To what extent can one believe in Christianity if they do not believe that Adam and Eve existed at all?
I am not necessarily referring to the account in Genesis. Bar a few protestant churches most people have clocked on to the fact it's allegorical.
That said, even Catholics are required to believe in them as historical figures:
"390 The account of the fall in Genesis 3 uses figurative language, but affirms a primeval event, a deed that took place at the beginning of the history of man. Revelation gives us the certainty of faith that the whole of human history is marked by the original fault freely committed by our first parents."
From what I understand, the Orthodox and Anglican positions are less defined but overall similar to the Catholic stance. After all, where else could ancestral/original sin come from? I've recently started going to church again and this is something I still can't get my head around.
Interested in what /his/ thinks.
>two humans literally ate a fruit and that's how evil entered the world
It's only literal to people whose God and vision of reality is so small they don't understand the fall is an allegorical depiction of the dawn of the limited, discriminating consciousness, the descent from Being to Becoming
The garden is eternal communion with the divine, the root and principle of reality. Adam and Eve - or rather the archetypal female and male energies of reality, activity vs. passivity - don't need to consume the animals of the garden because they have not yet been polluted by Becoming, or the biological demands of survival in a material universe.
When Eve eats the fruit, that represents and is a culmination of a thirst for bodily existence. This shatters the undifferentiated perfection of the original divine reality. Now there is subject and object, there are boundaries, there is external vs. Internal, there is time and transience, what was eternal and absolute is dissoluted into countless, imperfect forms. And how we interact with these other subjects, being a subject ourselves, determines good and evil. That's the knowledge of good and evil. It's like waking out of a divine sleep.
But at the same time, the perfection of a flawed reality is arguably greater and more sublime than just the placid perfection of the divine oneness. We were One, now we are Many, so we may be perfected as the Many-as-One, the most perfect and glorious thing imaginable, because as even Nietzche says, "to impose the character of Being on Becoming is the greatest test conceivable'
Something that you probably also have to take into consideration is that since we're in an age of such knowledge, the Garden of Eden story has been picked apart extensively. By that I mean mainly that - in the grand scheme of things - a lot of the "intelligent" (if I may use this term without sounding like I am saying those who don't follow this train of thought are unintelligent) Christians understand it, and also most of the stories of the bible, are allegorical and are simply stories; such is the nature of most ancient religious stories.
I don't really think I'm answering what you are asking, but meh. Another thing to take into consideration is that peoples' opinions/views on religion - especially now - are very, very varied; as it most definitely should be. For example, I have a religious acquaintance who doesn't think going to church is necessary, as religion to him is "personal" or something like that.
tl;dr: make your own mind up, don't dick yourself out of free thought. Of course you can follow an "accepted" train of thought or whatever, but if you have doubts on some issues, search around for some views/opinions and make your decision after said consultations.
>Adam and Eve existed, sure, but they didn't "exist" exist
What people are asking is, "Were Adam and Eve historical figures in the same sense that Alexander the Great was a historical figure? Were they ever present on earth?"
To which the obvious answer is no. They are a myth peddled by a cult. There is no qualitative difference between Adam and Eve and the Berenstain Bears.
I'd say it's an elaboration, actually, but most Christians would scream bloody murder.
A way I like to think of it is:
Ground of reality: a kind of pure sublime "white noise" that holds all modalities (or tonalities to continue the metaphor) of beings as potentiality in itself
Material universe: the individual tones and notes of being actualized, which unfortunately creates the possibility for "dissonance", ie evil and discord
Many-as-One: all the individual "tones" harmonized with each other and the whole without sacrificing their individuality but contributing it to the overall character of the "divine symphony" that is reality perfected
I don't think it's a coincidence so many mystics and religious authors refer to the totality of creation as a cosmic dance or music
Anyways sorry for rambling I just really like this stuff
Came up with the music metaphor myself. As for the philosophical grounding of these concepts:
Heidegger and Hegel's concept of the Being of beings as being synonymous with nothingness
The Tao te Ching, Qabbalah, Gnosticism. The Bhagavad Gita and the Upanishads
Ebola's conceptualization of Being
Schopenhauer's unindividuated will vs. The malignant, individuated will
Kierkegaard's Knight of Faith, who transcends the universal by harmonizing it with the particular: he affirms his essential, finite individuality in the face of the infinite/God
Buddhisms Middle Way: neither torturous asceticism nor hedonism, but a balance of what is holy and worldly in the integrated individual
Sartre's disctintion between the perfect, self-contained being we see in objects and the imperfect, conflicted being of conscious organisms, which unfortunately he believes is irreconcileable, but still reflects the basic dichotomy ive been talking aboit
Tons of stuff in the Bible if you know where to look
What doesn't make sense to me is why it's still a fall then. The original narrative is very clear. God trusts humanity not to do something, they do it anyway, now they reap the consequences. If it's just a a natural expansion of their conciousness then it hardly seems fair at all.
Nature isn't fair.
Because we know good from evil, we are beholden to morality and are thus not inherently innocent, like the beasts not beholden to morality.
This is my take on it, I'm not the anon you replied to.
Without a historical Adam and Eve original sin is thrown into doubt (or completely disproved). Without original sin Christ's death loses all meaning. This is why the Catholic Church commands belief in a historical Adam and Eve.
The hallmarks of Christianity are probably
1) A Christology that includes the divinity of Christ
2) A soteriological vision based on salvation from sin through Christ (and/or his teachings) and the eventual realization of the End of the World, Judgement and eternal afterlife.
But all the Christian sects have different ideas about who exactly a Christian is.