because God takes it on Himself to exact the penalty for murder.
But if no command was violated why did God curse Cain? Just because He felt like it?
What we are talking about is Antoine’s idea of accountability coming long after the fall. Accountability should have it’s beginning before the fall. Otherwise how do you justify God’s expulsion of A&E from the garden.
And so… you must be arguing that God takes it upon himself to execute Cain, right?
In fact, it looks like God gives Cain a tattoo at no charge!
The penalty for murder, according to Gen 9:6, is execution.
Not only is Cain not executed, but even Cain’s descendants have to worry about vengeance killing.
Human “Accountability” seems meager at best. Human accountability for death by Flood is obviously not based upon eating the wrong fruit … but nor is it based on the Noachide code that isn’t pronounced until after the flood.
It’s really more based on “notorious behavior deserves notorious response”!
I would think that your 7 points would have significant appeal to the more orthodox members of the BioLogos community, although, as @ Bill II points out, In your point #7 the delay in linking “image bearing” and “Accountability” is not justified. For a creature to be made accountable it must possess a Mind and Conscience, and as soon as a Homo sapiens acquires those ‘gifts’, he/she becomes an Image Bearer and accountable.
I am more comfortable restating #1 as: "Before the foundation of the world, it was God’s divine purpose that life would evolve so as to produce a bearer of His Image. On planet earth, this took the physical form of the primate, Homo sapiens, whose large cerebral cortex had expanded (exapted) beyond the mere needs of survival."
As for point #2, I see no convincing evidence that the Image referred to in Genesis refers to mankind’s specific physical body. Since we often refer to God as Pure Spirit, is it not logical that the Image being referred to is Spiritual–the result of the Gift of Mind and Conscience that distinguishes mankind from the other animals?
Incidentally, Gen 9:5-6 seems to imply that God holds animals as well as mankind “accountable”… To what extent?
To say that humans are created in the Image of God, does not means that our physical body is the Image of God,. but our Person or human beings themselves are created in the Image of God Which is the Trinity. Humans uniquely have a body, mind, and spirit. It is this unique structure of body, mind, and spirit which gives us self aware and gives us the ability to think and to sin.
Image Bearing is not physical condition. We cannot have a real relationship with God unless we are able to be free to chose as God is. Jesus Christ is not both perfectly God and perfectly human unless humans are both rational and spiritual beings.
I would say there isn’t a fuzzy area. We all have a conscience. It can be explained in evolutionary terms but most around here would say that means God used evolution to form it. With a conscience you don’t need written down law to know you did something wrong. The people before the flood knew they were doing wrong even if there wasn’t a written code.
Before God’s proclamation in Genesis 9:5-6, there were human beings who knew killing was wrong, like Cain and those who perished in the Flood: From all these God did demand an account for the life of another human being.
However, only at the end of the Flood God demands such an account from EACH human being (Genesis 9:5).
This means that before the proclamation referred to in Genesis 9:5-6 there were on earth creatures with anatomically human body (and in this sense image bearing) who “didn’t know killing was wrong”, and therefore were not accountable for this.
The importance of Genesis 9:5-6 is that at this moment God endows all human beings on earth with knowledge of good and evil, and from this moment onward from EACH human being God demands an account for the life of another human being.
I have the impression that all the three models Genealogical Adam (@Swamidass), Homo divinus (@Kathryn_Applegate), and Transmission at generation (my model) share the following assumption:
After the first transgression in history humans are bounded in Need of Redemption or “state of Original Sin” not only because of their own personal transgressions but also because “Adam’s sin became our sin” (@Kathryn_Applegate, article).
Additionally, all these three models fit with the available scientific data.
In my view this is an important result of this Blog and it may be worth comparing more in detail the three models in coming posts to ascertain where they deviate from each other, and whether or not such differences are relevant for the faith in Redemption by Jesus Christ.
In Genesis 4:15 we read: Today you are driving me from the land, and I will be hidden from your presence; I will be a restless wanderer on the earth, and whoever finds me will kill me. But the LORD said to him, “Not so; anyone who kills Cain will suffer vengeance seven times over.” Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him.
In Genesis 9:5-6 we read: And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being. Whoever sheds human blood, by humans shall their blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made mankind.
The crucial statement “And from each human being, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of another human being” appears after the Flood for the first time.
This means that:
The genetic descendants of the first Image Bearers (“Adam and Eve”) were always accountable for killing other humans, as the episode of Cain and Abel clearly shows.
By contrast, before the Flood creatures with human body existed (“outside the Garden”) that were neither genealogical descendants from “Adam and Eve” nor accountable for killing each other. These creatures were not yet aware of the commandment “you shall not shed human blood”, so that in order to protect Cain God used “a mark” as “scarer”.
This interpretation is further clearly supported by Scripture and Science together:
On the one hand Scripture (1 Peter 3:20 and 2 Peter 2:5) clearly says that God brought the Flood on the sinners and protected Noah and seven others.
On the other hand the human population at this time can be estimated in several millions.
This implies that at the beginning of the Flood millions of human beings existed on earth that were neither sinners nor righteous, and this can only mean that they were not accountable for their deeds.
So interpreting Scripture with Scripture and taking into account the available scientific data, one has to conclude that at the time of the Flood only a part of creatures with human body was accountable.
To escape this conclusion one could be tempted to object:
But to such an objection I would dare to reply with your own words:
The statement that “humans are created in the Image of God” is one of the most profound teachings of the Bible and like a summary of all the Christian Theology. Its meaning is unfathomable.
One meaning (among many other) is certainly that “our physical body is the Image of God”. Thereby Genesis 1:27 founds what one could call a “Theology of the body”.
The reason is that Jesus Christ who is the genuine Image of the visible God shares a body, and so Jesus Christ’s body is God’s body. Genesis 1:27 proclaims that the human body is the body God prepares for His Son (Hebrews 10:5, Psalm 40:6).
An important consequence of Genesis 1:27 is that after this proclamation any creature sharing a human body bears God’s image. This is crucial for assigning rights: The basic observable piece proving your personal identity and allowing you to claim for your rights is your human body.
Image Bearing is certainly “a physical condition”, although it is more than this.
I fully agree.
Image Bearing is also a vocation to relationship with God. God’s call happens at the moment He bestows a human being with capability of freely loving God, which includes the risk of rejecting Him and accountability for this.
The first humans received this vocation at the moment God created them in His Image: “Adam and Eve” were created in state of Original Grace and aware of their accountability for transgressing God’s law. This is the meaning of Genesis 2:16-17 and 3.
After their sin they lost Original Grace and became in Need of Redemption. Their genealogical offspring was created also accountable for their deeds but in state of Need of Redemption (“Adam’s sin became our sin” @Kathryn_Applegate). These people (with exception of Noah and his family) became the sinners who lived in Noah’s region and perished in the Flood because of their own personal transgressions.
Before the Flood millions of creatures with human body existed in other regions (“outside the garden”), spread all over the earth, which were neither genealogical descendants of “Adam and Eve” nor accountable for their deeds. Since they could not be guilty of sin, they remained unaffected by the Flood. At the end of this event God made these creatures “able to freely choose Him” and accountable for transgressing His law, especially “for the life of another human being” (Genesis 9:5-6).
However in my view “rationality” and “spirituality” are features that are not exclusive of humans but can be considered present in many natural phenomena. What is specific of humans is the call to freely love God and the accountability for rejecting Him.
I fully agree.
What is more, as I have said in another post, both Karl Barth and Pope John Paul II have interpreted Genesis 1: 27 and 2:24 in the sense that marriage as a communion of persons is an Image of God’s Trinitarian life. And the teaching of Jesus Christ himself about the Sanctity of Marriage (Matthew 19:3-6 and Mark 10:2-9) supports this interpretation.
These “millions of humans” were not accountable, as you very well state.
Therefore (with @Jonathan_Burke‘s words) they were “not responsible to judgment”.
And consequently God didn’t destroy them in the Flood.
The Flood destroyed some hundreds of thousands sinners who despised the opportunity God gave them to atone. These were people living in Noah’s region (the antediluvian Sumer’s cities, as I conjecture), who had corrupted their ways and perpetrate plenty of violence (Genesis 6: 11-12).
For the sake of Redemption and as a warning for future sinners God couldn’t help making it clear that He lets the sinners on earth to give them time to atone. This is the meaning of the Flood.
But to avoid destroying millions of humans God wisely and mercifully waited till the End of the Flood to make all creatures with human body living in the rest of the world responsible for their deeds. God’s mercy is the very reason why He created Humanity in two steps: the first referred to in Genesis 1:27 and the second in Genesis 9:6.
@Kathryn_Applegate has recently very well argued that “Adam was a Real Person in History” and Adam’s Sin a real sin that “became our sin” (see article).
Noah and his Flood is not less real History than Adam and his Sin.
Undoubtedly the record of the flood in the Bible is meant to convey a meaning. It is the meaning Jesus Christ and his Apostle Peter stress in the context of their teaching about the End Times: We sinners are on earth because God wants us to reach His Glory and so gives us time to atone. We should remind this “meaning” every time we see the Rainbow in the raining clouds.