From: Alexanian, Moorad (email@example.com)
Date: Tue Jun 17 2003 - 10:59:31 EDT
The fall is the Christian answer to the problem of evil, which is consistent with God's laws regarding good and evil and the reality of human free will. Much of what we discuss is really beyond human understanding. All we can do is consider possible options and indicate why we choose particular ones. Such imperfect kind of knowledge is not sufficient to conceive others.
I think is best to think in terms of physical and nonphysical rather than theism vs. atheism. The former allows us to define science as the study of the purely physical. The obvious existence of the nonphysical—human self, reasoning, etc.—gives the limitations of science and the need to suppose the basis for the study of the nonphysical aspect of Nature. Clearly, the assumption of a Creator is the logical end of sound, honest, human reasoning regarding the fundamental question of origins. Therein begins the basis for the study of the whole of reality.
From: Ted Davis [mailto:TDavis@messiah.edu]
Sent: Tue 6/17/2003 9:07 AM
To: firstname.lastname@example.org; email@example.com
Subject: Re: the fall and the story of evil in a progressive/evolutionary creation
I understand Lucien's difficulties with understanding the fall. IMO, the
problem of evil cannot be fully resolved within theism. Let me add,
however, that nontheists don't get off the hook: if there is no God, no
ultimate good, then there really is no category of evil. Thus, we can't
really claim honestly or even coherently that the holocaust (for example)
was evil--and that does seem to be a very large problem indeed. Nor can
nontheists fully resolve what we might call the problem of design--how it is
that the universe itself, and its contents appear so strongly to have been
purposefully made. Why, to cite a famous paper by Eugene Wigner,
mathematics is so unreasonably fruitful in explaining nature. We do seem to
have something like a "draw" between design and theodicy.
As for the fall, I like what John Polkinghorne writes in Belief in God in
an Age of Science, p. 89. "There was death in the world long before there
were our human precursors. After all, it was the extinction of the
dinosaurs that gave us mammals our evolutionary chance. But the Fall, as I
have described it, turned death into mortality. Self-consciousness made us
aware of our transience--we could foresee our deaths--and alienation from
the God who is the eternal ground of hope, turned that recognition into
sadness and bitterness. In a similar way, the problems of living,
symbolised by thorns and thistles, became causes of frustration and the
expense of spirit."
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