Friday, 6 May 2016

Can you Adam and Eve it?

Reading Augustine’s City of God by sortilege, what else, my reading finger picked out Book XIII on The Fall of Man and his Consequent Mortality. Cockney rhyming slang has ‘Can you Adam and Eve it’ for ‘Can you believe it’. Belief in a literal truth instead of treating the story as a symbolic myth continues to draw justification from Catholic theologians even as elements wither before the sere winds of science. How do you insulate a required belief in a single set of parents of the human race? Ingeniously the doctrine of the infused rational soul is brought forward to enhance the status of a selected couple drawn from a population that is in an unregenerate state, withal being in all physical ways similar. They are then the first true human beings.


john doyle said...

Augustine rejected the literal six-day creation interval because it took too long:

"Now, since God, in whose eternity there is absolutely no change, is the Creator and Ruler of time, I do not see how we can say that He created the world after a space of time had elapsed unless we admit, also, that previously some creature had existed whose movements would mark the course of time… Undoubtedly, then, the world was made not in time but together with time… As for these 'days,' [i.e., the six days of creation] it is difficult, perhaps impossible to think – let alone to explain in words – what they mean."

ombhurbhuva said...

Here Augustine was not feeling the heat of firmly held doctrine and could express a metaphysical caveat. It seems to me though that the ancient myth of the order of business expresses a practical view of the job. ‘If I were building a world how would I go about it’ seems to be the thought.

john doyle said...

I like the theory of Adam being selected from an already-existing population. Per Genesis 2:7 the Lord of the garden inspirited a man ("adam" in Hebrew) who came from the dust of the earth, which could refer to a desert region outside the boundaries of the well-watered area where the Garden was to be planted. Then the Lord brought the man into the Garden (2:8) as a farm laborer. Later, when he is booted for disobeying an order, the mN is returned to the arid region from whence he came (3:19). And so began the precarity of the migrant farm worker.

The order-of-business theory is plausible, though it's an odd engineering work plan to get the evening and morning cycle up and running on day one when the sun isn't built until day four. Maybe the creator installed some temporary lighting for the first three days so he could see what he was doing before the permanent illumination system came online.

Though I didn't know the word, I practice "sortilege" fairly often. Do you have an interpretation as to why your finger was drawn to this particular passage of Augustine?

ombhurbhuva said...

Yes sortilege can be a way to generate connections that are outside your normal range of associations. Tolle lege is what Augustine heard. I must find a random number generator on the web. The web I Ching has a hexagram responder. I used it for my question on the blog post
What it turned up was apposite but the I Ching can be as ambiguous, which is its point.

I forgot about the working in the dark!