Re: [asa] (fall) biological evolution and a literal Adam- logically inconsistent?

From: David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com>
Date: Wed Sep 03 2008 - 11:46:16 EDT

bernie said: I don't think "sin" entered the world, but the
"awareness of sin" entered the world.

I respond: Bernie, I think you need to be very, very careful here.
This kind of distinction gets close to the territory of some classic
heresies, I think, including some kinds of gnosticism. No, "sin"
involves an act of the will, not just a sort of passive perception or
knowledge. And sin is not endemic to the human condition -- it is an
invader, something foreign to the ideal. Otherwise you end up with a
situation in which God is the author of sin and the serpent / Devil
plays a beneficent role by opening up our eyes to the evil God has
created.

On Wed, Sep 3, 2008 at 11:35 AM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com> wrote:
> The rise and fall (from Don) was from two different categories, not the same category. He said we rose in evolution, but "fell short" of our potential. The rise and fall didn't happen in evolution, and didn't happen to potential; the rise happened in evolution and the fall (as in fall short) of reaching our potential. That is not even a fall, it is a "fall-short" of a goal, a different thing. Apples and oranges, I think.
>
> Bethany said: "though by "fall" all I really mean is that sin entered the world. "
>
> What is sin? Murder? Yes, for humans, but not for animals. What makes it a sin for us is our consciousness of sin. I don't think "sin" entered the world, but the "awareness of sin" entered the world.
>
> ...Bernie
>
> ________________________________________
> From: Bethany Sollereder [mailto:bsollereder@gmail.com]
> Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 8:01 PM
> To: David Opderbeck
> Cc: Dehler, Bernie; asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: [asa] (fall) biological evolution and a literal Adam- logically inconsistent?
>
> Hey Bernie,
>
> I essentially think that what Don said captures my position: we both rose and "fell" at the same time, though by "fall" all I really mean is that sin entered the world. At some point our ancestors did not have the capacity to love God nor to sin. Today we have the ability to do both. As we came to understand God (keeping in mind that all this happened within societies and cultures), we also came to understand and commit sin. So maybe fall isn't what I mean, because as you said, that implies that we were elevated to some flawless height from which we fell. I think we struggled into both our exaltedness as C.S. Lewis writes, and into our sin which we all recognize.
>
> Bethany
> On Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 4:56 PM, David Opderbeck <dopderbeck@gmail.com> wrote:
> Bernie said: Hi David- read the last chapter of CS Lewis' "Mere Christianity" and then tell me your thoughts. I'm assuming you have the book- it is a classic book for most people in their personal libraries.
>
> I respond: I think you're misunderstanding Lewis if you take him to mean that Christ simply completes a trajectory humans were on from an evolutionary perspective. I take Lewis to be echoing something like Ireneaus' understanding of humanity -- that we were created to move towards something, that we instead moved in the wrong direction, and that Christ moves us back in the right direction. There is still a very pronounced "fall" or move in the wrong direction here. This, I would agree, is very promising for an interdisciplinary approach (theology and science) because it locates the fall in an act of human will / mind / spirit that isn't measurable by the natural sciences.
> On Tue, Sep 2, 2008 at 5:16 PM, Dehler, Bernie <bernie.dehler@intel.com> wrote:
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of David Opderbeck
> Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2008 2:01 PM
> To: Dehler, Bernie
> Cc: asa@calvin.edu
> Subject: Re: [asa] (fall) biological evolution and a literal Adam- logically inconsistent?
>
> Bernie said: A "fall" implies
>> going from something better to something worse. I think it is the opposite-
>> we arose from the animal nature and after being born-again we can rise to a
>> higher place.
>
> I respond: Bernie, I think you need to be a bit careful here
> theologically. This sounds a bit Pelagian -- that there is some
> innate human capacity to improve. The overall arc of scripture, it
> seems to me, is that human beings cannot ultimately improve
> themselves, and that something has "gone wrong" in human history.
> Christ didn't die on the cross to offer the culmination of an
> evolutionary process -- he died to redeem us from slavery to sin,
> which is both a personal and a primordial slavery.
> . . . . . . .
> Hi David- read the last chapter of CS Lewis' "Mere Christianity" and then tell me your thoughts. I'm assuming you have the book- it is a classic book for most people in their personal libraries.
>
> The ability to improve is not innate- it comes from the power of God by receiving Christ- the latest evolutionary jump. In that regard, you could say "Christ died on the cross to offer the culmination of an
> evolutionary process" (changing your statement slightly).
>
> ...Bernie
>
>
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>
>
> --
> David W. Opderbeck
> Associate Professor of Law
> Seton Hall University Law School
> Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
>
>
>
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>

-- 
David W. Opderbeck
Associate Professor of Law
Seton Hall University Law School
Gibbons Institute of Law, Science & Technology
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Received on Wed Sep 3 11:47:00 2008

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