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

(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.

(Randy) #531

Thanks. I’m going to chew on this more.

(Antoine Suarez) #532

In such a case the @Swamidass’ Model of “Genealogical Adam” seems needless. Please clarify this point.

(George Brooks) #533


The point of the @Swamidass Model is to make it possible for two distinct camps of Christianity to coalesce!

A. Christian Evolutionists see too much natural evidence for Evolution to be willing to dismiss their observations.


B. Christian Creationists see too much Biblical Investment in Adam to be willing to dismiss their observations.

Joshua’s model makes it possible for both camps to have a unified approach that allows both sides to keep their most important observations.

2 days ago… @gbrooks9, me (the Pro-Evolution Zealot of Magnificent Proportions, owing to my inclination towards dessert), received an email that said the sender had some unconventional thoughts about when and where to place Eden. And for the first time in 20 years I found myself saying:

If you are an Old Earther - - who can accept a pre-Adam population created by God by means of evolutionary natural law - - I am perfectly fine with wherever you want to put Eden! Christians have already accepted a few miracles from the New Testament. What’s another one or two miracles from Genesis…

It is the unification of two equally strong views. There is no reason why these two views have to be mutually exclusive!

(Antoine Suarez) #534

Thanks to you Randy for the question you ask and the remark you make: They are not at all superfluous as they allow us to see how the proposal works.

According to my proposal the answer is as follows:

It can very well happen that you are NO genealogical descendant from Adam&Eve, that is, NONE of your ancestors did ever interbreed with a genealogical descendant from Adam&Eve.

Nevertheless you are an Image Bearer and share “the consequences of the Fall” (“lack of Original Grace”=“State of Original Sin”= “State of need of Redemption”) because there is a certain time T after the Fall (according to my explanation the End of the Flood) such that after T all humans are Image Bearers generated “lacking Original Grace” (i.e.: in “the state of Original Sin”).

In this context it is important to stress that:

  1. The Sanctity of marriage requires that after God created the first humans in His Image He transforms into Image Bearers all creatures sharing a human body who come in contact with Image Bearers.

  2. In any case, for the sake of assigning rights Image Bearers have always to treat any creature sharing a human body as Image Bearer with right to life and freedom, independently of race, religion, nation, and developmental stage (also embryos, babies with Hydranencephaly, PVS patients, disabled people).

I fully share @Kathryn_Applegate’s view (see article):

“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.[…] I am guilty for Eve’s sin, but also because I sin like Eve.

I would like to add: If my sin had been the first sin in human history I would have been “Adam” (the first sinner) and my sin would have caused “the state of original sin” and been transmitted to all humans coming into existence after my transgression.

In my view Kathryn deserves hand-clapping for clearly endorsing that the state original sin exists in each one of us as his/her own because it proceeds from the first sin in human history, truly committed by one person: “Adam” the first sinner. Thereby Kathryn diverges from the view that we are in need of Redemption exclusively because each of us personally sins, which amounts to reject that we are free NOT to sin, and hence makes God the author of the sin.

(Randy) #535

Thanks. I think that @Kathryn_Applegate’s article was wonderfully kind and insightful.

Your writings are, as well.

However, please clarify where you think God would assume responsibility for sin. I’m not sure I understand.



There is a choice each of us face. Chose sinning or not sinning. If the choice to not sin is taken away then we are left with the forced choice to sin. Doesn’t that make God the author of the sin since He is the one who took away one possible choice?

@AntoineSuarez Sorry but there are too many negatives in your sentence. I think I misread it the first time and am not sure I am reading it correctly even now.

Let me see if I understand your position. If we are free not to sin then it is possible we would have no need for Redemption. Since God created Redemption for all people that means God would force all people to sin in order to participate in Redemption. This is what would make God the author of sin. Do I have your position down correctly now?

So my question then becomes, Do we sin because of our own free will choice to sin? Does the existence of this free will choice also imply that there is a free will choice not to sin?

(Randy) #537

that was my inquiry. I’m not sure I understood it.

(Antoine Suarez) #538

Thanks Randy and Bill for your interest and your query. I try to formulate my position more clearly:

God created Adam free either to love or reject Him.

At creation Adam didn’t need Redemption.

Adam rejected to love God and transgressed His commandment: This transgression is referred to as the first sin in human history.

Because of this first sin all people are created by God in need of Redemption. This is the very foundation of the faith that Jesus Christ (God’s Son) is the Redeemer of humankind.

There are two alternative Positions for justifying this need of Jesus Christ’s Redemption:

  1. I am created in need of Redemption because I will sin like Adam.

  2. I am created in need of Redemption because “Adam’s sin became my sin”, but I will also need Redemption in case I myself sin i.e.: “I sin like Adam”.

Position 1 amounts to state that “God would force all people to sin in order to participate in Redemption”. And this would make God the author of sin.

Position 2 is my position and apparently the position @Kathryn_Applegate takes in her article as well.

By the way, Position 2 is also the position of the Council of Trent, in this respect the only declaration to date that is necessary to belong to the Catholic Church.

YES: We sin because of our own free will choice to sin.

YES: The existence of this free will choice also implies that there is a free will choice not to sin.

To grant maximal “free will choice not to sin” God created Adam and Eve (the first Image Bearers) in the state of Original Grace, that is, capable of mastering selfish evolutionary tendencies (lust, greed, trickery) so that they could be led into temptation to reject God’s love only by pride without any “frailty of the flesh”.

In summary, the transmission of the “state of Original Sin” or “lack of Original Grace” is a consequence of the following three Axioms:

  • God never violates the freedom of His Creatures.

  • God never is the author of the sin.

  • God wants to redeem the sinners.

And also a consequence of these three Axioms is God’s genial way to perform Redemption: The “suffering of love of His Son” (Pope Benedict XVI) or “the beautiful, bloodied head of Jesus” (@Kathryn_Applegate).

I will enjoy receiving further possible comments or queries.


But what of Eve? She was created before Adam’s sin.

I don’t agree. God doesn’t have to force people to sin. All people will freely chose to sin and need redemption. God created us with a nature that naturally sins but that doesn’t make Him the author. Our choice makes us the author of our sin.

(Antoine Suarez) #540

In order to avoid possible misunderstandings I make a preliminary remark before answering your question:

The quality of “being in the Image of God” or “Image Bearer” is defined in three Genesis perikopes (1:27; 5:1-2; 9:6) and includes three main aspects:

  1. At the moment referred to in these perikopes God defines the kind of body, both male and female, which is the sign of being in the Image of God.

  2. God bestows Image Bearers with capability of freely loving Him, which entails also the possibility of rejecting Him and accountability for transgressing His Law and sinning.

  3. This moment marks also the definition and beginning of Humanity.

Regarding Point 1: Thereby God defines also which kind of body He prepares for His Son (Colossians 1:15) to incarnate.

Regarding Point 2: Since this moment the specific human body becomes the observable anatomical shape defining a community of creatures God calls to rule their behavior according to moral rules and law (mainly the “Golden Rule”), the observable basis to coherently assign rights, first of all the right to life, as clearly stated in Genesis 9:6. Thereby God defines Humanity and the human body.

Regarding Point 3: I dare to insist once again that there is no way of clearly defining Humanity exclusively by biological means: “It is biologically impossible to establish when the species Homo sapiens begins with anything other than arbitrary criteria.” Humanity begins at the moment God signals the body He wants to make in His Image (Genesis 5:2).

Strictly speaking it is contradictory to call “humans” or “Image-Bearers” creatures existing before the moment God makes creatures in His Image. Before this moment there were no creatures aware of accountability and capable of sinning.

The important rule is the following:

At any time of history according to God’s commandment each Image-Bearer has to respect as Image Bearer with right to life and freedom any creature exhibiting a human body (Genesis 9:6). The Sanctity of Marriage and the “Golden Rule” exclude any community where Image-Bearers and Non-Image-Bearers live together: If a Non-Image-Bearer encountered an Image-Bearer, God provided that the former became immediately an Image Bearer (as the episode of the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2-4 shows).

I am the first to abhor claiming that "there are humans who are not Image Bearers”. But precisely for the same reason one should avoid suggesting that there were creatures sharing the dignity of Image Bearer (human dignity) before God created creatures in His Image. Such a suggestion opens the door to treat humans as animals and amounts to destroy the foundation of human dignity and law.

This said, I now answer your question with pleasure:

‘Eve’ in Genesis means the first female created in the Image of God, that is, the first Human female: She is obviously an Image Bearer sharing “the state of Original Grace”, and therefore like Adam was NOT created “in need of Redemption”.

Nothing in Christian faith speaks against assuming other Image Bearers in state of Original Grace, who lived in community with the first couple of Image Bearers before the Fall. As I have stated in other posts, I think Melchizedek was such an Image Bearer, who didn’t transgress God’s Commandment and thereby highlights that the primeval Image Bearers were free NOT to sin.

After the Fall God transformed Non-Image-Bearers into Image Bearers (the “sons of god” in Genesis 6:2-4) the same way as He did with Adam and Eve. Nonetheless contrarily to Adam and Eve, after the Fall all Image Bearers are created lacking original Grace (sharing “the state of Original Sin”).


@AntoineSuarez All those words and you still managed to not answer my question.

  1. Adam and Even were created Image Bearers in the state of Original Grace.

  2. When Adam sinned all future Image Bearers are created in the state of Original Sin.

Correct so far?

So the questions are:

When did Eve get demoted, if she did, to Original Sin?

If it was not until Adam sinned why did her sin not count? Or did she even sin at all?

Isn’t Eve’s sin the real Original Sin?

(George Brooks) #542


Genesis 9:5-6 is the more conclusive proof of image bearing… especially since it is
after the Fall.

Gen 9:5-6 "And surely your blood of your lives will I require; … at the hand of man; at the hand of every man’s brother will I require the life of man. Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

(Albert Leo) #543

[quote=“AntoineSuarez, post:515, topic:35442”]
In the second phase God makes to Image Bearers all creatures sharing a human body

No matter how many times I re-read this, Antoine, I conclude that you believe that, to qualify as an “Image Bearing Human” one’s spirit must be contained in the body of a relatively hairless, upright primate that we moderns would accept as close companions, even mates. Why the emphasis on the physical body? It is possible that somewhere in the universe evolution has produced Mind and Consciousness in a creature totally different from Homo sapiens. It would seem that your view would preclude that creature ever aspiring to Image Bearer status, because God had already ‘defined the kind of body His Son will take.’ Please tell me that I have misinterpreted your views.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #544

Thanks for clarifying what you want me to answer.

Eve transgressed together with Adam (and possibly others): Thereafter she got demoted to the state of Original Sin.

Those who did not transgress (Melchizedek, as I speculate) were taken up to Heaven by God (in a similar way as Elijah was).

The “Original Sin”, in the sense of the first transgression in human history, was a collective sin where at least one couple of Image Bearers was involved.

In agreement with the teaching of Jesus Christ himself (Matthew 19:3-6 and Mark 10:2-9 ) I think that the first transgression was rebellion against the Sanctity of Marriage, so that “Adam and Eve” can also be considered names referring to several couples. In this rebellion one man (“Adam”) could very well have borne the main responsibility. Suppose for instance “Adam” was commanded by God to keep a register of who marries whom, and charmed by “Eve” he refused to do this and allow divorce: Both sinned but “Adam” was more responsible than “Eve” for the transgression.

In any case the state of Original Sin, lack of Original Grace, or need of Redemption is triggered through the first sinner in human history, no matter whether man or woman, and when in history did he/she live.


For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive.

Sure sounds like the first sinner was Adam.

(Antoine Suarez) #546

The statement that “God made mankind in the Image of God” is in its simplicity a teaching of unfathomable riches. It is a compendium of all the Christian theology but also helpful to understand what evolution is about.

In Genesis 1:27 “Image of God” defines the primeval vocation of humans to be and become in the likeness of God through sanctification of work and family life. It reveals in particular that the interpersonal relationship of male and female is image of the interpersonal relationship within the Triune God (as Pope John Paul II and Karl Barth have stressed). And all this relates to the meaning that God chooses the kind of body He prepares for His Son’s Incarnation.

In Genesis 5:1-2 we are taught hat God’s act of making a community of creatures in His likeness is crucial to define Humanity: This term cannot be defined exclusively on the basis of biological criteria. Accordingly the term “Human Non-Image-Bearers” is nonsensical, as it is to call “humans” creatures existing before God makes mankind in His Image.

Genesis 9:5-6 is crucial in many respects. Since it is “after the Fall” (as you rightly say) it means that each human bears God Image no matter how big a sinner he/she may be. Notice however that Genesis 5:1-2 is also “after the Fall” and therefore one must add some other reason to conclude that Genesis 9:5-6 is “the more conclusive proof” (as you claim, and I share your claim). My reason is that “it is not only after the Fall but also after the Flood”. The universal prohibition of homicide is proclaimed for the first time in Genesis 9:5-6. Why was this not done before? This commandment was not necessary for the Image Bearers (like Noah and his family): These were well aware that they should not kill other humans. So this commandment hides the following remarkable meaning:

Outside Noah’s region (Sumer, according to my conjecture) lived many creatures (14 million give or take) that shared a body like that of Image Bearers but were NOT Image-Bearers. These Non-Image-Bearers were not endowed with capability to freely loving God, and consequently neither could they be accountable for their deeds, even when they killed each other prompted by selfish evolutionary mechanisms. Thus, Genesis 9:6 (“And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being”) states that since this very moment each creature on earth that shares a “body like that of Image Bearers” (a “human body”) is an Image Bearer, that is, a human being accountable for the life of another human being, and has to act according to the “Golden Rule”.

So Genesis 9:6 can be considered the “first universal declaration of human rights” and brings to light how God lays the groundwork for defining what is human by means of evolution and natural deletion of intermediate varieties.

(George Brooks) #547


Please remember:
If these “so-called Creatures” are mentioned in the first description of creation (in Genesis 1), then they are also image bearers.

(Antoine Suarez) #548

Excellent remark George!

For this discussion it is important to keep in mind the following

Principle 1:
It is biologically impossible to establish when the species Homo sapiens or any other species begins with anything other than arbitrary criteria.

Accordingly one has to conclude that Humanity or Humankind begins at the moment when God makes the first creature in His Image.

God makes this at a moment when evolution through “natural deletion of intermediate varieties” has produced a big gap between the kind of body He transforms into the first Image Bearer and all other extant kinds of bodies. This is the moment referred to in Genesis 1:27; 5:1-2; 9:5-6.

So this moment defines the body which is the observable basis or sign in order creatures with capability of freely loving God and accountable for their deeds can ascertain which creatures do share the dignity of Image Bearers and live according to the “Golden Rule”.

Thereby God and the first Image Bearers define the other extant species according to Genesis 2:19-20. Strictly speaking before this moment the concept of species is necessarily fuzzy and arbitrary.

All this means that from Genesis 1 one can infer the following

Principle 2:
Each creature aware of his/her accountability toward God’s Law has to respect any creature sharing a human body as Image Bearer.

So we are led to

Question Q1:
Does this imply that at this moment ALL creatures sharing a body like that of the first Image Bearers are endowed by God with capability of freely loving Him and thereby accountable for sinning?

In my view the answer to this Question Q1 is NO, for the following reason:

If this had been the case God would have proclaimed at this moment the universal prohibition of “shedding human blood” as He does in Genesis 9:5-6.

The fact that this proclamation happens first at the end of the Flood means that before this moment Principle 2 certainly holds for those who are aware of being Image Bearers, but not for creatures that (although sharing a body like that of Image Bearers) are not accountable for their deeds and therefore do not sin even if they kill each other (similarly as lions did and do).

And now one can further ask

Question Q2:
For which reason did God await till the end of the Flood to make “each human being accountable for the life of another human being”?

My answer is: God’s MERCY.

The state of generalized corruption and violence described in Genesis 6:11-13 as cause of the Flood reveals a situation where sinners had lost any awareness to be on earth by God’s mercy, as opportunity to atone. In such situation, for the sake of Redemption, God had to make it clear that He could very well remove sinners from earth at any time and let here only righteous people. This is from God’s perspective the reason of the Flood. So to limit the number of sinners who had to perish in the Flood God awaited the end of the Flood to make each human being accountable for his/her crimes.

In summary:

  • The Flood is God’s clear demonstration of His redemptive will: He lets sinners on earth in order they have opportunity to atone.

  • And the fact that God awaits the end of the Flood for making all people exhibiting a human body accountable for their crimes, is a further demonstration that He “doesn’t take any pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 18:23).