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Did Jesus Christ make Adam and Eve out of the dust, and of the rib?


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#41 Evan

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 05:54 PM

That the one who 'walked and talked with Adam' in Genesis is the New Adam, Christ, is said explicitly by St Irenaeus of Lyons in his Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching.



Father, your blessing:

Well, that's pretty definitive, I'd say! However, I would ask whether you consider St. John Chrysostom to hold this understanding, on the basis of the above-cited passage.

In Christ,
Evan

#42 Evan

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Posted 24 October 2010 - 06:06 PM

Well, if the question of Adam's historicity is strictly a matter of personal interest, then I suppose I could say the same about a lot of Orthodoxy's teachings!

It is true that the overwhelming preponderance of Orthodox teachers have taught the historicity of Adam and Eve and the literal/historical version of Genesis 1 and 2, and post-Nicea it is, I assume, the formal position of the Church. So I defer to that, with a qualification, that to treat it only as such misses the point entirely. And I doubt that any of the Church Fathers have commented on Genesis without focusing primarily on the allegorical and typological significance of Adam and Eve. So what would be the allegorical and typological significance of Adam's "rib?" That would be the only point to the discussion as far as I see it...as a way of defining and understanding human nature and human relationships. The first thing that comes to mind is that it is significant in what it doesn't claim. It does not claim, for example, that Eve is the product of sexual relationships between Adam and some other animal, or some angelic being, or some alien from another planet. But that man and woman are of the same nature and substance and are not inherently alien to each other, and are designed to live in harmony, etc. And that our spiritual destinies are closely intertwined. I hate to sound like a theological prig, but there is no point to the account apart from its spiritual/allegorical significance. And so one can surmise that it was written (by Moses) as a theological treatise primarily, and not as a literal/historical document. One not so obvious point needs to be made in these types of discussions, which is that historical facts have no meaning. So to say that Genesis 1 is an historical account is a meaningless statement in and of itself.


God certainly doesn't seem to to think that historical facts have NO meaning. He wrought our salvation in the midst of history. We would still be in our sins if the Word did not become flesh at a specific time and in a specific place and actually rise from the dead on the third day.

Or perhaps I'm misunderstanding you. Certainly, the historicity of certain events is of more central importance than others, and your point about moving beyond a literal/historical understanding of Genesis is well-taken. I worry, however, that unless we insist on, say, the actual, physical creation of the world by God, through His Son, in His Spirit, we risk compromising a central feature of Moses' witness.

In Christ,
Evan

Edited by Evan, 24 October 2010 - 06:22 PM.


#43 Antonios

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 04:13 AM

There is nothing to prevent God from walking in the Person of Jesus Christ in the garden with Adam. While He became incarnate in our time, He remains forever above our time. He is in no way constrained by our time. When He freed Adam from hades, Adam beheld his Creator.

#44 Owen Jones

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 02:53 PM

A fact, historical or otherwise, has no meaning in and of itself. Does that help? History is not a fact, it's a story with an intended meaning. Otherwise, you are simply overwhelmed with a volume of unmanageable facts. Another example: a person is not a fact. Add up all of the observable facts about me and none of that makes me a person. You can examine a flower, understand and name all of its component parts, understand the process of photosynthesis, etc., and you still don't know what it is. Whether or not Genesis I is a purely factual account or not is irrelevant really. The only relevant point is what does it say about how and what we are and why we are here in a way that evokes a response.

#45 Evan

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 04:39 PM

A fact, historical or otherwise, has no meaning in and of itself. Does that help? History is not a fact, it's a story with an intended meaning. Otherwise, you are simply overwhelmed with a volume of unmanageable facts. Another example: a person is not a fact. Add up all of the observable facts about me and none of that makes me a person. You can examine a flower, understand and name all of its component parts, understand the process of photosynthesis, etc., and you still don't know what it is. Whether or not Genesis I is a purely factual account or not is irrelevant really. The only relevant point is what does it say about how and what we are and why we are here in a way that evokes a response.


I really did misunderstand you. Of course, I agree. After all, did not the demons state a fact when they asserted that Our Lord was the Holy One of God? Didn't help them.

In Christ,
Evan

#46 IoanC

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 06:43 PM

A fact, historical or otherwise, has no meaning in and of itself. Does that help? History is not a fact, it's a story with an intended meaning. Otherwise, you are simply overwhelmed with a volume of unmanageable facts. Another example: a person is not a fact. Add up all of the observable facts about me and none of that makes me a person. You can examine a flower, understand and name all of its component parts, understand the process of photosynthesis, etc., and you still don't know what it is. Whether or not Genesis I is a purely factual account or not is irrelevant really. The only relevant point is what does it say about how and what we are and why we are here in a way that evokes a response.


I don't know why you ignored certain things I've said/asked previously; that's only up to you.
I will use the flower-photosynthesis example you've given. What do you mean "you still don't know what a flower is"? Aren't you studying the flower in the first place and find out about the process of photosynthesis and so on? And knowing things like photosynthesis is definitely not something to throw in the garbage. Hasn't God revealed such high knowledge to us in the first place?
In this topic we were asking "who walked in the Garden". We most definitely know we are talking about God and then, Adam and Eve; and we most definitely know, at least, some theology. St. Irenaeus of Lyons talked in detail about this, and it's very historical. If you think it's irrelevant that Jesus walked in the Garden, well St. Irenaeus found it important enough to be mentioned. You think that it's irrelevant how literal or not Genesis is? Well, that's dangerous, if you ask me, because you leave yourself up to any interpretation, and then the "how and why we are here" will become distorted for you also. The Truth is what matters. There's only one Genesis, and knowing more about it doesn't hurt (me).

#47 IoanC

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Posted 25 October 2010 - 06:51 PM

I really did misunderstand you. Of course, I agree. After all, did not the demons state a fact when they asserted that Our Lord was the Holy One of God? Didn't help them.

In Christ,
Evan


Personally, I understand what Owen is saying, but I don't think he's making sense, as I just said in a previous post.

#48 Owen Jones

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 01:02 PM

I just don't see what the huge objection is to allegory as a revelation from God. Jesus employed allegory. St. Paul employed allegory. The Fathers employed allegory. The Life of Moses by St. Gregory of Nyssa is an extended allegory of Moses' ascent up the mountain to receive the ten commandments. Gregory is not saying that Moses did not ascend a mountain to receive the tend commandments, only that it has an allegorical meaning as well. The Church teaches that the passing over the Red Sea waters has an allegorical meaning. It represents our spiritual exodus. Whether or not the Garden of Eden is an historical place and event, I see the allegorical meaning as decisive and what should be focused on. A debate over whether it is literally/historically true or not really is not very meaningful, as well as a debate over the factual events there, while I recognize that the preponderance of opinion by the Fathers is that it was a literal event to be sure. But historical facts alone are not really evidence of anything. It is the theological and spiritual interpretation of the events that matters.

#49 Rick H.

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Posted 26 October 2010 - 01:12 PM

My feedback feature does not seem to be working today . . . good post Owen!




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