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

(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.

(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?