I can definitely sympathize with your position, Stefcui. No doubt that contemporary scientists can drastically overplay the reach and settledness of their conclusions and miss the fact that they drift oftentimes into metaphysics (cough Dawkins cough ). And when those scientific conclusions call into question a lot of the central and structurally-important points of a traditional theology, I get why one would simply side with the traditional interpretation of revelation and expect science to work itself out eventually. That being said, I imagine we’ve just got different methodological approaches, so reconsidering even central theological categories like the “Fall” and “original sin” isn’t overly worrying to me (though it is important if needed!). But, I totally get that scientific discoveries in the last couple hundred years are challenging doctrines far more central to traditional faith than whether or not the Bible says the earth is really, say, at the center of the universe or whatever. The stakes are definitely higher.
If you don’t mind my asking: are you an old earth or young earth creationist or something else? I’ve got to say that the young earth position seems pretty incredible to me, since, as I understand it, it requires basically every scientific field to be fundamentally incorrect: astronomy, biology, physics, geology, etc. That’s not to say it’s not possible, but I think it probably should nudge even theologically conservative folks to at least begin to reconsider whether revelation can be interpreted in a different way that isn’t so obviously in disagreement with these pretty productive fields.
As for using Irenaeus as a mascot, he might be overplaying how much he settles, although I think he’s mostly just trying to show that there is a patristic resource that - and I think his interpretation of him is correct here - points towards a different way of reading the Fall, original sin, human origins, etc. As I think I alluded to in my earlier post, I certainly don’t think invoking Irenaeus simply solves all problems, and it very likely raises new ones. Still, I think even Schneider admitted that.
Glad you liked the Irenaeus quote though! Not a bad way to use humor in a theological debate, I think.