Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Tue Aug 21 2007 - 11:31:23 EDT

This is a broader question, but related, question: what standards do we use
to distinguish orthodoxy from heterodoxy from heresy? When does a view at
variance with historic orthodoxy place someone completely outside the
Christian tradition? (Note that I'm not suggesting any view discussed in
this thread does so; just sussing out perspectives on the boundaries).

On 8/20/07, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:
>
> Since human evolution wasn't considered seriously by theologians until
> the 19th century, an understanding of original sin that takes evolution into
> account AS WELL AS being consistent with what scripture says about the human
> condition can't be found in any of the major theological traditions. The
> approach that I suggest is reasonably consistent with what the Orthodox
> tradition has said about the *origin* of human sinfulness (e.g., the
> creation of the 1st humans in an immature state from which they was intended
> to grow) but is in accord with the Augustinian - & in particular Lutheran -
> tradition about the *seriousness* of original sin &, in particular, the
> fact that it really is sin. Article 2 of the Augsburg Confession (which can
> be found at http://www.bookofconcord.org/augsburgconfession.html#article2)
> SAYS:
>
> "Also they teach that since the fall of Adam all men begotten in the
> natural way are born with sin, that is, without the fear of God, without
> trust in God, and with concupiscence; and that this disease, or vice of
> origin, is truly sin, even now condemning and bringing eternal death upon
> those not born again through Baptism and the Holy Ghost. They condemn the
> Pelagians and others who deny that original depravity is sin, and who, to
> obscure the glory of Christ's merit and benefits, argue that man can be
> justified before God by his own strength and reason."
>
> (The qualification "begotten in the natural way" was intended to exclude
> Christ. I think, however, that this should not be done. With the Eastern
> tradition - & with Barth - we should understand Christ to have been born in
> the same condition as ourselves, though he committed no sin. "God made him
> to be sin who knew no sin.")
>
> Shalom
> George
> http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> *From:* David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
> *To:* George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
> *Cc:* philtill@aol.com ; dfsiemensjr@juno.com ; asa@calvin.edu
> *Sent:* Monday, August 20, 2007 8:29 PM
> *Subject:* Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam
>
>
> Ah, and George, this gets back to my original question: in what
> theological tradition does an approach like yours lie? Is it typically
> Lutheran? Or is it novel?
>
> On 8/20/07, George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com> wrote:
> >
> > It seems very strange to me to call the idea that we were all "in Adam"
> > a "realist" view. 1st, this language ultimately derives from the poor Latin
> > translation of Rom.5 :12, *in quo omnes peccaverunt*, "in whom all
> > sinned." 2d, the only way of making sense of this physically today is to
> > understand original sin actually to be transmitted genetically, which runs
> > into all kinds of problems. & that doesn't even take into account the
> > problematic question of the historicity of a single Adam.
> >
> > Which is not to argue for "federal theory" - I already pointed out a
> > basic problem with that. The best way to understand the situation is
> > to see the sin of earlier generations as giving rise to a religious & moral
> > environment which strongly discourages true faith in the true God. Again I
> > refer to my PSCF article at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2006/PSCF6-06Murphy.pdf
> > .
> >
> >
> >
> > Shalom
> > George
> > http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > *From:* philtill@aol.com
> > *To:* dopderbeck@gmail.com
> > *Cc:* gmurphy@raex.com ; dfsiemensjr@juno.com ; asa@calvin.edu
> > *Sent:* Monday, August 20, 2007 6:08 PM
> > *Subject:* Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > Yet, if being "bent" towards sin is not a necessary condition of human
> > existence, and is imputed to us because Adam in fact sinned rather than
> > because of anything we have done ourselves; and, if being "bent" towards sin
> > means we all will inevitably sin, without any possibility of not sinning;
> > and, if even one sinful act alienates us from God for all eternity -- then
> > it does seem that the deck is stacked rather unfairly, doesn't it?
> >
> >
> >
> > Hi David,
> >
> > (Sigh) this is the Federal view again, right? I'm a bit frustrated
> > because I keep being asked to defend a view that I was not even talking
> > about, and which I don't even claim to believe. Is it because I have not
> > clearly explained the Augustinian view, which I was discussing, well enough
> > to distinguish it from the Federal view? The Augustinian view attempts to
> > answer the very questions you raise about the Federal view. So I'll try to
> > say it again, but more clearly.
> >
> > Of course we all know the facts: we actually are sinners who inevitably
> > sin. That is just as empirically sure as any theory in physics, and we sure
> > don't want to create theories that go against the empirics. Rocks don't
> > disobey gravity and children don't grow up sinless. So we have to accept
> > that the deck really is stacked against us.
> >
> > As monotheists we believe that it was not stacked *unfairly*. So the
> > only question here is to discover what was the *fair *set of events that
> > stacked it against us.
> >
> > The Realist or Augustinian view says that you and I were actually "in"
> > Adam when he sinned so that we *really* did "staple our feet to the
> > starting line by our own free will" as you say. Put the emphasis on the
> > word "really." Think of the Augustinian view as the analog of nonlocality
> > in quantum mechanics. If subatomic particles can be entangled and
> > indistinguishable and non-locally correlated, even behaving as though they
> > anticipate things outside of the time sequence (in the delayed choice
> > experiments), then perhaps, just *perhaps*, human souls might also be
> > related in such atemporal and nonlocal ways. If so, then maybe our souls
> > and Adam's soul were somehow together as one in the garden (or in whatever
> > scenario from prehistory someone may think the garden symbolically
> > represents).
> >
> > Here is a pithy way to oversimplify it. The Federal view says Adam
> > sinned in our place; the Augustinian view says we sinned in his place. (
> > i.e., in the garden)
> >
> > I'm not saying I believe that this Augustinian view is right, nor that
> > the Federal view is right or wrong. I just think the Augustinian idea is
> > interesting and might merit more thought.
> >
> > Also, think about the MWI interpretation of QM. In that view, there
> > really are multiple versions of consciousness for each person. I don't tend
> > to believe MWI, but who knows how strange reality actually is?
> >
> > Phil
> >
> > ------------------------------
> > AOL now offers free email to everyone. Find out more about what's free
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> >
> >
> >
>

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Received on Tue Aug 21 11:32:03 2007

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