Not what I mean. We all are given two choices but everyone makes the same choice. I don’t believe this is predetermined. Why everyone makes the same choice is an interesting question for which I believe many possible answers have been proposed.
If we all are given two choices, and everyone freely makes the same choice, then everyone could make the same choice of NOT to sin.
So we are again led to the conclusion that if God truly created us with freedom of choice, then His omniscience also includes the history without sin, and His plan for this case.
I don’t have the impression of having written such a thing. What I insist is that we are created by God certainly imperfect but truly FREE. Therefore our imperfection does NOT doom us to sin, and even after sinning Redemption is possible thanks God’s mercy.
Since only God is perfect, all beings created by God are necessarily imperfect. However in case of beings endowed with free will (angels and humans) their imperfection does NOT doom them to sin. And for this reason they are responsible for their deeds toward God. Would our imperfection doom us to make a particular action, then this action could not be a sin for which we are accountable toward God.
Perhaps this last sentence of yours is “target zero” for our disagreement. You have couched it as relevant to a “particular” or specific action.
Whereas, I am looking at the all the particular possibilities as an inevitable “Class of Behaviors” - - that sin, in general, is unavoidable for a human or an angel…
Free Will cannot remedy us from the “class of sin” - - because, as you concede, all is imperfect compared to God.
So you are focusing on whether human is free to avoid this or that sin …
While I am focusing on the entire category of Sin … and nothing about humanity frees him from that, other than (in my view) a prompt death before we achieve the age of Moral Agency!
Let us start with angels:
God created a large number of them.
All angels were endowed with free will: A part of them sinned and another part didn’t sin.
Since all were equally free, it would very well have been possible that all of them didn’t sin.
Consequently this later possibility was also part of God’s omniscience.
Let us now consider humans:
Suppose God selected a group of Homo sapiens creatures and endowed them with free will. These were the first humans capable of Moral Agency.
Then three main scenarios are possible:
a) None of these first humans sinned.
b) Some of these first humans sinned and others not.
c) All of them sinned.
For each of these scenarios God had a plan in His omniscience.
Take for instance case b):
God could have decided to remove the sinners from the earth and let them join the fallen angels. However, as we know, He decided to give the sinners the possibility to atone.
Having on earth two groups of people, one of sinners in need of Redemption and another of righteous who didn’t need Redemption, wouldn’t have been fitting. Accordingly God took to heaven those who didn’t sin. In my view from Scripture one can deduce that Melchizedek was in that number.
Similarly God had conceived a plan for the scenarios a) and c).
Perhaps you will say I’m taking this out of context, and I certainly do not wish to be disrespectful, but this is the sort of statement that I fear can nudge an uncommitted Christian youth toward agnosticism. Literally at my mother’s knee, I was taught the prayer : Angel of God, my Guardian dear……" During my lifetime I have had several experiences that are most easily explained by some protective force that kept me from serious harm (like bleeding to death on a French meadow). My faith in the reality of God tells me that this almost impossible outcome (my survival) must have been (almost unbelievably) His will. But how did He accomplish it? Through the action of my Guardian Angel? Possibly. (That is what my Mom would think, and the incident was written up in a bestselling book “Where Angels Walk”) But why postulate an intermediary even though that might be the simplest ‘explanation’?
Changing the subject to: “How did Sin enter into this world?” The O.T. postulates that God first created spiritual beings, angels, who, led by Lucifer, disobeyed Him, were cast into Hell, and later tempted A & E to follow them in disobedience. This is a simple explanation for a very complex problem that was sufficient for the people at the time. But is it the Truth (with a capital ‘T’)? The authors may well have been inspired, but can we absolutely depend that what they wrote some 3,000 yrs ago to remain the most meaningful for us today? This must be kept in mind when contesting for the Minds of today’s youth. There is little use in proclaiming something as truthful unless it is also meaningful.
respectfully & prayerfully,
I’m not really sure where you are going with these 3 alternative plans of God. Perhaps you are trying to definitively make allowances for God to give humanity free will … without setting in stone the outcome. But is this the God of the Bible?
The O.T. God, interpreted by the New Testament, seems to be quite knowledgable of all of the future. So while he could have been equally prepared to employ any of the 3 scenarios you describe, I just don’t see the point of it. He knows which scenario is going to unfold.
And except for those few where God seems to be rather firm and unyielding in preventing them from choosing whatever they want to choose (for purposes of sacred or the profane)… God is perfectly able to employ the “Chess Master Posture” to get what he wants without violating anyone’s free will.
Again, I must offer the caveat that there looks like a good case for Yahweh to have selected with the exception of those, say, like Pharoah with Moses, who don’t seem to be able to choose differently - - or these individuals may have had the “Chess Master Posture” employed against them, but to use them as vessels of wrath, rather than righteousness.
Let us start with angels:
God created a large number of them.
In rereading my last post, I realize that, in trying to make it as short as possible, I probably mislead readers who haven’t followed my earlier posts. My objective is to make a cogent argument to the younger generation that, although science and the scientific method is the best way we humans have for discovering the truth about the material universe, the reality that will affect their lives also contains a spiritual component of even greater importance. To counter the New Atheist’s argument that the spiritual realm is NOT reality but merely a figment of human imagination, the brain’s mechanism to distract from the specter of inevitable death, we will be most effective if we stick as closely as possible to scientific methods.
Everyone agrees that a monotheist’s position begins with the assumption that there is a God who is responsible for the observable, material Universe which we can observe and measure. There is NO need to assemble scientific proof for His existence (what chutzpah!!!)–it’s axiomatic. Since we have not discovered a God who has a material existence, we must assume, without proof, that He is spiritual–that a spiritual realm actually exists. It turns out that, with these axioms, we can build a world view that is not only consistent with what science has currently explained, but does so in a more direct, simpler manner: i.e., follows Occam’s Rule.
So, in the search for Absolute Truth (with a capital ‘T’) we will find out that it probably exists only in the Mind of God. (That seems to be what Spinoza and Einstein believed.) Each of us must be satisfied with the truth (small ‘t’) that one’s mind can currently comprehend. In the matter of Angels, my Mom taught me as a child that I had a Guardian Angel. My mind at the age of four was not capable of comprehending a more complete truth than that. But at the age of 19 (and several times afterward) I have had experiences that are most easily explained by my having a G.A… So is it true? Perhaps as an over-simplification, yes.
However, when it comes to a discussion between intellectuals on the subject of Original Sins’s Transmission, I think it ineffective to begin with: "Let us start with angels: God created a large number of them." This is an interpretation of Scripture that was written for humans who had a rather primitive understanding of the Universe in which they lived. Is it True (caps ‘T’) that they were (are?) individual beings possessing free will? Or is it just the impersonal way God’s Will becomes evident to humanity? If you are making an argument to today’s youth, it may be inadvisable to begin with a statement that relies totally on the inerrancy of Scripture.
Antoine, it must seem as chutzpah of the first order for me to offer advice to a scholar who has spent a lifetime of study in this field. But with an admittedly limited experience with students at the high school and college level, I have seen some arguments that work and some that do not. As valuable as Scripture is as a guide to living a good life, it is possible to overemphasize its inerrancy. For sure, we both have the same objective in mind.
Thank you for this information since Nazism still lives.
good to see you are still here.
Tell me how you imagine a timeless person such as God to conceive a plan.
Why would God have decision points if he is timeless?
Are children innocent or are they sinners even if they do not have reached puberty / moral awareness. Jesus told us something about it.
God would have always known that for being consciously selfless you have to experience selfishness before, thus sin to be a necessity for being redeemed / healed in consciously becoming part of God again.
Mortality is not a punishment by God in need of atonement but the logical consequence of separating yourself from the father. He does not say that he will kill us for becoming a self but that as a matter of fact we will die. We just cannot die if we are part of the eternal God.
Once self determination was established it spreaded indeed via non-genetic transmission as the awareness of the self is intellectually propagated as an abstract concept humans are capable of handling.
Hope to have more time for this next month, prehaps via private message assuming that the threat gets closed inbetween.
Human beings are social beings. That is why the sin and alienation that entered humanity and the universe through one couple quickly spread through all humans. Our relational nature given by God is both a great strength and a great “weakness.” This might be seen as Adam chose to eat of the fruit in solidarity with his wife even though he know it was not right.
Also sin was part of humanity becoming self aware [Great Leap Forward?!,] so it is not all bad and probably part of what God expected, although not necessarily how God intended it to happen. God’s intention is that we repent of our sin, so we might receive forgiveness. It is only through the Christ event that humans are able to truly repent of their sin and receive forgiveness.
Law does not help if it deceives us into thinking we can repent and have a right relationship with God in our own strength.
[Antoine Suarez]…"[quote=“Relates, post:169, topic:35442”]
they (Nazis) 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”
This was new information to me also, Roger. And your admonition that Nazism still lives is pertinent, especially since we can now see how the concept of “chosen people” can so easily be distorted to convey the opposite meaning for which it was intended.
Roger, it is quite remarkable that you and I can look at the same evidence and draw from it almost opposite conclusions–yours with heavy reliance on interpretation of Scripture and mine depending more on the scientific method and Occam’s Razor. I readily admit that your approach has much to commend it (especially to the BioLogos audience), and may, indeed, be closer to the Truth than mine. Mine just makes more sense to me, and I just pray that it does not endanger my immortal soul.
I interpret the evidence for the Great Leap Forward as the point in the history when Homo sapiens acquired a conscience, and free will and consequently the possibility of sinning. Through the acquisition of language, it encouraged social networks on a much broader basis than simple kinship. (Much earlier evolution had proved with insects etc. the advantages of acting as a society rather than as an individual)
So, it appears, that you consider the GLF as a part of Original Sin, whereas I see it as a gift, as Original Blessing. I believe “the jury is still out” on the concept of Original Blessing, but it certainly was not met with open arms by the Roman Catholic church. I guess that being a maverick just suits my nature.
it is odd that the word Naziism is so close to the mark of what it is about that you might be forgiven for misspelling Narcissism. Considering that both are about the obsession of the value of the self and lack of empathy for others. In allowing for conscious life and love you have to allow for getting lost in their self. Only that Naziism is derived form the spoof name for Ignazius, representing the village idiot out of the Bavarian Hinterland.
The issue with becoming the chosen people is that it allows to be a projected self outside the individual which gives the people so bound the power that exceeds the individual self. Jesus was the point to spell out to the jews that it was to love thy neighbour like thyself was that bit that they struggle with to this day and every other society does in the light of the migration crisis. It is the failure of evolutionists to understand that the progress of evolution comes from the ability to love / successfully integrate the different gene that gives rise to the new, ideally the integration of your enemy, e.g. resource competitor.
I am pleased to know this information was of interest, and thank you for the thoughtful comments.
German Nationalsocialism is still a poor understood ideology.
In this context it is important to study the link between the criticism to the Old Testament (by Philosophers like Spinoza, Voltaire and Kant, among others) and the demolition of the Jewish Religion in Germany in the second half of 19th century and the beginning of 20th.
Please be more specific about the criticism of the philosophers of Judaism.
I do understand that the thought of Spinoza, who was Jewish, was rejected by the synagogue because it said that God was not Personal.
I would think that this criticism would apply to Christianity also.
I sincerely appreciate your advice, and confirm what you say regarding today’y youth and students: “we both have the same objective in mind.”
My main aim is to present a coherent view about the relationship between free will and sin on the basis of the teaching of Jesus Christ. On the other hand the New Testament is quite explicit regarding the existence of angels and their sin. In my view, this content of Scripture is helpful to better understand the question of sin at the origin of humanity too.
Angels were the first beings God created endowed with free will. They were obviously less perfect than God, but unbelievable much more perfect than we humans are. In particular as pure spirits they don’t have any selfish evolutionary mechanism.
The important point is that although they were all imperfect, not all sinned. In other words, the fact of being imperfect (with relation to God) does not suffice for a free creature to sin (against God).
Therefore it had been also possible that no angel sinned. And for this possibility God had also conceived a plan in His omniscience.
From God’s perspective all the 3 scenarios are equivalent since in the end His aim is fulfilled. In other words, God’s aim defines what is “knowledgeable” (worthy of being known) in each scenario.
Which scenario is going to unfold, we freely select:
If I decide to love God, then I will be known by God and have a name for ever.
If I decide to sin against God, then I freely place myself outside God’s knowledge: I make me unknown to God and remain without name for ever.
A) the phrase I highlight above is even more correct if I remove “then I freely place myself outside of God’s knowledge: i make me unknown to God…”
Leaving us with: “I remain without [a] name forever”
B) i reject your use of the phrase in my (A) because the Chess Master Scenario makes that phrase unnecessary.
Your query would require an extended answer. In this posting I provide a summary about Kant’s key role in this issue, which can be further discussed and referenced if desired. Outgoing from Kant in a next posting I will briefly outline Spinoza’s influence and the role of Voltaire.
Kant’s demolition of the Jewish religion.
In his work Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason (Book Three, Division Two -). Immanuel Kant wrote:
“Judaism is really not a religion at all but merely a union of a number of people who, since they belonged to a particular stock, formed themselves into a commonwealth under purely political laws, and not into a church; […] That this political organization has a theocracy as its basis […], and that therefore the name of God, who after all is here merely an earthly regent making absolutely no claims upon, and no appeals to, conscience, is respected -this does not make it a religious organization.[…] Furthermore, since no religion can be conceived of which involves no belief in a future life, Judaism, which, when taken in its purity is seen to lack this belief, is not a religious faith at all.” […Judaism is conceived] “as actually to exclude from its communion the entire human race, on the ground that it was a special people chosen by God for Himself -[an exclusiveness] which showed enmity toward all other peoples and which, therefore, evoked the enmity of all”.
Here we find those conceptions of Yahweh as “the false God”, and “the hatred of other peoples” as essential characteristics of Judaism”, which justified the anti-Semitism for generations of philosophers and theologians.
In his Anthropology from a Pragmatic Point of View (Note to §44) Kant describes the Jews as a “nation of cheaters”, a nation of merchants “the great majority of whom, bound by an ancient superstition that is recognized by the State they live in, seek no civil dignity and try to make up for this loss by the advantage of duping the people among whom they find refuge, and even one another. The situation could not be otherwise, given a whole nation of merchants, as non-productive members of society (for example, the Jews in Poland).” Otto Weininger, who can be considered an efficient propagator of the dehumanisation of the Jews, refers to this Note in the Anthropology and claims “Kant has doubtless been the sharpest anti-Semite of all.”
Moreover, Kant repeatedly praised in several works “the pure moral religion, with the abandonment of all teachings of the Old Law” as the “the euthanasia of Judaism”. Leon Poliakov has called this notion “the metaphysical form of the cry ‘Death to the Jews’”, and considers it the sign of Kant’s “deep rooted contempt” for them. Even if one accepts that Poliakov exaggerates somewhat, he seems right in that Kant defines “natural religion” as Christianity “purified” from “the Revelation of Mount Sinai”, and declares that the Jewish faith “is not even a natural religion but paganism”, suspecting that the Jews ever had “a public pure moral religious instruction”.
In any case, Kant’s claims on Judaism are more than a repetition of prejudices and stereotypes. They build up a well-reflected criticism, which radically demolishes Yahweh and the Jewish religion.
Certainly Kant was friendly towards the philosophers of the Haskala (the Jewish Enlightenment). Between Kant and Moses Mendelssohn for example there was reciprocal esteem and inspiration. However, one should not overlook the fact that it was Kant who ruined Mendelssohn’s project for a symbiosis between Judaism and the Enlightenment. Yirmiyahu Yovel points out that “in Religion within the Boundaries of Mere Reason Kant uses Mendelssohn’s work Jerusalem against the intention of its author, stating that originally Judaism is no religion, but only a body of political rules without any moral and general-reasonable content. Thereby, after Mendelssohn’s death and in a very unfair manner, Kant devastated also the Jewish part of Mendelssohn’s project.” And as a consequence Mendelssohn’s highly original contribution to the proofs of the existence of God in Morgenstunden did not receive the attention it deserves.
I do not wish to be misunderstood. I am not stating that Kant was the same kind of anti-Semite as Theodor Fritsch, or even as his admirer Otto Weininger. Kant was a promoter of human rights and has the merit of reckoning moral law among the foundations of philosophy; in no ways was he a racist, even though “race” is a rather central category of his Anthropology. What I am stressing is that it was possible to make of the Jews in Germany a foreign and enemy race, because Judaism was not granted the status of a religious faith. And in demoting Judaism as a religion, Kant’s ideas played a decisive role. These were further developed and propagated by his fellow philosopher Fichte, and were received by theologians like Schleiermacher and Lagarde among many others. Theodor Fritsch propagated Lagarde’s view that “the Mosaic law, and the embittering pride it conveys, preserves the Jews as a foreign race.” Fritsch’s perverse achievement was to make Judaism reachable to the racist dialectic, and the “völkisch” ideology became a practical and politically efficient anti-Semitism.