The Fall

From: Don Nield <>
Date: Wed Sep 14 2005 - 20:08:57 EDT

Peter Cook wrote:

> I would be interested in how you folks think about the story of the
> fall? To what does it refer, if anything?
> Peter Cook

The following is an extract from "In The Beginning: Three Views on
Creation and Science" Presented by Lewis Meyer, Ian Wishart and Donald
Nield, Vision Network of New Zealand, PO Box 8082, Symonds Street,
Auckland 1035, New Zealand, 2005.

<>"Clearly the doctrine of original sin as expounded by Augustine, and
consequently a doctrine of the atonement based on that exposition, is
inadequate in the light of the fossil record and genetic investigations.
A more nuanced exposition of these doctrines, such as that proposed by
Robin Collins, is needed. I now sketch Collins’ view.
Genesis 2-3 serves as a symbolic story that provides a sketch of what an
ideal relation with God would be like. Adam and Eve play two
representative roles. They represent us and they represent the first
hominids who had the capacity for free choice and self-consciousness.
With this capacity, they became aware of God’s requirements, but more
often than not rejected them. The “Fall” refers to the sinful acts of
these ancestors creating a form of spiritual and moral darkness along
with an accompanying bondage to sin. Original sin refers to: (1) the
sinful choices of these hominids, (2) the continuing sinful choices of
the succeeding generations including ourselves, and (3) the resulting
bondage to sin and spiritual darkness that is inherited from our
ancestors and generated by our own choices. This inheritance acts at its
own (“spiritual”) level and cannot be reduced to some sort of cultural
or genetic inheritance, though it is deeply intertwined with these other

On Collins’ view salvation consists of fully sharing the life of Christ.
Because of the incarnation, this life is both fully divine and fully
human; and because of the cross, it is fully in solidarity with the
depths of human brokenness, sin, alienation, mortality and the like.
Because of its fully human component, and because it is in full
solidarity with the depths of our life situation, we can participate in
it. As Paul indicates in Romans 6, by participating in this life we are
redeemed from sin and reconciled to God and freed from spiritual bondage
and darkness. Thus the effect of original sin is reversed. Collins
defends his incarnational theory of the atonement as being scripturally,
morally, and theologically sound. It also works in well with the kenosis
theme of Phillipians 2:5-11."

This refers to a chapter by Robin Collins in Keith B. Miller (ed.),
/Perspectives on an Evolving Creation/, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2003.
Received on Wed Sep 14 20:10:07 2005

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