Re: Do animals ever "sin" (was something else)

From: george murphy (
Date: Thu Feb 14 2002 - 15:24:57 EST

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    Woodward Norm Civ WRALC/TIEDM wrote:

    > I have accepted your arguments concerning our coexistence with other living
    > beings in heaven, our new "Eden," as hinted at in Romans 8, and imaged at
    > Isaiah 11 and 65.
    > But I will continue to agree to disagree about your interpretation of
    > "things in heaven and on earth" in Colossians and Ephesians. As usual, the
    > Bible itself is its own best concordance, and a parallel usage of the phrase
    > a few verses earlier in Colossians makes it plain that the term applies
    > specifically to "...thrones, or dominions, or rulers or authorities..."
    > These are the "things" that He established, and has reconciled to Himself "
    > having made peace through the blood of His cross."

            "All things" cannot be limited to angelic powers - "thrones or dominions
    ..." . If that were the case, the apparently inclusive statements of
    Col.1:15-20 would mean only that Christ was "before" the angelic powers, that
    the angelic powers "hold together" in him &c. & the reconciliation of "all
    things" through the cross in v.20 would exclude human beings. That is obviously
            The angelic powers are singled out here because a major problem
    addressed by this letter is the fascination of the Colossians with them, angel
    worship &c. Thus the superiority of Christ to the angels is emphasized. But
    _ta panta_ means all things.

    > Sure, I will admit that there are large gaps in our understanding of the
    > full implications of the Cross. But to ascribe "atonement" and "salvation"
    > to beings which, at least according to the consensus I seem to see here, do
    > not sin, would seem to demean the purposes and the actions of God.

            I have not said that other animals "sin", & thus would not use language
    like "propitiation" to speak of the work of Christ in relation to them. But one
    has to use some language. I'm willing to stick with "reconciliation" (Col.1:20)
    or "liberation" (cf. Rom.8:21).



    George L. Murphy
    "The Science-Theology Interface"

    > I will let you or others have the last word.
    > Norm Woodward
    > -----Original Message-----
    > From: george murphy []
    > Sent: Thursday, February 14, 2002 8:38 AM
    > To: Woodward Norm Civ WRALC/TIEDM
    > Cc: Asa@Calvin. Edu
    > Subject: Re: Do animals ever "sin" (was something else)
    > Woodward Norm Civ WRALC/TIEDM wrote:
    > > <snip>
    > >
    > > As I have already pointed out, there are other things to be saved
    > > from
    > > besides sin.
    > >
    > > <snip>
    > > Shalom,
    > >
    > > George
    > >
    > > George L. Murphy
    > >
    > > "The Science-Theology Interface"
    > > Perhaps, in everyway, everyday, we rely on God's loving kindness.
    > > But, as we were talking about Christ on the cross...
    > > Why else did He die besides to save us from eternal consequences from our
    > > sins?
    > > And if one never sinned, why else would Christ die for her/him/it?
    > Why can't you simply admit that Col.1:20, Eph.1:10 & Rom.8:18-25 do
    > say what they say, that Is.11:6-9 does use the imagery (N.B.) of God's
    > future
    > involving non-human animals - & THEN
    > add that there's a great deal we don't know about the whys & hows of all
    > this?
    > I don't think it terribly helpful to speculate about "dog heaven"
    > &c,
    > but it's even less helpful - & frankly just wrong - to suggest that human
    > beings are the only part of nature that God finally cares about.
    > Theologians for the past 2000 years have discussed various theories
    > or models of the Atonement - i.e., how & why Christ's Incarnation, life,
    > death & resurrection are effective in bringing about human salvation. There
    > is no single model which has been made dogmatically binding. But that
    > Christ's Incarnation, life, death & resurrection _are_ effective in bringing
    > about human salvation is at the heart of Christian faith. Far less do we
    > have any definitive model of the salvation of the rest of creation, _ta
    > panta_ - but the texts I've noted & I think the whole thrust of the biblical
    > story point in that direction.
    > Shalom,
    > George
    > George L. Murphy
    > "The Science-Theology Interface"

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