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

(George Brooks) #121

Watch it, @aleo!

(A moderator might suggest that you are a heretic.)

(GJDS) #122

When we say we know something, it inevitably means we have gathered data/information that we consider sufficient to allow us to make a conclusion (I have your mobile number, I have a phone, I can dial, etc etc). It is this that gives us confidence in our conclusion. If someone questions our conclusion, we would demand additional information (display that phone number, check it that it rings etc).

On events that are remarkable or unique, we may not have data and information that we may question. IF Joshua’s enemy were to provide an account that we may examine, we would compare the two accounts and make judgments. If we cannot do this, we would have only Joshua (and the victory that resulted) - on this basis (as modern scientists) we acknowledge that account as unique and non-testable. After this exercise, we make an independent decision to believe or not believe.

Things get weird when some people decide that all events must satisfy them, otherwise they get grumpy and argumentative However their response is irrational - all they need to do is decide to believe or not believe - nothing else is possible for a reasonable human being.

(Antoine Suarez) #123

Your analysis is excellent.

Because of regularities governing the visible world (as for instance the orbit of the sun) we are capable of gathering “data/information that we consider sufficient to allow us to make a conclusion”. So for instance we can predict at which precise position in sky the sun will be tomorrow at 3:38 pm; according to today’s science the probability for such a prediction to happen is near 1, and therefore it is testable, but exceptions are possible.

Nonetheless such exceptions fulfill two conditions:

  • They are beyond our natural operational capabilities: Letting the sun stand in the sky was beyond Joshua’s capabilities, like phoning faster than light is beyond ours.

  • They are extremely seldom, so that they are practically not repeatable, and as you very well say, the only reasonable basis to accept them is the account of those who witnessed them.

These two conditions correspond to what quantum physics is telling us about the meaning of “the second law of thermodynamics”.

In summary, miracles do not break any “law of nature” but are things beyond our control: God has foreseen to do them depending on our faith.

(George Brooks) #124


You may say that miracles do not break any laws… but some people are pretty attached to the notion that they do…

(GJDS) #125

This is an area where a lot of presuppositions underpin the many notions put forward. Mostly miracles seem to be equated with the supernatural and superstitious, and therein lies the error.

(This discussion has taken us away from Adam and Eve and how people discuss original sin, and how we are free to choose).

The correct terms are signs and wonderful works that are given by God to strengthen the faith of those He has called to serve Him.

The rest of us can thank God for the regularities in our lives. I think we have enough uncertainty and difficulties in our life, and we would not be able to cope if we were unsure if the sun rose each morning, and such.

A person of faith already believes God created everything and sustains it, so there is little that needs explanation - however those without faith, or those who profess an absence of belief, are also unlikely to say anything but there is no explanation beyond the scientific. Difficulties arise when the two opposing views clash for some unearthly reason. Since faith is a gift from God, I cannot see any reason for arguments.

The tendency to seek for a scientific setting to “explain” unique events is self defeating, since scientists are certain that any event must be reproduced for valid study. QM does not change this.

(Antoine Suarez) #126

Thanks Albert for addressing the exegetical difficulty of this part of the Old Testament. It illustrates well the importance of interpreting the Old Testament in the light of the New Testament, that is, according to the teaching of Jesus Christ the Son of Yahweh: The Old Testament can be considered God’s Word as far as it fits with the teaching of the Incarnate God’s word!

In this sense I think the following points may be of interest:

  1. Matthew 15:21-28: “The faith of the Canaanite Woman”. Jesus Christ is correcting here any possible interpretation of Joshua’s book as “God directing his ‘chosen people’ to commit genocide on the Canaanites”. Although Jesus refers to the Canaanites as “dogs”, it is clear from the context that he is not speaking seriously: He does it to challenge the woman’s faith and prove that also among the Canaanites there were people with great love, and finishes rewarding her strong faith through a great miracle.

  2. Similarly, one could say that Joshua 6:21 like other similar expressions in the Old Testament (e.g.: 1 Samuel 15:3) are hyperbolic warnings to prevent Israelites from forsaking Yahweh and worshiping Canaanites god’s. In this sense Joshua’s book has also to be read in the light of the following Judges book, where the Lord uses similar word against the Israelites, who have served Baal and other gods.

  3. One can even say that in Matthew 15:21-28 Jesus corrects Joshua’s views as he corrected Moses’ views regarding divorce.

  4. By becoming a human being in Jesus Christ, God (Yahweh) proclaims the dignity and uniqueness of humanity and any single human person.

  5. What was the content of the Ark of the Lord the Israelites carried around Jericho seven days before the walls of the city collapsed? God’s covenant with Moses, which according to Jesus Christ can be summarized in the double Commandment “love God and others as yourself”.

  6. All this means that any interpretation of Joshua’s book cannot contradict the foundation of law: Personhood and personal rights have to be defined through the belonging to humanity and not to a subgroup of it. Accordingly the texts have to be rather interpreted in the sense that when humanity loses the faith in God humans end by killing each other, in particular the weakest among them, i.e.: human beings at the beginning and end of life, as it happens today.

  7. In this context it is also worth mentioning that there have been several attempts in history to demonize the Old Testament and exclude it from the Canon of Revelation. Marcion did it as early as 144 AD, and was declared heretic. More important has been the demolition of the Jewish religion by modern thinkers like Spinoza, Voltaire and Kant (among many others). They laid the groundwork for the hatred against the God of the Old Testament, which actually played a key role in the generation of German Antisemitism (and noticeably not in the American version of a Henry Ford). The Nazi dehumanization of the Jews did not arise from mere eugenic ideology, but resulted from the fusion of the eugenic ideology with the “Völkisch” view that the Jew’s God is a perverse God. German Anti-Semites, in particular Hitler, they all learned from Theodor Frisch (“the leader of the German anti-Semites”, as Louis Marshall called him) to hate the “false God” Yahweh, and “his chosen People”: By condemning the Jews for things like the “genocide they committed against the Canaanites” they finished by committing genocide against the Jews. This historical fact eloquently shows that one should be careful when demonizing Yahweh.

(Antoine Suarez) #127

Quantum Physics (QM) is teaching us that there can be “unique events” that cannot be reproduced for valid study and therefore escape our predicting capability. Astonishingly, acknowledging this “weakness” of our knowledge, we can frame a science that describes the world and predicts things much better than when we keep to the postulate that “any event must be reproduced for valid study.” In other words, acknowledging that we cannot know all, make us capable of knowing much more than deluding ourselves we can know all.

OK, let us come back.

My aim invoking Quantum Physics is to stress that physical reality cannot be properly defined without referring to the human observer and agent. As David Deutsch puts it:

“Certainly we find ourselves unavoidably playing a role at the deepest level of the structure of physical reality.”

Human decisions are the stuff physical reality is made of, this is what Quantum Contextuality is telling us.

This perspective may be interesting when it comes to interpret times and ages in Genesis: They properly refer to human histories. Without such histories time doesn’t exist. When we speak about “what happened” before the Creation of human free will, we do it as if there were humans there watching what was going on, that is, we apply our feeling of time-flow to describe things which in their selves do not have time.

Human free will is a main axiom of science.

(GJDS) #128

I have found the following paper interesting and have pasted the abstract below:

Int J Theor Phys (2010) 49: 2950–2970

Interpreting Quantum Particles as Conceptual Entities
Diederik Aerts

We elaborate an interpretation of quantum physics founded on the hypothesis that
quantum particles are conceptual entities playing the role of communication vehicles between
material entities composed of ordinary matter which function as memory structures
for these quantum particles. We show in which way this new interpretation gives rise to a
natural explanation for the quantum effects of interference and entanglement by analyzing
how interference and entanglement emerge for the case of human concepts. We put forward
a scheme to derive a metric based on similarity as a predecessor for the structure of ‘space,
time, momentum, energy’ and ‘quantum particles interacting with ordinary matter’ underlying
standard quantum physics, within the new interpretation, and making use of aspects of
traditional quantum axiomatics. More specifically, we analyze how the effect of non-locality
arises as a consequence of the confrontation of such an emerging metric type of structure
and the remaining presence of the basic conceptual structure on the fundamental level, with
the potential of being revealed in specific situations.

The theory and maths of QM is difficult to fully grasp, especially by those outside theoretical physics. Yet there is a general view that maths can provide insights – and these are derived from human concepts. I like the following quote:

Indeed, throughout history, products of mathematical activity have been
appraised in esthetic terms. Mathematics has been regarded as a free activity of
the human intellect comparable to music or poetry. Mathematical proofs that
proceed from a minimum of independent assumptions, that are based on new
conceptual insights, or that are readily generalized to an entire family of problems
have been praised as ‘‘elegant.’’ And mathematical concepts and theorems that
establish connections between areas of thought that appear at first sight to be
unrelated have been characterized as ‘‘deep.’’ Such ideas suggest a holistic model of
explanation in mathematics centered on some concept of ‘‘unification.’’

On history and time, I cannot follow your reasoning. Genesis essentially records genealogy that enables a line of “begetting” from Adam, to Noah, to Abraham, David, and ultimately Christ. I have made comments on how we understand calendars and how these may have changed from antiquity.

I fail to understand how we can speak of the Creation of free will. Creation as a theological subject commences with creation from nothing, and the transcendence of God. Biblical narratives provide revealed knowledge pertinent to what it is to be human, and how humans have responded to the revelation of God.

Human freedom is an essential element of personhood and the human condition. Within a scientific context, we are faced with a mystery in that human concepts seem to be (I say this for humour) ‘entangled’ with the reality of scientific enquiry. :smile:

(Antoine Suarez) #129

I think you formulate well what I intend to say: “Genesis essentially records genealogy”, that is, it uses time to describing human history. This fits with what we are taught by quantum physics: Ultimately time-flow refers to sequences of human choices (histories).

When Genesis uses the term “day” referring to God’s action before Creation of humans endowed with free will, “day” cannot be considered properly a measure of time. And conversely, when we say the Big-Bang occurred 13.7 billion years ago, we project our today’s perception of time flow to describe things “as if there were human observers (time)” where actually there was none (no time).

Yes. Biblical narratives reveal us that “to be human” means to be free for deciding to love God. Accordingly to establish when humans responsible toward God’s revelation were created, we have to search for vestiges revealing awareness of moral responsibility. In my view writing is a sure vestige for this, it defines human history.


“We find ourselves unavoidably playing a role at the deepest level of the structure of physical reality.”

The physical reality basically consists of all possible decisions (“experiments”) humans of all time can make and the corresponding outcomes of these decisions. And all these possible histories are contained in God’s mind.

The Big-Bang, as any physical reality, makes sense only referred to the human observer/agent. It is a “conceptual entity” (as your quoted abstract claims) in God’s mind aiming to found coherently the world we see. So from our perspective it occurred 13.7 billion years ago, while from God’s perspective it occurs always, every time we watch at the world.

(GJDS) #130

The free will outlook and QM have led some to speculate that the “freedom of will” may be found in quantum events. I find such an outlook difficult, and instead I think that freedom and capacity to understand the Creation is a unique aspect of humanity.

(Antoine Suarez) #131

Quantum physics is leading us to acknowledge that human free will is an axiom of science:

If we don’t accept that the experimenter is free to choose the settings of the experiment, then we can dispose of quantum physics, and of relativity as well.

If we accept free will on the part of the experimenter, then quantum experiments show that there is free will on the part of nature as well.

This has led some authors (John Conway and Simon Kochen) to claim that “also elementary particles share free will”. This claim is bit of a joke aiming to provoke: The term “particles” suggest that tiny elements of matter have free will. This is not what the experiments demonstrate.

The result of quantum nonlocality experiments is rather that quantum phenomena cannot be explained exclusively by material causality or information stored in space-time: Quantum correlations demonstrate non-material influences coming from outside space-time. This means that within the quantum realm there is place for intervention of spiritual agents (“authors”) like God, angels, human souls.

The interesting point is that quantum contextuality is now supporting the interpretation “All-possible-histories”: In God’s mind are contained all possible choices humans of all times can do and the corresponding outcomes.

I think Bill_II states something similar when he claims:

In summary: God is omniscient because all possible histories are present in His mind. However I remain free to choose the history I want for me.

(George Brooks) #132


I don’t think you will get very far with the idea that Quantum Physics establishes Human Free Will as an “Axiom of Science”.

Prof. Daniel Dennett said something that triggered a very different thought!

I discuss it in this posting:

I will repeat the relevant parts:

". . . in his talk he discussed a friend’s book on magic. When he asked his friend if the book was about Real Magic, the friend chided Dennett and they agreed that the only Real Magic is the kind that just can’t exist! Dennett was comparing this point to Free Will… that the only Real Free Will is the kind that just can’t exist!

“At this point, I would have ordinarily said: “Ah ha… just what I’ve been saying … there just isn’t any room in the Cosmos for Free Will!” But this time, I didn’t say this in my mind. I was caught by the mystery of something Being Real and Not Possibly Existing, all at the same time. Sometimes linguistics can be a terrible trap; and sometimes linguistics helps a person make new leaps into seeing the world around him!”

“What one of the English-Speaking World’s “Four Horsemen of Atheism” did was convince me that there IS a God.”

"(Say what?) It would take a God to make it possible for my conscious mind to operate outside of the dimensions of causality that we all rely on to be dependable. It would take a God to provide a place for our mind, our consciousness, to be Free, to not be ensnared by the logical chain of determinism and causality, and make our Consciousness something more than just an epiphenomenon!"

“. . . .I owe a great thanks to Prof. Daniel Dennet, my unintended Mentor, my sponsor into an awakened view of the Cosmos. Thank you!”

(GJDS) #133

Hi Antoine,

This area of science may cause some of us to seek further explanation of the quantum world, and from memory, this may be used to support open or process theology. We need to remember that an experimental scientist (and indeed theoretical one also) cannot perform experiments which detect and identify intervening authors or agents. On this basis, quantum theory and experiment are an ongoing concern, and the correlations sought by scientists are between the classical and quantum worlds.

The creation is understood theologically through biblical teachings, and elaborated by creation ex nihilo - St Palamas brought the doctrine of God’s energies to further understand the creation as distinct from the essence of God, and also subject to His will.

So while we agree on the omniscience of God, we cannot speculate as something in God’s mind - often we need to speak in negative terms when our discussions reach a point in which human terms are insufficient to discuss God.

Open theology (summary - God continues to act in the universe in a “bottom up” mechanism at the quantum level) is a controversial outlook and I am disinclined to accept it, as it would violate the “God knows all possibilities”.

Creation ex nihilo is consistent with space and time created and God is not bound by anything we can contemplate in time and space. The possibilities life presents to us as individuals and communities are inexhaustible to us, and thus we are always in a position to choose - thus it is our free choice as agents within the world.

(Antoine Suarez) #134


This is an amazing experience!
If I understand well you mean that this “something” you were caught by its mystery during Dennet’s talk is a real being (as you, I, and Dennet are), but it does not possibly exist as a mere link in a deterministic causal chain.

Am I right with this interpretation?

(George Brooks) #135


Yes, indeed. Your interpretation is solid!

For most of my adult years, I was “trapped” by the plain reality that if human thoughts are “caused” by neural interactions and all the other physiological inputs active in the human brain.

But how would that support Free Will, right? The flag of non-causality is the lack of consistency or predictability, given identical inputs. Which meant, essentially, that the only way you could be sure that natural laws weren’t driving brain activity{FN1] is if people walked around in a virtually chaotic state of mind! That would be the sign post of mental freedom - - and not exactly appealing either.

I had been a thorough materialist for a long, long time. But it dawned on me, it would take Divine Presence to make it possible for true human freedom to exist - - despite the prevalence of
over-arching natural laws! We won’t find the authentic mind in our 3-dimensional world.

Footnote1: Notice the key word in this part of the sentence is “driving”. The human brain, while channeling the soul, is still influenced by environmental vectors of all kinds. The “intersection” between the “lawful brain” and the “free mind” may well be an eternal mystery!

(Antoine Suarez) #136

I would be thankful if you could expand a bit more on this.

In my view God knows all possible decisions human can do and assigns outcomes to these decisions. Through these outcomes (we know only partially) God guides the universe to the aim He has established. I don’t see why this action would violate divine omniscience.

(GJDS) #137

I will try and make it clear by using some examples from physics.

We understand that the experiment (and the physicist) are an integral part of QM observations/measurements. In the classical sense however, the QM observations differ, and some then try to deduce outlooks on why this is so.

When we work within an absolute knowledge framework, as opposed to the possibilities facing human observers, we are left with the following:

  1. the experiment simply gives results not encountered in the classical world. A slit experiment at the QM level gives results that differ from the classical experiment. However, we may perform identical slit experiments at the QM level, and we will always be faced with similar, or identical results (albeit different from those of classical experiments. Thus we cannot conclude that God is somehow involved as an “extra” force or agent to produce new or unexpected results. The QM results will be “new” to the first experimentalist - but they are repeatable.

  2. similar reasoning would apply to entanglement, radioactive decay and so on. The human observer would encounter entanglement, the isotope will give radioactive decay and so on. We may be unable to produce a mathematical formula to give us absolute precision in some way, but the physicist is always bound by similar results for similar experiments.

If we assume God is involved in some personal manner, we would be forced to limit Him to a role as an extraordinary agent in the physicist’s world, and in this way diminish Him to a part of His creation (or in the case of QM, He would be a factor that causes the difference between the classical and QM experiments). This is theologically erroneous.

(Antoine Suarez) #138

I think we would not “diminish God to a part of His creation” but rather assume He is sustaining His creation incessantly in the sense of Acts 17:28: “For in him we live and move and have our being.”

And this fits with what QM is teaching us: The visible world (including the “classical” one) cannot be coherently explained invoking exclusively material factors working causally within space and time.

All possible histories are present in God’s mind; however we remain free to choose the history we want to live. The evolutionary world can be considered a proof of God’s omniscience and wisdom: Such a world help us to realize that we cannot be like God on our own, and so it was wanted by God because it is convenient for the sake of Redemption in case humans sinned. Had humans not sinned, they would have remained endowed with spiritual capabilities strong enough to overcome the selfish evolutionary mechanisms and natural evil (illness, catastrophes, etc.).

(GJDS) #139

But physics shows us there is a great deal more to understand re the creation - we are not seeing two worlds, the visible and the QM constitutes one world, and causality is perhaps more complicated then we may have thought. I am glad you mentioned Acts, as I read it to mean we cannot “contain” or place God is some area of our choosing or interest, nor do we read God’s mind.

Paul is showing all conforms to God’s will, and thus we should seek the Lord - He is close to us and yet we may choose to not see Him - yet in Him we live and move …

Acts 17:22-29 (KJV)
Ac 22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious.
23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.
24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands;
25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things;
26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us:
28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.

I may add nowadays, that God does not dwell in scientific laboratories.

(Antoine Suarez) #140

Apparently your “lawful brain” was not “lawful” enough to coaxing you to endorse Dennett’s position!

Your unique experience (“it dawned on me”) makes plain the following: Brain’s functioning displays many “lawless” periods (say “quantum randomness”) allowing “free mind” to act and generate events that are completely unpredictable on the basis of memories stored in space-time (material “hard disks”). As you very well state: “We won’t find the authentic mind in our 3-dimensional world” (actually 4-dimensional, if we add time).

The brain is a device which does NOT generate consciousness but limit it through random functioning, mainly through sleep: Pure spirits like angels have no brains, they are always conscious and don’t sleep.

While we are awake “free mind” generate purposeful outcomes, meaningful information, as for instance this message I am writing now to you. This message is a sequence of bits (1 and 0). The physiological parameters of my brain impose a certain distribution of bits: e.g.: 40% of ‘1’ and 60% of ‘0’. This would be the quantum mechanical “law”, which allow us to predict the distribution. However there is no “law” allowing you to predict the order in which the bits are uttered, that is, the content of my message before you read it. Additionally, quantum physics establishes that the predicted distributions hold for a large number of outcomes (bits), but nothing is said about how large number of outcomes must be to be considered “large”.

Consequently, it is perfectly possible that the short sequence of bits my meaningful message consists in deviates from the quantum mechanical prediction for large sequences. By contrast while I sleep the short sequence of outcomes may brain produces displays the same distribution as that predicted by quantum mechanics.

Strictly speaking the (quantum mechanical long-term) “laws” governing our brains hold when we behave purposeless, especially while sleeping. By contrast when we act purposefully the short-term sequence of “outcomes” we produce deviate from the long-term “law”.

And this is also the reason why “miracles” do not break any “law of nature”.