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

(Antoine Suarez) #221

Albert, if I understand well your position regarding angels is the following:

  • On the basis of your personal experience you support the existence of guardian angels as protectors of human beings. Similarly you accept as unequivocal “Gabriel’s announcement of Mary’s pregnancy”.
    So you don’t deny the existence of angels.

  • However you seem to deny that a multitude of angels existed prior to humankind’s creation.

  • And you seem to maintain that there was no sin on the part of angels.

As I have stated in previous postings we are unambiguously taught by the New Testament that:

  1. Angels are pure spiritual beings, and therefore endowed with free will.

  2. They were created by God to freely worship Him and in particular Jesus Christ as incarnated Son of God.

  3. Satan and other angels rejected to worship God, and prowl tempting humans to do the same.

You yourself quote Matthew 4:1-11. I agree with you that this account was narrated by Jesus to his disciples. Nonetheless I disagree that this episode refers to sort of “delirium”. I think rather it was reported by Jesus Christ in order we learn from Him how to resist devil’s temptations.

The two episodes Matthew 4:1-11, and Luke 4:1–13, are completed by John 8:44 and Ephesians 6:12. And all these pericopes together are crucial to interpret the temptation of Adam and Eve in Genesis 3.

If you really wish to motivate your great-grandson for reaching eternal life as a follower of Jesus Christ, then it seems to me the best thing you can do is to recommend him to read the Gospels. He will undoubtedly meet the passages where Jesus Christ speaks about angels and will have to decide by his own whether he freely accepts or rejects Jesus Christ’s teaching in this respect. In my view it would be counterproductive trying to downgrade as “mere figurative” parts of Jesus’ teaching in order he accepts to be a Christian faithful. In particular, this would be a heavy burden for the relationship with the Christian faithful girl your great-grandson is dating.

Once again: Consistency with science doesn’t preclude thinking seriously about angels.

No serious theologian has ever discussed the question: “how many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”

By contrast Thomas Aquinas asked the sound question “Can several angels be in the same place?” And he gave a sound answer to it.

You say that your great-grandson excels in computer science and is motivated by a career in artificial intelligence. Notice that in the light of today’s science the universe can be considered an ongoing immense quantum computation. In whichever way you look at this, you can’t help accepting powerful minds performing this computation from outside space-time. Accordingly, Aquinas questions on angels could be updated as follows:

“How much computational power is required to compute the universe we perceive at any moment?”

And last but not least: We can pray the guardian angel of your great-grandson to help him as well as yours helped you!

(Antoine Suarez) #222

Albert, you make here an interesting point.

As argued in my previous post, I think we are unambiguously taught by Jesus Christ that from the beginning humans are tempted by Satan to deny worship to God. Adam and Eve succumbed to such a temptation according to Genesis 3.

One can then conclude that the consequence of this disobedience was “to revert to one’s evolved animal instincts”, in line with what you claim.

This has interesting implications:

The original state of humans (as beings endowed with conscience, free will, and sense for accountability) was a state of “Original Blessing” (your wording), that is, a state of Grace and fullness of Virtue, where humans were called to love a Creator who is “All Good”.

The state of “evolved animal instincts” (with killing, illness, death, extinction, etc.) existed before the state of “Original Blessing” and also during this state outside humanity, and was foreseen by God to the aim of facilitating Redemption in case humans sinned.

If humans had not sinned, they would have remained exempted of evils like death and illness.

Thus, the creation was subjected to frustration, and is groaning right up to the present time, not by its own choice, but by God’s will: He wanted to facilitate that humans freely accept to become children of God again after a possible fall. However in the end of history the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God. [See Romans 8:19-22].

To a certain extent I share the claim by LT_15:

Nonetheless I would like to precise that death was not introduced into the animal kingdom by Adam’s sin backwards in time: It was introduced by God since the beginning of creation as means to move humans to freely repent in case they sinned.

Death before the fall does not make God a liar but is rather a sign of His mercy: He creates a world where sinners can live in and are stimulated to freely atone.

Finally, generations may have passed before the arrival of sin. Accordingly “Adam’s sin” means the sin of the first human sinner and not necessarily the sin of the first human.

(Albert Leo) #223

IMHO God has blessed us with an understanding of the implications of creation via evolution–knowledge that was not available to the authors of Genesis (even with inspiration): (1) death is NOT evil:; on the contrary, it is a necessity for the creation of new, and more successful life forms. (2) While we may wish otherwise, God’s method of creation (via evolution) involves struggle as well as cooperation. For the first few billions of life on earth, it was single celled organisms that engaged in this evolutionary exchange, and their descendants are still within each of us, some helping (probiotics), some making us ill. Humans are part of a much larger biome, and to insert some ancient belief, like Adam’s sin into an attempt to understand God’s intentions, is an obfuscation, pure and simple.

Close, but not quite what I meant. The Great Leap Forward, where Homo sapiens acquired a conscience, was a calling to love a Creator who is "All Good", but that did not automatically put them in a “state of Grace and fullness of Virtue”. In my view, so many of these newly-minted humans refused to lift themselves out of their instinctive animal natures that it was necessary for God to become incarnate to lead us to his promised kingdom.[quote=“AntoineSuarez, post:222, topic:35442”]
To a certain extent I share the claim by LT_15:

Does Death Before the Fall Make God a Liar?

I do believe that Adam’s sin corrupted the entire universe,

To accept this as true, to ANY extent whatsoever, makes God a total failure as a creator, and in my opinion, would make any attempt to reconcile science and religion a hopeless endeavor.
Al Leo

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #224

@AntoineSuarez and @aleo

I have a different view.

Human beings were formed by evolution created by God Who gave them evolutionary advantages of mind and spirit to survive and thrive in God’s rational and purposeful Creation.

History works in a way that genetic home sapiens came into being before humans who can fully be self aware. Thus we have genetic humans, then after a period of time, self aware humans. Adam and Eve represent the creation of self aware humans which leads to humans who sinned.

We do not know who or how the first wheel was invented, but we know that it happened. We don’t know who invented marriage, but it came into existence. I would say that we don’t know the exactly how sin came into existence, because Genesis does raise some questions, but the story is important because I find it an accurate description of the nature of sin as rebellion against God which leads to alienation from God, others, and nature. This is why it is important.

Physical death is not evil, but a necessary result of our limited physical nature, which is necessary. However death is important because it means that we need to make basic spiritual choices between selfishness and cooperation.

God did not create humans as evil, but God created humans as other creatures as naïve. We acted on instinct, not thought. At a point in time humans learned to think and became aware of the difference between good and evil.

Before Adam and Eve there was so sin because there was no awareness of good and evil, but they had that moral awareness and they choose to betray the trust of their Creator, Thus sin and morality entered into the world and spread into all of humankind like a virus. Sin is not doing something wrong. Sin is knowingly doing something wrong and justifying it aa Adam and Eve did.

(Antoine Suarez) #225

In the second statement you are inserting “sin” (rejection of God’s calling to lift themselves out of their instinctive animal natures) “into an attempt to understand God’s intentions” (to become incarnate to lead us to his promised kingdom).

This seems to contradict your first statement.

(Albert Leo) #226

Roger, your 'different view’ is actually very close to mine. I view the GLF as very important because, even from a scientific perspective, it supports the contention that there was a (relatively) sudden change in Homo sapiens behavior–almost as if their brains had been "programmed’ to operate as Minds. However,I believe that this did not immediately give the newly minted Adam & Eve a complete understanding of how God wanted them to act in His Image. That is, they now had the potential to act according to a God-given conscience, but they did not know enough to "betray a trust". They had to learn that their God was a God of universal love and compassion, not a God of vengeance who (sometimes) unjustly favored a ‘chosen people’.

Using the gift of conscience as an aid to becoming Image Bearers should be much simpler in this day and age, especially for Christians who have the guidance of Christ himself. However, every human is strongly guided by the society we happen to live in. The societal conscience here in the U.S. seems permissive of materialism and hedonism, while the conscience of Islamic societies is dictated by the religious leaders who are the sole interpreters of 7th century doctrines. The gift of Conscience is much like the keys to the family car: it makes a powerful force available, for Good or for Evil. Each of us must be sure we form our individual conscience wisely, rather than pleading “its OK because everybody is doing it”._
Al Leo

(Albert Leo) #227

The difficulty here may lie in the difference in the way we interpret the word**, Sin.** I gather that you view sin in the orthodox Christian context of it being 'Adam & Eve’s rebellion against the known will of their Creator; i.e. he clearly spelled it out to them in the Garden. For my part, especially in the case of Original Sin, I would rather view it as the refusal to make use of the gift of conscience which has the potential to lift each of us above the level of an instinct-driven animal and into one who possesses a spirit that is formed in our Creator’s Image. But we have the free will to take the easy road and NOT act to achieve that potential.
Al Leo

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #228

Angels are important in faiths like Judaism, Christianity, Islam, and also in others. Therefore I propose you to take account of this state of affairs in your picture.

First of all let me say that my understanding of both God and humanity is based on the fact that God created humans (male and female) in God’s own Image, and also that Jesus Christ is Very Human of Very Human and Very God of Very God.

This means to me that God is Personal. in that humans are personal being, and God as YHWH in the OT, God the Father in the NT, and Jesus Christ are all Persons in the current meani8ng of that term. Also that humans have the ability to create through their bodies, to think through their minds, and love through their spirits, while God the Father has the power to create as the Creator, God the Son has the power to think as the Logos, and God the Spirit has the power to love as the character of God.

You say that God created angels as purely spiritual beings, who have free will. I question the re3ality of angels and say that they do not have free will as portrayed in the Bible. The Bible indicates that some angels rebelled against God, so this would seem to indicate that they have free will, but it also says that these fallen angels cannot repent and be saved by Jesus so how can we say that they have free will.

If angels are purely spiritual beings as you say, how can they think and how can they act? If angels are created beings, then why do they not die? If God created beings who had free will, then why did God create human beings who also had free will, but were mortal?

Angels are not essential to God. It appears to me that they evolved from the sons of God (Elohim) to agents of YHWH. As I said they are needed in Judaism and Islam where God is One and angels serve as a buffer between Elohim and Allah.

In other words in a complex world angels serve as mediators between the One and the many. For Christians Jesus and the Spirit serve as mediator and conduit between the Father and humans. There is no theological need for angels, because Jesus Christ is God with us and God for us.

In particular, regarding the Christian teaching about Trinity, it is important to distinguish between the “Many” as referring to the three divine Persons (Father, Son and the Holy Spirit), and the “Many” as referring to the multiplicity of beings outside God, in particular angels.

Humans are complex/one beings, who live in a complex/one world, and need a Complex/One God. Angels began as false gods, but became agents of God. They can be seen as the complex aspect of YHWH and Allah.

I recently read that theologians insist that the Christian Trinitarian God is Simple and not Complex. This has to be the result of the influence of Greek philosophy that insists that Being is Simple and not NT theology. Again YHWH, the Father, and Jesus Christ are not simple Beings.

God is One, but God is not Simple. God cannot be less than humans. God cannot be less than angels.

(Antoine Suarez) #229

You propose two “different” interpretations of “Original Sin”:


I don’t see any difference between these two interpretations.
In both cases “Original Sin” consists basically in the rejection of God’s will.

(Albert Leo) #230

Antoine, you apparently did not notice the highlighting I gave in the two passages that emphasize the difference. From Genesis 2&3 we see that God created A&E with full understanding of God’s will. And they rebelled against it. The scenario that I feel fits better with science is that the ‘programming’ of Homo sapiens brain that resulted in them acquiring a Mind and conscience did NOT impart an immediate understanding of God’s will, but rather the potential to learn what that might be. The old Baltimore Catechism spelled out the foundation of God’s intention for me: “God made me to KNOW him….” As I matured and learned that nothing we know of in the entire Universe has a mind that can comprehend its Creator, our conscience should be a guide showing us the way to rise above our evolved animal natures which tend to be selfish and power loving, and become unique in the Universe in (at least partially) becoming an Image Bearer. Evolutionary science shows us that humans were NOT image bearers from the very beginning. When we have learned this, and yet choose to seek those selfish pleasures, we sin.
Al Leo

(Albert Leo) #231

Roger, this expresses concisely how I see the wondrous Gift we have received from our Creator. How you amplify it in philosophical/theological terminology seems overly complex to me, which is not surprising, since my field is physical organic chemistry. So the Ph in my degree does not make me a philosopher in the true meaning of the word.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #232

The moment when Homo sapiens creatures learned this, is precisely the moment referred to in Genesis 1: 26-28; 2:15-25, at which God created Adam&Eve, and bestowed them with His wondrous gift, that is:

And yet humans chose to refuse God’s love and sinned:

This is the moment of “Original Sin” magnificently described in Genesis 3: Sin happens for the first time in human history.

I dare to insist: it seems to me that your interpretation of “Original Sin” fits perfectly well with the Genesis narrative and also my interpretation.

(Antoine Suarez) #233


I like many of your claims in this post regarding God as a unity of three personal relations: Fatherhood, Sonhood and Love.

You address a number of interesting queries regarding angels, which are worthy to be further discussed:

The fact that some angels rebelled against God whereas most of them accepted to worship him, is a clear sign that angels have free will.

On the one hand we know that God is keen to redeem sinners to the end of incarnating Himself and dying on the cross. On the other hand we know that He is almighty. So your question is quite pertinent: Why then did God not foresee Redemption for the fallen angels?

The only possible answer seems to be that angels reject to be saved so that God would have to violate their free will in order to save them. But God cannot do such a violation because it would mean that God contradicts himself, what is absurd.

This point can be better understood through a comparison with “opiate addiction”: The more consumption, the more difficult to overcome the addiction. The reason is that the addict makes himself a wrong idea about how to reach happiness and adheres more and more to it, till at the end it clings immovably to it.

Sinning is sort of addiction: The more someone sins, the more he reinforces his own will in rejecting God, and the less is he willing to convert. For humans death is nothing other than the moment where the own will clings immovably forever to love God or reject Him.

Now angels are pure spirits and this means that an angel does not make up his mind in several successive steps but decides once and for all. If an angel rejects God he remains “addicted” to this decision forever.

God is also a pure spiritual being who thinks and act.
Humans themselves think and freely act because they are incarnate spirits. Angels are far more powerful in thinking and acting than we humans are.

Only incarnate spirits like humans can die: Angels have no body and therefore cannot die.

However there are also humans who did not die: Remember for instance Melchizedek!

Notice that spiritual beings cannot be annihilated: As well angels (pure spirits) as humans (incarnate spirits) have never ending existence.

Through creation God aims that a hug number of spiritual creatures reach happiness by freely sharing in His love.

The perfection of creation requires that God primarily created pure spirits (angels). Nonetheless a number of them sinned and let a number of places in “the kingdom of heaven” unoccupied. So God foresaw to create humans, that is, incarnate spirits living in time, who are called to fill the places in heaven that remained vacant because of the angel’s fall. Human history will go on till all the places in the “banquet of the kingdom of heaven” are filled.

Neither angels not humans are essential to God.

As discussed in the thread “My theory about the Flood”, in Scripture the term “sons of God” refers to creatures who were created by God independently of any creature’s will (i.e.: without parents). So the term may refer to angels, like in Job 1:6, but also to humans, like in Genesis 6:2-4. In the latter case God created these “sons of God” the same way He created Adam, that is, by transforming Homo sapiens individuals into humans endowed with free will and therefore capable of sinning.

Jesus Christ himself and the New Testament unambiguously speak about angels and Satan.

If you dispose of angels, you dispose of “Satan and his angels” as well.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #234



the ability to create through their bodies, to think through their minds, and love through their spirits


And yet humans chose to refuse God’s love and sinned:

Does this mean that you agree with my threefold anthropology?

Sin is more than a refusal. It is the breaking of re4lationship.

(George Brooks) #235


Roger, this may be noteworthy! This is the first time I can think of where you and I are in sync about interpreting the more mystic side of the Bible!

(Antoine Suarez) #236

YES I completely agree with it.

This is an excellent definition of sin!

It is the definition proposed by Joseph Ratzinger (today emeritus Pope Benedict XVI) as well: “Sin is relational damage”.

I like very much this definition because it makes clear that sinning means freely choosing:

  • to remain alone forever,
  • i.e.: to be unknown to God,
  • i.e.: to have no name forever,
  • i.e.: to be absolutely irrelevant in eternal life,
  • i.e.: to be none.

However you claim further:

This seems to imply that any sin propagates “laterally” from sinners to other contemporary non-sinners by sort of spiritual contagion. This is the view also shared by advocates of the Homo divinus model. And the same implication would follow if Original Sin propagates as “relational damage”.

This interpretation has the merit to avoid transmission of Original sin through biological or genetic inheritance, and to this extent I fully agree to it.

However it seems additionally to endorse that God removes his Grace from someone, who didn’t sin. In this respect I deviate from this interpretation because it amounts to claim that God directly causes damage to an incarnate spirit.

Following Romans 11:32, I rather share the following interpretation:

After the first sin in human history (which is not necessarily the sin of the first free-willed humans) new incarnate spirits are created by God lacking Original Grace (i.e.: in the stage of Original Sin) for the sake of Redemption.

Notice that according to my interpretation only the effects of the first sin in human history become transmitted to new incarnate spirits at the moment of their creation, while according to your interpretation every sin becomes transmitted (like a virus) to everyone at any moment.

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #237

@AntoineSuarez, thank you for your comments, however I think I disagree with this statement.

Sin does not make humans unknown to God or unloved by God. What it does it prevents us from accepting God’s Love. Yes, ultimately this is true. When are life is complete and we still reject God’s love and live only for ourselves, then we do join all those who share this life style in Hell.

Sin does indeed spread as does love. Hate encourages hatred, just as love encourages love. That is why we need to forgive sin, which limits its effect.

I want to share with you some thought about sin. These are not theological, but anthropological. Humans are born selfish. They are born as helpless infants, so they must be self centered. If there are hungry they cry. If they are wet they cry. If they are hurting, they cry. Their needs come first.

As they grow us they become socialized. We learn to recognize and accept the needs of others. Of course some do not. They just learn to use the needs of others to benefit themselves. The question here is where do we balance the needs of others and ourselves?

Jesus tell us to love others as we love ourselves, so there is absolute parity, That is impossible unless we love God first and foremost, Who includes ourselves and others. God is the best for everyone and all in the long run. God enables us to get though the good times and the lean times when we are doing what is right for God.

Thus we start our selfish, but naïve Hopefully we move to respect and concern for others. Many of not most people do not get beyond this point, which is too bad, but it is not where Jesus wants us to end up. This is not salvation. For me as a Protestant Christian one needs to repent from the imperfect way humans balance their needs and others, and commit ourselves to God in order to be saved by grace through faith. This is the gospel of Jesus Christ that He gave to us the Church to share.

Sin is selfishness. It is not making a mistake, unless the mistake is because one did not do due diligence. It is going along with the crowd when we know or should know that the crowd is wrong. Our reaction to our sin, including our mistakes is confession and repentance. Sin is not good, but sin is forgiven. Condemnation is evil, when we refuse to admit our sin and try to justify it, as is done often today.

Sickness can be transmitted if we have no protection, no antibodies, no defenses. Jesus is our defense against sin.

(Phil) #238

Nicely expressed. I confess I have not followed this thread that closely, so this may be already hashed over, but when you say sin is selfishness, it reflects back to what happened in the garden, when Adam and Eve decided they wanted more for themselves. Perhaps the image of God was that capacity to love and put self aside, as Christ did on the cross, and which we all fail at doing and so sin and fall short.

(George Brooks) #239

Poor Adam and Eve … They always take it on the chin … being blamed for the troubles of billions of human lives… and their pets, and even distant cousins on the tree of common descent.

So let’s look at their perfidy very closely:

  1. God says: Don’t touch the fruit of the Tree of Good and Evil - or you’ll die.

  2. Adam says: “God it” < Hey, Father, see what I did there? Pretty clever for someone who is just a few days old, right?

  3. God forces a smile, and then goes to check on the tomatoes.

  4. Later, after Eve shows up, a voice and a hand from a tree says to Eve, you know there’s nothing dangerous about this fruit.

  5. Eve sees that the person holding the fruit is not dead, or even sick.

  6. Eve starts to question what exactly were those words… If the Serpent with the hands and feet takes a bite out of his own fruit, Eve is really going to be confused. The snake still breathes. He’s not choking. He’s not dying.

  7. So Eve, thinking she is mistaken, takes a bite. And so she concludes she was mistaken!

  8. She runs to show Adam.

  9. Adam is stunned… there is Eve with 2 pieces of fruit. The fruit she shouldn’t touch. But she’s not dead. She’s not even sniffling.

  10. Then Adam sees her taking a bite from one of the fruit… and she’s not gagging or collapsing.

  11. Eve says we must have been wrong about what The Big Guy said. Adam can only think that he got the whole story wrong.

  12. He puts the fruit in his hand. No wave of nausea. Then he takes a bite. And he is still alive.

  13. And then like a pretty wild night during the hippie days, suddenly, Adam sees Eve without any clothes. And Eve sees Adam without any clothes! They both agree they must have been mugged!

  14. Well, you guessed what happened next. God is in a pretty bad mood because the wolves were at the tomatoes again. And now he sees Adam and Eve wearing fig leaves like a bad tie dye concept!

  15. God says, “That settles it … you two… get off my lawn!”

  16. Adam and Eve are relieved that they weren’t going to die that day. In fact, it’s a good thing there wasn’t a 401k plan involved, because Adam and Eve, cursed with death, live for centuries longer!

  17. However, all their pets keep dying over and over… and the cow, Guyvette de Bretville, she was dead in some 20 years… Eve missed her considerably.

So… for whatever reason… God warned Adam about the curse of death, and by they time they actually die, they can barely remember what the question was!

Could they still have immortality? Absolutely - - if God would allow them to eat from the Tree of Life. It’s not like eating from the Tree of Good and Evil made the Tree of Life poisonous to them. Far from it. Eating from the Tree of Life would have done them a world of good.

But God is complex. And to this day, Adam can’t really explain to his Grand kids and his Great Great Great grand kids what God was all worked up about.

(Phil) #240

And that is why I tend to look at it metaphorically.