Re: [asa] Theological Perspectives Without a Literal Adam

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Date: Thu Aug 23 2007 - 10:11:54 EDT

David O. wrote:

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?

Hi David,

as you probably figured I haven't spent enough time thinking on these things to be clear and consistent.? These are general ideas that I've been developing over my lifetime but without focus.?

Maybe this idea does go beyond Hebraic-Christian concepts, but (as I posted a few days ago) I think there has been a minor stream in this direction in evangelicalism.? C.S. Lewis is the primary example.? From _The Great Divorce_, which is a work of imaginative fiction, he puts these words into the mouth of one character:

"Time is the very lens through which ye see---small and clear, as men see through the wrong end of a telescope---something that would otherwise be too big for ye to see at all.? That thing is Freedom:? the gift whereby ye most resemble your Maker and are yourselves parts of eternal reality.? But ye can see it only through the lens of Time, in a little clear picture, through the inverted telescope.? It is a picture of moments following one another and yourself in each moment making some choice that might ahve been otherwise.? Neither the temporal succession nor the phantom of what ye might have chosen and didn't is Freedom.? they are a lens.? The picture is a symbol:? but it's truer than any philosophical theorem (or, perhaps, than any mystic's vision) that claims to go behind it...(snip)...The Lord said we were gods.? How long could y bear to look (without Time's lens) on the greatness of your own soul and the eternal reality of her choice?" ?(p. 125)

And on the next page, a new chapter:

And suddenly all was changed.? I saw a great assembly of gigantic forms all motionless, all in deepest silence, standing forever about a little silver table and looking upon it.? And on the table there were little figures like chessmen who went to and fro doing this and that.? And I knew that each chessman was the idolum or puppet representative of some one of the great presences that stood by.? And the acts and motions of each chessman were a moving portait, a mimicry or pantomime, which delineated the inmost nature of his giant master.? And these chessmen are men and women as they appear to themselves and to one another in this world.? And the silver table is Time.? And those who stand and watch are the immortal souls of those same men and women.? Then vertigo aqnd terror seized me... (p. 126)

I'm probably wrong about this, but I think there is some reflection of these ideas in Lutheranism where it has been believed that an infant in the womb can be saved or lost depending on whether they put faith in Christ.? There is no conscious choice in the fetus, but there is a spirit that supercedes mental activity and that spirit can still respond to God.? I find this idea very attractive because it resolves many of the objections to Christianity regarding people who don't hear the gospel, people who are mentally incapacitated, etc.

I wouldn't use the word "Pre-existence" because that implies a causal ordering (not just a temporal ordering), but outside time we don't know how things are causally ordered.? Maybe we have simply a parallel-existence that is greater than its projection into spacetime (as Lewis imaginatively pictures).? Maybe the fall is not parallel to only one point in spacetime, but is parallel to all points in spacetime, yet outside spacetime it retains the character of being one discrete and communal event instead of the many individual sins we see here.? In physics that is like a Fourier transform:? it spreads out localized events in spacetime to all points in momentum space, or localized momentum events to all points in spacetime.


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Received on Thu Aug 23 10:13:58 2007

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