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

From: <philtill@aol.com>
Date: Sat Apr 26 2008 - 22:42:36 EDT

Hi Dave,

I'm not claiming to know the difference between soul & spirit, I'm asking how _you_ know the difference, or more precisely, how do you know there _is_ no difference?? You said there is evidence that spirit changes in time, but how do you know you are really observing a person's spirit and not their soul??How do you know there is only one non-material part of man that is both soul & spirit rather than two distinct non-material parts of man (as Hebrews 4 seems to imply).?

IOW, your argument was circular.? When I brought up the idea that the human spirit is outside time, then of course the non-material part of mankind that we see changing in time is not what I was talking about.? But you assumed?what we?see changing in time is the spirit that i was talking about, and therefore because it is changing the spirit is changing, and therefore the spirit is inside time.? This is clearly circular, right?? :)

I don't think anybody knows the difference betw the spirit and soul, but if I were forced to make a statement at gunpoint then for grins I'd say something over the top, like, "the soul is the intersection of the spirit with the body, a shadow of the spirit cast upon time.? The physical brain is the wake rolling across the river of physics telling us that a spirit has passed."? If you can't dazzle 'em with data, then baffle 'em with baloney.

Phil

-----Original Message-----
From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
To: philtill@aol.com
Cc: gmurphy@raex.com; dopderbeck@gmail.com; asa@calvin.edu
Sent: Fri, 25 Apr 2008 11:28 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

Hi, Phil,

To start with your second paragraph, I did not say that spirit is amenable to scientific study. I am merely noting that there is a radical difference between the two kinds of eternity, unending time and timelessness. We expect the former, but the Creator enjoys the latter--unless we take seriously the question that Augustine recognized as nonsensical: what was God doing before he created the world? There was a beginning to the former, but the latter can have neither beginning nor end.

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I am not claiming that there has to be a single measurement to any dimension. I have a consistent measure for space and time within my frame of reference only. It will be yours if you are stationary with respect to the same frame. But if you are moving relative to me, our measurements will be different, but related via the equations.

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Just to be cussed, I'll ask what is the scientific difference between soul and spirit? I recognize that there is a view that the soul is merely the activity of brain. But I take your notion to be that soul is a connection between spirit and brain. But this seems to me to be more hand-waving than clarification.

Dave (ASA)

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On Fri, 25 Apr 2008 20:08:43 -0400 philtill@aol.com writes:

Hi Dave,

It's true that a time-like dimension exists in any reference frame, but it is not always the same dimension from one reference frame to another. What you call "time" is a?projection onto both space and time to somebody who is zipping past you at high velocity.? (And v.v.)? So what projection is the "true" time dimension?? If Einstein was correct, that is a meaningless question.? No reference frame is more fundamental than any other, and so?there is no universally distinct time-dimension in spacetime.
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When you say that spirit can't be timeless because it changes, how do you observe that spirit changes?? Couldn't it be that you are observing changes of "soul" rather than spirit?? What if "soul" is merely the projection of spirit onto spacetime?? Thus, "spirit" is something much greater and we cannot see the whole thing.? We only see the soul, its projection.? We sense that there is spirit, because something much greater pokes at our soul and we feel it approach us as "something beyond."? How would we ever make an observation that the "something beyond" is extended in time and not outside it, poking us from its superior vantage point?

Phil

>>

I think there is a jump here that is not warranted. First, we are in a space-time continuum, but that does not mean that space and time are not distinct. Time's dimension is imaginary in relativity theory. That spirit is not in our space-time does not mean that it is timeless, for the evidence is that it changes, which implies time. It also appears that angels, ministering spirits, can act in time and space, though I have no explanation of how. As to God, I would note that "transcends" is not adequate, for he is outside of time and space. This is so much outside of human experience that we have no vocabulary to deal with this apart from negation. I consider this part of the reason why God is "described" as ineffable.

-----Original Message-----
From: D. F. Siemens, Jr. <dfsiemensjr@juno.com>
To: philtill@aol.com
Cc: gmurphy@raex.com; dopderbeck@gmail.com; asa@calvin.edu
Sent: Fri, 25 Apr 2008 2:10 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

I think there is a jump here that is not warranted. First, we are in a space-time continuum, but that does not mean that space and time are not distinct. Time's dimension is imaginary in relativity theory. That spirit is not in our space-time does not mean that it is timeless, for the evidence is that it changes, which implies time. It also appears that angels, ministering spirits, can act in time and space, though I have no explanation of how. As to God, I would note that "transcends" is not adequate, for he is outside of time and space. This is so much outside of human experience that we have no vocabulary to deal with this apart from negation. I consider this part of the reason why God is "described" as ineffable.

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As to Pinnock, what little I have read of him seems to me totally misguided, for?his view?places God within time though he seems not to realize it.

Dave (ASA)

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On Fri, 25 Apr 2008 01:15:22 -0400 philtill@aol.com writes:

David,

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.

2. If that's true, then (a la physics, because space and time are not distinct),?a spirit?must also have no extension in time.? That's not too hard to accept:? God transcends space and He transcends time, too, right?

3.? Well, here's the rub.? If humans have a spirit, which most evangelical and reformed theologians believe (Catholics, too?), then that means there is a part of us that has no extension in space **or time**.? If that's not true, then you and I don't really have spirits, or else theologians must be wrong and indeed spirits have extension in space, or else physics is wrong!? But we don't believe any of that.? So let's get used to the idea that some part of humanity has no extension in time.

4.? But these arguments about Adam commonly make the mistake in assuming humanity is entirely extended in time.? Consider how Pinnock assumes this:

"For if Adam is simply which stands for the truth about every person who ever lived, **from the very beginning of that person's life,** what does that mean? That means that sin is simply a part of what it means to be human!" (emphasis mine)

He thinks that we have comprehensively examined a man when we look all the way back through time to his beginning in time.? Thus, he assumes the entirety of humanity is extended in time.? But on the contrary, if Adam stands for the truth about every person who ever lived, including men's spiritual aspect, which transcends time, then even when we look all the way back to the beginning of their lives we have not seen every part of them.? There is the part of us beyond time that we have not looked at.? It is therefore possible that the fallenness we see in this universe is not inherent to what it means to be human.? The sin in the garden needn't represent a temporal event to have theological meaning.

I suspect the problem with our theology around Adam is resolved by considering this bigger picture of humanity including our spirits that are not extended in spacetime.? Adam as a "saga" or "myth" presents mankind in a garden as if he were simply inside spacetime.? But if the true nature of mankind's Fall as a spiritual event is not extended in spacetime, then it well may be impossible for us to comprehend it from our view within spacetime.? Only a story like that of Adam could possibly communicate its theological truths to us.? So I don't think the story of Adam has any shortcomings, regardless what we may learn from science.

You may recall I've tried to communicate this general idea on this list before by appealing to the "Augustinian" idea that mankind is "in Adam" in a some kind of way that implies a spatially non-extended?connection.? Hopefully I did a better job explaining the idea this go-round.

By the way, this was C.S. Lewis's view of mankind.? He believes our choice to sin or be saved is ultimately a spiritual decision from outside time that we see played out as a projection onto the chessboard of spacetime.? He wrote that Time is the backwards telescope that narrows the view so that we can see ourselves as the free moral agents that we truly are.? If we saw ourselves outside Time, we would not have such a clear view of our own free moral agency.

Phil

-----Original Message-----
From: George Murphy <gmurphy@raex.com>
To: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>; asa <asa@calvin.edu>
Sent: Thu, 24 Apr 2008 1:10 pm
Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey

There's a good deal of truth in what Pinnock says.? However -

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1)? Scripture itself does not use the language of "fall" in connection with the 1st human sin & we need not be tied either to that language or (more importantly) to the image it conveys of an abrupt transition from?a "state of integrity" to depravity.

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2)? What I think 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.

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3)??A more realistic picture is not that of "fall" but of the start of a process of getting off the right track - i.e., the kind of historical development God wanted.? That process did start at the beginning of human history & in that sense is "historical."

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4)? Gen.3 & other texts (Rom.5 &c) are theological statements about that?start but are not historical accounts of it.

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5)? The really essential; thing to maintain is the seriousness of our "sin of origin," which is why reading Gen.3 as the story of "everyman/woman" is necessary, though it doesn't exhaust the meaning of that text.

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6)? At which I will again refer to my PSCF article at http://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/2006/PSCF6-06Murphy.pdf?.?

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Shalom
George
http://web.raex.com/~gmurphy/

----- Original Message -----

From: David Opderbeck

To: asa

Sent: Thursday, April 24, 2008 12:34 PM

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

Here is an article by a prof at Westminster Seminary California that I think lays out the theological dilemma of accepting human evolution:? http://www.wscal.edu/faculty/wscwritings/wasadamhistorical.php

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The author is right, isn't he, that one must either reject human evolution and accept a traditional understanding of the fall, or accept human evolution and accept a neoorthodox understanding of the fall?? Much as I've tried to find middle ground, I don't see it.?

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Clark Pinnock makes an effort towards such a middle ground in a fascinating book that presages what has become known as the "postconservative" movement in evangelicalism.? Pinnock tries to take the best of neoorthdoxy without compromising classical orthodoxy.? Here is what he says about the fall:

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... it is important to interpret the Fall into sin as an event not a myth.? I do not mean that is an event witnessed and described for us by those who were there. I recognize in?the literary depiction of it a mythical dimension.? Nevertheless, it is important to see tha the Fall maks the point in history when humankind turned aside from God and God's purposes.? It is more than a quant story of Everyman.? "It is teh name for that point in world history when, with human freedom already becoming a reality, man began to act in a way disruptive of the historical process, working against God's purposes for him and for the world and thus acting in a manner destructive of his own being and welfare."? The actual event may not have been something that happened to a couple in a garden just as described -- it may have happened in another way over a period of generations perhaps.? But it is important that the Fall into sin predates history as we kno w it and determines its sinful charact
 er.? History has been spoiled and turned around.? Salvation is not being delivered from history; it is being delivered in and with it.? In a strong statement, . . . 'to regard the fall as myth rather than in some sense genuine history shatters both the consistency and the meaning of the Christian faith."? (Pinnock, Tracking the Maze, at p. 195).

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?Something about Pinnock's effort here is just not satisfying.? So if you accept human evolution, is your view of the fall historical or neoorthodox?? If it's historical, how does it square with your acceptance of evolutionary science?? If it's neoorthodox, how does it square with scripture's emphasis on the effects of Adam's sin?

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Received on Sat Apr 26 22:43:46 2008

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