A.Suarez's Treatment on a Pope's Formulation for Original Sin's Transmission!

Not sure if I understand all that you said. But the reality is as the scripture says, “he who unites himself with the Lord is one with Him in spirit”. That is the reality. Not some denominational belief or a certain brand of theology, it is Christ. Those who have not turned from sin don’t know Him and many who have called out to Him dont understand all that God did in Jesus when he was executed and rose from the dead and ascended to the Fathers side. Christ in me is daily saving me from sin. That is unmerited favor, grace. Through the cross of Christ I died to the world and the world to me, (thus saith the Spirit of God).

Disobedient? No! I was created in Christ unto good works.

Individualistic? Yes! Those who are in Christ are one spirit with Him, we are His body. One individual, Christ.

Independent? No! Jesus said, “If you love me you will keep my commands and I and my Father will come and make our home in you.” I am fully dependent on Jesus and the Father abiding in me.

Once dead in sin, once asleep without the knowledge of Jesus, but now filled with the Spirit of Christ which makes me awake and wise in the ways of God. It appears you are stuck on categorizing those who are born of the Spirit by using terms like protestantism, the truth is I have become a New Creation in Christ through His cross. It is Jesus who has bought me and freed me from the slavery to sin and the god of this world. Why would I align myself or call myself by any other name. I am bound to Jesus by being one spirit with him, just as the Word of God makes clear.

Thanks for taking time to discussing my proposal on “transmission of original sin”.

I get the impression you are misunderstanding what I write. I dare to repeat my claim to clarify:

The behaviors of lions, chimps, orangutans, and bonobos I refer to are well established physical evidence.

Question 1: Are you doubting this?

I qualify these behaviors (and the mechanisms underpinning them) as “selfish” in the sense that the actions they lead to are criminal and sinful, if they are committed by free and conscious human beings in the image of God.

Before God made Homo sapiens in the Image of God, the Homo sapiens creatures did such actions but they were not aware of being morally responsible and therefore accountable toward God for them.

Question 2: Are you claiming that such Homo sapiens creatures (that were not accountable beings in the image of God) were committing crimes and sins?

I would be thankful if you answer these 2 Questions, in order we can progress in our discussion.

Hello Antoine,

Thanks for keeping the conversation moving foward.

You said:

I get the impression you are misunderstanding what I write.

Instead, Antoine, it may be that I do understand what you write, but that in my understanding I critique it where it seems to differ significantly from established Roman Catholic teachings. Is that an option for you to consider also? Please leave it open as a possibility, in case you might not be aware of your apparent deviations from Catholic teachings.

If I was mainly interested to read Roman Catholic standard, I wouldn’t be reading what you write. I would just go to the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and read what they say there. Yours, however, appears to be a novelty approach to Catholic teachings, just as was Teilhard de Chardin’s “evolutionist” version of Christianity, a version which has largely failed and was censured by the Vatican.

Is this a fair assessment & comparison with your views, since you’ve promoted Teilhard in this thread, and surely have entertained Teilhard’s ideas, granted, not all positively, here with another unorthodox Catholic, who is a Teilhardian?

“The behaviors of lions, chimps, orangutans, and bonobos I refer to are well established physical evidence. Question 1: Are you doubting this?”

No, I am not doubting the existence or evidence of behaviours and actions of lions, chimps, orangutans, and bonobos. Of course not! Why would you even make this otherwise trivial claim?

Question 2: Are you claiming that such Homo sapiens creatures (that were not accountable beings in the image of God) were committing crimes and sins?

No. Yet rather than being problematic for Christianity, that is instead YOUR problem in promoting a novelty Catholic evolutionist position as a philosophical physicist. It’s not a problem for historical Christianity, which doesn’t teach about Homo Sapiens the way you are doing now. “Christianity” as “we” know it throughout history starts with “Adam”, not with Homo Sapiens. Do you disagree?

It sounds like you’re trying to do something similar to what S.Joshua Swamidass is doing. Let me suggest that is a bad and heterodox idea.

You wish to start with Homo Sapiens , which shows you’ve drunk the “natural history of religion” Cool Aid by atheists and are now trying to repackage it for Christian evangelicals here at BioLogos. That’s how it sounds, sorry. No doubt you will emphasize to me how that is untrue, and merely my false impression from your words above. Your anthropology appears to start with Homo Sapiens, rather than with Christ.

Before God made Homo sapiens in the Image of God, the Homo sapiens creatures did such actions but they were not aware of being morally responsible and therefore accountable toward God for them.”

That’s a “thought experiment” that doesn’t come from Scripture, right? You’re speculating, iow, right? If not, then please quote the source material from Scripture supporting your position. I don’t think the support you need to justify your “philosophy” about this is actually there.

““selfish” in the sense that the actions they lead to are criminal and sinful”

No, that’s retrodiction and awkwardly mixing fields of interpretation. There was no “law” given for pre-Adamites to violate, as you know. Your view is thus evolutionarily fantastic – it makes things up and then suggests they might be historical – but there’s no clear moral teaching evident in it. Indeed, evolutionism as an ideology has been used to viciously attack Christian morality, claiming that “sin is natural”. The view of “sin is natural” sounds very similar to your position, even though I don’t doubt you wish to embrace the Vatican’s teachings on this topic.

Now that I have answered your two questions, quid pro quo:

Question 3: Do you mistake lions, chimps, orangutans, and bonobos for human beings?

Social sciences and humanities study human beings, not zoology. Why are you asking me to comment on animals, when the topic is human beings? It makes your position sometimes sounds animistic this way, Antoine, not RC Christian. It thus seems that you leave the spiritual tent, talk to the “secular science” audience, then wish to re-enter the Christian tent as if the same language makes sense and should be adopted. Yet it doesn’t and won’t be adopted that way.

Previous questions unanswered from above:

Question 4: Is this the offering, or if not, who are the other main figures (e.g. Novak & Coakley, Fuentes)?

You have offered NO names of scholars who you draw on so far to me, Antoine. Are your thoughts so entirely novel that you’re the only one suggesting these things, that you cannot point to anyone before you who was arguing the same thing as you are now? I doubt it. So will you please help by stating where you got these “ideas” from? It seems all atheists and agnostics so far that you take your language from, with a bit of Catholic supervenience on top of it. Forgive me please that I have not read all 1,455 posts in this thread, in case you’ve already shared the names of those you draw on for your ideas as presented here now.

Question 5: Why otherwise the “scare quotes” around “selfish” than that you mean to equivocate “selfish” with “sin”?

Again, I don’t think there actually is “scientific” evidence for your claims. Certainly it wouldn’t be a physicist sharing the evidence with us anyway, right, since that isn’t the most relevant field? Instead, you are asking me to take onboard your “philosophy”, it seems. And frankly, I don’t see coherency in your evolutionary philosophy regarding humanity as presented so far, which appears to veer away from Christian standards. Yes, I could be very wrong about your veering, but so far have not seen you acknowledge being aware of it.

In short, please don’t ask me or others to follow you into heresy due to a European “philosophical stance” that you are asking people to take along with you today. I hope that is not what you’re asking for here. Instead, I would suggest you promote the teachings of the Church Fathers, rather than “selfish evolutionary mechanisms” as if that idea were inevitable and brilliant. Sorry, it’s not.

Question 6: “Was Etienne Gilson a “selfish evolutionary mechanisms” or “selfishness intrinsic to the mechanism of evolution” kinda guy? Was Bergson? Is Margaret Archer?”

No, none of them was or is. Only you embrace “selfish evolutionary mechanisms”, Antoine, as part of your theological anthropology, it seems. But you can of course directly say otherwise, and I would express remorse at having misunderstood, if that’s not actually true about your “offering” here. Thanks for moving the conversation forward.

““Christianity” as “we” know it throughout history starts with “Adam”, not with Homo Sapiens. Do you disagree?”

To be clearer, of course Christianity starts with Jesus Christ, not “evolutionary anthropology”. If Antoine thinks “humanity” did not begin with Christ, that human beings “emerged randomly” in natural history, then his views are clearly not “Catholic”.

Hi Gregory
It seems to me that you are taking a ‘hard line’ approach to the concept of Papal Infallibility which deems any “novelty approach” to Catholic teachings as an invitation to heresy. It’s true that early in the 20th century the Vatican did censor Teilhard’s teachings, and that on this Forum Suarez has spoken favorably about some of them. As a scientist and a lifelong Roman Catholic, I see this as a welcome breath of fresh air that presages an era wherein the Vatican makes sure the Church remains relevant.

A quick glance at Wikipedia makes me think I am in good company in this regard. There is a groundswell of reputable thinkers urging change in dogma. Amazon lists a number of good books by recognized theologians, philosophers, & scientists who support a more forward-looking approach. I would recommend Ilia Delio’s “From Teilhard to Omega”, if you have not yet read it. I found the direct translation of Teilhard’s works a little opaque for my taste, but the reality of the Noosphere (sphere of ideas or ‘memes’) as the third Universal Sphere ( following the Cosmophere & Biosphere) provides a satisfying foundation for my worldview: Nothing is truly static in any of the three spheres; a changing Cosmosphere induces changes in each occupant of the Biosphere or else it becomes extinct; changes in the Biosphere induces changes in the Noosphere where current ideas (memes that support religious dogmas & govt. constitutions etc…) must change to survive.

Christian Fundamentalist may reject the concept that Dogmas must evolve if they are to survive, but this is my quite unorthodox stance.
Al Leo

Hi Al,

No, my comment had nothing to do with the late-modern doctrine of papal infallibility.

“A quick glance at Wikipedia makes me think I am in good company in this regard.”

No, you’re really not and the Wikipedia article includes people like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who outlined how he believed Telihard was an arch-heretic. Barth called Telihard a “giant gnostic snake”. And Wolfgang Smith has made sure the “Teilhardian heresy” is not forgotten.

So, if you only see roses there, then that would reflect that you prefer to leave out significant and meaningful criticisms against Teilhard’s teachings. The Catholic Church has not removed the monitum on Teilhard’s writings, so that’s obvious evidence against your “good company” claim, even if a few people have been rumbling to try to get the Vatican to lift it.

Already above you learned that “memetics” was a bogus ideology, though a much newer approach than “noosphere”. This is supported by evidence of the flagship Journal of Memetics closing in 2005, with one of the previous main proponents rejecting it, and saying it adds little to what is already known. Nothing you write will change this fact, since the journal is still shut, which also goes against your support of Teilhard’s “noosphere”, especially as you did not know about the collapse of memetics.

Teilhard was obviously an “errant cleric” in his life, as the record shows. That isn’t in question. His “evolutionary theology”, which it seems you think is “good Catholic thinking”, Al, has attracted a rather small number of followers, mostly those who refuse to accept certain historical teachings of the Church. Their “dogmas evolve” view helps marginalize them & guarantees it.

Teilhard was a marginal figure and controversial (by his own words) Roman Cathollic. He made very little contribution to natural science, and what “religious thinking” he published was censured, for what I believe, following others, to be good reasons. Antoine also rejects some of Teilhard’s views, e.g. re: “original sin”, but it is not clear to me yet how Antoine would try to salvage Teilhard for “orthodoxy”.

A larger question hovers over your embrace of Teilhard’s views, while he is barely even acknowledged at BioLogos, and nowhere prominently. Why don’t you think BioLogos promotes the work of Teilhard de Chardin more, Al? He’s perhaps the most identifiable figure regarding “evolutionary theology”, after all, right? One might imagine BioLogos would be all over Teilhard. Why aren’t they (please leave aside translation, as it’s not a major issue by now)?

What does scripture say happens to the spirit of a person when they place their trust in Jesus and pledged their aligence to Him by calling Him Lord?

I hope the following quotes may help in making clear to you why I think that Teilhard didn’t get all wrong, as you seem to suspect:

Pope Francis, Laudato si, 83:
“The ultimate destiny of the universe is in the fullness of God, which has already been attained by the risen Christ, the measure of the maturity of all things.[ In this horizon we can set the contribution of Fr Teilhard de Chardin]”

Pope St. Paul VI, Address (24 February 1966)
The Holy Father quoted Teilhard de Chardin’s statement “The more I study material reality, the more I discover spiritual reality”, and he praised a key insight of Teilhard’s theory on the evolution of the universe as “an explanation of the universe that, among many fantastic and imprudent things, nonetheless understood how to find the intelligent principle that one should call God inside everything. Science itself, therefore, obliges us to be religious. Whoever is intelligent must kneel and say: ‘God is present here’. “

Pope St. John Paul II, Letter to the Reverend George Coyne (1 June 1988):
Does an evolutionary perspective bring any light to bear upon theological anthropology, the meaning of the human person as the imago Dei, the problem of Christology – and even upon the development of doctrine itself? […] Can theological method fruitfully appropriate insights from scientific methodology and the philosophy of science?
Questions of this kind can be suggested in abundance. Pursuing them further would require the sort of intense dialogue with contemporary science that has, on the whole, been lacking among those engaged in theological research and teaching. It would entail that some theologians, at least, should be sufficiently wellversed in the sciences to make authentic and creative use of the resources that the best-established theories may offer them.

Pope Benedict XVI, Homily (24 July 2009)
“The role of the priesthood is to consecrate the world so that it may become a living host, a liturgy: so that the liturgy may not be something alongside the reality of the world, but that the world itself shall become a living host, a liturgy. This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.”

This said, I deviate (as you remark) from Teilhard’s view regarding “original sin”. The reason is that he ambiguously suggests that both, the sin of “Adam and Eve” (the first sin of human history) and the state deriving from (the “state of original sin”), reduce to evolutionary deadly behavioral patterns. In other words, Teilhard seems to reject that “Adam and Eve” (the first humans in the Image of God) were created by God in the state of “original righteousness”.

By contrast, in line with Biologos’ Staff member Kathryn Applegate in this remarkable Essay, I acknowledge that:

Gregory, I appreciate your endeavor for keeping to “Catholic orthodoxy” and will pleased discussing any objection regarding the orthodoxy of my views, provided you quote the particular statement of mine you object to, and the particular dogmatic declaration by a Pope or a Council you think my statement contradicts.

However, I would like to suggest that in future posts in this thread you avoid referring to other posters or authors as promoting “heresy” or deviating from “established Roman Catholic teaching”. In doing so you are illegitimately entitling yourself with an authority that in the Roman Catholic Church is reserved to the Pope when he speaks ex cathedra .

Thank you, Antoine. Yes, helpful to have the quotations. No, again, I’m not talking about ex cathedra. You and Al both said that, but actually you’re both stuck, since that is not at issue here. Please stop getting stuck on that. Thank you.

Both what the current pope and Pope Benedict XVI said about Teilhard is troubling, given the Catholic Church warned against Teilhard’s teachings (https://www.ewtn.com/catholicism/library/monitum-on-the-writings-of-fr-teilhard-de-chardin-sj-2144).

"This is also the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.”

Only Catholics who ignore the Church Fathers would turn to Teilhard, instead of the voluminious writings on the “cosmic liturgy” available. Hans Urs van Balthasar wrote about “cosmic liturgy” drawing on St. Maximus the Confessor. You’re WAAAY late to the table in fixating on Teilhard de Chardin about this.

"The theory of a progressive evolution of lower to more perfect principles of formation deserves the reproach that Gregory of Nyssa had already made against it and against the proponents of the theory of reincarnation, which Maximus now repeats: “This amounts to mixing everything up together!” - In Balthasar

Question 4: Is this the offering, or if not, who are the other main figures (e.g. Novak & Coakley, Fuentes)?

Question 6: “Was Etienne Gilson a “selfish evolutionary mechanisms” or “selfishness intrinsic to the mechanism of evolution” kinda guy? Was Bergson? Is Margaret Archer?”

Why are you not answering these, Antoine? None of the major Catholic thinkers above supports what you say about “selfish evolutionary mechanisms”. So who are “the other main [Catholic] thinkers” you draw on for your “selfish evolutionary mechanisms” approach, other than Teilhard? This “selfish evolutionary mechanisms” is what you are reading from outside Scripture, into Scripture. Let there be no confusion that this language is what I am taking issue with specifically. This language you have chosen is both entirely unnecessary and highly problematic in many ways. Since I am now quoting “the particular statement of mine you object to”. Let us see then how ideological you are in your promotion of “evolutionary selfish mechanism”, since it seems quite important to your current theological anthropology.

Let me just add a potential aid. If you had followed my advice and read McLuhan, this would give you another available Roman Catholic-formed option. Post-Teilhard, and anti-Teilhard, I suggest McLuhan offers a much more holistic and engaging, as well as “Catholic orthodox” position, indeed, by a long shot, than what you seem at this point to prefer with slipping into Teilhard de Chardinism.

This is the condition of mankind who have no faith in, love for and obedience to God.

As for you, you were dead in your transgressions and sins, in which you used to live when you followed the ways of this world and of the ruler of the kingdom of the air, the spirit who is now at work in those who are disobedient. All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our sinful nature and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature objects of wrath.

But Jesus came to do the Fathers will, “Therefore, when Christ came into the world, he said: “Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me; with burnt offerings and sin offerings you were not pleased. Then I said, 'Here I am — it is written about me in the scroll — I have come to do your will, O God.” “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.”

So, Jesus did something that included His body that the Father had prepared for Him. That which He did included the seeking and saving of those who were lost and those who were lost were those who where dead in their transgressions and sins and were in submission to the ways of the world and the spirit who is at work in the disobedient.

So, how does faith in and loyalty to Jesus affect those who were dead and followed the world and the devil.

Eve’s following after the lust of the flesh (saw the fruit was good for food) and the lust of the eye (pleasing to the eye) and pride of life (also desirable for gaining wisdom) and then encouraging her husband Adam to eat it, caused them to become slaves to the flesh rather than masters of it. It was the spirit of mankind that became in bondage to the flesh.

God giving the Law could not free them from the bondage of the spirit to the flesh. Though the Law was good, it could not change the spirit or nature of mankind. Even when individuals trusted God and obeyed Him and He accounted it as righteousness, a right standing before Him, their spirits were still bound to the flesh, their spirit or nature did not change.

So God had a plan, a process set in place that would free mankind from the bondage to the flesh and sin. He foretold a part of it when He prophesied, “"Sacrifice and offering you did not desire, but a body you prepared for me”. So God did this, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.” The Word of God came in the likeness of sinful flesh, “ “For what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh”. God sent His Son to condemn, judge against, sin in the flesh.

How did He do this? “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. “ God made Jesus to become sin for us so that we would become the very righteousness of God. By becoming the righteousness of God, we would be free from sin and have mastery over it. Sin would no longer be our master and we would no longer be a slave to it. Something we could not do in our own strength, God did by His own decision and unmerited favor. He judged sin in the flesh, condemned it, destroyed its rule and power over those who place their trust in Jesus. The sin that caused death was going to be dealt with by God. This was how God was working to save, set free, deliver mankind from the power of sin and death. “Since the children have flesh and blood, he too shared in their humanity so that by his death he might destroy him who holds the power of death, that is, the devil, and free those who all their lives were held in slavery by their fear of death.”

God foretold the coming of the deliverer that would deliver mankind from his enemy (sin and the god of this age). So, God sending His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh was the beginning of that deliverance and so we began to see the salvation of God.

Luke 1:68 Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel,
because he has come and has redeemed his people.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David
70 (as he said through his holy prophets of long ago),
71 salvation from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us—
72 to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
73 the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
74 to rescue us from the hand of our enemies,
and to enable us to serve him without fear
75 in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.

Cody, I think you make here a very good point!

I quote from the article of mine, which is at the origin of this thread:

“If one assumes as a basic theological principle that God creates the human persons for the purpose that these might trust and worship Him with completely free will, then it is reasonable to claim that God created the first human persons free from concupiscence, so that they could decide to obey him without any handicap from their animality. In fact the temptation by the snake in Genesis 3:5 is a pure spiritual temptation, with the insinuation that you will ‘become like God’, reach divine life and no longer be a creature, and this without God’s help. The way the temptation progresses unveils the structure of the primeval human psyche: Eve was endowed with spiritual force to master concupiscence to the extent that it had been silly on the part of the snake to try to seduce her by praising the sensual beauty of the forbidden fruits. Instead the snake astutely challenges Eve’s fidelity to God. However, as soon as Eve begins to doubt, the concupiscence emerges, and the woman by herself (without any insinuation on the part of the snake) sees that the tree is ‘good to eat’, ‘a delight to the eyes’, and ‘desirable’. Gordon Wenham brilliantly comments: ‘The woman’s covetousness is described in terminology that foreshadows the tenth commandment’ (Wenham 1987, 75).”

In other words:

  1. Contrarily to animals, God created the first human persons (“Adam and Eve”) free from the Darwinian powerful tendencies to act selfishly, no matter the cost to others. This was the state of original righteousness.

  2. At the moment Eve decides “to eat” (i.e.: transgress God’s commandment) the Darwinian tendencies become reinforced and take overhand in the form of “lust of the flesh”, “lust of the eye”, and “pride of life”, as you magnificently describe. And after “Adam and Eve“ eat, they “become slaves to the flesh rather than masters of it”, that is, they lost the original righteousness. However, God mercifully decided to give them opportunity to repent and reach salvation. So, by God’s mercy, the first sinners remained on earth in the fallen state with “need of redemption”.

  3. After the first sin in human history, and to facilitate the redemption of the sinners of all times, God decided that the whole mankind “became in bondage to the flesh”, as you also state. In other words, since the first sin in human history, and for the sake of Redemption, all human persons come into existence lacking original righteousness and in need of Redemption, i.e.: in the so (improperly) called “state of original sin”.

The “main catholic thinker I draw on” in this respect is St. Thomas Aquinas, in particular the following passages in the Summa theologiae:

Summa theologiae I, q. 96, a. 1, reply to objection 2:

Here St. Thomas clearly states that “the nature of animals was not changed by man’s sin”, and that “those whose nature now it is to devour the flesh of others, […] as the lion and falcon” would then have done this and NOT lived on herbs. “Thus there would have been a natural antipathy between some animals”.

This amounts to say nothing other than before “Adam’s sin” (i.e.: the first transgression in human history) animal life was already ruled by Darwinian powerful tendencies to act selfishly (notwithstanding other cooperative tendencies).

Summa theologiae I, q. 95 and q. 102, a.3-4, and Summa theologiae II-II, q. 164

Here St. Thomas explains that “man was not created in paradise”, but “God made man outside of paradise, and afterwards placed him there to live there during the whole of his animal life; and, having attained to the spiritual life, to be transferred thence to heaven”. In paradise man was in the primitive state of innocence or righteousness, endowed by God with grace and special gifts, and kept “from all corruption and evil”. In this state, “the flesh lusts against the spirit by the rebellion of the passions against reason could not occur.”

However, after sin, man fall into a state worse than the pure animal state previous to paradise: The Darwinian tendencies merged with intelligence, and concupiscence took overhand, that is, “the urge to act selfishly no matter the cost to others”.

Summa theologiae II-II, q. 164, a.1, reply to objection 3:

“Our first parents were made by God not only as particular individuals, but also as principles of the whole human nature to be transmitted by them to their posterity, together with the Divine favor preserving them from death. Hence through their sin the entire human nature, being deprived of that favor in their posterity, incurred death.”

Here St. Thomas states that after the first sin the whole human nature remained in a fallen state, which thenceforth became transmitted to all new human persons coming into existence. And, most importantly, this state (“original sin”) consist mainly in that God deprives humankind of those favors that He had accorded to “Adam” in the state of primitive innocence, when God placed him in paradise.

My explanation “Transmission at generation” (inspired in the models “relational damage” by Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI and Homo divinus by Denis Alexander et al. ) simply tries to elucidate the possible reason why after the first sin God deprives each human person coming into existence (“the entire human nature”) of the original grace God bestowed on “Adam and Eve”.

In summary, in the beginning, before the arrival of sin, humans in the image of God (contrarily to non-human animals) were not submitted to suffering, decay and death, and were capable of mastering the Darwinian selfish tendencies (state of original righteousness or grace). Once they sinned, they lost this control and became part of the Darwinian world with reinforced selfish tendencies (concupiscence). In this “state of original sin”, where we are after the first sin in human history, Darwinian evolution displays before our eyes the monstrosities we are capable of, if we let us guide by the selfish tendencies we carry in our hearts, and therefore it holds exactly what Richard Dawkins states: “[…] one of the reasons for learning about Darwinian evolution is as an object lesson in how not to set up our values and social lives. […] We should not live by Darwinian principles.”

Consider now the explanation by Teilhard de Chardin:

The specific effect of original sin is death, but death is present everywhere in the experimental world. In the form of decomposition death shows itself even at the level of the atom. “If there is original sin in the world, then it must be everywhere and from the very beginning.”

“It is true that in this explanation original sin ceases to be an isolated act; it becomes a state affecting the whole human population…

The “state of original sin” does not originate from any personal act of transgression but is merely “a negative and inevitable structural element in an evolving universe, a universal condition of existence in a progressively converging world”.

The difference between Teilhard’s explanation and my explanation is subtle but clear:

According to Teilhard the “state of original sin” does not originate from the factual historical sin of a human person but reduces to “a universal condition of existence”, sort of “nature red in claw and teeth”. While for me it is the other way around: the “state of original sin” originates from the actual historical sin of a human person (possibly with the complicity of others) and “nature red in claw and teeth” was wanted by God for non-human animals since the beginning, in case humans actually sin, as an “object lesson” for human sinners in how they should not set up their values, among other reasons.

This means that regarding original sin Teilhard’s explanation and mine clearly deviate from each other.

By contrast I agree with Teilhard’s vision that Jesus Christ is the Omega point to which all creation and evolution converges, or with words of Pope Benedict XVI (referred to in a previous post) : “the great vision of Teilhard de Chardin: in the end we shall achieve a true cosmic liturgy, where the cosmos becomes a living host.”

This view, as you rightly claim, is present in other authors, in particular McLuhan, and goes back to the theosis of St. Irenaeus and other Greek Fathers. However, I think one can credit to Teilhard the merit of invoking this view to explain the purpose of evolution.

This said, I want to stress (as already done in previous posts) that Teilhard de Chardin may be confusing after all: He does not fully realize that after the covenant in Genesis 9:3-6 the whole Homo sapiens is made by God into “humankind in the image of God”, and as such it can no longer be reduced to a biological species evolving toward a superior one. After the covenant of Genesis 9:3-6 Sapiens is called to develop guided by moral values and law ensuring universal human rights. Teilhard seems to see the progress of humanity more in the increasing of power over nature (see “Réflexions sur le retentissement spirituel de la bombe atomique”) than in the growing of love.

For those who are in Christ, sin is defeated. It no longer is our master.

Yes, we are agreed about that. And confused, I would suggest also. Both as a former English language teacher (whose French isn’t that bad), and with a lowly masters degree in philosophy compared with your PhD in Quantum Philosophy.

Please forgive, Antoine, it’s been a tough week. For one, I ran into a wannabe-collective of “ERSers”, or at least some proclaimers and fans of “Evolutionary Science and Sociology: A New Beginning” in recent days. I’ll have to get back to your Teilhardian maneuvers on behalf of the future Vatican at a later time. May you find light anew after Theophany.

Could you please clarify what do you mean by this?

Are you trying to suggest that the present Pope Francis and the preceding one Benedict XVI should be considered “heretic”?

What is a monitum, anyway, Antoine? Do you at least acknowledge Teilhard was warned by the Vatican? I just want to make sure that you’re playing fair by acknowledging what clearly seems to be at least “inconvenient” to your proposal, and not merely exercising a “get out of jail free” card for Teilhard like a Monopoly game option, when actually, there’s a meaningful monitum on Teilhard’s works & Teilhardianism still today.

You seem to be pushing for the monitum on Teilhard to be lifted, is that right? That would thus be “the future Vatican”, since Teilhard’s monitum is still officially in place by the same Roman instititution.

We’ll see if BioLogos ever celebrates Teilhardianism whenever that monitum, if ever, is eventually lifted, as it looks they’re willing to overlook Teilhard’s heresies to get at the few “evolutionist truths” he dispatched during his lifetime as a Piltdown-forgery friendly palaeontologist. He was either 1) just close friends with the fraudster, or 2) was indeed a fraudster in the “practical joke” himself, as Steve Jay Gould and others have concluded.

Teilhard’s almost total silence about the Piltdown hoax about which he was so thrilled to be part of while it wasn’t yet exposed, is a rather loud ommission also by Teilhardians & their theistic evolutionary “woo” nowadays. But hey, no talk of “Teilhardian heresy” is allowed usually by Teilhardians, so the edges get rather leaky in a hurry when they’re in the conversation.

As for possible papal heresies and papal infallibility, let’s stay away from those, if we can. Agreed? Here’s a bit of Lutheran satire, which I hope you will take in a “good humour” way, and laugh along with “us”, in response to your question: “Are you trying to suggest that the present Pope Francis and the preceding one Benedict XVI should be considered “heretic”?” Umm, relax a bit on that one, OK? https://youtu.be/WEchg1KhmTY

Even if a Roman Catholic admits it is “theoretically” possible for pope Francis to say something heretical, the current pontifex has received no warning as yet like what Teilhard got.

I agree with why the Vatican issued the monitum on Teilhard, Antoine. Otoh, it seems that you now think the Vatican was in fact wrong to have issued it, is that correct? Thanks for clearing up your views of these surrounding issues about why Teilhard required a warning from those in charge of Catholic teachings and doctrines.

Let’s get more up close & realistic about Teilhard de Chardin than simply repeating some nice talking points about a “new Catholic theology” by a few rogue nuns, and some loose philosophizing that is trying to adopt Teilhard’s teachings for a contemporary audience, without apparently at all taking into account the possible costs of doing so.

He was banned from teaching. He was banned from publishing. He was exiled to China. He was implicated, directly or indirectly, in a scientific hoax.

1962 the Vatican warns of “the dangers presented by the works of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin and his followers.” Is it supposed to be a boon for “theistic evolutionism” to follow a “new Teilhardian theology” nowadays?

Antoine seems to be trying to suggest that a “major overhaul of Catholic doctrine” would not be required if Teilhard were “rehabilitated” by the Roman Catholic church. Yet another Teilhardian gave a talk last week and said the opposite, indeed that "it would require major overhaul in doctrine”.

There are a LOT of people who do and would VERY strongly disagree with Antoine if that monitum on Teilhard is ever lifted, though perhaps not here at BioLogos, where “theistic evolution” is most widely promoted.

Again, I recommend highly that @aleo finally start a thread specifically related to the work of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin at BioLogos. There hasn’t been one yet. Why not give it a try & see how it goes? What’s holding back an OP specifically dedicated to Chardin at BioLogos?

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In any case discussing Teilhard de Chardin is not the aim of this thread. So I would like to propose we focus on the issue of the “transmission of original sin”.

As said in a previous post, my explanation relies mainly on:

St. Thomas Aquinas Summa theologiae II-II, q. 164, a.1, reply to objection 3

Here St. Thomas states that after the first human sin the whole human nature remained in a fallen state, which thenceforth became transmitted to all new human persons coming into existence. And, most importantly, this state (“original sin”) consist mainly in that God deprives humankind of those favors that He had accorded to “Adam” in the state of primitive innocence, when God placed him in paradise.

My explanation “Transmission at generation” simply tries to elucidate the possible reason why after the first sin God deprives each human person coming into existence (“the entire human nature”) of the original grace God bestowed on “Adam and Eve”.

I suggest a reason that makes it possible to unify the view that “the state of original sin” is the consequence of a “sin of the whole human nature” (Thomas Aquinas), and the view that it is the consequence of a “relational damage” (Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI) or a “spiritual pollution” resulting from “Adam as the federal head of the whole humanity” ( Homo divinus model).

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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