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

From: George Murphy <>
Date: Fri Oct 02 2009 - 22:40:17 EDT

Niehbuhr is not the only one who's said that - it's attributed also to
Chesterton & Martin Marty & probably others, & someone reapeted it over
dinner at the Calvin-Darwin conference in Richmond last night. It's a
"pithy" saying (Bernie, N.B.) but misleading. Because sin is fundamentally
a breaking of relationship with God, not just doing bad stuff. We can
observe the latter but the former is known only through revelation. Vgl.
Paul's argument in Rom.1, where all the things we can judge small-s sins are
a consequence of the fundamental capital-S sin of refusing the acknowledge
God as creator. Or Gen.3-11 where Adam & Eve's failure to trust God is then
followed by Cain killing Abel, usw.


----- Original Message -----
From: "Ted Davis" <>
To: "Don Nield" <>; "Murray Hogg"
<>; "Denis O. Lamoureux" <>
Cc: "ASA" <>
Sent: Friday, October 02, 2009 10:24 AM
Subject: Re: [asa] (introducing... sin) "Evolutionary Creation" book

> My own suggestion on this one comes from John Polkinghorne, "Belief in God
> in an Age of Science," p. 88:
> "In the sense of contemporary experience [original sin] seems
> straightforward. One recalls Reinhold Niebuhr's remark that original sin
> is the only empirically verifiable Christian doctrine! You only have to
> look around -- or within -- to see the slantedness of human nature, which
> frustrates human hopes and perverts human desires. Yet we can no more
> believe that this is the entail of a single disastrous natural act than we
> can believe that there was neither death nor thistles in the world before
> our forebears took that fatal step. It has long been understood that the
> powerful tale in Genesis 3 is to be understood mythically rather than
> literally. In part it portrays life as we now experience it, but that
> recognition does not remove the question of how these things came to be in
> God's supposedly good creation."
> P goes on to suggest that "the Fall, as I have described it, turned death
> into mortality. Self-consciousness made us aware of our transience -- we
> could foresee our deaths -- and alienation from the God who is the eternal
> ground of hope, turned that recognition into sadness and bitterness. In a
> similar way, the problems of living, symbolised by thorns and thistles,
> became causes of frustration and the expense of spirit."
> I resonate more strongly with the first part of this passage than with the
> second, but there something to think about all the way. IMO.
> Ted
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Received on Fri Oct 2 22:40:54 2009

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