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

(Antoine Suarez) #511

I apologize for the delay in answering (I have been engaged in surfing “Flood-waves” in this other thread).

The main objection in these “responses” you refer to against the discreteness or granularity of space-time (i.e.: the claim that “the universe actually has minimum size for space and time intervals” or “space-time is pixelated”) is the following:

“However, the issue here is not the existence of smaller time and length scales, but the observability of them. Given current technology and knowledge, we have no way to actually probe that scale at all.
It should be very clear that the inability to probe a certain scale does not imply the non-existence of lower level structure. If that were the case then we would have concluded that atoms do not exist just over a century ago, contrary to what we know today.
The strongest conclusion that might be drawn is that space and time have a minimal observable resolution. The issue of whether time and space are actually discrete as suggested here, is by no means settled.”

The fallacy behind this argument consists in assuming that space-time can be actually continuum while observably discrete because of a “minimal observable resolution”.

Space-time is the realm of all what is observable. If something is not observable in principle, it does NOT exist in space-time at all. Accordingly, assuming that there is a “minimal observable resolution” is exactly the same as assuming that “space-time is actually discrete”.

Recently I have posted this video:

I am interested in your opinion, if you find time to watch it.

(Antoine Suarez) #512

In my view Alpha and Omega of the entire Universe is the Incarnated of God’s Son, Jesus Christ (Revelation 22:13): It is the Incarnation of God what was aimed by the Big Bang and the subsequent evolution.

In Genesis it is said for three times that “in the image of God has God made mankind” (Genesis 1:27; 5:1; 9:6).

Therefore by “making mankind in the image of God” God is designating the kind of body He prepares for His Son.

From this we are led to the conclusion:

If there are life forms being in the Image of God in other planets outside the Solar System, they necessarily are human ones.

(Randy) #513

Dr Suarez, I’m confused.
NT alludes to “form of a servant” in the terms of Christ’s taking it on.
Genesis uses a different word–image–which in ANE times alluded to a governing representative of the central king.
You are alluding to a governing representative, not a hominid carbon based life form (to take on Star Trek allusions), right?

Thank you!

(Antoine Suarez) #514

The Son of God is in the likeness of God and the genuine Image of God (Colossians 1:15; Hebrews 1:3; 2 Corinthians 4:4).

“Making mankind in God’s image” (Genesis 1:27) means determining the body God wants for the Incarnation of His Son: God makes his Son in human likeness (Philippians 2:7) in order to make mankind in God’s likeness; it is by becoming Jesus Christ (embodied God) that humans and humanity becomes God’s body, and therefore in the Image of God.

So God’s Incarnation is the achievement of the whole Creation: It is the Incarnation of God what was aimed by the Big Bang and the subsequent evolution.

By “taking the human body” God also “takes the form of a servant”, as you rightly say:

“He made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7-8).

Humans sin because they delude themselves believing that God is power and glory, and then desire equality with God to use it to their own advantage. In the cross God hides His power and glory so that humans can only see what He actually is: love, and sinners are moved to freely love God.

(Antoine Suarez) #515

I fully agree to this.

This is the reason why I propose a Two-Phase-Creation narrative.

In the first phase God created a little population of Image Bearers bestowed with the Gift you refer to: capability for freely loving God. By this act God defines the kind of body His Son will take and thereby He defines Humanity as well: God’s choice founds the dignity of humanity, which implies that each Image Bearer has to respect any creature exhibiting a specific human body.

Some of these primeval Image Bearers (probably most of them but not necessarily all) “freely refused to cooperate” with God (as you rightly say). The so fallen population evolved to the situation referred to in Genesis 6:5-7, 11-12: “The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth […] the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled.”

How could such an evil thing happen? Apparently because the sinners did not realize that God let them on earth to give them time to atone.

The Flood closes this first phase.

In the second phase God makes to Image Bearers all creatures sharing a human body. This is the moment referred to in Genesis 9:6 where God explicitly and solemnly enacts the prohibition of homicide. Furthermore God establishes an everlasting covenant with all humankind putting the rainbow as sign (Genesis 9: 8-17), which makes plain that God does not like to see wicked people die but wants them to turn from their wicked ways and live.

So the Flood reveals an important aspect in God’s strategy for Humanity:

He could very well have renounced to a Redemption plan, removing again and again the sinners from earth and letting here only sinless people who were not in need of Redemption.

However God in His love for Humanity preferred to redeem the sinners.

One could say that Genesis 1-2 is a “Creation narrative” while Genesis 6-9 is a “Recreation and Redemption” narrative:

The first Image Bearers (Genesis 1-2) were not in need of Redemption, while the new Image Bearers coming into existence after the Flood (Genesis 9) are in need of Redemption.

Christian theology is definitely not “constructed upon a Fall from innocence” but “upon Freedom and Redemption”.

(Antoine Suarez) #516

For the discussion on “original sin” we are sharing in this thread (I thank again to all contributors @gbrooks9, @Relates, @aleo, @randy, @BoltzmannBrain, @Bill_II, @Swamidass, @Jay313, @Reggie_O_Donoghue) it is worth referring to this recent remarkable Essay by Kathryn Applegate.

Kathryn endorses positions quite similar to those I have proposed in this thread, mainly the following ones:

"God revealed himself to Adam and Eve in an intimate way. A spiritual birth had taken place: for the first time they knew God and they knew God had a will and so did they. They were selves, free to obey or rebel. He gave them rules and consequences for breaking those rules. And they chose, in their freedom, to rebel.

They sensed that God was withholding something from them, and they rejected his right to do so. This was the first sin, the first transgression of the law of God. This first or “original” sin brought death in the form of alienation and eternal separation from God.—all of these we inherit from Adam […]. Adam’s sin became our sin.

Hitting closer to home, Adam and Eve’s sin is my sin. When I read Genesis 3, the story we call the Fall (though the Bible never uses that term), my heart aches. It aches because this is my story: I am guilty for Eve’s sin, but also because I sin like Eve. […] In my heart are pride and fear and lust and greed. […] For all this and much more, I deserve the curse of death. God’s righteousness demands judgment, and it has come, but not on my head. It has come on the beautiful, bloodied head of Jesus.

It must be emphasized, though, that they wouldn’t be sole progenitors: there has never been a time in the past couple hundred thousand years when the human population was as small as two.

So if Adam is a “pattern of the one to come [Christ],” it seems to me that Adam’s sin does not necessarily depend on being passed down in some genetic or genealogical sense."

As a comparison I remind the following points I have supported in different posts:

  1. The first sinners (“Adam and Eve”) were created in the Image of God with capability to freely loving God.

  2. In this state of “original righteousness” (original Blessing) the first “Image Bearers” could master evolutionary selfish tendencies (lust, greed), did not experience moral evil (brokenness, guilt, shame, isolation), and were not submitted to the curse of death.

  3. However they were deluded by pride and freely rejected God transgressing His commandment; in doing so they committed the first sin in the history of humanity.

  4. Before this first sin Image Bearers were not in need of Redemption.

  5. After the first sin Image Bearers are generally in need of Redemption (“state of original sin”): The first sin of the first sinners (“Adam’s sin”) “became our sin” (as Kathryn states).

  6. In particular, the “state of original sin” means (in Kathryn’s wording) that “in my heart are pride and fear and lust and greed”, and “I deserve the curse of death”.

  7. The “state of original sin” (“Adam’s sin”) is passed down neither in genetic nor genealogical sense.

To this extent it seems that the agreement between Kathryn’s view and my view could not be greater. So is there any relevant difference between the two views?

I think the main difference is Kathryn’s claim that Adam and Eve’s sin becomes transmitted to their descendants because they “were to be the representatives of the whole human race”.

Adam and Eve were certainly “representatives” in the sense that they were “the ones in whom God’s purpose to make the whole world a place of delight and joy and order, eventually colonizing the whole creation, was to be taken forward” (N.T. Wright). However I do not share the idea that their sin becomes transmitted because of their vocation as “representatives”. My reason is the following:

Since the “representatives” Adam and Eve were free NOT to sin (otherwise God would have been the author of the sin), the possibility that they did not sin was a real one in God’s mind. Therefore theology to be serious has to consider also the possible history in which generations may have passed before the arrival of the first sin. And in such a scenario the first sin would not have been the sin of “the representatives of the whole human race”. Should we then conclude that in such a case the “first sin” would not have passed down to the sinner’s descendants? This sounds rather awkward because then there would have been two groups on earth: people in-need-of-Redemption and people not-in-need-of-Redemption.

The solution I have proposed in this thread is as follows:

Even if the first sin is not the sin of the first humans to whom “God revealed himself in an intimate way”, the consequences of this transgression (“the state of original sin”) would pass down to all human persons coming into existence after the first sin, so that all are generally in need of Redemption. As I have repeatedly said, in favor of this view I invoke Romans 11:32.

(George Brooks) #517

I think this is actually an inaccurate statement.

The only sense of how it could have been passed down is Genealogical … or not at all (excluding the final option that God “installs” the Sin-in-Question onto the Souls of whomever he wants to have it).

Soul Progenitorship is not the only way to be descended from a Great, Great-to-the-1000th Grand Father.

It can be SHARED Progenitorship… where more than one mating pair has a slice of one’s genealogical heritage!

As long as the property in question is “dominant” instead of recessive, then no matter how many other “mating pairs” there may be who are in your family tree - - you are still the great-great-to-the-Nth-Grandson (or -Granddaughter) of Adam and Eve … in the midst of 10,000 other humans alive at the time of Adam & Eve’s first mating.

(Jay Johnson) #518

If you are positing that this state of original righteousness existed prior to Adam’s fall from grace around 4000 B.C. (or any other relatively recent date), then I have to say that common sense and experience tell me otherwise. Essentially, you are proposing that for several hundred millennia, no human being experience guilt, shame, or isolation, and they had no trouble overcoming lust and greed. If human society was in such great shape prior to Adam, why would God introduce Adam into the equation? In effect, that makes Christ the solution to a problem that God himself created, which makes no sense.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #519

@aleo @AntoineSuarez

(Albert Leo) #520

Antoine, I have profited greatly from your posts and the comparison of your views with @Kathryn_Applegate, @gbrooks9, and others both more conservative and more progressive. Some, like yourself, seem open to some of the views I associate with the concept of the replacing of Original Sin by Original Blessing–but not to the extent that Teilhard or Mathew Fox envisioned. As I see it, the problems in acceptance of my views revolve around timing and God’s responsibility for the existence of Sin in this world.

So the Original Blessing that I envision was NOT a completed Gift of an intimate knowledge of God’s goodness, but merely the ‘programming’ of the Homo sapiens brain in such a way that humans, with effort, could attain that knowledge over a span of time, [and probably over generations] to become Image Bearer(s). In other words, there was no point in time that a human (or a pair) attained any such state of perfection and then fell from it.

Setting morality aside, there is no doubting the fact that evolution provides a marvelous power to create variety and complexity over the billions of years that led up to Homo sapiens some 200,000 yrs. ago. (As seen in Job, If was OK with God, it need not seem perfect to us.) The Great Leap Forward, that lead to human culture (art, language, music, science) did not immediately produce an understanding of the God that was responsible for the universe. Part of that journey towards understanding and covenanting with our Creator is related in ANE mythology and in Genesis. Since the GLF humans have known: 1) they are gifted above other forms of life and are in a position to dominate it; and yet, 2) they have a flawed nature and must struggle against selfishness and lust for power to achieve some spiritual potential beyond mere survival to the point they could procreate their kind.

Choosing to lead a truly moral life often seems to conflict with leading a life that maximizes happiness and pleasure for the individual. We Christians believe that God willingly became incarnate to show us the way we humans can please Him the most by working to establish His Kingdom on this Earth.

The only way I can justify posting these unorthodox views on BioLogos is that some evangelically inclined parents may see their children forsaking orthodox Scripture because they have chosen a career in science and see an irresolvable conflict, and thereby fear for their immortal souls. My experience shows (to me at least) that science can actually lead to deeper understanding of a loving Creator and how Jesus is truly my Savior.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #521

George, your statement I have set in bold is important: it highlights why the assumption of a “state of Original Righteousness” is crucial to a coherent theory about “Original sin” and Christian faith.

The “state of Original Righteousness or Grace” means that God endowed the first Image Bearers with spiritual capabilities strong enough to master selfish evolutionary tendencies (lust, greed, trickery). This way God granted these humans with the highest possible degree of free will (“They were selves, free to obey or rebel”, with words of @Kathryn_Applegate): They could be led into temptation to reject God’s love only by pride.

This “state of Original Grace” went lost with “Adam’s sin” (in the sense of “the first sin in human history”).

The Christian teaching about “the transmission of state of Original Sin” means nothing other than “the lack of Original Grace” is passed down to all Image Bearers coming into existence after “Adam’s sin”.

In this sense I claim (with @Kathryn_Applegate): “Adam’s sin became our sin.”

Now you seem to object:
Since it is God who creates souls in “lack of Original Grace”, one can consider that He “installs” Sin onto the souls of the Image Bearers He creates after “Adam’s sin”.

My answer:
God creates Image Bearers in “the state of Original Sin” (“lack of Original Grace”) for the sake of Redemption: “God has bound everyone over to disobedience so that he may have mercy on them all.” (Romans 11:32)

Accordingly “the state of Original Sin” is a “Happy Fault”: The first human sinner is the cause of the “Fault”. And God’s mercy causes this Fault to be “Happy”.

I paraphrase this important conclusion with your words:

Who “installs” the Sin onto the Souls is “the first human sinner” whoever he/she was. And since my first sin could in principle have been the first sin of humanity, I can also somewhat say (paraphrasing @Kathryn_Applegate) that “I am guilty for the state of Original Sin because I sin like Adam”.

I would be nice to know whether @Kathryn_Applegate herself agrees to the precedent view. In any case it seems to me important to clarify that “Adam’s sin” is passed down not because he was “the Representative” of humanity but because he was the “first human sinner” and thereby “prompted” God’s plan for Redemption as described in Romans 11:32.

Let me also add a philosophical precision I have already submitted in a previous post (you liked!):

The capacity to sin in each human person emerges at the very moment of her generation by God, that is, the instant when God creates a spiritual principle (“soul”) to animate a piece of “flesh” (biological stuff originating through evolution) and a human personal body appears.

At the instant the “soul” starts animating the biological stuff, the evolutionary “frailty of the flesh” and “selfish tendencies” become spiritual vulnerability to sin (“concupiscence”, in the sense of 1 John 2:16). The “neuro-psychological weakness of the human body” results from the weakness of the “soul” (intellect and will) to master the “evolutionary background” and handle according to the principle of love. But we do NOT sin because of this weakness (otherwise God would be the author of sin, what is absurd), but because we freely decide to sin, tempted by “selfish evolutionary tendencies” (1 John 2:16).

Accordingly, what is passed on genetically is the “selfish evolutionary background”, the “spiritual vulnerability to sin” emerges at the very moment of the generation of the person.

In this sense “vulnerability to sin” is nothing other than the state of “lack of Original Grace” or “need of Redemption” (the so called “state of original sin”). Hence, the “original sin’s transmission” does NOT happen genetically, it happens at generation.

Once again, to formulate well and accurately the meaning of “the state of Original Sin” the following assumption is key:

Before the first sin was committed, God empowered the human “souls” (i.e.: “personal bodies”) with so called “original Grace” so that temptation could only be of spiritual origin, and sin could only be sin of pride.

I post here what I have commented to Joshua (@Swamidass):

The following Principles seem relevant to this discussion:

  1. Image Bearer means “Capable of freely loving God”. And this implies capability of transgression as well.

  2. The state of original righteousness (i.e. absence of state of original sin) lasts as long as there is no transgression.

If we acknowledge these Principles 1 and 2, then we are led to the following scenario:

In the beginning there are Image Bearers only in the Garden. “Those outside the Garden” are not Image Bearers and consequently are neither in state of original righteousness nor original sin. Sanctity of marriage requires that if “one of those outside the Garden” enters the Garden and comes in contact with Image Bearers, then he/she becomes immediately Image Bearer as well.

When the first transgression arrives in the garden, some Image Bearers are involved in it (“the sinners”) and some not (“the righteous”).

At this moment the following further Principle 3 plays a role:

  1. For the sake of Redemption it is not fitting that these two groups (‘sinners’ and ‘righteous’) coexist on earth (Romans 11:32).

Thus, if one keeps to Principles 1-3 one is led to conclude:

  • After the first transgression the righteous (if any) are taken by God into heaven.

  • The genetic descendants of the sinners come into existence sharing the “state of original sin”.

  • At some time T God makes “all those outside the Garden” in His Image but sharing the state of original sin; since this time T all humans on earth are Image Bearers.

In summary:

Principles 1-3 entail that “the state of Original Sin” is NOT passed down by “genealogical heritage” or “SHARED Progenitorship”.

The models “Genealogical Adam” (@Swamidass) and “Adam as Representative” (@Kathryn_Applegate ) both imply either “Coexistence on Earth of people who are in need of Redemption and people who are NOT in such a need” or “lateral transmission of sin from sinners to innocents by sort of spiritual contamination”. It is by trying to avoid these “oddities” that I came to my proposal of Transmission at generation. In any case I think the three models share many and important features in common, which may help to lay the groundwork for a large consensus among Christian scientists.

Regarding the “de novo Creation of Adam” I share Kathryn’s view that this hypothesis is not different from “one that supposes we were all created de novo five minutes ago, with implanted memories of our childhoods and what we ate for breakfast”. If you acknowledge quantization of space-time then the whole universe can be considered created de novo with each quantum jump of time: “Each Instant of Time a New Universe”.

(George Brooks) #522


In light of The @Swamidass Model… I can now accept any formulation for Original Sin you like…you can even use BOTH views!

(Antoine Suarez) #523

Excellent George!

I appreciate the @Swamidass Model as well, but I think it contains an oddity that deserves being removed to get a coherent formulation of Original Sin’s transmission.

According to the model (I quote you):

If one keeps to the Sanctity of Marriage one has to accept that the offspring of Adam & Eve mingled with Image Bearers. Therefore the “hominids” you refer to became Image Bearers before mingling with Adam & Eve’s offspring.

So far there is no problem since Genesis itself accounts for this possibility in the episode of the “sons of God” (Genesis 6:2-4): God directly transformed these “hominids” into Image Bearers, that is, created new human persons (Image Bearers) without collaboration of other Image Bearers as parents.

But now the question arises:

Did these Image Bearers (God directly made “after Expulsion”) share “the state of Original Sin” (“Lack of Original Grace”)?

If NO, then you are acknowledging on Earth two radical different groups of people: One In-need-of-Redemption, “the offspring of Adam & Eve”, and another Not-in-need-of-Redemption, the Image Bearers made “after Expulsion”.

If YES, then you are acknowledging that each Image Bearer coming into existence “after Expulsion” shared “the state of Original Sin” (“Lack of Original Grace”) since the very moment they came into existence as Image Bearers. This is my proposal Transmission at Generation.

The preceding reasoning applies to @Kathryn_Applegate’s proposal of “Adam as Representative” as well.

In summary, it is very promising that we have now three models assuming Adam as a “real Person” and Original Sin as a “real Transgression” in History, and it is worth discussing seriously these proposals to get a coherent explanation of the origins of Humanity from the perspective of Jesus Christ’s Redemption.

(Randy) #524

That begs the question–Can some of us then say “I’m a descendant of someone who never interbred with Adam and Eve, and therefore not of the Fall”? --What kind of implications would that have? I’m not saying this seriously. I think that regardless of any idea about a Fall, it still comes back to our own responsibility before God and relationship with Him. Thanks.

Addendum–sorry, looks like you’ve addressed this earlier most likely. I’ll read this. Thanks.

(George Brooks) #525


I’ll go you one better!

If you allow for the “dual creation” interpretation of Genesis:

Gen 1:26-27 - THE FIRST CREATION OF HUMANITY (via Evolutionary Processes & I.D.)
"And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. " Notice that there is no mention of using dust or a rib to make man or woman.

Also please note that after he created male & female… it was the 6th day!
Gen 1:31 "And God saw every thing that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day."

The first creation story doesn’t even mention Eden. Because this lot was not intended to spend any time in Eden. They are referred to generically – not “Adam” the first as one’s first name but “adam = Humanity”. And we don’t even realize that this could be, or is, a completely different “humanity” from the one created in Eden until we get to the murder of Abel by Cain… and all of a sudden we hear about “others” killing Cain… and him building a city (for himself?), and marrying (who?). But before we get to that part, let’s continue to Chapter 2 of Genesis.

In chapter 2, the second creation story, starts after the writer wraps up the first week!:
Gen 2:2 “And on the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made.”

And these verses review the fruits of God’s labor, plus the creation of a special man:

Gen 2:5 "And every plant of the field before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field before it grew: for the LORD God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not a man to till the ground.

The above verse is ripe with meaning. What does it mean? And there was no man? Chapter 1 covers not just the making of a man, but both man and woman! And the modern reader reads the last phrase and thinks, yes, this must be before humanity is created. But really, that doesn’t make much sense. If part of the curse of Adam is to work the fields by the sweat of his brow, then why would the writer be speaking to the curse that hasn’t even happened yet? It is this part that implies a “gathering” life for the humanity discussed in Chapter 1.

In other words, by stating there was not a man to till the ground, the writer means - - “and nobody yet has started to farm”.

So God is ready for his second phase of human development; the 7 days of creation are over. He made humanity (male & female) on Day 6. He rested on Day 7. And now he sees there is more yet to do. He decides to create a special family pair, a specific man and woman (Adam & Eve), which he does by special creation! Unlike in Genesis 1, where no method is specified, we are told “Adam” he will make from dust. And “Eve” will be made from Adam’s side:

Gen 2:6-7 “But there went up a mist from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground. And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul.”

And then he created a special place for this specific pair of Man & Woman. And in Eden he creates yet more vegetation: every tree for food, plus the Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge.

Gen 2:8-10 “And the LORD God planted a garden eastward in Eden; and there he put the man whom he had formed. And out of the ground made the LORD God to grow every tree that is pleasant to the sight, and good for food; the tree of life also in the midst of the garden, and the tree of knowledge of good and evil.”

This is yet another indicator that this is not the same set of creation events from chapter 1. In chapter 1, all the plants of the Earth were already created on Day 5. And here we have God making a ‘garden’ (or paradise) of trees - - after creating Adam, but before creating Eve. To make Genesis 1 a story about just 2 humans, you have to imagine God building Eden and creating yet more plants or trees - - all after Adam is made.

Returning to Genesis 2, there is no need for rain, because a great river flows out from Eden… and once it is outside of Eden, it divides into 4 rivers (4 heads):¶
Gen 2:10 “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.”

At last God puts Adam into Eden to serve God. King James says to “dress” the garden … but this Eden appears only to have trees… with no gardening to speak of. If there was gardening, then the curse that comes later isn’t much of a threat - - if Adam was already “laboring” before he sinned. The Hebrew word for “dress” is 'abad, which can also mean:
“to serve as subjects”, “to serve (God)”, “to make oneself a servant”.

But then the story goes right off the rails - - IF it is supposed to be about the humanity created in Genesis 1:
Gen 2:19 “And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.”

If this is part of the one and only creation story, then why is God making every beast and every fowl, after he makes Eden or even Adam? Fowl were already created on the fifth day!

This must be a separate creation story: where Fowl and Cattle are created for just Eden.

Finally, at this point, now that we have clarified exactly the unique sequence of events introduced by Genesis 2 (with no reference to days, with vegetation created after Adam is created, and fowls created completely out of sequence (after the creation of vegetation).

And finally, we can confirm that even the second batch of humans, Adam, Eve and all their offspring, being made through special creation, is an equal participant (if not more so) to being made3in the “Image of God”:

After God has arranged for the Ark to reach land, and Noah’s family has exited the Ark, God blesses the family and establishes the death penalty as part of the Noachide Laws:

Genesis 9:3 to 9:9 "Every moving thing that liveth shall be meat for you; even as the green herb have I given you all things. But flesh with the life thereof, which is the blood thereof, shall ye not eat.
And surely your blood of your lives will I require … Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man. And you, be ye fruitful, and multiply; bring forth abundantly in the earth, and multiply therein… behold, I establish my covenant with you, and with your seed after you;

@AntoineSuarez, I leave it to you to decide exactly how Adam & Eve’s offspring communicate whatever you need from Original Sin. But between the first story of Genesis 1, and God says to Noah, it seems like definitive that all humanity is of the Image of God.

(George Brooks) #526


Now that I’ve laid the groundwork, we can answer the question about original sin:

The @Swamidass Model works either way! If you are in a denomination that rejects Original Sin, nothing special has to be provided.

Or, if you are in a denomination which adheres to Original Sin, then Adam & Eve’s offpsring, through the generations, systematically comes to co-opt the entire human race by marriage and descent. This is what is meant by Genealogical Descent, as opposed to Genetic descent.

“Genetic Descent” is featured in such research as regressing backwards through female mitochondrial genetic codes to see when the world’s mitochondria genetics “coalesce” to a specific female… or when the male Y chromosome is regressed back to find where the Y configurations “coalesce” to a specific male. Each method suggests an outer limit.

But “Genealogical Descent” can is not based on possession of any specific genetic markers. Genealogical status, such as being a “True Descendant of Male ABC” and a “True Descendant of Female XYZ” can be traced infinitely … as long as there is a living thing.

Have you followed the discussions here at BioLogos regarding how many generations or approximate years it would take for any given couple to become a Universal Common Ancestor to everyone alive today? This is discussed more at length by @Swamidass over at his discourse group called:

But to keep things short (somebody, quick, write this down, I’m trying to keep something short!) - - the studies show that with a minimum amount of migration per generation (which can be facilitated through the working of God’s plans), all humanity can include Adam and Eve as common ancestors, in the time elapsed between whenever you want to “date stamp” the de novo creation (Creation Story #2 in Genesis 2) and the birth of Jesus - - or even sooner if you adhere to the Great Flood - - making Noah and his family the new “bottleneck” between Adam and all the people of the world alive by the time Jesus is born.Flood and the time Jesus is born.

(George Brooks) #527


Just to confirm … assuming even the slightest bit of migration in the generations after Adam /Eve … Universal Common Ancestry can be established for all those living in any given period within about 2000 years of the arrival of the “primary” mating pair in question (Adam/Eve).

(Randy) #528

Hm. But no more than the ancestry of the others. So–for example, I recently discussed inherited sin with the analogy of slavery in the US. They said that because I’m of Caucasian inheritance, I inherited responsibility to the Black population. There are 2 responses to that 1) all my ancestors immigrated after World War 1 and 2) more to the point, my cousin’s beautiful daughter is 1/2 Black and 1/2 White. What responsibility does she have?

What ethics would God have in transmitting responsibility here?


(Randy) #529

PS I recognize Kafka’s ironic statement “In argument similes are like songs in love; they describe much, but prove nothing.”

So–while analogies may be helpful, mine are quite limited and don’t prove anything. Thanks for your patience.

(George Brooks) #530


Again, the beauty of the @Swamidass Model is that whatever worked before still works.

So, if you already accepted Original Sin, the Genealogical model of co-opting an existing population allows for it to continue to operate - - as long as every section of the contemporary generation of living people has been co-opted by the time Jesus is born. In fact, the Genealogical model actually suggests a reason why there was any pause at all between the re-establishment of the Temple and the birth of Jesus. Why should he wait? The time was not right … and then finally it was.

If you are asking me, generally speaking, how Original Sin can be explained - - regardless of the specific model - - well, the archive is full of discussion on that. I boil it down to these ideas:

  1. If the soul is manufactured by God, and it is the soul that Original Sin taints, then God is the one who decides how to “taint” or “not taint” Souls. Ennaeus believed God intended for Original Sin to assist int he maturation of humanity. He does not think Original Sin should be seen as entirely bad.

Augustine, as we know, uses Original Sin to completely divest God of any moral turpitude for evil on the Earth. So, what to do with that scenario? It seems obviously unwise to connect Original Sin to a specific gene; it would require the gene to be modified because of a decision (or, I suppose, because of something in the Fruit of Knowledge that invades every human cell like a virus). Viruses can certainly be communicated to everyone rather quickly, and it wouldn’t even take 2000 years.

OR: the “taint” of Original Sin could be a psychological taint… spiritual if you want to use the term …
which is communicated merely by contact with a sinning human. This would communicate throughout the population even faster than a Virus would!

OR: the “taint” of Original Sin could be assigned by God because of what some Protestants call Federal Headship… which is really not very different from Genealogical Co-opting of the human race. One presumes that Adam’s parentage is dominant, or at least at parity, with all the other Universal Common Ancestors - - meaning that no other U.C.A. can nullify the effect of Adam being one’s ancestor.

And this is where I would answer your “1/2 white question” by saying: how can being partly black nullify the guilt upon you for being a descendant of a guilty white person. But just typing this sentence makes for all kinds of “badness” in my head… I won’t discuss amplifications of Original Sin in a race context any further. Original Sin is not about “fairness” from a human viewpoint.

If we are limited to only “what is fair”, then all churches would have adopted the position of most Eastern Orthodox communion, not a Western/Augustinian one. They use the term “Ancestral Sin”, or sometimes just re-define the term “Original Sin” to simply refer to the “mortality” that all humans inherit from their parents. And that, additionally, all humans inherit the inevitable weakness to sin somehow, somewhere, and probably often. And so it is not necessary for God to treat each of us as though we are actually guilty of eating the fruit at the very moment of birth (if not sooner!).

English common law and court precedence certainly don’t allow for Original Sin to have standing in any judicial matter… because common law is based on “fairness” and “equity” between humans and other humans. What a human might owe God, under the Genesis context, has no workable comparison on this planet.