Date: Fri Dec 20 2002 - 07:53:27 EST
In a message dated 12/20/02 2:13:44 AM Eastern Standard Time,
> It would be poor exegesis to simply point to a single passage in Scripture
> to prove one's point. Scripture is to be understood as a whole, and in the
> context of the universal church's understanding of it. In this regard,
> then, one is able to say that the doctrine of original sin and the imago
> Dei is incompatible with a gradualistic account of human creation. Paul,
> himself, presented his point about sin (Romans 5), and simply assumes that
> Adam was a historical man.
> Jesus is presented as the 2nd Adam, undoing the work of the first. The
> geneaology of Jesus goes back to Adam. The reality of original sin in all
> of us necessitates a single source, and in parallel, the reality of
> salvation for all of us necessitates a single source, which is Christ. We
> all (i.e. humans) have to be sons of Adam in order for the need to be saved
> by the second Adam.
You say "in the context of the universal church's understanding of it." I
don't know what you mean by that context. You're claiming quite an authority.
Why is the doctrine of original sin and the imago dei incompatible with a
gradualistic account of human creation? St. Augustine said the divine
likeness was in mente, in thought. When you read the story of Adam and Eve,
they eat the apple, feel shame and feel fear. You cannot feel shame unless
you have a self to be ashamed of, so the shame is the result of
self-consciousness, which is the difference between man and the animals and
which is constituted of reflective thought (in mente). Adam and Eve's eating
of the forbidden fruit was a conscious decision made against the will of God.
It was not instinctive behavior which is necessarily always in accordance
with the will of God. Adam, even if he was an archetype represents a real
human decision to move away from instinct and rely on learned behavior. Some
hominid somewhere began making those conscious decisions. There was even a
first one (It was through one man that sin entered the world Mark 5:12). All
of us are sons of Adam in that we share the inherited reflective
consciousness and can sin. Animals who behave instinctively cannot. The
sacrifice of the Cross is the self sacrifice in which Jesus demonstrated that
the way back to God was to make learned behavior perfect and intuitive and
give up reflective self consciousness, give up the will to sin. That is the
return to God. The return to instinctive behavior in which it is impossible
NOT to do God's will. That is why religion is always a discipline. If we go
back to the shame and fear of the eating of the apple we see that fear is how
we approach free will and shame is what we feel when we have sinned. In one
of the more famous of the Nag Hammadi texts from 1st century Egypt, the
Gospel of Thomas, Jesus specifically says, "When you disrobe without being
ashamed and take up your garments and place them under your feet like little
children and tread on them, then will you see the son of the living one, and
you will not be afraid." Notice that Jesus has taken the shame and fear that
arose with the Adam's fall and removed them. He is describing the return to
You wrote: We all (i.e. humans) have to be sons of Adam in order for the need
to be saved by the second Adam.
I agree. We all are.
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