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

(Antoine Suarez) #642

Current law in the American states incorporates the Uniform Determination of Death Act (UDDA) or similar formulations, which include the medical criteria for defining death established by the Ad Hoc Committee of the Harvard Medical School 1968. The following characteristic is essential: No movements or breathing–all spontaneous muscular movement, spontaneous respiration and response to stimuli are absent.

This means: A human body capable of neural activity for spontaneous movements deserves the status of a human person and should not be killed (for instance to harvesting organs).

I too understood the movie as a criticism of the apartheid.

However it is important to realize that the mischief of the apartheid consists in denying personal rights to African people who visibly shows human anatomy and therefore unequivocally belongs to Humanity. The supporters of the apartheid assigned personal rights on the basis of the belonging to a subgroup of Humanity instead of the belonging to Humanity: they encouraged state repression of Black African, Coloured, and Asian South Africans for the benefit of the nation’s minority white population.

The supporters of the apartheid treated humans as non-humans, saw humans as “not us”.

On the one hand, since the moment God declares that He makes the humankind in His image, and thereby defines humanity and the human body, each accountable human has to respect any creature with human body as an Image Bearer deserving personal rights.

On the other hand, it is tricky trying to assign personal rights by anything other than the human body: This would lead to found law on arbitrary feelings, opening the door to any kind of segregation, to see humans as “not us”.


But we weren’t even talking about whether or not somebody is dead.

(Antoine Suarez) #644

Bill, it is interesting to compare your claims regarding Resurrection, Sodom, and the Flood.

Nonetheless the Gospels clearly say that “Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth” (Matthew 27:59), and “he [Peter] saw the strips of linen lying by themselves” (Luke 24:12).
Accordingly we have to conclude that the Resurrection was a miracle that, “as recorded”, leaved “physical evidence” (the linen cloth).

Many people honors today the Turin Shroud as such a physical evidence (see Blog and references therein). Other people argue it is a fake, as you do.

Be it as it may, you yourself are acknowledging that the Resurrection is a miraculous event whose physical evidence is no longer available today but we accept it as historical on the basis of:

Regarding Sodom you definitely state that it was a miraculous event we can consider as historical because of the physical evidence available today in the excavations of Tall el-Hammam.

By contrast regarding the Flood you deny its historicity and reduce the Genesis narrative to an embellished theological account. The reason you give is:

On the other hand Jesus Christ and St. Peter refer to both Noah’s Flood and the destruction of Sodom to support the prophecy that the End Times will come, a prophecy that Christian faithful of all times should believe.

This means in the light of your interpretation that Jesus and his Apostle Peter back such a prophecy by a reference to a historical event (Sodom), and a reference to a fictional one (Noah’s Flood).

In my view such a way of arguing would have been completely awkward on the part of Jesus and Peter. The coherent explanation is rather that they refer to both events because Sodom is historical (as you yourself stress) and the Flood is historical as well. In both cases the historical fact that matters is that a number of sinners perished: In case of Sodom all sinners in the town, and in case of the Flood all sinners in Sumer (who were all sinners on earth at that time). All the rest of the Genesis narratives can be considered reality as perceived by the involved eyewitnesses, reality that did not necessarily leave physical evidence available to us today, very much the same as you claim for the Resurrection after all.

In all three cases, Resurrection, Sodom, and the Flood our faith does not rest on any “physical evidence” available to us but “we go on” because:

  • the record of the ordinary people who witnessed the results;
  • the Revelation by Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word of God;
  • the teaching of the apostle Peter inspired by Holy Spirit;
  • the evidence of the growth of the church;
  • and our own personal experiences as the Holy Spirit speaks to us.


John 20: 7 and the face-cloth which had been on His head, not lying with the linen wrappings, but rolled up in a place by itself.

Notice there were at least 2 cloths, one which wrapped the head and the other which wrapped the body. Which as I understand is the usual burial custom of the day. Compare this with the shroud which supposedly wrapped the entire body including the head. So do you believe the shroud or the Bible?

Why would it be awkward? The people who were listening to Jesus or Peter believed the flood to be a real historical event. They were not aware that the flood didn’t actually happen. You don’t back a prophecy by referencing a historical event. The historical/fictional event is just used to give a sense of scale to the prophecy.

Edit to add: A prophet was judged based on their past performance in predicting the future and not their accuracy in historical journalism.

Why would God kill innocent children in the flood if the only intention was to kill sinners? This is a point that never seems to get mentioned. Children died in Sodom but that is because of the way the city was destroyed, by a natural disaster.

But the flood, if real, would leave physical evidence. You just keep dancing around this.

(Albert Leo) #646

Let’s see if I understand your scenario correctly: By 3,500 B.C. God had created about 14 million Homo sapiens, about 200,000 of whom he had gifted with minds so they were accountable (image bearers). All of these lived in Sumer, and all (except Noah’s family) were sinners, and so God sent a flood to that valley and destroyed them but he left the 13+ million non-image-bearers unharmed. It was up to Noah’s family the to ‘instruct’ all the other 13+M Homo sapiens on earth so that they became new image bearers.

Strangely, not a shred of evidence remained of the 200,000 sinners who perished, nor any evidence of the cities in which they lived. Unless it were world-wide, no flood could have remained in place so many years that all traces of Sumerian civilization would have been obliterated. For a localized flood, there would have been eye witnesses other than Noah in the lands adjoining Sumer. Genetic evidence would not be pertinent. You can’t blame Jesus and Peter for believing in the history taught them from their mother’s knee.

As for the Biblical version of Sodom, archeologists may indeed find the remains of a city destroyed by volcanism that fits the bill. Will that confirm the truth of the story of Lot’s wife turning into a pillar of salt when she tried to take a surreptitious but forbidden peek back at the city being destroyed?

Why not let these stories remain as they were intended: fairy tales (like Little Red Riding Hood or Pinocchio) to teach unsophisticated folk how to behave. Over a span of 70+ yrs, the scientists I have discussed these matters with (who were raised Christian but left formal religion) are adamant that it would compromise their intellectual integrity to accept much of OT as actual historical fact. I appreciate the fact that you have evidently done so, and I congratulate you for it. But won’t you admit that the majority of us can live effective Christian lives while taking the OT with a grain of salt (fittingly, from the pillar that was once Lot’s wife.)
Al Leo

(Randy) #647

Dr Suarez,

Thanks. It seems to me there is a huge difference among the amount of physical evidence expected from a world wide flood, a town, and a shroud.

Thanks for your willingness to listen to questions.


The theory is it was an impact. Think Tunguska. No evidence found for a pillar of salt.

(Phil) #649

Well, there are a lot pillars of salt around the Dead Sea. What is interesting is that indications are the topography is pretty much the same there now as it was at that time. Joel Duff has a series of blogs on his site that discusses the Dead Sea and its geology, which is very interesting.


Hence the inclusion in the story. If Dr. Collins is correct Sodom is well north of the Dead Sea.

Everything Joel writes is interesting.

(George Brooks) #651


[ Be sure to click on the image for maximum zoom! ]

(Antoine Suarez) #652

Randy, it is always a pleasure to listen and answer your stimulating questions.

The recent debate in this thread shows that there are today NO material relics capable of conclusively evidencing the destruction of Sodom (town remains) or the Resurrection (shroud). As Christians faithful we believe these miracles on the basis of accounts of trustworthy eyewitnesses.

I would like to stress that in miracles the number of eyewitnesses is always very small and never the whole human kind (this will only be the case for the End Times). During the miracle these eyewitnesses experience things happening according to patterns deviating from the ordinary ones. Most important: At the end of the miracle the same eyewitnesses experience things according to the ordinary patterns (otherwise they would be suspected of having hallucinated). In this sense the miracle of the sun in Fatima (October 13, 1917) is paramount.

My theory about Noah’s Flood is that it was a miracle similar to the destruction of Sodom, the Resurrection, and Fatima’s miracle of the sun.

Thanks in advance for commenting.

(Albert Leo) #653

WOW!! I would place the Resurrection miracle at a reliability level in a class all by itself. I would place the reliability of Noah’s Flood (world wide that is) at <<1%; Sodom and Fatima ~50% as purely miracles (Lot’s wife to salt <<1%).

I know it can be irritating when a ‘science-type’ puts a numerical value on matters of Faith, but in my case it means that if I had placed <50% reliability on a miraculous event and later learn it is untrue, that would NOT shake my entire Christian Faith. I would work it into my worldview somehow. However, I’m with Paul in the matter of Jesus’ Resurrection. If it didn’t happen, I would rather be an honest agnostic.
Al Leo

(Antoine Suarez) #654

For a better understanding of my scenario and before continuing the discussion, I would like to introduce some clarifications (in italic) and formulate things as follows:

By 3,500 B.C. God had created through evolution about 14 million creatures with anatomically modern human body, about 200,000 of whom he had gifted with capability to freely love God so they were accountable image bearers. All of these (“200’000”) lived in Sumer, and all (except Noah’s family) were sinners, and so God destroyed them by means of a miraculous flood but he left the 13+ million non-accountable image-bearers unharmed.

At the end of this flood, God gifted with capability of freely love God all the other 13+M non-accountable modern humans on earth so they became accountable for their deeds. This is the moment referred to in Genesis 9:6, with the universal prohibition of homicide “for in the image of God has God made mankind”.

It was up to Noah’s family then to ‘instruct’ all about the theological meaning of the Flood as final step of creation of humanity with primeval judgement of sinners.

Notice that the 13+ million outside Sumer shared a human body like those in Sumer and in this sense they were Image bearers as well. However they were not yet gifted with sense of law and consequently were not accountable for killing each other, contrarily to those in Sumer who perished in the miraculous flood.

(Albert Leo) #655

Antoine, it appears that your patience has been rewarded in that I am sure that I now understand the scenario that, for you, accommodates Genesis with the science you are familiar with. I will grant that you ‘built your scenario’ through a more scholarly study than I did with mine, but, for reasons I will outline below, it does not satisfy me as much as mine does. On the contrary, however, I am sure yours will be more appealing to the BioLogos community and to evangelicals overall.

In trying to perceive how each of us arrived at different scenarios, I conclude that we use the ‘Two Books’, Scripture & Nature, differently. You appear to have decided to retain the main thrust of Genesis at all costs, while I put more reliance on the sciences of anthropology and archaeology. We both believe the evidence that prior to 10,000 BC there was a fraction of the Homo sapiens species who had a significant spiritual nature; i.e. were image bearers. To accommodate the dogma of the Fall into sin, you postulate that the entire fraction of Image Bearers (~200,000) were located in Sumer and ALL (except Noah’s family) were sinners and were wiped out by a large, but regional, flood that God sent to destroy them.

I have sympathy for a prehistoric people who conceived of a God who was so petty and such a poor designer (trashing all but 0.005% of His choice creation) But I hope with all my heart that they were mistaken, and I won’t have to spend an eternity with Him/Her. Once you accept the idea that God saw it was ‘good’ to design life based on evolution, even though evolution entailed a strong selfish component. And furthermore, accept that He patiently waited until a primate appeared with an exapted brain that could be "programmed’ into a Mind–a mind that could use its conscience to guide biological evolution and join with Him as co-creator, then God’s all encompassing love fits comfortably in with what science has learned from the book of Nature. At least it does for me.
Al Leo


And also that there was no human migration into or out of Sumer over the vast amount of time required to reach a population of 13 million.

Well all, including Noah and Sons, were sinners. Noah just got a pass.

(Antoine Suarez) #657

This objection does not meet my theory, which claims:

God created the first humans in His Image with accountability toward His Law about 3,500 BC.

At this time the guesstimate for population of anatomic modern humans is 7-10 million.

The Flood happened 10 generations after 3,500 BC, that is, 3,200-3,000 BC.

At this time the guesstimate for population of anatomic modern humans is 12-14 million.

In other words my theory fits perfectly well to the available data about population history.

Regarding migration:

The raise of the first City-States in Sumer during this time clearly demonstrates that the migration was not “out of” but “into” Sumer, in accord with Genesis 6:1-4.


So there were no humans in Sumer before 3,500 BC? Humans migrated out of Africa and covered the world but ignored this one area? What proof do you have for this? The migration path would have run right by or even through this area.

And in the 500 years between Adam and the Flood nobody left Sumer to settle elsewhere?

As I have said before your theory requires a magical fence around Sumer.

(George Brooks) #659

@Bill_II and @AntoineSuarez,

If you look back to the threads that @Swamidass posted on Genealogical Adam and the computer simulations conducted to analyze genealogical (vs. genetic) developments within founder populations … I think you will have your solution.

If Adam and Eve begin to associate with a nearby pre-Adamite population, even when we use very moderate assumptions about human movement and migration (which is certainly do-able with God’s guidance) … it only takes about 2,000 years for the entire Earth’s population to become the legitimate descendants of Adam/Eve (as well as the legitimate descendants of a a few other founding couples who are not noteworthy enough for the Bible to notice).

The oft-noted “pause” between the events of the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus may actually be because it takes a certain amount of time for the whole world to be “claimed” by the Adam/Eve descent.

Ironically, the whole process is accelerated by a global flood… since Noah becomes a new bottleneck for Adam/Eve’s genealogical patriarchy. But since there are biblical traces indicating that Cain-ites and Kenites are connected, I’ve always been willing to accept the longer-route to Adam/Eve hegemony . . . which a REGIONAL FLOOD would allow for!

(Antoine Suarez) #660

In Sumer before 3,500 BC there was a population of several thousands of anatomic modern humans. At 3,500 BC (the time of the appearance of writing) God started making this population to Image bearers (according to Genesis 1: 27, 5:1-2) and endowing them with sense of law (“knowledge of good and evil”) and accountability (as described in Genesis 2:17).

This primeval population of accountable Image bearers increased then by two means:

  • Offspring resulting from marriage (according to Genesis 1:28; 4:25; 5),

  • Immigration (according to Genesis 6:1-4),

and reached a size of several hundred thousand at the moment of the Flood.

To this extent my view is basically the same as that of @Kathryn_Applegate in her recent Essay:

“Adam and Eve were a real couple in history who lived in Mesopotamia, among a larger population of people, perhaps around 6,000 B.C.”

“In the fullness of time, God called two people, Adam and Eve, into a special covenantal relationship with himself, and into a one-flesh unity with each other.”

“God revealed himself to Adam and Eve in an intimate way. A spiritual birth had taken place: for the first time they knew God and they knew God had a will and so did they. They were selves, free to obey or rebel. He gave them rules and consequences for breaking those rules. And they chose, in their freedom, to rebel.”

“Adam’s sin became our sin.”

(Antoine Suarez) #661

I put equal reliance on the sciences of anthropology and archaeology as on Genesis accounts endorsed by Jesus Christ and His Apostle Peter.

“Spiritual nature” is a rather indistinct concept, and “Homo sapiens species prior to 10,000 BC” is even more indistinct.

For me what matters for defining Humanity (as a community called to be ruled by law) is God’s declaration to make a specific life form in His Image (Genesis 1:27, 5:1-2). Thereby God established the kind of body He prepared for His Son and since this very moment bestowed all the creatures sharing such a body (a human body) with special dignity. At this moment too God gifted a number of creatures with human body with sense of law and accountability (according to Genesis 2: 17). These accountable Image Bearers lived in Sumer, and increased through generating offspring in marriage and through immigration to build a population of about 200,000 by the time of the Flood.

By this time too about 14 million creatures with human body lived outside Sumer spread all over the world. God endowed them all with capability of freely loving Him, sense of law, and accountability at the end of the Flood (Genesis 9:6).

What I postulate is the following:

The entire fraction of accountable Image Bearers (~200,000) were located in Sumer. They (except Noah’s family) became sinners who had freely hardened their hearts, filled the earth with violence and corruption, and were not ready to atone. On the one hand God had committed himself to respect the freedom of His creatures. But on the other hand He had to restore conditions on earth supporting His plan for Redemption of all humankind. So God decided to make clear that He lets sinners on earth to give them opportunity to repent, and sent a miraculous Flood that wiped out those hardened sinners. As we know some of them were moved to repent before dying, so that the Flood was beneficial even for the sinners in the end.

The reason for this postulate is primarily not to accommodate “the dogma of the Fall into sin” but the teaching of Jesus Christ and His Apostle Peter about the End Times and Final Judgement.

In order to answer these claims fittingly I would be thankful to know how you get to this “0.005%”.