SKEPTIC: You mentioned in the previous post that you have recently decided that the creation account in Genesis is a literal account. (Did you not believe that before?) Does this mean that you believe that the story of Adam and Eve is the true account of how the human race began - talking snake and all?
PREACHER: I used to believe that the days in Genesis 1 were ages, now I believe that they are actual 24 hour days. As for the account of Adam and Eve, I have always believed that to be historical.
SKEPTIC: I'm always perplexed by how anyone could think that the story of Adam and Eve should be taken literally. I mean, why should this story be given any more credence than any of the dozens of other creation myths that have grown out of various cultures through the ages? Beyond that, why is it so important to believe that the story is literal? What would be so horrible if it was just meant to be symbolic in some way?
Besides, the story itself doesn't really seem, to me, to put God in a very good light. If we were to think of God as the parent and Adam and Eve as the children, it's essentially the story of a mother who told the kids "Whatever you do, don't eat those delicious cookies I just baked." But of course, kids being kids, when their big brother tells them, "Hey, you know how mom is. She just said that because she wants to eat the cookies herself. Go ahead. Go for it." So the kids chow down on the cookies, only to face the wrath of mom, who flies into a rage when she returns and throws the kids out of the house forever and puts a curse on all of their descendants. It's probably just me, but God doesn't seem to exhibit very good parenting skills.
PREACHER: To be consistent with the rest of the Bible, I need to accept the account of Adam and Eve as real history. Incidentally, Jesus and the apostle Paul accepted the account as real history. The account of Adam and Eve explains the origin of the problem of sin. Without it, Jesus' death on the cross and resurrection loses its complete meaning. If sin is only our natural immaturity or imperfection, doesn't it seem cruel that God would demand eternal death? Wouldn't He as a loving God be more patient with us? Satan or the tempter (who takes the form of a snake in the account) is hardly a big brother. He is an evil spiritual being who God created and then who rebelled against Him, to the point of desiring to becoming equal with God. It wasn't so much that the fruit of the tree was so tempting as that Satan promised that eating it would make Adam and Eve like God, knowing good and evil. When they accepted what the snake said and ate the fruit, they rebelled against God. In so doing they tainted all of their offspring and all creation with their rebellion against God. That is what started the process of death (both physical and spiritual) which humans can't reverse. All men are infected now with sin, that is like a cancerous disease that is so utterly detestable to their Creator that He has to cast us out from His presence. In His great love, God sent His Son Jesus to die in our place (both physically and spiritually) and rise from the dead, in order to reverse the process of death so that all who stop rebelling against Him and trust Him can have eternal life (spiritual immediately and physical later). In 1 Corinthians 15:22 the apostle Paul wrote that for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive. God is a "parent" who willingly gives the ultimate sacrifice for His children. Sounds like a pretty good parent to me.
SKEPTIC: So Adam and Eve's rebellion against God is what "started the process of death which humans can't reverse?" So I guess that means that if they HAD obeyed God and NOT eaten from that darn tree, people would have never died. They would have just lived forever right here on earth. I guess then that we'd all be living in some pretty crowded conditions by now, considering that there'd be something like a 1000 gazillion people on the planet. So I guess we all owe a debt to A and A for biting into that apple and making our lives rather more manageable.
But I think you may have stumbled onto what's going on when you talked about the death of Jesus being a direct result of Adam and Eve's original sin. In other words, if they hadn't disobeyed God, that would have messed up the whole story. There wouldn't even be a need for religion. In fact, the reason Christians try so desperately to attack scientific evolution is because it proves that Adam and Eve is a fairy tale, therefore there was no original sin, and therefore there was no need for redemption through Jesus's death. Game over.
In any event, for me, the talking snake is a dead giveaway that what we're looking at is a very clever fairy tale. And if you expect me to believe that this is how the human race began and it had absolutely nothing to do with evolution, then you've got your work cut out for you. And by the way, how exactly is it fair that all mankind should be "tainted" because of Adam and Eve's taste in fruit?
PREACHER: You seem to have great difficulty even imagining that your Creator exists. An all knowing and all powerful God would have already had a solution for the problem of overpopulation. Actually, the world He created was very good and would have had no problems to begin with. Adam and Eve's rebellion was indeed what made religion necessary. Without their rebellion we would have been able to relate to God just as we would relate to another human being, seeing Him face to face and hearing His audible voice. There would be no need for faith. So, yes there would have been no need for religion.
There are other places where beasts have appeared to talk to men in the Bible, so I don't find the snake a problem. There are plenty of other supernatural happenings in the Bible that I know you can't believe, all because of your world view. You assume that the universe is a closed system and that without exception it has always been subject to the laws of nature that science recognizes today. You refuse to believe in the God who created those laws and is also able to circumvent them whenever He chooses.
Evolution (and what I mean is big bang-molecules-to-man so that a banana is my distant relative) is nothing more than a myth perpetrated by the secular scientific community. It is an attempt to explain the origin of the universe and life completely by natural laws that scientists have agreed do exist. The present system is always assumed to be absolute and used to explain the past. It is also assumed from the start that the existence of a Creator is unthinkable, or if He does exist, He is very disconnected with the universe. In so doing they have to rewrite history so it fits into their paradigm.
Adam and Eve knew and experienced only good until they ate of the tree. From then on they found out what evil was too for the rest of their lives. I see how you feel it is unfair that we should all be tainted by the choice that Adam and Eve made. But then, the choice that Jesus Christ (referred to as the second Adam) made, made it possible to be untainted by sin and have eternal life. "For as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." We have a choice to remain tainted by sin or be set free from it through Jesus Christ. That sounds pretty fair to me.
SKEPTIC: When you say evolution is nothing more than a myth perpetrated by the secular scientific community," that kinda blows my mind and reinforces my belief that there really is no way to reconcile science and religion. Actually, I would agree with your statement with just a slight change - Creationism is nothing more than a myth perpetrated by the Christian community. Bottom line for me is if you've got two conflicting ideas about the creation of man, and one has tons of actual evidence to back it up, while the other one has no real evidence at all and is based on a book written two thousand years ago...well, you get my point.
And the fact that there are other animals who talk in the Bible doesn't really make me more open to the idea of a talking snake. It just reinforces my belief that the Bible is not to be taken literally. And the way that Christians always fall back on the "God can do anything" argument to try to explain things that make no sense is a pretty convenient escape hatch.
And yes, you're absolutely right when you say, "you seem to have great difficulty even imagining that your Creator exists." I guess that's why I'm The Skeptic and you're The Preacher.
PREACHER: You should know that both creationists and evolutionists use the same evidence (fossils, layers of sediment etc. ) to back up their very different views of how the universe came into existence. For more details please check out the sites of Answers in Genesis and True Origins. The difference is how they interpret the evidence. Creationists, many who are PhD scientists, accept the Bible as their final authority and evolutionists accept the current opinions of certain scientists who don't believe the Bible as their final authority. I see no conflict between true science and true religion. Evolution is an attempt by these scientists (many who are atheists) to explain the origin and history of the universe without any divine intervention. The only way to verify it would be to go back in time, which you can't do. True science is verifiable. Evolution is not true science, it is history. The Bible is history, too. Our disagreement is on which history we believe to be true. I am very happy with a God who can do anything, and sorry that you don't trust Him.