They seem to be undetectable - unless one claims that the
information we get from the external world & the workings of our minds
in relation to things of this world have become fundamentally
unrealiable. & as I argued, there's a big theological problem with
> > 2) As the adjective "western" in 1 suggests, the eastern church
> >has always had a rather different picture. There the original humanity
> >is pictured as immature (Irenaeus) or at the _beginning_ of a path to
> >union with God (Athanasius), & the Fall was getting off track.
> (Does the Fall still not begin with a single defection in the Eastern
> tradition? Sorry this question is a bit off ASA's agenda.)
Yes - to get off the road you have to take a first wrong step.
But problems posed by the Fall are exacerbated for westerners because of
the idea that Adam & Eve possessed tremendous intelligence, physical
abilities, beauty, &c: "An Aristotle was but the ruins of an Adam" &c,
& Luther rhapsodizes about how acute Adam's eyesight was &c. There is
no biblical basis for this.
> > 3) Athanasius also seems to suggest that humanity would have
> >been subject to biological death _even without sin_. The result of sin
> >is not just this death but "remaining forever in the corruption of
> > 4) The basic meaning of the Fall is that humanity was created
> >with the possibility of communion with God & obedience to God, & chose
> >to turn from God. & the consequence of that is that all human beings
> >are sinners from their conception, with all the implications of that
> I agree that this is basic, but there are other effects on the created
> order to which Gen 3 & Rom 8 refer.
We are only human in relationship with other people & with our
natural environment - & of course ultimately, with God. Whatever the
fall was must have affected our relationships with nature. But I don't
think that this needs to mean that the physical character of nature was
fundamentally changed by human sin, & as I've said, there's no evidence
that it was.