If someone starts giving me a hard time over Adam and Eve in the ministry, I tell them its okay to treat it as a metaphor, and on that basis, see what can they draw from it. I am even proactive on the point, suggesting metaphor before they can get around to objecting to it.
A certain type of person almost takes that as a compliment—that you are not rubbing their nose in ‘Adam & Eve’ but you are deeming them smart enough that to figure out a metaphor. I even briefly won over my return visit Bernard Strawman on this point.
I used to call such people ones who suffer from “We are wise and learned adults, far too clever to be sold Adam and Eve. What’s next—Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck?” syndrome. But now I drop the derisiveness, for it doesn’t do any good, and I just invite them to treat it as a metaphor. After all, science is pretty universal that Adam & Eve is for dumbbells, and we are all taught that science is the be-all and end-all. Training like that doesn’t turn around on a dime.
Sometimes when people see how well the metaphor works out they forget all about “science” and they put their “cognitive dissonance” on the shelf as something to work out later. You don’t have to know everything. It’s the antithesis of humility to think that you do—or can. Is not the phrase “cognitive dissonance” largely an appeal to pride that overall dumbs us down? It is an idea worthy of a pamphlet, probably, but not the volumes dedicated to it.
People cannot simultaneously hold two conflicting ideas at the same time? Of course they can. A little humility solves the problem. Put one or both on the shelf pending more information, which may or may not come, but in the meantime, you can’t rush it. You can’t just check yourself at the door because of a few facts that don’t line up. In the field of mathematics proofs will commence with assuming this or that point is true, and then seeing where that assumption leads. If it leads to a dead-end, the point is disproved. But sometimes it doesn’t lead to a dead-end. You don’t just stop dead in your tracks because you spot an obstacle up ahead. You see where this or that idea leads.
When I first came across Jehovah’s Witnesses, I was astounded that here were people who actually believed in Adam and Eve. They didn’t look stupid, or if so in no greater proportion than anyone else, yet all my life I had heard that only the reddest of the rednecks believed in Adam and Eve. I couldn’t figure it out. I decided to shelve it for future resolution. I still don’t know how certain things will align. But the answer to the ‘problem of evil,’—why a loving God would permit it, the answer to the reason for and origin of death, the coherent answer to the question of how Christ’s death could benefit us—all these things were so overwhelming, that I decided to give “science” the back seat, not the front seat it usually demands. Without Jesus as the “first Adam,” a perfect man who, by holding the course, repurchased us from that first perfect man who sinned and sold us out, the question of ‘Why Jesus died for us’ devolves into a mushy and intellectually unsatisfying “because he loved us.”
To be sure, the head is not everything, but neither is it nothing. There is some sort of reasoning regarding mitochondrial DNA and the number of generations can be counted. It is from this they determine that all people on earth are related through one woman. Maybe that represents the reconciliation of timelines that otherwise don’t reconcile. It is roundly shouted down by majority scientists today. But we ought to know by now that being shouted down by the majority means nothing. Anything can be spun any way, by people who may or not be disingenuous. The majority team gets the ball and then tilts the field so steeply as to tumble the minority team right off it.
For myself, I am content that the Witness organization in 2010 defined the “days” of creation as “epochs,” their sum total plus all the time before as “aeons.” “It’s about time,” their science critics might cry? As late as 1987, the US Supreme Court took up the question of teaching “evolutionary science” and “creation science,” ruling that if you taught the first in public school, it didn’t mean you had to teach the second. So it takes the Witness organization 23 years to weigh in on an area not their specialty or mission. Is that too long? The world of science has yet to weigh in with any accuracy on the spiritual concerns that Witnesses make their domain.
Visit Smashwords bookstore. Also available at Amazon & other ebook retailers.