A theological-biological explanation of “the original sin’s transmission”

St. R: I keep more than one helmet handy!

A fascinating aspect of Heiser’s work is that – as he happily admits – he never came up with anything new, he just pulled together things scholars have been learning for at least fifty years and organized it in a way that ordinary people can understand it – while still pushing the envelope for scholars. Listening to his presentations often makes me wish I’d stayed in grad school for a PhD.

A solid argument can be made that this view of “an exacting, sin-counting, punishing God” arose due to an existing culture that leaned on “bad” and guilt – the Latin West. The East never got that view.

There’s a big reason I despised the fundy preachers who came on campus to preach ‘fire and brimstone’ and try to scare people to faith, and cut in and stole their audiences when I got an opening.

Exactly the point Martin Luther made! He insisted that the milking woman with her bucket could be as much a saint as an abbot in a monastery.

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Thanks for this comment Marvin that gives me opportunity to improve my formulations.

My explanation rests on the following main assumption:

When God decides to create us humans, God’s primary intention is to give us bliss, immortality, and divinity, if we freely decide to love God, or (paraphrasing you) if we accept to lose the own self for Jesus self.

Nonetheless, by making us free, God has also to ponder the possibility that we sin (by wanting to become like God without God’s help), and consequently has to decide how to meet such a case. The fact that we are on earth demonstrates that when God decided to create us, God mercifully decided also to give us the opportunity to repent and reach salvation, i.e.: eternal life and happiness.

The important point here is that letting humans on earth after sin as if nothing had happened would only have stimulated us to sin even more, rather than move us to ask God for forgiveness and accept God’s love.

So God decided to let us on earth in our present state, where we experience suffering, death, and tendency to sin, and thereby realize that we need God’s help to reach eternal happiness.

Therefore, by prompting us to sin, it is the devil that wants primarily to separate us from God and submit us to suffering (as you correctly state). But God transforms this submission in a path to salvation by sending his Son to become flesh and die on the cross: God drinks the cup of suffering in front of us to show us, that this cup is not poisoned! Or, as you very well state: “Jesus has shown us, if you are one with God you can overcome the worst suffering of all”.

In conclusion, the most real fact, and the foundation of all reality is

God’s decision (before the foundation of the world) to create us humans free and order us to share eternal life and happiness,

decision that gets along with

God’s decision (before the foundation of the world) that the Word (God’s Son) becomes flesh,

and with God’s decision (before the foundation of the world) to make Jesus Christ (God’s Son) sin for us and offer him on the cross to save us from our sins.

I would be thankful to know whether you may agree to this conclusion.

My strong feeling is that “the way you see it” leads to my “theological-biological explanation” at the end of the day:

Happy new year to you and all the readers too!

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I agree in principle but would like to stress the importance of distinguishing the two following concepts:

  • “Original sin” as the first of all human sins, i.e.: and act done by a human being because he “wants to be like God as being in ultimate authority of his self”.

  • “The state of original sin” as the state of humankind on earth after the first of all human sins.

Do you agree to this distinction?

If we’re attempting to speculate on the physical-historical garden of Eden, I think we need to consider a couple things:

God is not bound by time nor is he by “reality”. Reality and time are bound to him.

When we were “cast out of the garden” it is entirely possible that God then changed the past as well as the present, thus fully changing the fundamental nature of the reality that we were to live in.

The Garden of Eden then, need not have existed on Earth in a historical sense, on our fallen timeline, so to speak.

In other words, Eden likely never existed in the spacetime in which we currently inhabit, except in memory of Adam and Eve.

Does this perhaps explain the apparent differences between the creation stories given in Genesis 1 and 2?

This is all speculation, but maybe look at it from a different perspective, God is not limited to one timeline, he may in his power effectively change the past as well as the future, as all are spread out before him like a scroll.

In this way Jesus atones for all from all time and for all time.

Incidentally this is a neat thought about Providence, responding to our prayers in the present, God could “alter” the past and and the skeptic may say “it’s only cause and effect” or the Calvinists may say “it’s all predetermined” when in fact nothing is unchanging except God himself.

Ps. This is post #666 so take it with a grain of salt.



Oh for goodness sake! The Garden of Eden is a physical impossibility for this world. You may as well decide it was on another planet which is why we can’t go back there.

Eden is a myth. It is a fantasy. An unreal world where humans are pets with no cognisance.

The moment we gained moral understanding we were automatically excluded from this sort of setup. And we can’t go back without a frontal lobotomy.
This whole notion of identifying Eden is just beyond belief.


Not really – nothing says that a specific piece of Earth was nicely organized for humans to live in isn’t possible.

Wow – you have an overactive imagination here. Try actually reading the scripture – if anything, humans had more cognisance. What they didn’t have was experience.

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5“For God knows that in the day you eat of it, your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

IOW they didn’t have that ability. They were Naive, innocent, and gormless.


Magnificent! In this we find definitely common ground

This is an interesting proposal that deserves further detailed discussion.

To this aim, I would like to understand well what do you mean by the following statements:

I am especially intrigued by your “except in memory of Adam and Eve”.
Could you please expand and clarify?

As said, this seems to me highly interesting speculation that deserves to be discussed in depth.

You claim:

My questions:

  1. How does “the garden” (where humans were living before they went cast out of) relate to the evolving universe and animal world described by today’s science?

  2. When we humans were “cast out of the garden”, was “the reality” we went cast into, the animal world described by today’s science?

Your answers to these questions are important in order we can engage into a profitable discussion.

We look forward to them!

So you think that the garden was real. That God created a magical tree of knowledge and did not want Adam to eat from it. So God wanted Adam to have dominion without the ability to perform it. Adam steals the knowledge and God could not prevent it… God then inflicts pain in child birth and causes weeds to grow. And there is a fiery sword somewhere blocking our entrance that no one has ever seen blocking away another magical tree with eternal life powers.

Yeah, right!

Eden is impossible for sentient man.

And the world was made as it is, with death being a vital element without which the world would either overpopulate or starve depending on which way you look at it. Natural death is not a result of sin.

There is no natural or other transmission or cause of sin. Sin is disobedience to God and is purely voluntary. In theory we could resist, but in practice it is virtually impossible. Whatever, a person’s sin is of their own doing. You cannot inherit sin.


Your conclusion does not follow from the premise – the text doesn’t say what God wanted them to have, just that He prohibited one way of getting it.

That also doesn’t follow from the premises. Even some Jewish commentators have suggested that weeds sprouting up was just an attribute of being outsie the Garden.

If you’ve actually read Genesis, there would be no reason to expect that anyone would have seen it!


Your answers indicate ambivalence to scripture. Either you take what it says or you don’t.

If God said do not eat, it means that He did not want the result. And the following verses confirm it.

Then the LORD God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of Us, knowing good and evil. And now, lest he reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever…”

IOW the first tree had a specific purpose which had now been fulfilled. There is no reason at all to think that God would use a different method to imbue knowledge.

Perhaps the idea that God would withhold intelligence is uncomfortable for you?

The point is actually that it makes no sense for God to do such a thing.

IOW the premise of the story is false. If God gave us the intelligence we would not have to steal it so the whole thing fails.


I would agree with that. A weed is a plant out of place according to our purpose, and they were not out of place until we (mankind) wanted to plant a field. Same with thorns. They protect the plant, and do not prick the skin until the skin is there to prick.

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No, it doesn’t – it only means He did not want the result yet.

An example would be when a mother tells her kids to “stay out of the frosting!” because the frosting will be on the cake they will get later. She wants them to have the frosting, she just doesn’t want them to have it yet.

A better translation would be, “… like one of Us, experiencing good and evil”.

No, the first tree’s purpose had been contradicted.

There is nothing in the text that suggests that intelligence was even involved. You’re just making things up.

Here’s another illustration: runners come to the starting line and the starter says not to run. That doesn’t mean he is barring them from the race, it means wait for the signal. When a runner starts ahead of the signal, he gets disqualified – not because he did something he was planned to do but because he violated the rule.

Could you please describe which particular effects happened when God “changed the past as well as the present, thus fully changing the fundamental nature of reality that we were to live in”?

I dare to insist asking because I assume you were serious about your post and did not intend it as a joke.

Although before passing away Dale reacted to your post humorously, likely with his last comment
in this forum:

I take this opportunity to remember Dale and thank him for all his great contributions to this thread!

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In awaiting for your answers, I try to understand your claims.

It looks like you are proposing the following explanation:

Before their transgression (the Fall) Adam and Eve lived in a realm (“the Garden of Eden”) that, although real, it was different from “the spacetime in which we currently inhabit”.

In this “Garden of Eden” there was no decay: neither illness, nor aging, nor death, nor selfish instincts.

At the very moment Adam and Eve sinned “our fallen timeline” started: The reality of Eden was changed in the fallen reality of Earth characterized by decay, where we are submitted to illness, death, and concupiscence: This is the reality in which we currently inhabit, and where no evidence of Eden can be found. We know about Eden only through the transmitted memory of Adam and Eve (i.e.: the revealed Genesis narrative).

Please tell us if I am correctly interpreting your proposal. Thanks in advance!

I have answered:

In absence of any comment, I assume you agree that I interpret you correctly and dare to further elaborate:

According to the available scientific evidence we have to admit that “the fallen reality in which we currently inhabit” started with the Big-Bang about 14 billion years ago.

The question then arises: The reality of Eden (before it was changed in the current “fallen reality”), when did it start?

There are two possible answers:

  1. The world started with the creation of Adam and Eve (or short before). And when they sinned, then it was changed into the presently fallen reality we live in, i.e. the world as if it had started with the Big Bang.

  2. The world other than humanity was the same before and after the Fall. However, before the Fall human beings were endowed with a particular gift (“original grace”) that made them immune to illness, death, and concupiscence. After the first sin they lost this gift and fall into the state we are now.

The solution 1 entails that for Adam and Eve the extra-human reality was different before and after the fall: Before the fall the whole creation (Eden) was not submitted to decay.

By contrast, the solution 2 entails no difference regarding extra-human reality; the fall affected only the human condition.

On the basis of the evidence we can have, both solutions are indistinguishable. And for all practical purposes (be they scientific or salvific) are equivalent. However, solution 2 is the simplest one: this is the theological-biological explanation I propose.