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

(Albert Leo) #241

[quote=“Relates, post:237, topic:35442”]
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 the(y) are hungry they cry. If they are wet they cry. If they are hurting, they cry. Their needs come first.

This is an excellent post, Roger. In past posts you have clearly expressed the reality of sin from a philosophical-theological perspective (relationship), and you have shown how this view would be compatible with the way the ancient people would have interpreted Genesis. We moderns have the advantage of science, especially anthropology, and should be pleased that makes it more evident how sin arose ‘naturally’ from the evolutionary mechanisms that produced humankind from its animal ancestors.

Human neonates are dependent for a much longer period than any other animal form, and during this period we become accustomed to a selfish, demanding way of life. If we take Genesis seriously and God intended us to become stewards (or even masters) of this planet, then humans had to learn to form societies, just as insects and some animal species became better survivors when acting jointly rather than individually. Insects achieved sociality through genetic mechanisms. Newly minted Homo sapiens sapiens were gifted with a Mind that realized selfhood but also appreciate selfhood in their fellow humans. (@beaglelady and in their pets and animals they depended upon) Thus it was easy to form a more effective society based on obvious kinship (extended family) but in order to extend the society further, humans had to rely on customs, beliefs and laws held in common.

This is the situation we find ourselves now. In the past, information transfer was localized because of limited technology, and so separate societies developed into separate nations that often warred against one another over differences in beliefs. When technology breeches these barriers, blending of societies can occur–witness East & West Germany overcoming differences in government but having a past history of shared culture. But can information sharing blend the differences in cultures of West & East, of democracy and totalitarianism? The technology that promoted global information sharing also unleashed the power of the atom and the power to spread plague. Tune in next century to see which force wins out!
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #242

I agree with you. When I claim that:

“sinning means freely choosing to remain alone forever, i.e.: to be unknown to God”

I refer to what “ultimately” happens, that is (in your wording): “when our life is complete and we still reject God’s love and live only for ourselves” and “then we do join all those who share this life style in Hell.”

Thus to be in Hell means to have no name and be “unknown” to God, according to Luke 13:27.

For the rest I like your formulations in this posting.

Nonetheless in your previous posting 224 you claimed:

Here you are referring to the first sin in human history, and claim that this sin “spread into all humankind like a virus”.

This explanation is fitting in several respects:

  • It accounts for the fact that all humans coming into existence after the first sin are in stage of sin, according to “because all sinned” (Romans 5:12).

  • This stage of sin does not arise from any personal sin freely committed but everyone gets it unwillingly like one gets a contagious illness.

  • Since sin is something affecting the spirit this stage of sin is not transmitted to others through biological or genetic inheritance.

Nonetheless the explanation should NOT be misunderstood in the sense that:

everyone gets unwillingly the stage of sin generated by sins other than the first one.

Such a claim would amount to acknowledge that God damages every incarnate spirit (human being) every time someone commits a sin.

If one puts all these requirements together, we are led to the following conclusion:

Only the stage of sin produced by the first sin (the stage of original sin) becomes transmitted to every incarnate spirit created after the first sin, in such a way that everyone gets this stage unwillingly.

As repeatedly claimed, in my view the reason for this state of affairs is given in Romans 11:32.

(Albert Leo) #243

Antoine, in responding to @Relates, who presented an explanation for human sin that is consistent with evolution, you cut out a very important part of his argument (accidentally, I presume). Roger stated that when Homo sapiens were gifted with a conscience (and language to transmit it to others), BOTH morality and sin could spread through humankind “like a virus”. When allowing for free will, morality and sin are just opposite sides of the same coin, and they appeared simultaneously. IMHO this is why I believe it is time for Christianity to abandon the concept of Original Sin, which states that the first perfectly created (i.e., sinless) Adam & Eve freely chose to rebel against their Creator.

If Christians are ready to accept evolution as the way God chose to create humankind, then we must face the fact that the ‘natural evil’ we see–e.g., a male lion killing his predecessor’s cubs, or the earlier hatchling bird shoving later arrivals out of the nest–these behaviors are part of human heritage also. God must value these creatures of his, but when He gave us a conscience and free will, He extended His special Love for us, and the invitation to rise above animal instincts to become His Image Bearers.

To me at least, this seems like a simpler, more satisfying view of our place in God’s universe. History tells us that humans have too often misused this Gift of Mind–not only to ignore the voice of conscience but to subvert some positive instincts, such as sexual desire, in ways the animals could never think of. To set us back on the track God envisioned, it was necessary to send His Son to be our guide and Savior.
Al Leo

(Roger A. Sawtelle) #244


Everyone is born into a fallen sin sick world, not by one’s own choice or free will. We do not choose the time, place or the circumstances of our birth. We did not even choose our parents.
Yet despite all this humans still have the ability to choose for or against God.

Yes, “the wages of sin is death.” Rom 6:23. Sin would not be bad if it did not injure both the sinner and the sinnee. Sin is social, which is the reason we are all sinners, even though we are saved by grace.

The issue is not how we became sinners, but what are we going to so about it. God has created humans as mortal creature, which means we will die, but God has given us an answer to the negative side if death through eternal life through Jesus Christ. Similarly God created humans as limited beings which means that they are almost certainly become sinners, but has provide an answer to sin through forgiveness through Jesus Christ.

Life as created by God has its challenges, but it also has its answers. God is not unjust. God gives us what we need, if not what we want. God gives humanity what we need for justice, freedom, and love for all and not just a relative few, but we need to do things God’s way, not ours even though we must make it our way by being born again through the Spirit…

Also humans are not “incarnate spirits.” We are physical, rational, and spiritual beings who are created in the triune Image of God. Romans 11:32 is not about original sin.

(Antoine Suarez) #245

That is exactly what I am claiming.

The idea I try to convey is that “His special Love for us” included Original Grace (“Original Blessing”) as well, that is, a specially bright intellect and strong will to rise above animal instincts.

Nonetheless the first humans freely rejected the invitation to become His Image Bearers in the “unity of man and woman” (Genesis 1:27; 2:24, in line with Karl Barth), and “separated what God had joined together” (Matthew 19:6; Marc 10:9). According to this teaching of Jesus Christ this may have been the first sin in human history.

True enough! Apparently we are now reaching the point of “joining what God separated”, as current ad in Paris-Metro illustrates.

We need His guide and salvation more than ever!

(Antoine Suarez) #246

If one reads this pericope in the light of Romans 3:22-24 and Romans 5:12, then it becomes clear that Romans 11:32 enounces the following general principle:

After the first sin in human history, everyone in the world is in need of Redemption and everyone is redeemable.

In my view this is the Christian teaching about original sin.

(George Brooks) #247

Do you think so, @AntoineSuarez? It doesn’t seem to fit the context. Let’s look at the text leading up to Romans 11:32

Rom 11:28-31
As concerning the gospel, They [those who belong to Israel genealogically] are enemies for your sakes:
but as touching the election, they are beloved for the fathers’ sakes. . . .

For as ye [those who were never part of Israel by birth] in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: [Israel’s unbelief led to them being pruned, and thus making room for those outside of Israel to be grafted in where Israel once was.]

Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.
[But in the same way non-Israel was rescued from disbelief, Israel shall also be rescued]

Concluding with Rom 11:32
For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.

This seems to suggest a point of Calvinism more than Original Sin…

(Antoine Suarez) #248


Are you referring to a particular point of TULIP?
If yes, which point?

Thanks for clarifying.


(George Brooks) #249


I don’t accept the categorization that TULIP represents. I think it is over-wrought with implicit errors in philosophy and/or metaphysics.

The quote in question seems to be more about how Israel, despite its lack of faith and being pruned away, will be restored to an acceptable Faith that returns all of Israel to the ranks of the Standing Ones at the End of Days.

(Antoine Suarez) #250

The quote in question, as other pericopes in the New Testament, refers to a particular context (the relationship between Israel and the gentiles) but enounces a general principle valid for the whole humanity, that is:

After sin entered human history, none on earth is unimpeachably good, and none is irredeemably bad.

And this is nothing other than the very definition of the stage of original sin.

In this respect it is interesting that the Catechism of the Catholic Church quotes Romans 11:32 only once, in point 1870, in the context of “Sin”, and not in the context of the Church as “the people of God”.

(George Brooks) #251


I would tend to disagree. I suppose it could be construed as consistent with the idea of Original Sin.

But the sentence - - “After sin entered human history, none on Earth is unimpeachably good, and none is irredeemably bad” - - as a self-contained definition, would be more complete and consistent in the Eastern Orthodox framework, which I will paraphrase thusly:

“Once Adam and Eve sinned, it was clear that all humanity sins. Adam & Eve were just the first to have the opportunity.”

(Antoine Suarez) #252


I would like to understand well what you claim. So I dare to ask:

Did Adam and Eve need Redemption before they freely sinned?

Thanks in advance for answering.

(Albert Leo) #253

I like the definition of Adam & Eve as the first earthly creature(s) who were capable of sinning because they were the first creature(s) who had a conscience capable of knowing right from wrong. So they and their progenitors did NOT need redemption. It is like asking if the male lion, because he kills off his competition to take over a harem of females, sins and needs redemption for doing what his God-given instinct tells him to do. Up to this point in ongoing creation, evolutionary instinct was ultimately responsible for much of the beauty in nature. I believe that, since the beginning of humankind, God has something better in mind–the continued movement of all life toward Omega. That is, we humans are asked to be conscious co-creators with Him.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #254

I like this definition too: It is an important result of the discussion in this thread.

And I would like to add: Defining Adam & Eve as the first Homo sapiens is misleading, because “There Never Was a First Homo Sapiens” (Richard Dawkins): it is biologically impossible to establish when Homo sapiens begins.

This is also my view!

So to ascertain where we may deviate from each other, let me ask further:

After Adam & Eve sinned, do their descendants need Redemption?

I will be thankful for your answer.

(Albert Leo) #255

As one of Adam & Eve’s descendants, I certainly believe we all need Redemption. However, I feel that the words, redemption and salvation, may have connotations that in this modern world may be misleading. In the rural Nebraska church that my mother attended as a child, Father Mosler, in no uncertain terms, claimed that salvation was possible only through professing the Catholic Faith, and those who did not do so were damned to an eternity in Hell. Thankfully, my mother had enough good sense to realize Fr. Mosler was misguided, and did not either (1) act on Fr. Mosler’s idea of salvation, nor (2) reject Catholicism as false religion.

So, can I offer replacements for these two words? Not really–at least none that many Christians would find just as misleading. IMHO the theory of evolution tells us that we humans came into this world–not as finished products already made in God’s image–but rather as creatures, when given a conscience, had the potential to actually be in God’s image. As a human like us, Jesus showed that was possible, and he showed us by example that we could ‘die to our animal nature’ and accept the new life God had intended for us from the beginning of time. This is how I view Christ the Redeemer, not as someone who has ransomed us from the punishment of an angry God, but as One who can lead us back to the Source from whence we came.
Al Leo

(GJDS) #256


I think your discussion may be going in the wrong direction. Adam and Eve were placed in a benign place and offered eternal life with God, but they made the wrong decision. This places them in a unique setting and a unique time in our history (never to be repeated) :relieved:.

Now, we are taught that all may be saved if we repent and turn to Christ - the offer from God is unconditional, and we are not required to recite our genetic make up, or repent concerning our DNA and how we produce protein, or our cranial capacity etc.

(Antoine Suarez) #257

In any case you seem to advocate that:

After Adam & Eve sinned, their descendants need Christ’s Redemption to reach “the new life God had intended for us from the beginning of time”.

Am I interpreting you correctly?

(Albert Leo) #258

You are, Antoine. And I earnestly hope that Teilhard’s vision of how humans are being challenged to become co-creators of that “new life” will soon be seen as compatible with past Catholic dogma.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #259

Thanks Albert, for confirming that I am interpreting you correctly.
This means that according to your last postings you advocate the following three statements:

  1. Adam & Eve were the first earthly creature(s) who were capable of sinning because they were the first creature(s) who had a conscience capable of knowing right from wrong.

  2. Before Adam & Eve sinned, they did not need Redemption.

  3. After Adam & Eve sinned, their descendants need Christ’s Redemption to reach “the new life God had intended for us from the beginning of time”.

To this extent I think you are stating nothing other than the very essence of the “Catholic dogma” about Original sin! Other “beliefs” you refer to are not part of “Dogmatic Declarations” but rather result from misinterpretations.

The traditional teaching about Original sin (according to the New Testament especially Paul’s Letters, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Council of Trent, and Papal Encyclicals) does not require that the first sin was committed by a pair of persons who are genetically or genealogically the common ancestors of all human persons. Actually it is not even required that the first humans capable of sinning were identical with the first humans who actually sinned.

Finally, it is noteworthy that the Statements 1-3 above seem also to fit well with the Points 10, 3 and 4, in Biologos, What We Believe.

(Antoine Suarez) #260

If I understand well, what you state fits with the following three principles:

  1. Adam & Eve were the first earthly creature(s) who were capable of sinning because they were the first creature(s) who had a conscience capable of knowing right from wrong.

  2. Before Adam & Eve sinned, they did not need Redemption.

  3. After Adam & Eve sinned, they themselves and their descendants need Christ’s Redemption to be saved and reach eternal life.

So it seems that in this thread we are reaching a noteworthy agreement among us, but also with BioLogos Principles in What We Believe and the teaching of the Catholic Church (see my previous post 259 answering to Albert Leo).