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

(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).

(George Brooks) #549

@AntoineSuarez… and this is where you lose me. It doesn’t work logically, biblically or theologically.

You should start over.


Well, to be fair, if you assume that the image bearing quality was cast upon humans as a special divine intervention act, it is logically consistent that creatures with human bodies but no image bearing could exist prior and even after that. @gb

(George Brooks) #551


It is… except if you have 2 verses that bracket the whole of biblical reality.

Genesis 1 starts with the very first creation.
And since I think Genesis 1 deals with pre-Adam humanity, I’m even getting a jump on the “before” phase.

Genesis 9 casts forward, dealing with all humanity after the Flood has wiped out everyone else.

And if you throw in Paul’s statement about men not covering their heads, because men are the image of God… then that pretty much covers it.

1Co 11:7 "For a man indeed ought not to cover his head, forasmuch as he is the image and glory of God…"

(Antoine Suarez) #552

Thank you for your fairness and the effort of applying “logical consistency”!

Indeed this question is subtle and requires sensibility to avoid misinterpreting each other.

So I reformulate my position more accurately in part using your words:

“Image bearing” is a quality that was cast upon creatures sharing a specific kind of body as a special divine intervention act at a particular moment M of evolutionary history.

This divine intervention defines Humanity and the corresponding anatomically human body.

Accordingly, as you rightly state, “it is logically consistent that creatures with human bodies but no image bearing could exist” before moment M. Where in this context “human bodies” means “bodies God had chosen to become Image Bearers”.

At this moment M evolution had produced a big gap between life forms so that Image Bearers could clearly ascertain which creatures did share a human body and which didn’t.

Image Bearers were and are committed by God to respect any creature sharing a human body as an Image Bearer, that is, according to the “Golden Rule”.

This means that after moment M and for the sake of assigning rights, any creature with an anatomically human body has the dignity of Image Bearer.

Consequently Image Bearers who were accountable for their deeds did sin if they transgressed God’s law and especially if they killed creatures with dignity of Image Bearers. This was the case of Cain and also the hundreds of thousands of Image Bearers who perished in the Flood.

Outside the region where lived Noah, his family, and the Image Bearers who perished in the Flood, millions of creatures with human bodies existed that had no moral responsibility. Till the end of the Flood these creatures may have killed each other prompted by evolutionary mechanisms but were not accountable for such deeds because they were not aware of God’s law, and consequently could not sin and did not perish in the Flood.

The important meaning of Genesis 9:5-6 is that after this proclamation at the end of the Flood all creatures with human bodies become accountable for their deeds and especially “for the life of another human being”.

I think you have well understood my position and will be thankful for any suggestion to improve my formulations.

(George Brooks) #553

Ahhh… so… Image Bearers without the knowledge of Good and Evil, were not subject to death-by-flood… because they were still ignorant!

This makes for an interesting development! This is logical… a little surprising… but it is logical!

The @Swamidass Models differ from this in that Adam and Eve are expelled into a human population (image bearers) and they and their offspring teach all the rest of humanity about Good and Evil.

YOUR model, @AntoineSuarez, keeps the contact between Adam/Eve’s family - - and the “the rest of humanity” - - separate. I didn’t see that one coming! :slight_smile:


Except Antoine means the “millions of creatures with human bodies” were NOT Image Bearers. That condition was changed after the flood.

(George Brooks) #555


I’m pretty sure he changed that.

They are Image Bearers without Guilt… because without interaction with Adam’s family, they have no knowledge of Good and Evil.


Maybe. It is hard to keep up with all the changes he has made in his theory.


Could it be that the image-bearing quality casted upon mankind was simply self-awareness? It would make sense since self awareness is basically the ability to know that you are who you are and that you exist, like God saying “I AM”. It also makes sense that only self conscious beings would be morally acountable for their actions. In other words, non image-bearers would basically be philosophical zombies with some kind of proto-consciousness at best. It also is arguably the source of fear of death itself, which has interesting parallels with the fall IMO. @gbrooks9 @AntoineSuarez

(Matthew Pevarnik) #558

I certainly will applaud though @AntoineSuarez though who has shown that he is willing to put his ideas out there, have them critiqued and continue to make adjustments as he learns and thinks more or gets feedback from other reviewers. This is a neat example of what the peer-review process looks like where one’s ideas are challenged and sometimes hypothesis don’t appear to be well supported by evidence or a researcher didn’t think of or account for all the possible variable or data points that others have noted.

(Albert Leo) #559

Antoine, I most strongly disagree with your views expressed in these quotations. I believe that God specially values humankind for the Mind and Consciousness that permit us to Know Him and to Love Him–regardless of the ‘container’ that evolution chanced to produce. I cannot believe that any specific kind of body was required. For instance, the Elephant Man (Josep Merrick) who suffered from Proteus syndrome was so misshapen that he could hardly qualify as having that specific kind of body you seem to require for Image Bearing.

IMHO, trying to give credence to the Flood Narrative told in Genesis (especially if interpreted as local) leads one into a philosophical morass that no rationalization can lead one back to the truth. Why not face the fact that parts of the Old Testament do NOT lead modern Christians to a better understanding of God’s Will. All the mental contortions to make it seem otherwise will tempt future generations to “throw the baby out with the bathwater” and become agnostics. Making an intellectual case for basing human free will on quantum physics is not likely to influence the majority of Christians whose Faith is faltering. Picturing our Creator as so vindictive (and inept) that he would send a Flood [or a Lisbon earthquake or Japanese tsunami] to wipe out thousands of ‘sinners’ is a sure recruitment for agnosticism.

I am grateful to the Biologos forum for allowing me to study the arguments by folks (like yourself) of high intellect and considerable knowledge. It is not so surprising that some of the conclusions they have reached from their life’s experiences differ from mine. That’s what makes this earth an exciting place to live.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #560

Many thanks for these encouraging words!

Indeed the comments of you all (@gbrooks9, @Relates, @aleo, @randy, @BoltzmannBrain, @Bill_II, @beaglelady, @Jay313, @Reggie_O_Donoghue) have helped me very much to express my ideas more accurately. As result of the debate I would like to formulate now my position (at times with the same words you use) in the following 7 points:

  1. It was God’s divine purpose for human beings to bear his image from before the foundation of this world.

  2. This means first of all that the human body is the specific body God prepared for His Son’s Incarnation, as completion of the Work of Creation.

  3. Thus “image bearing” is a quality that was cast upon creatures sharing a human body as a special divine intervention act at a particular moment M of evolutionary history. It is the moment referred to in Genesis 1:27.

  4. This divine intervention defines Humanity as community of creatures made in the Image of God, and therefore the anatomically human body becomes the visible sign of this quality, as Genesis 5:1-2 proclaims.

  5. Bearing God’s image means also the call to becoming God’s image i.e.: in the likeness of His incarnate Son through loving God and each other as He loved us. This leads humans to strive for sanctifying work and family life, the primeval vocation of Humanity, as described in Genesis 1:26-28; 2:15,24.

  6. After moment M each creature bearing a human body, by this very fact, bears God’s image as well. The human body as visible sign of Image bearing is crucial to define the “Golden Rule”.

  7. In Genesis 9:5-6 God links for the first time the quality of “image bearing” to accountability: “from each human being, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being.” This supports the hypothesis that till this moment T at the End of the Flood number of creatures with human bodies existed that were not accountable for their deeds and in particular for killing each other.

I would be thankful for receiving your comments to the preceding points and any suggestion to further improve these formulations.


But back in Genesis 4 Cain was cursed by God for the slaying of Abel. Looks like God was holding Cain accountable for taking the life of another human being. And I have always thought that Cain knew killing was wrong from his reply to God. So just because the law didn’t get written down until Genesis 9 doesn’t mean the law wasn’t already in place. So your whole idea of a later accountability falls to the ground.