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

From: wjp <>
Date: Fri Oct 02 2009 - 08:41:51 EDT


I am unfamiliar with this position, and am not certain what exactly
Augustine's position is.

My understanding of the relationship of original sin, the Fall, and the
atonement is that

1) Man was created in a state free of sin.
2) In the Fall, man sinned and were separated from God.
3) Since the Fall all men are born in sin, enemies of God.
4) Man is in bondage to sin and cannot free himself.
5) Hence the need for a Savior.

There is much in this rough picture that needs to be explained
and made more explicit, all of which results in significant
differences amongst Christians.

Augustine had a theory, I believe, whereby Adam's sin was
transmitted to us through intercourse. This has some
concordance with the view that in the Fall it is the entire
creation that was affected, i.e., that it is not merely a
relationship with God that is affected but the nature of

Another popular view is that original is imputed to us through
Adam's sin, just as righteousness is imputed to us in Christ's
Righteous Act.

Problems with this rough picture include
1) there was no literal Adam and Eve
2) no literal sinless state of humans
3) no literal Fall
4) if no Fall and man in sinful state, God created man sinful
5) Some say, if no Fall, no need for Christ.

The problem with Paul:

1) Before the Fall, there was no death.
2) Through Adam's sin, death entered into the world.
3) The cure for death is to cease from sinning.
4) But this man cannot do.
5) Hence, man needs a Savior to redeem him from the
consequences of sin.

Death has been sometimes said to be spiritual death,
not physical death, and that it only affected those
who were capable of having a relationship with God.

So in the Fall our relationship with God was broken,
a relationship that we are incapable of fixing.
So God fixes it for us through Christ.

If there is no Fall, there is nothing to be restored.
That does not entail that we need saving and are not
in bondage to sin.
It does seem to entail that God created man as a sinful
being, for generally it is held that man has a sinful
nature, meaning he could not but sin.

What does Collins mean by
"This inheritance [of original sin] 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
> levels."

If we are in bondage to sin, it appears we are committed to a sin nature,
meaning that man cannot but sin, just as water cannot freeze at 32 degrees F.

This is a huge topic of conversation, one I believe that many Christians are
going about in a random and incoherent fashion.

The question on the table is this:

1) If man evolved as we are told by evolutionary theory
2) what are we to do with the doctrines of the Fall, original sin,
the punishment for sin (eternal death), and need for a Savior.
3) If man is not responsible for the Fall, if he is by nature sinful,
if man cannot trust in Christ of his own, then God created man for Hell.

Ah, but this gets too thick, and thicker still.
The relationship between man and sin cannot be avoided, as the place
of "free will," as what happened in a Fall, as what happens in a
And, what is more, the relationship between Christ and the Father,
as what happens upon the Cross.

One last question (since the theology is getting juicy).
What does Collins mean by "fully sharing in the life of Christ"?
What if, assuming one can, only partially share in the life of


On Fri, 02 Oct 2009 15:24:07 +1300, Don Nield <> wrote:
> 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
> levels.
> 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?
> Don
> 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
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Received on Fri Oct 2 08:43:05 2009

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