years.

PS. As this article kind of alludes to, Adam and Eve are very important to Christian doctrine: remove Adam and Eve's Fall, and you then have no reason for Jesus' rescue act to take away sin. Yes? So what is the defence of evolution believing Christians for their religion? I'm sure there's an apologetic out there,(the religious mind can rationalise anything away) but I've never really heard it explained in depth. Any help would be welcome. Thanks.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 21:11:57 UTC | #482410

The Plc's Avatar Comment 20 by The Plc

How nauseating, using the most dubious of hermeneutics in one big square circling exercise in order to keep your childish fantasies alive (This is also known by its more formal name, Theology). Any grown person who actively takes part in this psuedo-intellectual mental treachery must have serious emotional issues, not just naivete or ignorance.

I actually think this kind of thing is damaging, whenever religious "moderates" try to fit science into religion in this way, to the side of science and reason against creationists. Trying to get the fundamentalists to accept science in this way is backfiring. The creationists, as unbelievably stupid and ignorant as they are, can actually see themselves how this intellectual dishwater is not compelling at all. They know the ultimate implications of the scientific method and evolution. It's all or nothing.

The religious accomodationalists really do have a "smile, nod and pretend everything is ok" when science catches them, don't you think?

Updated: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 21:28:03 UTC | #482417

Art Vandelay's Avatar Comment 21 by Art Vandelay

That this discussion is actually going on in the western world in the twenty-first century... I just can't summon the words.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 21:41:35 UTC | #482422

Left Ahead's Avatar Comment 22 by Left Ahead

"...science does not rule out the possibility of a historical Adam and Eve... ."

Hmph. Science does not rule out the possibility of lots of strange things. It does, however, rule out convoluted, tortured, bone-dislocating nonsense, the sole purpose of which is to defend faith against both evidence and sense, whether the sense in question is common or not.

As for those who think that God created the universe with apparent age and that he also "put in place a DNA history," well, they should be reminded that they have a name for that kind of shamelessly deceptive supernatural entity: Satan.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 21:56:49 UTC | #482427

Alovrin's Avatar Comment 23 by Alovrin

While we might not necessarily understand why God would do that, he could do that (being God and all).

One day god was sitting around in heaven getting bored, as you would if you were the supreme being with an eternity to fill. So He( of course god has a dick) decided to fill a few millenia with a little game, He decided to call it "Haha Fooled You!" So he confected a story about a first man and woman and drip fed it into the brains of some thirst addled sunstruck desert dwellers and he's been laughing ever since.

He can do that being god n' all.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 21:57:51 UTC | #482428

Bernard Hurley's Avatar Comment 24 by Bernard Hurley

Comment 23 by alovrin

So he confected a story about a first man and woman and drip fed it into the brains of some thirst addled sunstruck desert dwellers and he's been laughing ever since.

Not only that, but he went round the world drip feeding different stories into other people's brains. Occasionally he would put on his halo and perform a few miracles so that everyone would be convinced that their particular story was true. Then he sat back to watch the fun!

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 22:18:25 UTC | #482435

hypnoticbob's Avatar Comment 25 by hypnoticbob

What I find most humorous about this poorly reasoned article is that we can essentially create any number of possibilities to make the creationist's bible(s) fit into any package, however, it would certainly be more wonderful yet if we had any actual evidence to support these postulations. While we're at it, why not throw in some mythology, etc. 'Speaking' of which, why is it that when one asks these monotheists where their religion was when polytheism ruled, they cannot even utter a rational response?

Updated: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 22:29:25 UTC | #482436

Alovrin's Avatar Comment 26 by Alovrin

Comment 24 by Bernard Hurley

hahahahaha that god gets around, well he is god n' all.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 23:00:52 UTC | #482450

Ivan The Not So Bad's Avatar Comment 27 by Ivan The Not So Bad

If you're a UK citizen, you can use the British Humanist Association link below to send a pre-drafted letter to your MP protesting against creationism being introduced into schools.

British Humanist Association

If nothing else, the replies should be educational.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 23:07:24 UTC | #482453

TheVirginian's Avatar Comment 28 by TheVirginian

The author should have done a modicum of research on what historians can tell us about the Adam and Eve story, which would have saved him from a really embarrassing error. The A&E story was an ancient monotheistic (or maybe henotheistic) satire on goddess worship. "Eve" was one of the names of the goddess Asherah, who was the wife of the high god of the polytheistic Israelites. Asherah (like some other ancient goddesses) was associated with fertility, a sacred fruit tree and snakes, and was often portrayed in the nude in art. So the A&E story is saying that, because the first man listened to the goddess and not to the god, he was punished. And by making Eve his wife, punishing her and making her mortal, the satirist degraded her from divine status. Over the centuries, the original divine nature of Eve was forgotten. Then Christians re-interpreted the whole satire into a tale of how Satan, not the goddess (in the form of the talking snake), corrupted humanity. The A&E story has absolutely nothing to do with Original Sin or the Eternal Damnation of humanity. Rather, it's how humanity lost immortality and was punished for worshiping/heeding anyone other than the highest god of ancient Israel. I must mention that there were several stories in the ancient Mideast about humanity losing immortality because of some misstep. Read "Gilgamesh," for example. This was a popular motif, apparently.

Updated: Mon, 21 Jun 2010 23:19:10 UTC | #482456

Alovrin's Avatar Comment 29 by Alovrin

So the A&E story is saying that, because the first man listened to the goddess and not to the god

So the sordid beginnings of patriarchy are revealed.

Mon, 21 Jun 2010 23:27:14 UTC | #482457

keithapm's Avatar Comment 30 by keithapm

Twist it this way, bend it that way, break this little bit off, ignore that bit sticking out and viola! It fits! You can continue to believe your silly little fairytale!

Pathetic.

Tue, 22 Jun 2010 00:03:47 UTC | #482465