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

(Shawn T Murphy ) #602

When Jesus speaks of Heaven, He speaks exclusively of the Kingdom of God. There is only one place where Jesus speaks of Paradise and that is where He will meet the sinner next to Him. We know that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus and His victory over Death. So the only place that Jesus would see the sinner was in the highest reaches of Hell, AKA Paradise.

It was not until Easter Sunday that declared victory over Death and rose triumph from His battle with Satan [Death].

This view of the Adam and Eve story is illogical. Why would a Good God blame billions for the acts of two? Isn’t a more logical explanation that the billions upon billions of souls were in their own right already guilty? How is it so hard to see that Adam and Eve were just a proxy for all the fallen, and when the proxy failed the simple test of loyalty, now all need to be restored the hard way? Where else do the 1/3 of Heaven fit into the creation/restoration story? (Rev 12:3-9)

(Antoine Suarez) #603

Excellent point!

It was a flood that worked like the “Angel of Death” did, for instance in:

  • 2 Kings 19:35: The angel kills 185,000 men of Sennacherib’s Assyrian army, thereby saving Hezekiah’s Jerusalem.

  • 2 Samuel 24:15-16: The LORD sent a pestilence upon Israel from the morning until the appointed time, and 70,000 men of the people from Dan to Beersheba died.

God could certainly have reached the same effect with an “Angel of death” or a “pestilence”.

Why did God prefer a miraculous flood, or in case of Sodom and Gomorrah a miraculous rain of fire and brimstone?

About this one can only speculate.

As a matter of fact Jesus and St. Peter unambiguously describe the event as a flood.

A possible reason is suggested by St. Peter: The state of corruption and violence before the flood originated from the delusion that sinners can live on earth forever without caring to atone. So it was fitting that God destroyed them by destroying the very earth where they were living as warning for future generations and for the sake of Redemption “not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:8-9). In this line of thinking St. Peter also says that the flood water “symbolizes baptism” (1 Peter 3:18-21).

In any case nothing seems to speak against considering Noah’s Flood a “Plague” and supposing an Angel behind it, very much in the sense of Revelation 15, 16.

All this rather strengthens the interpretation of Noah’s flood as a miraculous real event in history, which Genesis 6-9 describes using allegory to some extent.


Based on the evidence Sodom appears to be a real natural event and is told using allegory to some extent.

And if you drop the flood part then there is no problem with a lack of physical evidence. Once you consider parts of the story allegory what’s to stop you?

(Albert Leo) #605

Antoine, we both seem to equate “Image Bearer” with the state of being morally responsible for one’s actions–i.e. “accountability”. However, by restricting “Image” to only that which is visible, you ignore its common use as a metaphor, as illustrated in the Webster dictionary: image =
7: figure of speech
8 : a popular conception (as of a person, institution, or nation) projected especially through the mass media promoting a corporate image of brotherly love and concern
9 : a set of values given by a mathematical function (such as a homomorphism) that corresponds to a particular subset of the domain

IMO when Jesus proclaimed “before Abraham was, I AM” he was referring to his role as Messiah–the Savior that God foresaw, at the foundation of the earth, was going to be required when ANY life form produced by evolution reached the stage of Consciousness and Conscience. I do NOT feel that God foreordained that evolution would produce the exact physical nature that we see in modern Homo sapiens that fulfilled this requirement. Do you?
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #606

If I understand well you claim:

The “billions upon billions” human persons, who came into existence after “Adam and Eve’s” sin (i.e.: the first or “original” sin), are “in their own” in need of Redemption (“restoration”) because each of them personally and necessarily commits an act of rebellion against God, and not because of the first sin.

Am I right interpreting you this way?

If not, thanks in advance for clarifying so that I can fittingly answer.

(Shawn T Murphy ) #607

Dear Antoine, The theory that I have stated is that the billions had committed the same original sin as Adam and Eve. And that Adam and Eve were just 2 of the 1/3 that fell from Heaven for following Satan. This theory was published by Origen of Alexandria and called the Apocatastasis, the Restoration of All Things.
I hope that clarifies.
Best Wishes, Shawn

(Antoine Suarez) #608

I would be thankful if you could refer to such evidence.

In fact the only physical evidence in the ordinary world is the lack of about 200,000 people in Sumer after the flood, which seems to be undetectable by today’s computational analysis of genetic divergence.

Had the flood destroyed the 14 million non-accountable humans that lived outside Sumer producing a bottleneck of 8 persons as genetic common ancestors of today’s humanity, the lack would have left a detectable trace.

In other words, “Hyperbole” is not the only possible account for the flood after all. We have worked out an alternative coherent account, that allow us to consider Noah a real person in history and the flood a real miraculous event like the destruction of the 185,000 soldiers of Sennacherib’s Assyrian army.

In my view this is another remarkable result of our debate and I thank you sincerely for your contribution to this.


Dr. Steven Collins
Discovering the City of Sodom

There is a web site covering the excavations.

BTW this is what I would consider to be real evidence of the event/miracle.

(Antoine Suarez) #610

Thanks for this Shawn, I see now what you mean.

In my view one should distinguish between Apocatastasis and the theory of original sin you refer to. So for instance both, Origen and St. Gregory of Nyssa, were supporters of Apocatastasis but substantially deviate from the theory of original sin you propose (see this Reference).

Your theory raises some problems. Likely the main one is that while Adam and Eve were completely aware of the transgression they committed in “the ethereal place called Paradise”, each of the “billions” is completely unconscious and unaware of his/her own “original sin”. This amounts to say that none of these “billions” shares “the state of original sin” because he/she personally and actually commit a transgression like that of Adam and Eve in the “ethereal Paradise” before falling down to earth.

So by supporting with @Kathryn_Applegate that “Adam’s sin became our sin” I maintain that after the first sin in human history (“original” sin) each human comes into existence in the state of “Need of Redemption” even if he/she has not yet committed any sinful act by him/herself.

This does not mean at all that “God blame billions for the acts of two” and is no “good God”. On the contrary, it means that:

  • God is keen to redeem the sinners and let them on earth to give them time to repent.

  • But it had been awkward on the part of God keeping on earth two groups of people: one in Need of Redemption by Jesus Christ and another without such Need.

  • Therefore God bounds everyone over to “Need of Redemption” (“disobedience”) so that “He may have mercy on them all” (Romans 11:32).

This view of the Adam and Eve story seems entirely logical and strengthens the idea that God is good and astonishingly creative in His mercy: He finds ways to redeem the sinners respecting always their freedom.

It seems to me that this view also follows from @Kathryn_Applegate’s conclusions although it is not fully developped in her Article.

(Antoine Suarez) #611

Yes, I am glad we agree that this meaning of “Image Bearer” is an important one: this view is clearly supported by Genesis 9:6.

Thanks for this remark. I formulate things more accurately:

The biblical term “In the image of God He created them” (Genesis 1:27) is sort of compendium of all the Christian theology: Its meaning is unfathomable.

A further important meaning is surely the interpretation by Gregory of Nyssa (I think very much in your line): If man is image of God, surely he participates in all the divine perfections. Gregory “singles out for special emphasis three perfections, namely, reason, freedom, and immortality”, although “these are only part of the total image” [see this Article].

Then one can distinguish also a “vocational meaning”: 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. As already said in a previous post, the term can be especially interpreted in the sense 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).

Undoubtedly when Jesus proclaimed “before Abraham was born I AM” (John 8:58) he was referring to his personal identity as Son of God. But this rather means that “before Abraham” it was clear for God which type of body He prepared for His Son.

This is supported by Colossians 1: 15-17: Jesus Christ makes visible the invisible God, so that in him all things (visible and invisible) hold together. God has reconciled us “by Christ’s physical body”. So we are called to become Christ’s body and thereby visible Image of the invisible God. This is a corner stone in Teilhard de Chardin’s “cosmic theology”, who defines his “Omega Point” in similar terms, and to this extent I agree with him too.

Accordingly I think that since the moment referred to in Genesis 1:27 every creature with human body shares already God’s Image because it shares the same specific body the Son of God takes to incarnate. For me the “Omega Point” of Creation is Incarnation (and here I may deviate from Teilhard): God foreordained that evolution through elimination of intermediate varieties produces a gap that makes it possible to distinguish modern humans from all other extant life forms. This is the observable basis for defining humanity (Genesis 5:1-2) as community called to be governed by “sense of right and wrong” engraved in human heart (“Conscience”) and law (Genesis 2:17; 9:6).

(Albert Leo) #612

If I should take this to mean that God grants NO freedom to how evolution proceeds–that He micromanages each contingency so it was inevitable that Homo sapiens would eventually be produced just as we seem them today–then I don’t agree that it is CLEAR. Personally I am more comfortable with Steve Gould’s conjecture that if the ‘tape were rewound back to the Cambrian’, the result might be quite different than the humankind we know today. I part company with Gould in that I believe that, sooner or later, a life form would appear that had a Mind and a Conscience that sought out its Creator. As it turned out, Adam ( & Eve) were that life form as Homo sapiens some 200,000 yrs ago, but could not be considered as Image Bearers until some 50,000 yrs ago when, rather suddenly (GLF), their 'oversized’ brains were 'programmed’ (re-wired?) to perform as Mind.

While fully realizing that it is anthropomorphic, I still am comfortable with the idea that God gives a great amount of freedom to how evolution carries out His plan of creation. With complete foreknowledge of the future, a God who acts within the confines of time, would be completely and eternally bored.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #613

What do you think about these arguments against locating Sodom at Tall el-Hammam?


I discount any argument that says the dates in the OT should be favoured over the dates determined by archaeology. Given the spectacular failure of the OT to date the creation of the universe correctly is it any surprise other dates are also incorrect?

The arguments about the geography strike me as people that are trying to save the dates in the OT and so they must discredit Tall el_Hammam as being the site of Sodom.

(Antoine Suarez) #615

I fully agree that “God gives a great amount of freedom to how evolution carries out His plan of creation”.

However you seem to claim that

the Incarnation of God’s Son was not part of “His plan of creation”, or in other words, when God decided to create the world He didn’t know His Son (“the Word”) would “become flesh”.

Am I right with this interpretation of your statement ?

(Antoine Suarez) #616

The following argument by Bill Schlegel seems coherent to me:

“I believe we will always have problems trying to locate Sodom and Gomorrah. Besides significant geological/geographical changes to the region associated with the divine destruction (Gen. 13:10), the divine destruction probably didn’t leave much (any?) of the cities to be found. The Hebrew for these cities’ destruction is unique (a combination of shachet “destroy” and hafach, “turn upside down”). It is unlikely that any of these tells/ruins in the Rift (north or south) are Sodom or Gomorrah. More likely is that these ruins represent peripheral cities, perhaps one was Zoar, which were spared the divine judgment.
Tall el-Hamman is an interesting dig. There’s no question that this is the region where Israel camped before striking across the Jordan. Tall el-Hamman may be Abel-Shittim (Num. 33:49). But this could be a problem for the excavators—identifying the Iron Age remains at Tall el-Hamman with another Israelite town goes against identifying Tall el-Hamman with Sodom, because it is unlikely that what once was Sodom became the Israelites’ Abel-Shittim.”

So I fear we are entering here a debate like that provoked by Sir Charles Leonard Woolley after identifying a flood-stratum at Ur and claiming it was a vestige of Noah’s Flood.

In my view the Shroud of Turin deserves more credit as trace for the miracle of Resurrection than Tall el-Hamman as trace for Sodom. Nonetheless the discussion about the authenticity of the Shroud is a never ending story (see recent news).

This confirms that we belief on miracles like Resurrection of Christ, destruction of Sodom, or Noah’s Flood because of accounts of eyewitnesses and the teaching of Jesus and the Apostles, and not because these miraculous events left everlasting visible traces.

Paraphrasing Jesus’ words in Luke 16:31 one could add: “If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be convinced by any trace.”

So we come again to the conclusion formulated in a previous post:
We can agree that there are two possible explanations regarding the Genesis accounts of the Flood, and Sodom and Gomorrah:

  1. Your explanation as “an overly embellished story of a possibly real event”.

  2. My explanation as a miraculous events, which dissolved all sinners on earth (what means the same as all sinners in Noah’s region), respectively all sinners in Sodom and Gomorrah, and didn’t leave other traces in the ordinary world.

If one thinks that Jesus’ and Peter’s teaching refer to a real historic Flood (the same way as one interprets that “Adam was a real Person in History” like @Kathryn_Applegate and myself do) then Explanation 2 will obviously be preferred. If not, one can keep to Explanation 1.

In any case this looks like a noteworthy result of our discussion.


And yet Tall el_hammam shows signs of complete and utter destruction. Doesn’t sound like it was spared divine judgement. I would think you would want to latch on to evidence for what was considered a miracle. The only problem with the evidence being the inconvenient dating. Unlike the Shroud which has a ton of problems and is a fake IMHO.

(Antoine Suarez) #618

The Shroud is the only trace we have, that could be considered evidence for the most important miracle of Jesus Christ, His Resurrection, on which our faith grounds.

By stating that the Shroud is a fake you support the idea that Jesus’ Resurrection left NO everlasting visible trace: We believe in this miracle on the basis of the accounts in the New Testament.

Likewise I claim that Noah’s Flood and the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah were miracles that left NO everlasting visible trace: We believe in them mainly on the basis of the teaching of Jesus Christ and His Apostle Peter.

In summary, what you claim about the miracle of the Resurrection seems very much the same I claim about the miracle of the Flood.


And yet this “evidence” is so poor that it is not possible to convince people that it is real.

No not at all. What I claim is the Resurrection, as recorded, would leave no physical evidence. All we have to go on is the record of the ordinary people who witnessed the results, the evidence of the growth of the church, and our own personal experiences as the Holy Spirit speaks to us. While the Flood, as recorded, should leave physical evidence and not the abundant evidence that says it did not happen.

(Phil) #620

Indeed. Even without carbon dating, it is too “perfect” to not be a fake, IMHO.


And it doesn’t even match the record we do have of the burial.