Re: The Curse - Upon All Creation or Just Mankind?

From: Charles Carrigan <CCarriga@olivet.edu>
Date: Sat Sep 25 2004 - 11:14:39 EDT

All,
 
I have to disagree with some statements below. Comments are
interspersed.
 
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Charles W. Carrigan
Olivet Nazarene University
Natural Sciences Division
One University Ave.
Bourbonnais, IL 60914
PH: (815) 939-5346
FX: (815) 939-5071

>>> "jack syme" drsyme@cablespeed.com> 9/24/2004 5:26:11 PM >>
The death that resulted from the fall was a SPIRITUAL death. A
seperation
from God. A banishment from the Garden with the tree of life. That is
why
the serpent said "surely you will not die" because the death was
spiritual
not physical. And what the serpent said came to pass! After Eve ate
the
apple she did not die. And Adam did not die.

 
I am not so convinced that when we read "death" in Gen. 2-4 that it
must be interpreted as spiritual death. Many people seem to want to
remove physical death as part of the curse for various reasons. One is
that clearly there is death in the fossil record and therefore pre-human
and presumably pre-fall, and there are other reasons as well given on
occasion. But I am not convinced that we should try to integrate every
detail of this story with other sources of historical information to
make a coherent picture - rather, it is sometimes better to let the
story simply say what it wants to say. It seems to me especially
dangerous to try and integrate a story that has a walking talking
serpent as a main character with all of what we currently know about
natural and anthropological history. Remember also that two of the
other main characters are named 'Dust' and 'Mother of All the Living'.
That being said, I'm not convined that the ancients who wrote this story
were really separating spiritual and physical death the way many people
today seem to do. Death is the end of life as we know it, and although
today we might say "no it isn't because of eternal spiritual life",
there doesn't appear to have been a concept of life after death in the
ancient hebrew culture. Some of the wisdom writings illustrate this.
Even in Christ's day, there was debate between the leaders of Judaism as
to whether there was a resurrection of the dead. So in the story, Adam
ate the fruit, and he didn't immediately die physically. There are
other possibilities besides "this means that 'death' meant spiritual".
Perhaps God simply changed His mind, and let them contiue to live! He
has certainly been known to and is free to do that.
 

But they were changed. Their relationship with the earth, (toiling in
the
soild to produce food.) and his relationship with God (kicked out of
the
Garden, forbidden to eat from the tree of life) was the result.

Death was in creation before the fall. Death of subhuman creation, it
was
everywhere, except maybe inside the Garden. And Man was supposed to be

immortal, I think, and live eternally in the physical realm, with a
close
relationship with God and nourishment from the Tree. But of course
that did
not happen.

And there was no curse to all of creation, just man's relationship to
it.
Except for the serpent who was cursed to crawl on his belly. And man
has
since completely messed up creation even more.

But sub human creation is no more in need of redemption now, than it
was
before the fall. Christ died to restore Man, not the rocks, trees,
plants,
etc.

 
I have to disagree with the statement that there was no curse to all of
creation and that "subhuman" creation is in no need of redemption.
Adam, in fact, was not cursed directly, but rather God said "Cursed is
the ground because of you". Also, Paul states that 'all creation
groans' in anticipation of redemption, and it is worthwhile to remember
that Paul wrote that after Christ's death/resurrection. Additionally,
evolution as a process is driven by the survival of the fittest - and
complementary to that, by the suffering and death of the not fittest.
Many animals die before they even get out of the nest because of
competition for food and mother's attention from siblings that may be
only a day older, bigger, and stronger. The suffering and death of the
weakest is the antithesis of Christ. That is then, in my view, is a
fallen process, and illustrates to me (in addition to the two portions
of scripture I alluded to) that all of creation is in need of
redemption.
 
Best Regards,
Charles
Received on Sat Sep 25 11:30:23 2004

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