Yes, the main gap in our understanding concerns the origin of life. There are other gaps about the details of how some complex structures evolved and whatnot, but I have not seen anything to make me think we needed a supernatural explanation for any evolution after it got going. It seems, therefore, very odd to think that God had to intervene to design the first cell and then he just stepped back to let the natural process of evolution take care of the rest. It seems more likely that there is a natural explanation for the origin of life. I don't think we can use the problem of the origin of life to infer anything about God because we simply do not know if it could have happened naturally or not.
Originally Posted by Beck
Good questions. If we assume the Biblical narrative true, I would say the resurrection of Christ was probably literal (physical) so the disciples could see it and believe. As for the ascension - it certainly sounds literal, but it gets mixed together with the metaphorical use of the "clouds of heaven" so I don't know. And that's the real point - we don't know much about the real meaning, let alone the truth, of any of these things. No matter how hard anyone tries, no one can put together a complete picture of what even happened in most of the Biblical narrative. This is the basis of Dan Barker's Resurrection Challenge:
Originally Posted by Beck
I HAVE AN EASTER challenge for Christians. My challenge is simply this: tell me what happened on Easter. I am not asking for proof. My straightforward request is merely that Christians tell me exactly what happened on the day that their most important doctrine was born.It's pretty difficult to argue with a simple challenge like this, isn't it? But who can answer? I think we all know the answer. No Christian can meet this simple challenge. The accounts of the resurrection in the four Gospels are irreconcilable. And if this is the case, then it is LOGICALLY IMPOSSIBLE to believe them because we can not even state what it is that we are supposed to believe.
Believers should eagerly take up this challenge, since without the resurrection, there is no Christianity. Paul wrote, "And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain. Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not." (I Corinthians 15:14-15)
The conditions of the challenge are simple and reasonable. In each of the four Gospels, begin at Easter morning and read to the end of the book: Matthew 28, Mark 16, Luke 24, and John 20-21. Also read Acts 1:3-12 and Paul's tiny version of the story in I Corinthians 15:3-8. These 165 verses can be read in a few moments. Then, without omitting a single detail from these separate accounts, write a simple, chronological narrative of the events between the resurrection and the ascension: what happened first, second, and so on; who said what, when; and where these things happened.
Since the gospels do not always give precise times of day, it is permissible to make educated guesses. The narrative does not have to pretend to present a perfect picture--it only needs to give at least one plausible account of all of the facts. Additional explanation of the narrative may be set apart in parentheses. The important condition to the challenge, however, is that not one single biblical detail be omitted. Fair enough?
I have tried this challenge myself. I failed. An Assembly of God minister whom I was debating a couple of years ago on a Florida radio show loudly proclaimed over the air that he would send me the narrative in a few days. I am still waiting. After my debate at the University of Wisconsin, "Jesus of Nazareth: Messiah or Myth," a Lutheran graduate student told me he accepted the challenge and would be contacting me in about a week. I have never heard from him. Both of these people, and others, agreed that the request was reasonable and crucial. Maybe they are slow readers.