Re: The Fall

From: <>
Date: Thu Sep 15 2005 - 13:13:51 EDT

In a message dated 9/15/2005 11:50:37 AM Eastern Standard Time, writes:
The Fall itself is, as Polkinghorne realizes, the toughest theological nut
to crack related to an evolutionary view of origins. IMO, the Fall itself
is a fact--a fact of everyday observation, not necessarily an historical
fact (though it might be). I'm with Chesterton and Neibuhr on this one:
it's the most empirically confirmed doctrine we have. But it's also a plain
fact that animal death preceded human existence by zillions of years, so the
old YEC answer (as much as some might want to believe it) doesn't work. And
I think that once that is understood, the questions about theodicy come up
immediately, regardless of whether or not the fall was historical.
The Fall is easily understood from a Darwinian perspective. Jews have always
and repeatedly asserted that the death referred to in genesis is spiritual
death, death to God. It's their Tanach, so I don't know why we would avoid their
own analysis.
Before the fall, Adam's behavior is instinctive. He does not do anything that
is not ordained by God because he does not have self-consciousness and free
will. He does not have fear (ontological anxiety) or have shame (which requires
a self to be ashamed of) and without the self's free will he cannot sin. He
can only do what God has instilled in him to do. After the Fall, he is ashamed
(self-conscious) and fearful (self-consciousness brought ontological anxiety).
He knows he can sin/make the wrong choices and so is fearful of making
These are psychological and ontological categories that dovetail perfectly
with the nature of the Fall.
The Fall is not historical. It is pure ontology/theology.
The paper is available. Just ask.

It makes perfect sense. If your behavior is instinctive you cannot freely
love God. You can only do what God has programmed you to do. Once you have free
will, you can make the decision to love God and love God freely. Surrendering
to God is giving up your free will and making your behavior instinctive so that
you cannot but otherwise do the will of God.
Surrendering the free will to God is the self sacrifice, the sacrifice of the
Cross. You got a self when you fell. You give the self back to God to be
joined with him again.

rich faussette

Received on Thu Sep 15 13:15:17 2005

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