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

If God had decided to throw out to hell the first humans (“Adam and Eve”) immediately after they sinned, it would be intrinsically unfair that God had denied their innocents descendants on earth the grace he granted “Adam and Eve”.

Now God in his love wanted to redeem the sinners and kept them on earth to give them opportunity “to repent (totally their free choice) and turn to God accepting what Christ has done” (paraphrasing GJDS).

But then, for the salvation of all, it is advantageous that God bounds everyone to “the propensity to sin”, according to this outstanding statement:

Notice that this does not mean at all that “you are condemned for Adam’s sin”. On the contrary, it means that even if you sin, you will not be doomed to hell, but get opportunity to repent: You can (“totally your free choice”) be granted with the grace of Christ and reach salvation.

Here’s an interesting thought experiment. Suppose A&E were a literal first couple and specially created. If God had followed through on the literal consequence that “in the day you eat of it you will surely die” and killed them, that would’ve been fair. What’s more, killing those two straightaway would mean they had no “innocent descendants,” sparing billions of people from suffering the consequences of A&E’s transgression.

It’s the ethical “trolley car dilemma” on steroids. Divert the trolley to the track where two people sentenced to death are killed, or let the trolley run its course and kill billions of innocents? After A&E suffered the consequences of their own actions, God also would have been free to create another “first couple” and see if they would obey. Eventually, the right couple would come along and get humanity off to a good start.

On the other hand, if the human population was the result of a long process of evolution, cultural development, and ethical maturation, and if this entire population (20,000-50,000 or so) collectively went astray at some point in history, a plan of redemption, rather than destruction, makes perfect sense.

I don’t deny any of that. What I’m disputing is an Augustinian version of original sin. What do we say about an infant who dies, or a 3-yr-old who succumbs to childhood disease? They don’t have the capacity to repent. What becomes of them? (Let’s not get into infant baptism or purgatory.)

If the “special grace” given to Adam and Eve’s descendants is only the grace of the opportunity to repent, then many exit this life without receiving even that grace.

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just shows how little most of us understand sin and death.
God does not say that “the day you eat from the tree you will be killed”, let alone “I will kill you”
Biologically speaking I explain life to be the ability to move energy at will. So is the state of viable but not culturable a state of the onset of death as you are uncoupled from the eternal life.
The problem of the ultimate act of love is to give up yourself for the love of another and you can only do that from conceptualising the self.
To God death is not a barrier but quite the opposite as it means that you come back to him if you wish to. He only suffers for the lost ones who do choose eternal separation by wanting to be self forever. Luckily most of us understand that when we get to that door. The pity is that we train up our Christian fellows for looking forward to the eternal self as the ultimate future - and that in the name of Jesus. What con artists we Christians are…

True enough!

However, Cain move from innocence to murder tempted by envy; David to adultery and murder attracted by lust; Judas to betrayal lured by greed; and St. Peter to denial by the fear of man.

By contrast, Adam and Eve moved from innocence to rebellion because they indulged in dialoguing with the devil and mistrusted God straightforwardly, without any “propensity to sin” engrained in their animality.

But then there would be no human in heaven, and this directly contradicts Point 1 above, which you agreed to:

This is an interesting assumption!

Suppose this “other first couple” was “the right couple” who came along without sinning and “get humanity off to a good start”. Suppose that one or more of their descendants did sin against God. Then we would have again the same situation as if A&E had sinned.

Your thought-experiment highlights something quite important:

“Adam and Eve” in Genesis primarily refers to the first couple of image bearers who sinned, and not necessarily the first couple of image bearers.

You are concealing the key point:

Genesis speaks about “humankind in the image of God”, and not simply “human population”.

So, if you want to propose an explanation which fits God’s Revelation in Genesis you have to explain how this “entire human population” became “humankind in the image of God”.

Additionally, to be coherent, you have also to answer the following questions:

  • It is highly improbable that the entire population went astray at once. In any case there was surely a first sinner among them. At which precise moment did the plan of redemption start?

  • Suppose one of this primeval characters did not sin (as Scripture clearly suggests). What was his fate?

  • How do you cope with the narrative of the Flood in Genesis 6-9?

Thanks in advance for your answers.

Forgive me, but I got my second vaccination shot (praise God!) and am just getting over the side effects (slight fever, fatigue). I’ll reply to you tomorrow, Lord willing. Thanks for your patience.

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I wish you a good recovery!
Looking forward to your reply.

I have finally been able to start reading through your article, “ Transmission at Generation: Could sin … population size. “ I will be reading it in sections. I read pages 1-10 tonight.

Before I respond though I felt I should make a few things clear upfront.

  1. I’m not a Catholic and the office of the Pope has no bearing on my worldview or biblical hermeneutics. What they say or dont say does not matter me. Likewise, the same goes for the catechism.

  2. I don’t believe in the doctrine of original sin at all.

So immediately upon beginning to read you post
I realized we will most likely disagree over quite a bit.

Maybe I’m reading it wrong but it seems like the position you’re pushing is that:

  • Yahweh transformed the human animal into the human person by substituting the animal life principle with the spiritual rational soul.

  • Humans are not spiritual souls in the form of a human body but are souls that formed the body by animating the organic materials, like dust.

*There was two types of humans in our earliest histories. There is the personal and non personal humans.

*Cain, Abel and their siblings would have been born without original sin , yet they still were able to sin.

The main verses that you believe supports this position are:

Romans 5:12-19 and Romans 11:32.

Romans 5:12-19
New American Standard Bible
12 Therefore, just as through one man sin entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all mankind, because all sinned— 13 for [a]until the Law sin was in the world, but sin is not counted against anyone when there is no law. 14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until Moses, even over those who had not sinned in the likeness of the violation committed by Adam, who is a type of Him who was to come.

15 But the gracious gift is not like the offense. For if by the offense of the one the many died, much more did the grace of God and the gift by the grace of the one Man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many. 16 The gift is not like that which came through the one who sinned; for on the one hand the judgment arose from one offense, resulting in condemnation, but on the other hand the gracious gift arose from many offenses, resulting in justification. 17 For if by the offense of the one, death reigned through the one, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the One, Jesus Christ.

18 So then, as throughone offense the result was condemnation to all mankind, so also through one act of righteousness the result was justification of life to all mankind. 19 For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

Romans 11:32
New American Standard Bible
32 For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He may show mercy to all.

Maybe the questions will be answered as I read.

I don’t really understand what you mean by human animal and human person.

I’m not sure what you mean by “souls formed by the animating of dust “

Not sure what personal and non personal creation means.

I agree that Adam’s kids were not born with the sin nature because I don’t think it exists.

Many thanks for your interest in my article!

Not a problem: My explanation is based on the scientific data and Scripture. I am however keen to stress that, what I state, is in accord with the official Catholic teaching, as formulated in the declarations of the Councils, teaching of the Popes, and the Catechism.

Same thing as before: I want to stress that my explanation (based on evolutionary science and Scripture) is in accord with the doctrine of “original sin”, as proposed by the apostle Paul, the Fathers of the Church, the Councils, and the Popes.

Good thing!

More precisely: Yahweh transformed Sapiens animals into “human beings in the image of God” by endowing the animals with sense of moral and legal responsibility (this fits with the philosophical view of “substituting the animal life principle with the spiritual rational soul”).

Yes, one should not see the “spiritual soul” as “contained in the body”, but the other way around: the body is nothing other than a highly complex software (a hug bunch of algorithms) contained in the spiritual soul.

My position is: The story of humanity starts at the moment when Yahweh makes some Sapiens creatures to “human beings in the image of God”.

Subsequently and for some time, there are two types of Sapiens:

  • personal human beings in the image of God, called and ordered to eternal life, and

  • non-personal animals, which are not called and ordered to eternal life.

These two types of Sapiens NEVER lived together.

At the moment referred to in Genesis 9:3-6, at the end of the Flood, all the Sapiens on earth (several millions) were made by God to humankind in the image of God: Since this very moment each Sapiens creature is a personal human being in the image of God, called and ordered to eternal life.

If “Adam and Eve” had had children before they sinned, such children would have been born in the original state of holiness and righteousness (i.e.: without “original sin”).

According to the Genesis narrative Cain had clearly the propensity to sin, as he was very envious of his brother Abel, didn’t resist this jealousy, and indulged in murdering Abel. Such a description fits better to the assumption that Cain and Abel were born after Adam and Eve had sinned.

“human animal” = Sapiens creature that is not in the image of God (not ordered and called to eternal life, become like God).

“human person” = Sapiens creature in the image of God, called and ordered to become like God.

Human beings in the image of God (human persons) are formed at the moment a spiritual soul (called to become like God and accountable toward God) starts animating biological stuff (“dust”).

See above.

Adam’s kids born before Adam’s sin (if any), were born in the same original state of innocence of Adam, that is, without any propensity to sin. Adam’s kids born after Adam’s sin, were born with strong propensity to sin (like for instance Cain, as already said), and in this sense with a “sinful nature”:

After the sin of Adam and Eve, i.e.: the first human sin (not necessarily the first sin of the first human bearers), the propensity to sin is present in human beings, including children, and therefore they all are in need of redemption.

Well even if you say “ not a problem” it is in the sense that you believe scripture teaches original sin. I don’t. I don’t think the Bible teaches it at all. I don’t think the apostle teaches it at all. Accepting scripture as teaching original sin is a core component of your paper.

We are stating the same from different perspectives: You from the perspective of God, I from our human perspective in time.

In God’s mind creation of humankind, incarnation, and redemption are all part of the same plan that a hug number of human beings (“bodily beings”) become like God, i.e.: participants of God’s eternal divine life.

From our temporal perspective one can say that God would have become human even if humankind had not sinned, just to the aim of divinizing human bodies. In this temporal view of things one can say that sin comes first and “triggers” (so to speak) God’s plan of redemption.

“God’s foreknowledge” means that all possible worlds are contained in God’s mind, and we are free to choose in which branching we want to be. If humankind had not sinned, we would be in a parallel world to that in which we are now. But one way or another God’s plan is fulfilled.

Happy Easter and God bless to you and all the readers of the thread!

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Back in action. Thanks for your patience. You ask too many good questions to get everything in one post. Today was busy with family, but I’ll do my best to come back to the rest of your questions tomorrow. For the moment, I’ll concentrate on your questions about my “thought experiment” of God executing A&E and starting over with another first couple.

Yes, but with a couple of twists. Take the “best case” scenario: Many generations pass before the first sin occurs. Husband and wife pass their “original sin” along to their children, and now there are two humanities side-by-side – one evil and one good. All sorts of mischief comes from that idea.

Then there’s the complication of the tree of life. Assuming A&E (by whatever name) passed their probation and didn’t sin, would they have eventually died, or would they have eaten from the tree of life and lived forever? If the latter, which seems only fair, then you have a situation of immortal, morally innocent humans inside the garden co-existing with mortal, fallen humans expelled from the garden. Even setting aside the fantasy-novel aspects, the scenario is absurd. And on a practical level, any human being with an ounce of sense would assess the situation and quickly figure out the winning side of that equation. We don’t have too much trouble not stepping into a roaring furnace.

Let’s take the case of Cain. Suppose that A&E never sinned, but the first sin was Cain’s. In that case, a “propensity to sin” didn’t cause Abel’s murder. If envy didn’t yet exist, then envy couldn’t have caused Cain to sin. Raised by perfect parents in a perfect environment, with every need fulfilled, how would envy arise? Kierkegaard pondered the question and came to the conclusion that sin is absurd; like faith, it is a “leap.” Absent the propensity to sin, why would anyone choose to sin?

You chalked up Adam & Eve’s failure to dialogue with the devil. My question: Was Cain not tempted by the devil? Did Satan not ask to sift Peter like wheat?

Interpreters are generally agreed that the temptation of Eve is phenomenological. That is, every human sin – from the first to the last – follows that pattern. The “original sin” is a universal pattern, an archetypal sin.

If you interpret the snake in Gen. 3 as the devil, then the devil’s temptation is repeated in every individual’s sin. If you interpret the snake as “sinfulness” embodied, then the temptation the snake represents is present in every individual’s sinful choices, because selfishness is the very air we breathe. Original sin is our second nature.

Yes. I’ll try to unpack this and the rest tomorrow. Happy Easter!

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Genesis 1 speaks about “adam,” which is a collective noun meaning “humanity” or “humankind.” Collective nouns are plural, so I think it’s fair to say humanity = human population. If you’d like me to add “in the image of God” to the above statement, I’d be glad to do so: “the human population in the image of God was the result of a long process of evolution, cultural development, and ethical maturation…”

I agree, but likely not in the sense that you intended. Genesis 2-3 tells the story of the first morally culpable sin, but the characters’ names aren’t Adam and Eve; they are ha’adam (the man) and ha’issah (the woman). These function more like “titles” than names, so I interpret the man and the woman as archetypal symbols. They simultaneously represent the experience of all of humanity and of every individual human.

Since Gen. 2 tells of the creation of the man and the woman and their “sin” doesn’t occur until Gen. 3, it’s safe to say that time passed between one and the other. The first “image bearers” weren’t necessarily the first to sin.

It’s fairly straightforward. First, I should clarify what the image of God means. Some consider it a structural aspect of the human being, including concepts such as “reason” or the “rational soul.” Others understand the image as a “functional” calling or vocation to represent God in his earthly temple. Either way, both concepts require “normal” human development to fulfill their God-given potential.

We can say a newborn child is “made in the image of God,” but an infant isn’t capable of abstract thought, cannot speak, makes no moral judgments, has no knowledge of God, etc. Those capacities appear over time and depend upon brain, language, and moral development. The same was true of humanity writ large. In its infancy, humanity could be spoken of as “created in the image of God” and endowed with a vocation. But abstraction, modern language, and mature morality still required millennia of development before they achieved their full human potential. As I said earlier, “the human population in the image of God was the result of a long process of evolution, cultural development, and ethical maturation…” If Jesus had to “grow in wisdom and stature” before he took up his earthly calling, should not the same be true of all of us, including ha’adam and ha’issah?

The plan of redemption started before the foundation of the world, to paraphrase the apostle.

As to improbability, I would say the opposite: it was logical and expected. Given the fact of our evolutionary origins, we somehow had to progress from “innocent animal” to “guilty human.” Between “there” and “here,” a line had to be crossed. No matter where in history you draw that line, the human population eventually had to understand abstract thought and express those ideas in language. The question isn’t whether it happened, but how and when it happened.

What faculties were necessary for the “fall” to occur? They involved brain, language, and moral development. The first is biological, while the latter two are cultural. Together, they form a feedback loop. The same process is true of children. An infant is entirely ignorant. A toddler possesses first-order Theory of Mind, but so does a chimpanzee. A 5-yr-old has acquired the full grammar of his/her native language, but they yet don’t understand metaphorical thought. And if a child of that age is playing with a gun and kills a sibling, we don’t throw them in jail for murder. They don’t have the brain development to understand long-term consequences. The scripture recognizes that a child lacks “knowledge of good and evil” in Deut 1:39 and Isa 7:15–16. I’m simply saying the same was true of humanity. In the deep past, humans lacked moral knowledge, and at some point they acquired it. I don’t see anything improbable or illogical in that assertion.

If you want me to put a date on it, a lot of converging evidence leads me to pin it down between 75-65,000 years ago. The human population underwent a bottleneck around that time, which is why I mentioned a small population of 20-50,000 people. I have a peer-reviewed piece on the subject that goes into detail coming out shortly. I’ll link it when it finally appears (covid-related delays), or you can DM me with your email address for a pre-publication PDF. (The offer applies to anyone.)

As to the logic of a “first sinner” among a population, I couldn’t say. On the one hand, as soon as we conceive of an “ideal,” we realize we fall short. So the first person who thought of an abstract universal might be called the first “sinner.” On the other hand, a moral universal can’t exist without an abstract noun to express the concept to another person, and words are “invented” and shared in cultural contexts. There is no “private language.” I could argue either side, which usually just means both are true: sinfulness is both individual and cultural. The thought may have occurred to one person first, but it spread to everyone in a small population in short order.

I’ll try to come back to this tomorrow.

Sorry. I meant to return to this and forgot. If you’re asking when God began his “reclamation project” for humanity, I would point to the call of Abram.

It’s interesting that we have had the bible and have studied it for centuries and yet have missed the meaning of the original sin. The answer lies in the words the serpent said to the woman. When the serpent asked the woman, "what did God say about eating from the tree of knowledge? she replied, “not to eat of it, nor touch it or you will die.” The serpent corrected her by saying, "you shall not die, for the day you eat of it, you will be like God knowing good and evil.

This is a controversy and is the first part of the fruit of the tree of good and evil.

The woman sees that the fruit of knowledge is good for food, pleasing to the eye, and desirable in gaining wisdom, she then takes the fruit and eats it.

The controversy that the serpent introduced her to has made the woman conflicted, Who should she believe, God or the serpent? She resolves her dilemma by siding with the serpent thus she breaks the law. The teaching of the church says that Adam listened to the serpent, but scripture says otherwise.
Later when God confronted Adam and the woman for breaking the law, he tells the man that he listened to his wife ( not the serpent). Therefore the conversation lay between the man and the woman and it was that conversation that caused the man to rebel. Now we don’t know what was said, but, we know two things. The woman was now condemned for eating of the fruit of knowledge, while the man wasn’t, for he has yet to do so. So when the man takes the fruit and eats it, it is by his own free will that he does so. So why did he do it? The only possibility is, It’s because the man loved the woman and chooses to die with her then to live without her. This is the conflict that the controversy has placed on the man and the man chose to rebel and die with the woman, then to live without her. This is why the sin is placed on the man and not the woman for she broke the law through her innocence, while he did it in rebellion,
As I have pointed out before, the three parts of the fruit is, controversy, conflict and rebellion, and their effects play heavily in our history. Also note the players in this story. The bible states God planted two trees in the garden, the tree of life and the tree of knowledge of good and evil. God represents the good, for through his law he protects man and gives him long life. So the law is the tree of life that God planted in the garden. Remember, the law states, if you eat of the fruit of knowledge you shall die. So if you do not eat of the fruit of knowledge, you shall live. This means we have no idea how long man and his wife was in the world before they ate of the fruit of knowledge. This means that the serpent is the tree of knowledge of good and evil. When the serpent spoke to the woman, it was he who introduced the woman to controversy, and through that controversy rose conflict and rebellion. So the serpent was the tree on knowledge of evil. The law that God gave man was the tree of life. There is one thing that must be fixed. The serpent represents evil and God represents good, therefore the tree of knowledge is not good and evil, but good vs evil.

Even to this day, we all have these parts. This is why Cain killed Able, this is why Lucifer went against God, and this is why man cannot do the law. We cannot save ourselves because we cannot break away from these three parts of the fruit. Our marriages fail, our families break up , and we rebel against our governments. Jesus said," My Father and I are one. We accept that Jesus is God for the bible tells us he is. But what we miss is, those three parts of the fruit? He doesn’t have them. Jesus was born of woman, but he wasn’t born of man. In Genesis 3, God tells the woman that she will have a son and he will bruise the serpents head while the serpents will bruise his heal. Note, the man was not included in this conversation. This is why the Spirit is fully in him, for there is no controversy, conflict or rebellion between them. No controversy, no conflict and no rebellion. We say that we believe in Jesus and we follow Christ, but the truth is apparent. The Jewish nation rejected Jesus to the point of having him crucified on a cross. The Romans agreed to the crucifixion because Christ said he was the King of the Jews. Even the disciples of Christ walked away and went back to what they were doing after Jesus was put to death. It wasn’t till the women went to them and told them the stone had been rolled away and body of Christ was missing, did they believe when they went and saw an empty tomb. Thomas himself said, unless he sees the nail marks in Christ’s hands puts his finger in the holes, as well as place his hand in his side, he will not believe. Jesus then appeared to Thomas and commanded him to do that very thing. One thing no one talks about, but at the cross, it was only Pontius Pilot’s wife that came to Christ side and asked her husband not to hurt this good man.

We also see the effects of these three parts of the fruit of knowledge during the time the church of the way is being built. There was conflict between the Jewish leaders and the Apostles, and in the end the apostles were killed for their faith. Even inside the church itself, there was conflict. Should one still do the sacrifices for sin even if they believe in Jesus? What about the ten commandments and circumcision, or what day should we have the Sabbath? It was soon after the death of the Apostles, the church started to break up and go their own way. Some Christians went one way believing they were following the true path, while others went the other way, believing they were following the true path. These events remind me of when Moses went up the mountain to see God. Moses wasn’t long gone until the people went to Arron and asked him to make them new gods. Even in this day, we now have so many Christian denominations no new disciple can know which is which. Christianity has now become a matter of taste. I like this church because it gives me what I want. The funny thing is, it all doesn’t matter. When Christ returns, he will claim his church. This will be the real church. This church will never die but serve Christ forever. Everyone outside of Christ’s true church is lost. the grace that Christ has given us will be no more and Jesus will rule over the world with a rod of iron. We have no idea who will be apart of this church, but scripture states, those that have the Spirit of God in them, will be sealed to Christ. It goes on to say that by the fruits of the Spirit, you will know them. So it seems to me that this is our focus point. Jesus said, do not grieve the Spirit or quench the Spirit. The fruits of the Spirit is, goodness, kindness, love, grace, forgiveness, long suffering, and all others like these. Anything outside of these are not of the Spirit and we must repent of them. What is interesting to note is, even though the Apostles believed in Jesus and accepted his ways, there was still trouble in the church. This is because even though Jesus paved the way for our salvation, we are still apart of this world. This means, controversy, conflict and rebellion will plague us until we die and so we must fight against them. This is where free will comes into effect. When we are tempted, we must ask the Spirit for power to reject the temptation, for only through the Spirit can we overcome. The thing is, sometimes what we think of we call sin, and it isn’t, and sometimes what we think of isn’t sin and it is. To choose between one idea and another can be a difficult choice. I have this problem all the time and I can never be sure I have chosen the correct path. What comforts me is this; Jesus died for my sins and if the Lord is willing, he will raise me up.

Many thanks for addressing this objection, which allows me to stress something that apparently (and astonishingly) remains unnoticed:

If one understands “original sin” as “state with propensity to sin (anger, envy, lust, greed, hate, etc.)” and “state of being in need of redemption”, the teaching pervades the whole Bible. The first passages supporting this teaching, and in fact the very biblical foundation of it, are undoubtedly Genesis 3-4 : The narratives of the sin by Adam and Eve, and the sin by Cain.

Genesis 3-4 displays a clear difference between the way how Adam and Eve come to disobey God’s commandment, and the way how Cain follows the urge to murder Abel:

In the account of Adam and Eve, the snake astutely designs its question to lure innocent Eve into a deceitful dialogue: “Has God really said you must not eat from any of the trees in the garden?” (Genesis 3:1). Then the snake tempts Eve with these words: “You will not certainly die,” the serpent said to the woman. “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.” (Genesis 3:4-5)

The core of the temptation is the proposal to usurp God’s supremacy and mistrust God. And the fall initiates when Eve indulges in pondering this proposal. The covetousness of the fruit (concupiscence) appears only thereafter. The transition is from a state of total innocence to mistrusting God and rebellion.

I quote from my paper referred in your comment (Section 5):

“The way the temptation progresses unveils the structure of the primeval human psyche: Eve was endowed with spiritual force to master concupiscence to the extent that it had been silly on the part of the snake to try to seduce her by praising the sensual beauty of the forbidden fruits. Instead the snake astutely challenges Eve’s fidelity to God. However, as soon as Eve begins to doubt, the concupiscence emerges, and the woman by herself (without any insinuation on the part of the snake) sees that the tree is “good to eat”, “a delight to the eyes”, and “desirable”. Gordon Wenham brilliantly comments: “The woman’s covetousness is described in terminology that foreshadows the tenth commandment” (Wenham, Word Biblical Commentary: Genesis 1-15, 1987, p. 75).”

After their fall Adam and Eve are not immediately killed by God and doomed to hell. God gives them opportunity to repent and allows them to remain on earth, but “outside the garden”: suffering the effects of their sin and submitted to concupiscence, that is, propensity to sin engrained in their carnal condition.

By contrast, in the account of Cain and Abel, propensity to sin (in form of envy, anger, and hate) is present since the very beginning of the temptation, whereas “being like God”, reaching God’s supremacy, dos not appear in the narrative at all:

On the one hand, in Genesis 4:5 Cain is portrayed as being “very angry” (in the Bible often a prelude to homicidal acts). On the other hand, in Genesis 4:7 God attempts benevolently to provoke a change of heart in Cain: “ Why are you angry and why has your face fallen? Is there not forgiveness, if you do well? And if you do not well, sin is crouching at your door; its urge is for you, but you must rule over it.” (see Wenham 1987, p. 104-105). God’s words stress that Cain shares a strong passion, but can rule over it and find relief (“forgiveness”), not from the not-yet-perpetrated sin, but from jealousy, if he only wants to.

Interesting is the comparison between “its urge is for you” in Genesis 4:7, and “your urge will be to your husband, but he shall rule over you” in Genesis 3:16. The same word “urge” is used for a “sexual urge” that lures the woman to a slaving dependence in the state after the fall, and the “ urge to get rid of the brother” that will prompt Cain to murder Abel.

In Adam and Eve sin gives birth to the state of concupiscence; in Cain the state of concupiscence gives birth to sin .

This very teaching is magnificently summarized in the letter of St. James 1:15:

“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

Another quite relevant aspect in Genesis 4 is highlighted by the expression “couching at your door” . The strong propensity to sin growing in Cain’s heart is described like a wild beast on Cain’s doorstep looking to devour him. The comparison astonishingly supports the often promoted interpretation that the concupiscence referred to as a consequence of “original sin” consists in the selfish Darwinian tendencies enhanced by human intelligence and will. “There is virtually no known human behaviour that we call ‘sin’ that is not also found among nonhuman animals.” (Domning 2001) In this sense what is described in Genesis 4 is nothing other than the description of the human condition as it would result from Darwinian behavioral patterns responsible for evolution. Cain’s selfish jealousy is engrained in Cain’s evolved animality.

In summary, the narratives in Genesis 3 and 4 clearly support the following tenets:

  1. God created the first image bearers in “the state of original innocence”, endowed with special grace to offset propensities to sin coming from envy, lust, greed, anger, fear etc., and therefore they were not in need of redemption.

  2. By contrast after the sin of Adam and Eve, i.e.: the first human sin (not necessarily the first sin of the first human bearers), the propensity to sin is present in all human beings, including children, even before they themselves perpetrate a sin, and therefore they all are in need of redemption.

This teaching of the Old Testament is reinforced in the New Testament:

So for instance, the apostle Paul confirms tenet 2 in Romans 5:19

For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the One the many will be made righteous.

And in Romans 11:32 St. Paul enounces a principle which may be considered the reason of why God consents in extending the propensity to sin to the whole human kind (tenet 2):

For God has shut up all in disobedience, so that He may show mercy to all.

One could object that, if this is the case, God should have created Adam and Eve WITH propensity to sin (in contradiction to tenet 1 above). Nonetheless, as Christy very well states:

God’s initial plan was incarnation, not redemption. For this reason, God created the first image bearers free from any sinful propensity (anger, jealousy, envy, lust, etc.), so that “their choice to sin would be a move from total innocence to rebellion”, as in fact it was.

Finally, Hebrews 7 can be interpreted as backing tenet 1 above as well.

I fully agree with you:

“A situation of immortal, morally innocent humans inside the garden co-existing with mortal fallen humans expelled from the garden” is an absurd scenario; “two humanities side-by-side –one evil and one good” would provoke to all sorts of mischiefs.

I think this was God’s view as well, and for the sake of redeeming the sinners He decided:

  1. To take immediately the morally innocents who didn’t sin, into heaven, to enjoy eternal life. I think the description in Hebrews 7 fits perfectly such a character.

  2. To let on earth only mortal people in need of redemption. And for this reason after the first sin all people come into existence in “the state of need of redemption” (mistakenly called “original sin”), or in other words, the propensity to sin is present in all human beings, including children, even before they themselves perpetrate a sin.

If Cain’s sin had been the first human sin, Cain’s sin would not have been caused by envy, but would have been a sin like the sin of A&E reported in Genesis 3, that is, a sin initiated by mistrusting God and accomplished by consenting in usurping God’s supremacy and desiring “to be like God”.

I fully agree with Kierkegaard that sin is an absurd “leap”. Nonetheless, after the first sin, many sins result from urges engrained in the evolved human appetites and emotions like lust, greed, anger, deceit, jealousy, and even pride. In this sense, Cain’s sin in Genesis 4 emerges from the sinful tendency of envy, whereas in A&E’s sin in Genesis 3 such tendencies are absent and the sin emerges from mistrust of God and rebellion against God’s will.

Satan is more or less involved in arranging any temptation. However, after the first sin, he can use the complicity of passions we cannot fully control.

A&E were endowed by God with original grace to completely master the evolved animal passions and urges. Satan takes account of this fact to design his temptation to Eve, as the narrative in Genesis 3 shows: he does not entices envy or lust passions, but astutely deludes Eve to perceive God as an arbitrary ruler, mistrust him, and overlook that God is love.

I would rather say that after the first sin the universal pattern is that described in the letter of St. James 1:15:

“Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death.”

The temptation emerges from urges rooted in evolved animal emotions and passions. If we indulge in them, they lead us to rebellion against God’s law and the deathly delusion of being like God.

In this sense, after the first sin, the temptations follow the patterns of the temptations of Cain, David, Judas. But when the temptation gives birth to sin, then the full-grown sin is like that of A&E in Genesis 3.

I basically agree. However, one can distinguish two sorts of selfishness:

  • The Darwinian tendency to act selfishly “no matter the cost to others” we inherit through evolution. As such this tendency is not a sin we are guilty of, but “propensity to sin”, which we are free to override and are in principle able to do it with the help of grace. This kind of selfishness was NOT present in A&E, while it was present in Cain.

  • The selfishness as “full-grown sin”, which consists in distrusting that God is love and then consenting to usurp God’s primacy and power. This kind of selfishness accomplishes every individual’s sinful, since A&E’s sin.

“Original sin” in the sense of the state of propensity to sin and need of redemption is our second nature, but it was not the second nature of the first sinners (“Adam and Eve”) before their sin. I tend more and more to think that the difficulty about “original sin” is not so much accepting that we are born with bad tendencies engrained in our evolved animal behaviors, but that God endowed “Adam and Eve” with the grace to completely offset such tendencies.

That is all for today.

I have tried to give you and @SkovandOfMitaze elaborated answers and will very much appreciate your comments.

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I appreciate your answers and time as well. I guess ultimately I pulled out of the convo because it’s arguing from a premise that I don’t even believe in.

I don’t believe that the Bible teaches original sin. I think it’s a made up concept. So I also don’t believe that any research can attest to it because it’s not there.

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I think your claim is worthy to be discussed, as far as you agree to give reasons for it.

You have challenged me, and I have shown you that the Bible teaches “original sin”, as I intend it. If you have something to object to my rationale, please do it.

On the other hand, it may well be that “original sin” according to the concept you have made “it’s not there”.

So I dare to ask: What do you intend by “original sin”?

Thanks in advance for your clarification.

“Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” -Colossians 4:6

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