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

From: Alexanian, Moorad <>
Date: Mon Apr 28 2008 - 08:41:40 EDT

I think I know what Hell is. On this side of death, there is doubt about
whether God is or is not. On the other side of death there is certainty.
Hell is knowing for sure that God is and that you denied Him.




From: [] On
Behalf Of George Murphy
Sent: Sunday, April 27, 2008 8:22 PM
Subject: Re: [asa] Humanity and the Fall: Questions and a Survey


Since we know next to nothing about hell, we're in a rather precarious
position if we try to base any anthropological arguments on it.



        ----- Original Message -----


        To: ;

        Sent: Saturday, April 26, 2008 10:15 PM

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


        I forgot to include this reason why I think the human spirit may
be non-extended in space and time: Hell.
        Why would God send an unredeemable creature that is extended in
space and time into Hell rather than simply annihilating him?
Annihilation means drawing a limit to the extension. I won't pretend to
have an answer, but if the creature is spiritual and that spirit is not
extended in time, then perhaps annihiliation is not even an option.
Annihilation may look feasible only because we don't see the spiritual
part of mankind that is beyond time.
        -----Original Message-----
        Sent: Fri, 25 Apr 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
        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
        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 Mon Apr 28 08:43:00 2008

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