Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Apr 25 2008 - 20:57:41 EDT

Perhaps it would be better to say that the state of integrity is eschatological - that it is part of what we hope for & that in Christ are given a promise of.

  ----- Original Message -----
  To: ;
  Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 7:56 PM
  Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

  thanks for the reply. Perhaps there aren't any theologians saying that -- that's why I framed it as a question ("..., right?").

  So I have to retreat to a weaker statement. There are a number of reasons why I think it's at least plausible that humans have a spirit that is not extended in space or time. I recognize that these arguments are insufficient to prove anything, but I think they point the way to a possible answer to David's question. Like David, I feel the need for there to have been an original state of integrity. Otherwise, it feels (to me at least) as though God set mankind up with an unfair chance of sinlessness. I'd like to see the state of integrity somewhere, if not in spacetime.

  I want to point out that I agree with your position on Adam entirely. This proposal (put forward by CS Lewis in The Great Divorce) that humans may have an extra-temporal spirit only _adds_ one feature to your position. AFAICT it does not disagree with anything you said to David.

  One thing you said was,

  "a realistic picture of evolution will not let us do is hold on to the idea of a 'state of integrity' in the classical sense."

  This idea of man's extra-temporal provides for a 'state of integrity,' although in a non-classical sense. It says man had a very real 'state of integrity' prior to the fall, but this state of integrity was spiritual and outside time and that's why we don't see it historically. I used the words "prior" and "was" in the prior sentence because the state of integrity was causally prior to our fallenness although not temporally prior to our fallenness.

  Here are some musings on the idea of a non-extended human spirit:

  1. Theologians do say that God is spirit and is not extended in physical spacetime, right? (another question) If so, then that is one example of spirit being not extended. Extension in physical spacetime is therefore not a general property of spirits, at least.

  2. I think the idea of the wind -- "you don't know where it comes from or where it is going" -- is an excellent picture of God as one who is non-extended interacting with creatures who are extended. We feel God like wind interact with us in the here and now because that is where we are, but the coming and going of that interaction is something we cannot follow from place to place or time to time. It is a mysterious coming and going, seemingly from nowhere.

  3. Similarly, interactions with angels must occur for us within spacetime because that is where we are, regardless whether they are extended in spacetime.

  4. The description of angels in the Bible that seem to imply extension could easily be anthropomorphic or figurative language.

  5. Really extension in spacetime means that we interact with particles according to the four known forces which have 1/r^alpha dependencies, alpha=2 for gravity or electrostatics, etc. The existence of "r" in those laws is the modern meaning of "extension" for a human body and brain composed of particles. Does a spirit follow those laws in interacting with the particles of this universe? If not, then what could its extension in physical spacetime even mean? From a positivist point of view, it may be meaningless nowadays to talk of extension in the physical universe if we don't define it in terms of particle interactions via forces. The notion of "spacetime" is not so indefinite as it was 200 years ago.

  6. If angels are unextended, then that might explain why they appear to have no repentance, or why the devil seems to be not smart enough to know to stop rebelling, etc. Their apparent inability to change their direction may be because we are seeing a _projection_ of their unextended decisions into spacetime; not the making of decisions within spacetime.

  7. The ultimate purpose of time may be so that Christ could enter into it and unite us to himself. If so, the creation of this spacetime comes causally after the fall.

  Again, I already recognize the inadequacy of these statements, but I think the idea is plausible and very interesting.


  -----Original Message-----
  From: George Murphy <>
  Sent: Fri, 25 Apr 2008 2:01 pm
  Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

  Apropos 1 below, what theologians do you have in mind? I don't know of any who say this, though of course that doesn't prove that there aren't any. When Robert Jenson, e.g., in his introduction to the locus on "The Holy Spirit" in Christian Dogmatics says "Thus spirit is self-transcendence; the liveliness of each life is precisely its origin and end beyond itself," he is pointing in a quite different direction. (He also notes that Greek pneuma & Hebrew ruach agree in picturing spirit as wind or breath, things that are extended.)

    ----- Original Message -----
    To: ; ;
    Sent: Friday, April 25, 2008 1:15 AM
    Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey


    1. Theologians say that a spirit is something that has no extension in space, right? When they say this, "space" refers to the ordinary space of our physical universe.

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Received on Fri Apr 25 21:00:48 2008

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