Friday, July 04, 2014

Planet of the Apes

My little post on "Adam, Eve, and Cain" generated some feedback:

Rostin Commonly, theistic evolutionists who believe in an historical Adam think that his special creation consisted of a preexisting hominid being ensouled.
If someone is comfortable with holding that view, I don't know why believing something similar about Eve would be problematic.
Several problems:
i) Ensoulment is a classic stopgap solution favored by Catholic evolutionists. But from what I've read, ensoulment reflects antiquated embryological notions ("quickening"). Why would a theistic evolutionist graft obsolete embryology onto evolutionary biology to make Gen 2 more scientific? If you're going to be consistently scientific, then you need to avoid appeals to prescientific theories like ensoulment. 
ii) Ensoulment presumes a dualistic anthropology in which God imparts an immaterial soul to a preexisting hominid. Ensoulment accounts for the unique psychological traits of the ensouled hominid. Yet that's in tension with evolutionary biology, which is committed to physicalism. According to evolution, the difference between man and nonhuman hominids is a difference of degree, not of kind. We range along a common continuum. What makes us psychologically distinct from nonhuman hominids is an evolutionary process of gradual encephalization. We are different because we have bigger brains, not because we have an immaterial soul superadded to our nonhuman hominid brain. 
So, once again, this makeshift solution is in tension with the evolutionary theory that it's attempting to pacify. 
iii) Gen 2 describes a different process for the origin of Eve than for the origin of Adam. Even if you think the language is figurative, when a narrator uses different figurative language, these must represent different things. 
iv) By that logic, Cain was afraid that soulless hominids would avenge the death of Abel. But since these hominids are unrelated to the family of Adam, why would Cain's fratricide lead to a blood feud between Cain and hominids unrelated to Cain? 
Moreover, this assumes that soulless hominids think Cain violated a tribal honor code by murdering a member of his kith and kin. But isn't that a moral perspective which soulless hominids lack? Isn't that kind of ethical enlightenment the result of endowment? 
davidjricardoBingo. Anyone asking this question has clearly not thought the issue through clearly.
moby__dickSo you're saying that the offspring of Adam and Eve never mated with the pre-existing hominids?
davidjricardoI don't think we know that. I tend to think no, or at least they weren't supposed to do so. I do think that a pre-existing hominid female would not be a "helper suitable for him."
Dying_DailyWhy would you say that?
davidjricardoThe question presupposes that God made Adam when there were preexisting "humans." But, any answer to the question "Why did God make Adam when there were already humans?" will necessarily answer the question "Why did God make Eve?" To ask the latter demonstrates a lack of thought about the former.
Yet Ricardo has just admitted, in a roundabout way, that these are two contradictory explanations. If, on the one hand, the people alluded to in Gen 4 were real human beings, contemporaneous with Adam and Eve, then that could supply a wife for Adam. Moreover, there'd be no need for God to create Adam in the first place, given preexisting humans.
If, on the other hand, they were soulless hominids, then Adam and Eve were in fact the first humans (pace theistic evolution). 
Furthermore, theistic evolutionists cite Gen 4 to explain where Cain got his wife. But if only Adam's offspring were truly human, does that imply interspecies breeding? Cain mating with a nonhuman hominid? 
namer98Gen 2:7, man was ensouled. 
No. Ensoulment means imparting a soul to a living organism. In Gen 2:7, by contrast, the man was not alive until God's act of in-breathing. That's what made him alive or brought him to life. Prior to that moment, all you had was a lifeless body. 

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