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

@Randy I can dig the music but my haircut was better then theirs(!), and why was the camera mostly on the blonde?

But what??? evolution is the true solution? Man what the ………!:grinning::innocent:

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Unlike @AntoineSuarez, I have had no training in theology, and so in my previous posts I have tried to express how my religious upbringing together with my scientific training has formed my Worldview. It pleases me that Antoine’s worldview and mine have much in common, but in terms of the theology (?) upon which they are based, I will let him speak for himself.

Obviously you have totally misinterpreted what you term as “implications of your somewhat vague points of view.” [Here I must point out the huge difference between 'points of view’, which are subject to frequent change, and my Worldview, which is more the essence of Al Leo than is this rather decrepit body he now occupies.]. To clarify my position (so it is not vague): Evidence for human evolution allows me to reject the concept of Original Sin and replace it with Original Blessing. I do not accept as Truth or Fact the story that the disobedience of A & E resulted in God’s judging that they and their future offspring are totally depraved and worthy of eternal punishment, regardless of any attempt on their part to live as their Creator wished.

So, to eliminate any possible remaining ‘vagueness’, this means that I consider Jesus’ role in our Salvation as the eternal Christ, the Messiah who leads us to fulfill the potential no other creature can: the freedom to choose to become the Image of its Creator by rising above the evolutionary limits of biological (animal) amoral evolution.

You state that “Evolution is simply NOT the way God saves humanity.” Of course not. It is by rising above it that we can become co-creators with Him.
God bless
Al Leo

As I have stated before, I cannot, (honestly :sweat_smile:) understand how humanity is the product of evolution as promoted by biologists, and also would rise above it. At the risk of adding humour, do we posses a gene that enables us to choose salvation?

I understand your objection to the notion of condemnation and original sin. The way and means to salvation in Christ as you explain are, to me, vague and lacking a foundation in the Gospel.

I seriously doubt that there is (or even could be) such a 'salvation-seeking gene. As I’ve stated many times on this forum, I believe Darwinian evolution prepared the Homo sapiens brain: (1) for consciousness, (2) for abstract thought, and thus (3) for moral behavior (i.e. a conscience). Paleontology provides little or no evidence that (1) occurred rather suddenly in the animal kingdom, as might be the case arising from a favorable mutation(s). I am certainly unable to cite repeatable scientific evidence for the mechanism of how these 3 steps occurred, but it is not unreasonable that such evidence will soon be found–especially if the main force is epigenetic. The teaching/learning cycle gives indications that a DNA-methylation process is involved and that is known to have epigenetic consequences. It is surely no coincidence that acquiring a symbolic language is closely associated with the humanization of early Homo sapiens. (A reversal of the Tower of Babel tale?). In this case at least, I believe the way science reads the Book of Nature is more dependable than the way many theologians have read the Book of Scripture

The role of Jesus Christ is our Salvation demands that we all agree on exactly what Salvation means. The Act of Contrition I learned as a child asks to be "saved from the fires of Hell". It is my understanding that many (most) Fundamentalists still believe this literally. I no longer can. On several occasions God has unmistakably made His presence felt in my life–and always as a loving, caring parent might.

While I cannot give a scientific account of the mechanism by which Homo sapiens became human (and thus potentially the Image of God), I like to visualize it the way Teilhard did: as stepping beyond the Biosphere and into the Noosphere–the sphere where ideas and spiritual values are primary.
May God bless you and look after you (as He has done for me)
Al Leo


I will make some points for clarification:

1- science provides insights on how the earth may have formed and without understanding of how life began, science nonetheless seeks to understand the variation and ecological cycles of earth.

2 - evolution does not provide a coherent scientific theory for 1, and thus it should be confined to studies related to biology.

3 - any discussion involving God for Christians, is based on revelation and we rely on scripture for this. If we do not turn scripture into scientific theories, nor science into scripture, we may achieve a harmony in that the creation points to its creator, and scripture takes us to Christ.

Much ink has been spilled on these points as various individuals decide on their own points of view - I instead study the teachings of the Church (Orthodoxy) and the result has increasingly been that I find less conflict with the verified science that I understand.

With Creation God aims to fill the places in the Banquet of Eternal Life with humans who freely choose to love God.

This comes to happen through “transformation of humanity into the nature of Christ”, as you magnificently say.

In order Creation can achieve this aim, God prepares a body for his Son since all eternity: this body defines the human body.

The transformation of humanity into the body of Christ requires that humans live according to the Golden Rule, respecting and loving each other.

Thus, it is crucial there is a clear observable distinction between humans and all the other living forms, even the nearest ones.

This distinction God works out by means of Evolution.

Thus, Evolution is a main ingredient of the way God prepares Incarnation, and thereby also to transformation of humanity into the body of Christ.

Salvation is a different story: Incarnation and transformation of humanity into the body of Christ would have happened even if there had been no sin and Salvation had not been necessary, as we are taught by Irenaeus.

Evolution is directly invoked in the way God creates humanity and prepares Incarnation; it is not directly invoked in the way God saves humanity.

We obviously have common ground on what the faith teaches on salvation, and we recognise the distinction regarding humanity. My view is that humanity was created by God and stamped with His image, and Adam and Eve were also created by God and placed in a distinct setting where they communed with God. It is possible to speculate two distinctions, one general, and the other unique regarding Adam, and when Adam was removed from the garden, he communicated knowledge of God to humanity of his time.

All of this may be examined within scripture, and this included how “God did it …” so to speak.

It is also possible to reason, as you state, regarding the distinction of humanity from other species. My point is to show that this is based on scripture, without a need to resort to the theory of evolution. This is not an attempt to indulge in criticisms of evolution, but instead to show it is inadequate/irrelevant for our scriptural understanding.

I think the conflicts have arisen because people have decided that creation is described by evolution and this contradicts scripture, and camps for and against this error have waged a cultural war around this - this is an unfortunate outcome and an unnecessary one.

I disagree with you if you imply the incarnation was prepared by evolution, whatever that may mean. The birth of Christ is described in detail in the Gospel and nothing needs to be added to this.

If I understand well you are stating:

  1. Adam is the first human sinner.

  2. Humanity does not genealogically descend from Adam.

Am I right?

If YES, could you please tell us at which moment (according to you) does humanity become in need of salvation by Jesus Christ?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Hi Antoine,

Perhaps I have not been clear. My first major point is the fact (from what I read on this site, not in dispute) that evolution in whatever form it is presented, cannot address the first sinner, or any sinner. Thus analysis of genetics, populations and whatever, fail to provide, and indeed cannot, provide anything that adds or removes from the biblical account.

I think you should address this point.

The second major point is to note that modelling (again not controversial as it is presented) based on records and archeological insights, can account for the current population with its genealogical roots in an Adam and Eve (assumed as a pair for our discussion).

Once we are clear on how we both regard these two points, we may then move to biblical based discussions.

I address it with pleasure.

You are right that “analysis of genetics, [or] populations” as such cannot address the questions of whether or not sin occurred, and which consequences the first sin (if any) may have had.

On the other hand, the biblical account tells us that sin occurred.

So with relation to this biblical account the legitimate questions arise:

  1. At which time did the first sin was committed?

  2. Did this sin happen within a large human population or was it the sin of a single couple from which all other humans are genealogically descended ?

To answer these questions useful contributions can come from

  • Genetic analysis of population structure,
  • Paleontological data about disappearance of intermediate varieties,
  • Archaeological vestiges on origins of civilization.

In conclusion, the biblical account lets important questions open that evolutionary science can efficiently contribute to answer:

“Properly interpreted, Scripture and nature are complementary and faithful witnesses to their common Author.” Biologos, What We Believe, point 2.

The story of God communicating to man begins with Adam and Eve. This is clearly stated to occur in a special setting, and this means separate from events that may be discussed within geological times and variety of species. I feel Antoine, that this aspect is often overlooked when some are hastily trying to graft evolution to biblical revelation.

The existence of other species (and in my view other non-Adamic humans) can be inferred from scripture, and I think the Catholic view you have mentioned (the Pope’s formulation) may be similar.

Thus, sin entered the world through Adam. This became the aspect of human nature since then. My point is to show this cannot be explained/shown by any version of evolution.

Excellent! This is my view too, to some extent.

I fully agree to this point as well!

This means that at a certain moment Adam and Eve were no longer in the “special setting” and entered the ordinary world where “non-Adamic” humans lived, and where we are living today.

This your explanation raises a number of legitimated questions:

  1. At which moment of history were Adam and Eve banished from the “special setting” and entered the ordinary world we live in?

  2. Your explanation implies that Adam and Eve shared the same “human nature“ of the “other non-Adamic humans”. How is this possible, since the “special setting” (where Adam and Eve were settled) was separated from the ordinary world where the other non-Adamic humans dwelt?

  3. For which reason Adam and Eve’s sin (committed apparently in “the special setting”) “became the aspect of human nature since then”.

I think you too should address these questions!

They contain interesting aspects that “are often overlooked when some are hastily trying” to avoid that mutual enrichment of evolution and biblical revelation might occur.

I dare to insist: Evolutionary science help us to better understand the meaning of Scripture, and Biblical Revelation help us to better understand the meaning of evolutionary facts.

The biblical account does not provide a time, but we may infer from population models and ancient artifacts this may have occurred at some point over 10-40,000 years.

I take the general statement that ‘man was imprinted with the image of God’ to apply to all true humans. Adam and Eve were created as innocents and give particular Grace to commune with God. The importance of this cannot be overstated - when they disobeyed the divine command and were banished from Eden, they were warned that their life, nature and setting was to be the earth inhabited by other species. I do not see a need to labour this point.

This needs a somewhat lengthy response, but I will simply say that Adam could speak God’s name to others and this is central to others understanding and indulging in sin.

I have tried to provide concise answers to you question - and my answers do not mentioned evolution once.

Now it is for you to show why you ….

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Thanks for this.
I am interested in the details of your argument: Which “population models and ancient artifacts” allow you to infer this time?

In any case, in this claim you are clearly assuming that evolutionary science (population evolution, paleontological and archaeological findings) help us to better understand the biblical account, aren’t you?

No I am not - I have stated on a number of occasions that evolution biology does not, and cannot, enhance our biblical understanding.

I also remind you to show why you think that “evolutionary science leads to a better understanding and meaning of Scripture” - the onus is on you to demonstrate this assertion/assumption. Note the discussion eventually comes back to original sin.

My remarks simply show that we need not see conflict with any science. The modelling I referred to has been discussed on this site, and from memory, it is a stochastic approach that accounts for the current population based on recorded size, deaths, births, migrations etc, available from historical records - it shows it can model all of this with a couple as ancestors about 10,000 years ago.

And yet you claim:

This claim means more than simply “we need not see conflict with any science”. It means that you are using science to infer knowledge the biblical account does not provide. So you are clearly supporting my claim that “evolutionary science helps us to better understand the meaning of Scripture and Biblical Revelation”.

If I understand well you are claiming the following:

  1. Adam and Eve were banished from the “special setting” and entered the ordinary evolutionary world about 10,000 years ago.

  2. At this moment spread all over the world there lived roughly 1 million of anatomically modern human creatures, that is, creatures that shared the same specific body as Adam and Eve.

  3. These creatures underwent marriage with the descendants of Adam and Eve.

  4. This way (according to the model you refer to) Adam and Eve became genealogically (though not genetically) speaking common ancestors of all the current population of the world.

To avoid misunderstandings I would be thankful to know whether or not I interpret correctly your thinking.

Antoine, this discussion cannot move on until you respond to:

I also remind you to show why you think that “evolutionary science leads to a better understanding and meaning of Scripture” - the onus is on you to demonstrate this assertion/assumption. Note the discussion eventually comes back to original sin."

Thanks for prompting me to do this. I present my argument numbering the points to facilitate subsequent discussion.

My assertion is:

  1. The basis for this assertion is Genesis 9:3-6, where God:
  • Establishes the radical difference between the value of human beings and non-human animals.

  • Proclaims for the first time in Scripture the universal prohibition of homicide.

  • States that the special dignity of humanity and the prohibition of homicide root in the fact that “in the image of God has God made mankind”.

  1. Genesis 9:3-6 can be considered the basic rule of Morality and the foundation of Law.

  2. Genesis 9:3-6 presupposes that one can unambiguously establish which creature is human and which is not human, as it is the case today. Accordingly, to establish at which time of history God made humanity in His Image we need to know the moment when the difference between anatomically modern humans and chimps-bonobos (the genetically and anatomically nearest species to us) became to be as unambiguous as it is today. And here enters evolutionary science: It provides the knowledge that this happened about 12,000 BC, when all intermediate varieties between modern humans and great apes disappeared. So it is save to consider this date as earliest moment for the creation of humanity in God’s Image.

  3. As I have repeatedly argued in this thread, the latest moment for this creation can be safely assumed to be the appearance of writings that prove the presence of “account-giving relationship” in a population. Again here science comes in our help providing the date of 3,200 BC.

  4. So on the basis of evolutionary science we can set the time when God makes humanity in his Image between 12,000 and 3,200 BC.
    To this extent my view is basically the same as that of @Kathryn_Applegate in her 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.”

  5. For the sake of argument in the following I assume 3,200 BC as the moment when God makes humanity in His Image, that is the moment referred to in Genesis 1:24; 5:1-3; 9:3-6.

  6. At 3,200 BC the guestimate for the human population is roughly 5-10 million.

  7. According to the Bible we can assume that Adam and Eve were first put by God in a “special setting” (as you state), or in a state of “original Blessing” (in Aleo’s wording), or endowed with “original graces” (according to the teaching of the Eastern Fathers of the Church, especially St. Irenaeus), or called by God “into a special covenantal relationship with himself, and into a one-flesh unity with each other” (Kathryn_Applegate, Denis Alexander).

  8. So when Adam and Eve were banished from the "original special setting” and entered the ordinary evolutionary world, about 5-10 million of anatomically modern humans (i.e.: creatures sharing the same specific body as Adam and Eve) lived spread all over the earth. Once again, we reach this conclusion thanks evolutionary science.

  9. To this point the important following question arises:
    Did these creatures (referred to in the preceding point) have sense of responsibility and were they accountable toward God?
    It is clear that not, otherwise God would have put them into the “special setting” together with Adam and Eve.

  10. Now sanctity of marriage requires that those getting married with descendants of Adam and Eve were endowed by God with sense of responsibility and awareness of accountability before marriage. And this entails that God transformed those modern humans which came in contact with the descendants of Adam and Eve into accountable bearers of the Image of God.

  11. Hence, once Adam and Eve entered the evolutionary world, there were on earth two sorts of accountable Image Bearers:

  • The genetic descendants of Adam and Eve, who resulted from the marriage of accountable parents, and in this sense were sons or daughters of human parents.

  • The accountable human bearers God created directly by transforming modern humans that were not genetically descended from Adam and Eve. These human beings had no human genealogy and thus can be considered directly descended from God. In other words, they deserve to be called sons of God the same way as Adam is called son of God. They are the “sons of God” referred to in Genesis 6: 2-4, who underwent marriage with genetic descendants from Adam and Eve and had children with them, the Nephilim.

It is noteworthy that thanks evolutionary science we are able to unravel the likely most enigmatic pericope of the Old Testament. On this basis we are now also able to explaining why the universal prohibition of homicide happens only after the Flood:

  1. Jesus Christ and St. Peter invoke Noah’s Flood in the context of the prophecies regarding the End Times. From their teaching we ought to conclude that in Noah’s Flood all accountable humans living on Earth at that time, except 8 (Noah and his family), perished in this catastrophe.
    The reason is that “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” (Genesis 6: 11-12). So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” (Genesis 6: 7).

  2. So we are taught by Jesus Christ and St. Peter that God in his mercy decides to let sinners on earth for giving them opportunity to atone and ask God to forgive their trespasses. We sinners easily forget this and end thinking we can give ourselves eternal happiness on earth. In the beginning this tendency led to the particular worse situation Genesis 6:5-12 refers to. So God had to correct this state of affairs for sake of the universal good of humanity, and did this by means of the Flood.

  3. Foreseeing this possibility, and to avoid destroying millions of people, God in his mercy decided to create first some hundreds of thousand accountable Image Bearers (both, genetic descendants from Adam and Nephilim), and delayed the transformation of 5-10 million creatures into accountable Image Bearers to the end of the Flood.

  4. This means that:

  • The population that perished in the Flood consisted in about 200,000 people who genetically descended from Adam and Eve, and the Nephilim, who genealogically descended from both, Adam and the sons of God. This people were mostly living in the region where Noah lived, likely the first Mesopotamian City-states.

  • The population on Earth after the Flood consisted in people who genetically descended from Noah’s sons and new Nephilim who appeared after the Flood. These new Nephilim were descended from the “sons of God” created directly by God after the Flood, and also from marriages of these with Noah’s descendants.

  1. This interpretation (points 13-16) is supported by the parenthetic remark “and also afterward” in Genesis 6:4, and conveys the view that Genesis 6-9 is the account of the definite creation of humanity, which complets the accounts in Genesis 1 and 2.

  2. Part of this second creation would be the transformation into accountable Image Bearers of extra-terrestrial modern humans (if any) before they come in contact with us.

In the preceding points I have highlighted how evolutionary science help us to a better understanding of Scripture. The other way around one can argue that Biblical Revelation help us to understand the meaning of evolutionary facts:

  1. Indeed, Richard Dawkins states:
    On the one hand:
    “We should not live by Darwinian principles […] one of the reasons for learning about Darwinian evolution is as an object lesson in how not to set up our values and social lives… [We should] despise Darwinian natural selection as a motto for how we should live.”
    On the other hand:
    “Imagine pulling out your family genealogy. Now snap a photo of each ancestor going back 185 million generations. What would it show? First off, your very distant grandfather was a fish. Secondly, you can never put your finger on the very first human being, a proverbial Adam and Eve. 185,000,000 snapshots can never capture that one moment.”

  2. From this it follows that: Firstly, humanity is a form of life called to live according to principles that do not derive from evolution but come from somewhere else. Secondly, the beginning of humanity as a community that is ought to live according to Moral values and Law cannot be established by biological means alone.

  3. Here comes Biblical Revelation in help of science and allow us to state:

  • Evolution laid the groundwork for assigning rights by creating a sharp gab between humans and the chimps-bonobos (the nearest non-human varieties). Evolution did this work by means of highly complex ecological regulation.

  • Then God created humans in the Image of God and called to behave according to an ecology of love and respect to each other (Genesis 9:3-6).

  • Accordingly defining humanity as species is inseparably related to God’s definition of humanity in His Image and the Commandment that humans ought to respect each other.

  1. In Conclusion: Biblical revelation and evolutionary science together help us to understand that the aim of Creation is to make humanity in the Image of God, that is, prepare the type of body God wanted for his Son. Creation of humanity and Incarnation of God imply each other, according to the deep intuition of St. Irenaeus.

I would like to finish paraphrasing again the magnificent Biologos, What We Believe, point 2:
Properly interpreted, Scripture and Evolution are complementary and faithful witnesses to their common Author.

As I have noted previously, the discussions with you and @GJDS on this topic has given me a clearer insight into how thoughtful Christians deal with the "enigmatic" portions of Genesis. While I respect the reasoning of both of your divergent views, I end up feeling all the more comfortable with the worldview I held at the start. The short analysis of your latest (very clearly expressed) assertions which follows may give some ideas why.

It is important to note that when I refer to the “state of original blessing” for Adam, I am NOT referring to a geographic location (i.e. an Eden). I am referring to a rather sudden process which enabled the brain of at least one Homo sapiens to operate as Mind; that is, having the capability of conceiving abstract thoughts and (epigeneticly) transmitting them, thru a newly invented language, to fellow H.s. who thus became human as we now define them. This was the Gift of Conscience that introduced morality into a Universe that previously was essentially amoral. The flip side was that the freedom to refuse the Gift could be considered as Original Sin.

  • Jesus Christ and St. Peter invoke Noah’s Flood in the context of the prophecies regarding the End Times. From their teaching we ought to conclude that in Noah’s Flood all accountable humans living on Earth at that time, except 8 (Noah and his family), perished in this catastrophe.
    The reason is that “the earth was corrupt in God’s sight and was full of violence. God saw how corrupt the earth had become, for all the people on earth had corrupted their ways.” (Genesis 6: 11-12). So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created—and with them the animals, the birds and the creatures that move along the ground—for I regret that I have made them.” (Genesis 6: 7).

Frankly, I am quite relieved that science has disproved the reality of a Worldwide Flood, because I could not bring myself to worship such an inept, uncaring Supreme Being that would use that method of “erasing” his earlier error. There is no way that I can accept any spin that justifies this portion of Scripture. I am forced to view this passage as in ERROR and NOT INSPIRED.

I agree with you in calling much of Genesis “enigmatic”, but I think that it is dangerous to presuppose anything to give an acceptable spin to it. Perhaps humankind will always behave better if a “guilt complex” IS ingrained from birth, as Augustine and others have promoted with Original Sin. I hold the naive hope that, if God created us in His image, we, as the human race, can move up a notch or two on the Piaget/Kolberg morality scale: be good for goodness sake, not because we fear the Pains of Hell.
Al Leo

Antoine, I begin by commending you on the thoroughness of your response - I feel that a sincere desire for the truth requires this from all of us.

The central question revolves about original sin, our sinful nature, and our salvation in Christ. So I begin my response within the context stated so magnificently by Paul - we begin with the first Adam, and end with the second Adam who is Christ. Of the many reasons for my rejection of evolution in understanding the Faith is that both ‘Adams’ were the result of direct and unique involvement of God. Evolution must be silent on this point.

But all of this is for salvation of humanity and the second creation of heaven and earth.

Salvation may be considered by secularists nowadays an anachronism. The historical aspect of Christianity may ‘date’ it, or place the faith within a context of a historical movement. I think this outlook has its basis in an overt attempt to replace the Faith with other, perhaps ‘older’ beliefs that have often conflicted with the teachings of the Faith. Of the many factors for this attitudinal belief, the two greatest are a revived materialism/physicalism, and an intellectual movement that has given impetus to materialism, generally known as Darwinism. These curious belief system(s) (often these people deny they are beliefs and instead claim the Sciences have provided them with a worldview) have had great influence on modern Western thought. Associated with this outlook is the erroneous view that the Faith in Christ has enjoyed a ‘golden age’ in medieval times followed by a slow but prolonged ‘loss of followers’. This view probably is derived from the action which exerted power as social and political institutions which adopted a Christian name. It is enlightening to read historical accounts, in which similarities may be observed between the period of early Christianity and today. In earlier times, many groups declared themselves to be Christian, but were in fact sects with social-political agendas. Today, the political situation has changed and most institutions with religious inclinations endeavour to play a social/pastoral role (and often a political one). In this way, they espouse certain Christian principles of service to the community. Yet the situation today can easily be summarised by the comments of St Augustine, who reflected that many people who wished to, and belonged, to the Church of that day, may not have been of the Faith.

Salvation cannot be an anachronism - the subject of salvation is humanity and it encompasses all of the hopes and aspirations of the human race. It is this universality that makes the subject of salvation both easy to discuss and also easy to dismiss. All of us hope for peace and wellbeing; such great generalisations may become vacuous statements and are often not taken seriously by practical people faced with the day-to-day difficulties of life. When endeavouring to discuss Salvation it is easier to reflect on elements that may become evident on reading and hearing the Gospels than to state what Salvation is. Indeed, the Gospels make a great point of showing that the major role of the Apostles and those called by God in that day was to act as faithful witness to the truth; and this truth concerned Christ as he lived amongst them, Christ crucified, and Christ resurrected from the dead.

I do not think that these comments are cause for debate - however, discussions on Adam become erroneous if they are done in another context. This applies to those who rely on Darwinism, or who make Genesis a basis for scientific arguments, such as a 6 earth day creation, and other non-sense…

Adam was created by God with the promise of a blessing (@aleo) of eternal life (which is salvation), but he was required to obey God. He did not obey and yet the knowledge of God was added to the world through Adam to non-Adamites, and sin against God became universal. Details of population sizes and times are peripheral to this, and I think Genesis gives sufficient information to help us understand the sequence from Adam, Noah, Abraham and ultimately Christ.

I think this post is long enough and I will make other points at another post.