Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Thu Aug 23 2007 - 08:14:03 EDT

Phil said: * I don't see consciousness as being as fundamental as the
spirit, or the heart, which is beneath and behind and throughout our
consciousness.*

These are interesting ideas. This part seems problematic to me, though.
Again, this conception of spirit or "soul" seems a bit more Platonic or
Buddhist than Hebraic-Christian. It also seems to hint at Mormon notions of
preexistence. When we die, for example, do our spirits once again lose the
connection to our individual persons, and rejoin a sort of collective
consciousness?

On 8/22/07, philtill@aol.com <philtill@aol.com> wrote:
>
> George, I just finished reading your paper. It was very beautifully
> researched and written, and it was a pleasure to read!
>
> I have a question. The first thing that struck me in reading your paper
> is that your view of the Fall seems to be entirely related to the physical
> part of humanity, that if humans have a spirit then it was affected merely
> as a secondary effect rather than as the essential causal agent in our
> original sin. Is this your view? Is mankind fallen in spirit? When and
> where did our spirits fall away from God? Is spiritual fallenness inherited
> as universal or do we each fall in spirit individually?
>
> Since Scripture indicates that there are spiritual (non-physical) beings
> that are sinners (e.g., Satan), then it must be possible for a
> creature's spirit to be fallen. Spirits themselves, and not just evolved
> organisms, can somehow be "coded" for sinful character. Creatures don't
> need DNA or neurons to be fallen. Surely fallen angels did not inherit
> sinful through DNA or from cocaine in their mothers' milk, and surely God
> did not make them evil in their creation. And yet their (spiritual)
> fallenness is just as bad as our (physical?) fallenness. So physical
> explanations for original sin aren't necessary a priori.
>
> Then, since Scriptures also talk about mankind, too, being spiritual
> beings and not merely physical, then it seems plausible that mankind's
> spirit might indeed be fallen, just as the fallen angels' spirits are.
>
> And, it seems to me that the real essence of fallenness is not in our
> behavior or our propensities due to human weakness or parental influence,
> but rather the deep-down-in-our-hearts (or spirit) turned-away-ness from
> relationship with God. All the behavior we see working out in our lives
> seems to be the result of that turned-away-ness. Indeed, I'd say that a
> pre-human hominid who kills his neighbor is not sinning precisely because
> there is no turned-away-ness in spirit behind the action. A human who has a
> mental illness may also do horrible acts but not sin, depending on their
> spirit rather than on their actions. And a fetus might become saved in the
> womb (like John the Baptist) because their spirit responded in faith to God
> even though their mind was unable to process conscious thoughts.
>
> This is also how I would reply to David O's post, too, in which he raised
> the excellent questions about the "germ" of humanity that was supposedly in
> Adam (per the Augustinian view), which could not have consciously sinned in
> Adam since it was not conscious. I don't see consciousness as being as
> fundamental as the spirit, or the heart, which is beneath and behind and
> throughout our consciousness. When I have been closest to God and repenting
> of sin, I have always felt that I truly own my spirit's state of being
> turned from God, though when or how it happened is deeper than I can
> understand.
>
> This belief in the spirit is what makes me so interested in the
> Augustinian view (or perhaps I should say an extension of that view). It
> provides that original fallenness could have affected our spirits and not
> merely our genetically selfish bodies.
>
> Phil
>
>
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
> To: dopderbeck@gmail.com; philtill@aol.com
> Cc: dfsiemensjr@juno.com; asa@calvin.edu
> Sent: Mon, 20 Aug 2007 8:15 pm
> Subject: Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam
>
>
> 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
>
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Received on Thu Aug 23 08:14:25 2007

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