Re: [asa] (introducing... sin) "Evolutionary Creation" book comments

From: Don Nield <>
Date: Thu Oct 01 2009 - 22:24:07 EDT

My answer would be that there is is nothing wrong in answering a
question with another question if the person asking the first question
has an open mind and can thus benefit by having his question put in a
better context. However, if the person asking the first question has
preconceptions that he is not willing to change then he cannot be helped
in this manner.

For Bernie's benefit I will now make a definite statement, which
expresses my own view. I will then invite him to voice his objections.

Clearly the doctrine of original sin as expounded by Augustine, and
consequently a doctrine of the atonement based on that exposition, is
inadequate in the light of the fossil record and genetic investigations.
A more nuanced exposition of these doctrines, such as that proposed by
Robin Collins, is needed. I now sketch Collins’ view as presented in a
chapter of Keith B. Miller (ed.), /Perspectives on an Evolving
Creation/, Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, 2003.

Genesis 2-3 serves as a symbolic story that provides a sketch of what an
ideal relation with God would be like. Adam and Eve play two
representative roles. They represent us and they represent the first
hominids who had the capacity for free choice and self-consciousness.
With this capacity, they became aware of God’s requirements, but more
often than not rejected them. The “Fall” refers to the sinful acts of
these ancestors creating a form of spiritual and moral darkness along
with an accompanying bondage to sin. Original sin refers to: (1) the
sinful choices of these hominids, (2) the continuing sinful choices of
the succeeding generations including ourselves, and (3) the resulting
bondage to sin and spiritual darkness that is inherited from our
ancestors and generated by our own choices. This inheritance acts at its
own (“spiritual”) level and cannot be reduced to some sort of cultural
or genetic inheritance, though it is deeply intertwined with these other

On Collins’ view salvation consists of fully sharing the life of Christ.
Because of the incarnation, this life is both fully divine and fully
human; and because of the cross, it is fully in solidarity with the
depths of human brokenness, sin, alienation, mortality and the like.
Because of its fully human component, and because it is in full
solidarity with the depths of our life situation, we can participate in
it. As Paul indicates in Romans 6, by participating in this life we are
redeemed from sin and reconciled to God and freed from spiritual bondage
and darkness. Thus the effect of original sin is reversed. Collins
defends his incarnational theory of the atonement as being scripturally,
morally, and theologically sound. It also works in well with the kenosis
theme of Phillipians 2:5-11.

In my opinion Robin's Collins position is sound. That is my definite
statement. I now conclude by asking Bernie a question. What is wrong
with this position?

Murray Hogg wrote:
> I am, at this juncture, reminded of the old joke about the Rabbi who
> always answered a question with a question.
> When this practice finally became too much for one of his disciples,
> said disciple blurted out in frustration;
> "Rabbi! Why do you ALWAYS answer a question with a question?"
> Shrugging his shoulders, the Rabbi answered...
> "And what's wrong with a question?"
> Blessing,
> Murray
> Cameron Wybrow wrote:
>> Murray and others:
>> While I think that Bernie has sometimes focused on the wrong
>> questions, and got himself tangled up in the letter of religious
>> teachings rather than their spirit, I don't think that all his
>> questions are unreasonable, and I think that some of his very recent
>> posts are getting evasive answers.
>> Murray, I believe that Bernie is asking you to give YOUR
>> interpretation of Romans 7. In particular, since it was you, not
>> Bernie, who insisted that "the right questions" are:
>> "What is sin?"
>> "When did humans become morally culpable for it?"
>> I think it is your responsibility to answer them.
>> I, for one, find Paul's writings to be something less than crystal
>> clear on the theoretical level, and when someone simply directs me to
>> a text, and says, "the answer is there", that is not very helpful. It
>> has always seemed to me that (if I may employ a slight exaggeration
>> to make a point) there are almost as many different Pauline
>> theologies as there are readers of Paul. I think you need to give at
>> least sketchy answers to the two questions above, questions which,
>> according to you, are the ones that Paul purports to answer. Bernie
>> needs to know how you interpret Paul, and whether or not you agree
>> with Paul.
>> Cameron W.
>> ----- Original Message ----- From: "Murray Hogg"
>> <>
>> To: "ASA" <>
>> Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2009 7:09 PM
>> Subject: Re: [asa] (introducing... sin) "Evolutionary Creation" book
>> comments
>>> Hi Bernie,
>>> Quite right, my previous answer was quite inadequate.
>>> I should have written;
>>> Go and UNDERSTAND Romans 7, not just "read" it.
>>> Apologies for the confusion...
>>> Blessings,
>>> Murray
>>> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>>>> Murray said:
>>>> "Again, you're asking the wrong question."
>>>> You say my question is wrong, then propose others, and don't give
>>>> an answer to your new questions. Please precisely and concisely
>>>> provide your answers, so I can critique and offer an alternative.
>>>> ...Bernie
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From:
>>>> [] On Behalf Of Murray Hogg
>>>> Sent: Thursday, October 01, 2009 3:18 PM
>>>> To: asa
>>>> Subject: Re: [asa] (introducing... sin) "Evolutionary Creation"
>>>> book comments
>>>> Hi Bernie,
>>>> Again, you're asking the wrong question.
>>>> The RIGHT question is NOT "how did sin enter the world" but, rather;
>>>> 1) What is "sin"?
>>>> and
>>>> 2) When did humans become morally culpable for it?
>>>> If your answer to (1) is "breaking God's law" or anything even
>>>> remotely resembling it, then you're confusing cause with effect.
>>>> Time to re-read Romans 7 and start again.
>>>> Blessings,
>>>> Murray.
>>>> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>>>>> Murray - let me ask you this pointedly, and see if you can be
>>>>> precise.
>>>>> How exactly did sin enter the world? Please be specific and
>>>>> describe the actual reality, not in analogy.
>>>>> I will also tell you my understanding.
>>>>> Denis Lamoureux said the inerrant theological truth to the origin
>>>>> of sin was that it was introduced by humans (I can quote it if you
>>>>> want), although he won't explain the details. Do you agree? If so,
>>>>> explain how humans introduced sin into the world.
>>>>> I will then explain how we can know that humans did not introduce
>>>>> sin into the world.
>>>>> My counter-point to Lamoureux is that the idea of humans
>>>>> introducing sin into the world, using his own hermeneutics, should
>>>>> be classified as "ancient" (and incorrect I might add) theology.
>>>>> (Lamoureux and I both agree there was no literal Adam or first
>>>>> human.)
>>>>> ...Bernie
>>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>>> From:
>>>>> [] On Behalf Of Murray Hogg
>>>>> Sent: Wednesday, September 30, 2009 4:16 PM
>>>>> To: ASA
>>>>> Subject: Re: [asa] (dreamtime) "Evolutionary Creation" book comments
>>>>> Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>>>>>> Therefore, to be precise, the Adam of that story was not a real
>>>>>> guy, because the story is not real. It is merely a parable using
>>>>>> well-known existing characters. Am I correct?
>>>>> Actually, to be precise, you are committing a category error.
>>>>> The claim "the story is not real" merely begs the question "real
>>>>> in what sense?"
>>>>> To which your answer, as far as I can tell, is "real in the sense
>>>>> modern history is real"
>>>>> My response: It's not modern history, thus your question ("was
>>>>> Adam real") presumes a category error and allows of no answer.
>>>>> There is, simply put, NO WAY to tell from Genesis 1/2 whether Adam
>>>>> was a "real" person even though, from what we know of pre-modern
>>>>> oral tradition, it is highly unlikely that such a significant
>>>>> story would be attached to an entirely fictitious figure.
>>>>> Blessings,
>>>>> Murray

To unsubscribe, send a message to with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Thu Oct 1 22:24:53 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Thu Oct 01 2009 - 22:24:53 EDT