Re: The Nature of Atheist - Christian dialogue

From: Peter Ruest (
Date: Thu May 01 2003 - 00:32:07 EDT

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    > > "By the sweat of your face, You will eat bread, Till you return to the
    > ground, Because from it you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you
    > shall return." Gen. 3.19
    > >
    > > I do not see any mythology in this verse. It seems that it describes
    > perfectly the state of mankind. We have to work to eat and one day we will
    > die. Perhaps this is not a valid statement for those who are on welfare but
    > for the rest of us it is quite accurate. Am I missing something?
    > With all due respect, I think you are now taking it out of context. What
    > Jim clearly means by stating that this is mythology can only be appreciated
    > in the context; i.e. that God was announcing His punishment of Adam because
    > of Adam's sin. The logical inference to this surely is that this was not
    > the state of mankind prior to Adam's sin. At least, that's how I understand
    > Jim's point. I don't think, therefore, you have provided a satisfactory
    > answer to it. I'm not pretending I have an answer for it either; maybe I'm
    > deluding myself by not taking the atheist option? I don't believe so, but I
    > have to admit that I don't have an answer for this one.
    > Iain.

    How about just taking "Till you return to the ground, Because from it
    you were taken; For you are dust, And to dust you shall return" as a way
    of saying "till you die" or "all your life"? The implication would be
    that Adam and Eve were mortal from the beginning (like all pre-adamites
    before them), but had been given and thrown away a unique chance of
    obtaining eternal (physical as well as spiritual) life. Adam certainly
    knew what death was before eating of the forbidden fruit - otherwise he
    wouldn't have understood God's warning of death in 2:17. And "...lest he
    put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat, and live
    forever..." (v.22) might also indicate that he was mortal all along.
    Eternal physical life without spiritual life would be hell indeed. Now
    why the roundabout way of saying "till you die"? Adam may have needed to
    be reminded of the crucial difference between merely physical
    immortality (which he might stupidly have yearned for in his fallen
    state) and true life with God (which now was impossible without
    redemption - which is intimated by v.20-21).


    Dr. Peter Ruest, CH-3148 Lanzenhaeusern, Switzerland
    <> - Biochemistry - Creation and evolution
    "..the work which God created to evolve it" (Genesis 2:3)

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