I don’t agree with this. You are saying they had perfect control until they didn’t. You can’t have it both ways. I don’t believe God ever made any human with perfect control. God knew that giving us free will would always result in our own individual “fall” if you want to think of it that way. The A&E story is an illustration of what happens to each of us.
For better clarifying our positions I would like still ask:
My position is as follows:
We today (like King David) have “propensity to sin” rooted in evolutionary selfish tendencies as for instance strong sexual desires.
Adam and Eve were free from “propensity to sin” rooted in such evolutionary selfish tendencies.
If I understand well you reject Statement 1) whereas you accept Statement 2)
Is this correct?
Thanks in advance for your answer.
Actually I don’t agree with either statement. My version.
We today we have the free will to chose to worship God or our self. Everyone choses their self. This results in sin which requires a redeemer. Don’t blaim evolution for this.
A&E had the same free will as we do and sinned as we do.
You have to start at free will and not at sin. Sin is the result of free will.
I fully agree that God’s Grace as such is eternal. However humans in “stage of Grace” can lose it if they sin, and recover it if they repent.
To create “Adam and Eve” (the first human persons) God endowed Homo sapiens creatures with free will and sense of law, and conferred them capability to master the selfish evolutionary tendencies inscribed in their genes. Thereby “Adam and Eve” had no “propensity to sin” coming for instance from “concupiscence”. This stage I call “stage of Original Grace” or “Original Righteousness”.
After the Fall (the first sin in human history) “Adam and Eve” lost the capability to master “selfishness intrinsic to the mechanism of evolution” (aleo’s wording) and acquired “propensity to sin”, that is, they remained in “the stage of original sin” and were in “need of Redemption”. All human persons created after the first human sin come into existence in such a stage with “propensity to sin” rooted in evolution.
I am highly interested in your ideas about “what was the temptation”: Thanks in advance for telling us.
I am impressed by your effort and enthusiasm regarding the subject of Adam and Eve and “original sin”. To ensure that I have a clear understanding of your thesis, first I will state my impression.
- You believe human beings are evolved creatures.
- You believe God endowed Adam and Eve with free will and a sense of law.
- Adam and Eve then had the capacity to resist selfish instincts derived from evolution.
- Once they disobeyed God, they reverted to their evolutionary state of selfishness and were in need of Grace and redemption.
- Prior to the original sin, they were in a state of Grace, which they lost.
- All humanity shares the propensity to selfishness and original sin is concupiscence (rooted in desire) and the “propensity to sin” is rooted in evolution.
Let me know if this reflects your thesis. If it does, I would make the following response:
- I believe Adam and Eve are particular people (couple) and God directly “created” them (mechanism unknown).
- God placed them in a specific place where they were not subjected to the difficulties of natural events and forces.
- God taught them, and also I agree with you, they possessed the intellect and freedom to understand God and be in communion with Him.
- God also placed the “tree of life” in that, through the Grace of God, they may access eternal life.
- God also placed the “tree bearing the fruit of knowledge of good and evil” in the garden and warned them not to partake of its fruit.
- Eve was tempted by the snake (Satan) and thus succumbing to deceit, was instilled with a desire to “be like god” through the knowledge of good and evil.
The rest is clear from the Bible. Thus Adam and Eve underwent a change in their nature, and this nature is in all of us. Since the origin of sin is from the devil, human nature has the desire to sin, but humanity is not the source of all evil, and thus God has provided a way to repent and overcome the works of the flesh. However evil (separation from God) entered the Creation and thus the need for redemption.
My comment on “why Eve could be tempted and Adam follow this” is because I cannot understand why she would desire “to be like gods” when they could partake of eternal life and be with God. This is a mystery and perhaps has to do with the subtlety of Satan.
The subject matter is vast and I think we should confine these discussions to specifics.
Antoine, in my humble opinion, you are making things more complicated–even contradictory–when they need not be. In the first quote above you imply that A & E’s first sin was in wanting to achieve happiness without God. In the second quote you imply that the first sin was to choose to loathe God instead of loving him. Why not apply Occam’s Razor and postulate that God wanted something (someone) in his creation to be more like Himself than what Darwinian evolution was able to produce. The original Homo sapiens had that potential if their brains could be ‘programmed’ into a Mind that could distinguish between Good and Evil. Whenever they were unable to rise above the innate selfishness of their evolutionary inheritance, they sinned. By leading a sinless life, Jesus shows us the Way. Isn’t this a much simpler explanation than one which invokes fallen angels and choosing to loathe God? Perhaps it requires one to take a different perspective on the concept of Redemption, but is it heresy?
[quote=“GJDS, post:39, topic:35442”]
They [Adam & Eve] were placed in a space that did not have any worldly problems, so theirs was a simple choice - believe what God said, or listen to a snake (devil). Why they chose the latter seems to me a mystery,
[/quote]There is no scientific evidence for an Eden–a place and time when there were No worldly problems. What if science is correct in this? Could you live with the postulate I just presented to Antoine–that ‘listening to a snake’ was just listening to our intrinsically selfish genes?
You notion of what science can show, and of evidence, is not in keeping with how science is practiced, nor with the Christian faith regarding Biblical teachings. I do not know what to make of your speculations - but I am sure you feel you may have a valid point to make -I just cannot see what that is.
Your Statement 1 seems to be self-contradictory: By stating that “everyone chooses their self” and this “results in sin”, you are in fact assuming that everyone is pre-determined to sin and therefore is not really free “to choose to worship God or our self”.
So if you really “start at free will” and take human freedom seriously, then the only coherent positions are the following two:
As well Adam and Eve as each human after them, are all created endowed with free-will. Nonetheless this free will is impaired through “the innate selfishness of their evolutionary inheritance” and this induces “propensity to sin”.
God created Adam and Eve by endowing Homo sapiens creatures with free will strong enough to master their innate evolutionary selfishness. So they had no “propensity to sin” rooted in tendencies intrinsic to evolution. Nonetheless they freely decided to sin dismissing God’s law. Basically they overlooked that God is love and wanted only to possess God’s superiority, majesty and power. Instead of damning them (like the fallen angels) God mercifully decided to redeem them and all possible future sinners by giving them the possibility to repent. To this aim God had a stroke of genius and planed: a) His own suffering and death on a cross so that his majesty and power remain hidden and one can only see what He really is: Love. 2) The “stage of original sin”, that is a stage where all humans can realize that they need God’s help (Grace) to be saved, because their free-will is impaired with “concupiscence” rooted in “evolutionary selfishness” and they feel “propensity to sin”. I think stories of great sinners like David and St. Peter (and also our own stories) prove that God’s plan works.
Position 1 seems to correspond to what George and Albert claim. Position 2 is my position.
I am desolated! After earning a PhD in organic chemistry from U. of Chicago and paying dues as a member of the American Chemical Society for 67 years, you have exposed the fact to the BioLogos community that I have been masquerading as a scientist! Mea Culpa!
To me free will is the ability to make choices based on factors that I consciously or unconsciously consider. Selfishness is one of those factors but I don’t know if I want to blame evolution for it as it appears to only apply to humans. Self preservation would be one factor that you could say is evolutionary. When you say A&E had “free will strong enough to master their innate evolutionary selfishness” you are saying that selfishness was not a factor in their decision making process. But then you say they fall prey to selfishness when “Nonetheless they freely decided to sin dismissing God’s law. Basically they overlooked that God is love and wanted only to possess God’s superiority, majesty and power.” To me this looks like you are trying to have it both ways.
My position then becomes:
Each human is created endowed with free will and an innate sense of selfishness. This sense of selfishness can sometimes, but not always, impact the decisions we make.
Have you read Dawkins’ “The Selfish Gene”? Or do you just disagree with it? I would call the cuckoo bird selfish when it lays its eggs in a robin’s nest.
[quote=“Bill_II, post:51, topic:35442”]
My position then becomes:Each human is created endowed with free will and an innate sense of selfishness. This sense of selfishness can sometimes, but not always, impact the decisions we make.
[/quote]I agree that an “innate sense of selfishness” comes with our evolutionary endowment as Homo sapiens. Our knowledge of what is Good and what is Evil (our conscience) came when our brains were ‘programmed’ to operate as Mind, and we became Homo sapiens sapiens–true humans. With this Gift we have the Free Will to choose. Potentially, we can rise above our evolutionary instincts, and live our lives full of empathy, compassion and brotherly love, as Jesus did. Of course, all of us fall short of this ideal.
No I haven’t. But I would call the cuckoo’s behavior more self-preservation or preservation of the species than selfishness. Is the cuckoo so lazy it couldn’t take care of it’s own young or is it just more efficient to let some other species take care of them and reduce the competition for food sources?
I think when we were given free will we were also given an innate moral sense to help govern the exercise of that free will. So we all have a potential that we do not reach. I guess the question is were we given something else, “the propensity to sin”, that insures that we don’t reach that potential? The 100% - 1 failure rate might cause you to think so, but I am not persuaded. If God slipped in a monkey wrench to gum up the works (how is that for mixing up some metaphors ) that resolves us of responsibility, IMHO.
[quote=“AntoineSuarez, post:49, topic:35442”]
God created Adam and Eve by endowing Homo sapiens creatures with free will strong enough to master their innate evolutionary selfishness. So they had no “propensity to sin” rooted in tendencies intrinsic to evolution.
[/quote]I have had no formal training in Logic, and so I do not quite follow the above quote. If I truly have Free Will to sin or not to sin, then I make my choice based on what I judge to be the consequences. If I have no propensity to sin, then there is no real choice to be made: I won’t sin. We do not demean God when we say he created us with the real possibility to sin. He also gave us the intelligence to discern that the immediate attractiveness of a particular sin is outweighed by its long term consequences.
You’re 100% correct on this point, Bill: IF A & E were NOT created perfect, but instead were created through evolution which has a strong selfish component, then some of us, when accused of Sin, will claim "I couldn’t help myself. The Devil (evolution) made me do it!" Our society just has to put up with folks with such a weak conscience.
I am saddened that my remarks has such a devastating impact on you aleo. But (in the hope that you have recovered), what do you believe is scientific evidence on an evolutionary propensity (or whatever) to sin. You have made so many posts on your idiosyncratic outlook, that it is difficult for me to differentiate between aloe’s outlook and some solid science. Perhaps you can point to an organic reaction route that takes us to the evolutionary outcome that leads us to sin. Or perhaps a scientific theory that you can equate in a coherent manner that clearly show your notion is supported by scientific experimentation. Or perhaps …or perhaps…
Thanks for this kind comment. The subject deserves this work because it allows us to show that: 1) On the one hand Revelation is dynamic and today’s evolutionary science is helping us to discover new contents hidden in Scripture. 2) And on the other hand Revelation highlights principles like free will and sense of law, which are crucial to understand evolution.
Yes, the first six points you write reflects my thesis although I would like to change a bit some formulations. Additionally, I think the six points of your response can very well be merged with the points of my thesis. So, partially using your wording, my position can be formulated as follows:
God created “Adam and Eve” by endowing evolved animal creatures with free will and sense of law.
“Adam and Eve” could have been a particular couple or a little population living at about 3,500 BC. In my view the teaching of Jesus Christ himself rather supports the option “little population”, but for the moment we can skip this issue.
“Adam and Eve” had the capacity to resist selfish instincts derived from evolution, and consequently were free from any “propensity to sin” rooted in “concupiscence”.
Additionally these first human persons were in a state of Grace: They possessed the intellect and freedom to understand God and be in communion with Him; this familiarity with God allowed them also to be in communion with each other, living according to the Golden Rule and the commandment “love your neighbor as yourself”.
Although the world around “Adam and Eve” was the evolved one, submitted to frustration and decay, the first human persons were not subjected to illness and other difficulties of natural events and forces. This means that wherever God placed them on earth, this place was for them Paradise.
God also placed the “tree of life” in that, through the Grace of God, they may access eternal life [Your interpretation of the “tree of life” is to my knowledge a novel one and fits extraordinarily well in Thomas Aquinas theology of Paradise] Eternal life results from the so called “beatific vision” of God, that is “an intuitive vision, face to face, without the mediation of any creature”. Even in the stage of “Original Grace” on earth the first human persons didn’t have such a vision. After a fulfilled life without sin they were destined to receive a specific “Grace of God” for going to heaven without dying: This was the “fruit of the tree of life”.
“Adam and Eve” received also from God a law to follow. This is the meaning of the “tree bearing the fruit of knowledge of good and evil” in the garden and God’s warning not to partake of its fruit. [As I have pointed out in my Essay: “The Genesis account emerges from a unified moral and legal background”].
Eve was tempted by Satan (the “snake” is a symbol for a crafty mental temptation similar to those Satan used to tempt Jesus): Although being perfectly aware of God’s love for humans, “Adam and Eve” distrusted Him. In a sense they embrace contradiction as rule for the “knowledge of good and evil”, and thus succumbing to deceit, were instilled with a desire to “be like God”.
Once “Adam and Eve” disobeyed God, they were in need of Grace and Redemption to reach eternal life. To facilitate Redemption, among other means, God let them regress to a state of evolutionary selfishness and experience frustration and decay (so called “state of original sin”).
For the sake of Redemption too (according to Romans 11:32), all humanity shares this “state of original sin”: After the first sin human beings come in principle into existence lacking the state of “Original Righteousness”, and thereby share “propensity or inclination to sin” rooted in evolution, that is, “concupiscence” (rooted in desire).
In Summary: Through the sin of “Adam and Eve” (i.e.: the first sin in human history) evil (separation from God) entered the Creation and thus the need for Redemption through Jesus Christ.
As I mentioned, the subject matter is vast, and my view is that Genesis is what it means – where knowledge of God by human beings starts, or originates. I will make a brief comment to you regarding your comment on Law. I understand a commandment by God is Law, but the knowledge of good and evil (and more succinctly, the fruits of that knowledge) refers to a spiritual state of being that originates from the rebellion of Lucifer. The spiritual is the major content of Genesis – I am fond of literature and poetry, and thus I read the physical setting more in poetic terms of evoking paradise, emphasising the beauty of creation under God’s care, and the wild and savage nature when cut of from God – the latter reflects the spirit of Satan, and thus we have more than a “mild cannot commune with God” – separated from God is much more significant.
My comments do not include one mention of the theory of evolution – this is because I do not see that as relevant. Nature and its dynamics is a subject in its own right, and any significant insights from biology and indeed all of the Natural Sciences, are welcomed. But I stated clearly that Adam and Eve are specifically created by God to participate and commune with the Divine. Evolution has nothing to add to that.
One of the prime aims Francis Collins had in founding BioLogos was to show evangelical Christians that a belief in the theory of evolution was compatible with their Faith. Given the position you state in the first quote, I am surprised that you find it interesting to post on this Forum. In your second quote, you describe my outlook as idiosyncratic; that is, held by me personally but not others. If my scientific outlook is idiosyncratic, then I have wasted my time this past 2/3rds of a century.
On my many posts, I have given sources for the evidence that humankind originated in a Great Leap Forward. If future evidence confirms this, as I feel sure it will, It is of immense importance to BioLoom’s purpose, for it destroys the claim that we humans are the product of undirected, slowly-acting evolution; i.e., Darwinian evolution. It also strengthens the metaphoric belief in an “Adam & Eve”, a small contingent of the Homo species that Scripture claims were the first to covenant with their Creator, since it does away with the genetic bottleneck problem.
So my “notion” is supported by bona-fide scientific investigations (not the laboratory experiments where the conditions and materials are controlled by the researcher, which you appear to demand). My hope that Original Sin will eventually be replaced by Original Blessing IS unorthodox, which I have made clear from the start. I merely want my audience to give it some thought before rejecting it outright.
If you are a spoke person for Collins, or BioLogos, you should make that clear… If BioLogos has accepted heresy/heterodoxy as part of their faith, than make that clear.
You claim scientific credibility for your odd outlook, but instead think such will come about some time.
I am not interested in aggressive exchanges, nor will I accept browbeating under the guise of BioLogos aims. I have made it abundantly clear that the Orthodox faith is in harmony with established credible science, and simply point out it is unnecessary to indulge in heretical notions to “fit in” speculation by parts of the scientific community. If you feel otherwise, than so be it - you can have your opinion.