Friday, March 25, 2011
Comment on Jimmy Akin's site
I posted a comment over on Jimmy Akins site. I was quite happy to see a post about death before the fall on his site! Coincidence...? Please Catholics, I beg you, keep this discussion going. There are some good comments here but I need more. I have been studying this issue for a few months now, not just this but old earth and evolution as well. Jimmy, the Catechism says the tree of knowledge "symbolically evokes..." it does not say that it was not "literal" as you explicitly said that it did in 396. Abraham's sacrifice of Isaac "symbolically evokes" Christ's sacrifice, but it is still literal. Also be careful with the tree of knowledge, it is a type of the cross! We died from eating from the tree of knowledge and we are brought to life from eating from the tree of the cross! There is no reason to see that tree as merely a symbol and not literal. Just as Adam is a symbol of Christ but was a real man, so the tree was both a symbol and real. Why do Catholics want to deny this? My problem is that as a new convert to Catholicism, I now have to deal with this issue more than as a Protestant because the magisterium has left this topic open to opinion. (I wish they would choose) I feel like I am back being my own Pope as a Protestant again (on these issues). For conservative (real) Protestants, this is not an issue because by and large they believe in a 6 day special creation 6000 years ago. In my experience, Catholics have accepted evolution and old earth, but forgot to look at the theological implications of their choice like death before the fall (kudos to Jimmy for discussing it here) and many horrible implications such as baby Adam nursing from a soul-less human mother, abiogenesis, etc. If you believe evolution, this is what you must swallow. I just cannot accept that. The death before the fall issue is a thing Catholics seem (in my experience) to have not pondered that much. Well, young earth people have! It is more than just a desire for wooden literalism that keeps them with the traditional Christian understanding of Genesis. It is theology. One thing about death before the fall that is a problem for even the 6 day creation crowd though... animals designed as killers. There are simply tons of animals that are designed to rip prey apart, and designed in such a way that it can't reasonably be seen as a development (fangs and venom for instance). Most young earth creationists will say that the lions ate grass before the fall, as is prophesied for heaven. But this answer is not very satisfying. Picturing a t-rex grazing is a bit over the top. The next option would be that animal/plant death and violence is not a bad thing. This is also a stretch. It seems like this death and violence of the non human creation must be what is referred to as groaning in travail... it seems pretty bad! So what to do? I am still searching. I have been blogging about it a lot and looking for good Catholic answers. http://newchristendom.blogspot.com/2011/03/theistic-evolution-or-materialistic.html For now though, it is clear to me that there are many more problems in an old earth/evolution model that the traditional model. I liked the Tolkien idea given above. It is true that angels fell before us, and of course God knew we would fall and could have created a shadow of our fall and redemption right into the fabric of creation. It sure seems like that is just what he did. Even before the fall, Adam would have apparently had to KILL fruits and grains to eat. Also it is clear that he was placed in a protected environment (Eden). If this "death in the fabric" theory is true, then the young earther must revise his image of Adam petting the snout of t-rex. T-rex would be outside the protective walls of Eden in that case. Of course the problems multiply if I end up with an old earth/evolution model. Then there would be countless generations of zombie humans with no soul dying before Adams fall. Also what about Eve coming from Adams rib? Do we chuck that out as a symbol too? What about the blood and water from Christ’s side of which it is a "symbol"? Was that real or symbol? Did Eve have a monkey mom too? I beg you serious Catholics to point me to some good resources on these issues. As a new convert this is ending up as the hardest issue to deal with, particularly in regards to teaching my children. In my view, Catholics are totally off the rails on this and have drunk gallons of materialistic, modernist cool-aid when it comes to evolution and age of the earth. So far Catholics have shown me I was wrong to be a Protestant, but their answers on this issue are just simply... naive and bad.