Dr. Collins, how did we become sinners deserving of Gods wrath?

The Lord said “but from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” (Genesis 2:17)

Sin is missing the mark, the target being God’s glory (Romans 3:23).

Is it your belief that when Adam disobeyed God, he didn’t “miss the mark”? Are there some disobedience which is “missing the mark” and others that are not?
Or is it your belief that when Adam sinned, he still met the target of God’s glory as per Romans 3:23?

The final issue is, did Adam disobey God?
But the better question is, “WAIT, you believe there was an Adam and Eve?”

I don’t think the Neanderthals were the ones involved with the genesis story. I imagine it was sapiens.

Well the Neanderthals went extinct well before the law was written. So what I said was that until the law was written, there was no accountability to sin.

If God did reach out to them, it’s unknown to us, because we have no writing of it.

There are plenty of people in here who believes in a literal Adam and Eve. However, they believe they were used as characters for a mythological tale. Genesis 1-11 is not written as a biographical historical narrative. It’s a historical fiction like Esther and Jonah.

Many in here also believe that there was not a literal Adam and Eve. BioLogos is not a cult. There is a wide range of beliefs among Christians who also believe in evolution and science in general.

It doesn’t mean what you think it does. That Psalm implicitly juxtaposes wicked with righteous. The wicked only makes sense when being contrasted with those who are good— those who must be entwined to the womb and never go astray, speaking truths. That doesn’t teach original sin to me.

The other one is a Psalm of David after he committed adultery. Clearly he was distraught and this is the language of despair and self-loathing. In no sense does it teach original sin for all people. Proof-text hunting Psalms is about as eisegetical as you can get.

The serious passages occurs in the Pauline corpus. You cited Romans 5.

5:12 and 5:19 have a little bit of friction to me. 5:12 makes it clear that death comes to all men because all men sin (not because one man sinned). But in 5:19 Paul seems to have believed “Adam’s disobedience has placed the mass of humanity in a condition of estrangement from God.” NJBC. We were not considered sinners, we were made to be sinners.

So what, on the Cross God had to undo the sticky situation he made granted the doings of a mythological character? I’d rather view myself as guilty for my own sins. I’d also rather understand Paul as making sense of the Cross and person of Jesus from within his culture rather than supposing he has some special knowledge about the historicity of the garden story. He ties Jesus into the beginning of human history as his culture understands it. The Cross is the culmination of all history. It’s everything.



Psalm 58:1-6
New American Standard Bible
Prayer for the Punishment of the Wicked.

For the music director; set to Al-tashheth. A Mikhtam of David.

58 Do you indeed speak righteousness, you gods?
Do you judge fairly, you sons of mankind?
2 No, in heart you practice injustice;
On earth you clear a way for the violence of your hands.
3 The wicked have turned away from the womb;
These who speak lies go astray from birth.
4 They have venom like the venom of a serpent;
Like a deaf cobra that stops up its ear,
5 So that it does not hear the voice of charmers,
Or a skillful caster of spells.
6 God, shatter their teeth in their mouth;
Break out the fangs of the young lions, Lord.

The problem with that is again the problem literalist have. They get something that’s clearly poetic in nature, isolate it from the surrounding verses, and force a false narrative onto it.

It’s not about original sin. No where in the entire Bible is there talk of original sin. Original sin is a concept that requires a basic scientific rejection.

It’s also not biblically sound.

  1. Adam was a man just like us. He did not have a different flesh, different passions, or a brain thst functioned differently. He was tempted and failed just like everyone but Jesus. He was able to be tempted, just like we are. Otherwise, he would not have been able to be tempted and had a super magical flesh and heart. But he did not .

  2. You don’t read anywjere in the Bible of anyone being guilty of a others sin. Jesus sctuslly repeatedly says you’re not guilty of the sins of your fathers. The only sin we are guilty of are our own.

  3. I already showed the one verse where it says, sin has always existed, but there was no accountability to it before there was a law. Before God drew a line in the sand, there was no accountability. Eating from a tree is not evil, unless God says don’t do it. Likewise, a baby is not guilty of sin because a baby can’t choose right or wrong.

Isaiah 7:15-16
New American Standard Bible
15 He will eat curds and honey at the time He knows enough to refuse evil and choose good. 16 For before the boy knows enough to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings you dread will be abandoned.

Now we must becareful how to interpret that verse.

Many people wrong interpret it as meaning “ when a kid can eat honey he’s old enough to go to hell”. That’s not what it’s saying. It’s saying this specific child will l know enough and will eat curds and honey as a specific event unfolds.

But we can also apply it. It’s application is that there is a point when someone can’t choose good or
Evil and when they can’t choose it, they are simply not accountable to it because they did not commit it.

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You asked this question (in the title) in the other thread, but made no reply to the answers given. If you really want to engage Francis Collins then I suggest you read his book. What he has to say is in that book. I read the book and gave my own commentary here. It doesn’t follow that he is interested in the questions you asked. I was interested so I gave my answers in the other thread.

I can address your additional questions in this OP as well.

You cannot presume that Francis Collins believes that human beings are born as sinners. The Bible does not say any such thing and so large portions of Christianity do not buy into that theology of men either. I certainly do not. We are sinners because of the choices we make and what we do, not because we are born. That is only a lame attempt to avoid responsibility. It is the opposite of repentance.

AND the majority of Christianity certainly does not believe that babies are deserving of eternal punishment. That is a sick belief by a small minority. In fact, I think this is a belief we can attribute to the devil – something that the devil would teach. I feel that there are many who call themselves Xtian who have effectively become devil worshippers, because the descriptions of the god they worship sound so much more like a description of the “god of this world” than a description of Jesus.

By our own choice. It is we who are responsible and nobody else.

I think there are many who have deluded themselves that they can speak for Jesus who lie a lot.

And he could also say that he doesn’t know and your question does not interest him. What would you conclude from such an answer? Are you a Gnostic who believes in a gospel of salvation by knowledge – by knowing and believing in a set of dogmas? Jesus and Paul taught a different gospel, one of salvation by the grace of God.

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Actually, according to Romans 2, those who did not have “law” had “The Law” (the Mosaic law) written in their hearts - Gentiles who did not have “law” were yet accountable to God, and were judged by God because of their conscience. Romans 5 also says that yet death reigned from Adam to Moses - before The Law was written.

If the Genesis account is a mythical tale, how could there be a literal Adam and Eve? Or do people mean “literally inside my imagination” and not “literal in a historical sense”?

Yes. I also answered that.

Before there was a law, what law was wrote on people’s hearts?

Maybe you can give a in depth explanation on what is the law?

I’m not sure sure how you came to the conclusion that a mythological tale can’t include real people or real events.

Revelation is a “ end times myth”. Yet it contains real people and events in it.

It’s a myth just like so many other myths are centered around creation events or annihilation events.

I don’t see in Psalm 58 concerning the righteous “never going astray, speaking truths in the womb.”

Help me understand what you’re saying here, if I may ask. Are you saying that David was “so distraught” that he was speaking hyperbole that wasn’t true, he was making stuff up?

However, Romans 5:12 does begin with “Therefore, just as through ONE man sin entered into the world…”

Also, the Holy Spirit through Paul also wrote in Romans 5:14, “Nevertheless death reigned from ADAM until Moses…”
If this isn’t true, then perhaps this was a scribal error, or intentionally added?

But you wrote “Paul seemed to believe” - but is not Scripture have as its final Author the Holy Spirit? In other words, Paul wrote with no error, he didn’t make stuff up, he was guided by the Holy Spirit in the writing of Scripture? Is not the Bible God’s word?

You also wrote: “I’d also rather understand Paul as making sense of the Cross and person of Jesus from within his culture.”
So, then, Paul was perhaps accurate in his doctrine and understanding in the context o the Jewish people and only them, but not accurate concerning the Gentiles?
So, perhaps he should not have been the Apostle to the Gentiles, since he was wrong in his doctrine?

I think you misunderstand “original sin.” Mankind is born sinners because we’re genetical offspring of Adam, who was the first sinner.

Please read Romans 5, and in particular verse 12.

Also, God did draw a line in the sand for those without ‘written law’, its found in Romans 2:12-16.
Again, people who do not have “law” have “The Law” (the Mosaic law) written in their hearts - they are accountable, since their conscience “is a law to themselves, bearing witness and their thoughts alternately accusing or else defending them, on the day when, according to my gospel, God will judge the secrets of men through Christ Jesus.”

Now, the Lord Jesus, when quoting Scripture to the Pharisees - did Jesus not treat the verses He quoted as literal?
If you do not begin with a literal position when interpreting Scripture, as the Lord Jesus did, then the virgin birth is not literal? His going to the cross is not literal? His rising from the dead is not literal?

So when Romans 5:14 says “Nevertheless death reigned from Adam to Moses…”
Is it your belief that this was somehow inserted into the Greek text?

Romans 5:19 “For as through the one man’s disobedience the many were MADE sinners…”
Perhaps a scribal error here? How do you understand this verse?

So, a true saving faith is void of correct knowledge?

So, when the Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees “If you do not believe EGO EIMEE (“I - I AM”), you will perish in your sins” (John 8:24)…
Perhaps Jesus was wrong then?

If a person rejects that Jesus died for their sins as a Substitute and Ransom, that person could still come to a saving faith in Christ resulting in their justification and regeneration?

When the Lord Jesus said in Luke 18 that it was the tax collector who went home justified and not the Pharisee, was Jesus wrong?

I’ll go ahead and answer: if the substrate of their faith is wrong, if they flatly reject Jesus is fully Jehovah, if they reject Jesus died for their sins, if they trust in their “good works” so-called instead of approaching God, “Lord, forgive me a sinner!” - then that faith was not a saving faith that did not result in their justification before God.

Correct knowledge is important.

“The Law” is shown in Romans 3:21 - it’s the Mosaic law, the law of Moses, the Torah, as distinct from the Prophets.
Romans 2: 26 fine tunes it to the 10 commandments, since The Law included circumcision.

“law” (not “The Law”) is defined in Romans 2:6 through 10. It is the totality of God’s ordinances, starting with Moses, written by the Law Giver, the Judge, who will judge all according to their works (although their works have to be perfect, like God, to achieve eternal life, which is impossible, hence the need of a Savior).
Paul shows the relation of “law” and “The Law” in Romans 7:7

But if that 'myth tale" included the names of real people, but actually was not a true historical account, then would it not be a lie, since that “myth” is lying about true people because those events never occured?

In Luke 16, Jesus talks about the rich man in a place of fire called ‘Torment,’ and the rich man sees Abraham and Lazarus in ‘Abraham’s bosom.’
If this account is not true, is a myth, but Jesus used real names of real people, then wouldn’t this be a lie?
When Abraham spoke to the rich man in Torment in Luke 16, but actually Abraham never did talk to the rich man historically, then this account is false, a lie about Abraham, which means Jesus was wrong, misled or lied? Which means Jesus is not God?

It is my belief that death reigned from Adam to Moses. This says absolutely NOTHING about human beings being born as sinners or babies deserving eternal punishment. I suggest you try again with a more sensible question.

I understand the verse by reading the entire chapter. Here are some highlights

Romans 5:12 Therefore as sin came into the world through one man and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all men sinned.

Romans 5:18 Then as one man’s trespass led to condemnation for all men, so one man’s act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men.

Do you believe that all men are acquitted? Klax and universalists may believe this, but I doubt that you believe this any more than I do. Just as we have to repent before we are acquitted, so also do we have to sin before we are condemned. What Adam did brought the fall of all mankind – first by severing the relationship we had with the creator, and secondly by introducing the progressive degenerative spiritual illness called sin, self-destructive habits which tear down our free will and destroys one by one everything of value within us. It is not that we are all the same but that sin will drag us down into corruption without the intervention of God.

In this way do I understand Romans 5:12-21 as you requested me to explain.

Can a person incapable of understanding any of those things be saved? Yes they can. Salvation is by the grace of God. Your dogma will not save you. Your knowledge will not save you any more than my knowledge will save me. Our study of the scriptures will not save us. Jesus said in John 5:39 “You search the scriptures, because you think that in them you have eternal life; and it is they that bear witness to me; 40 yet you refuse to come to me that you may have life.”

No more than Jesus was wrong when He said that Peter would deny Him three times before the cock crows. These Pharisees did indeed perish in their sins just as He said they would. But no you cannot use this to turn the gospel of grace taught by Jesus and Paul on its head.

Indeed, correct knowledge saves lives. That is why we refuse the lies of creationists and embrace the discoveries of science. But will any of this knowledge save us from our sins? No it will not.


I certainly went on the counter-offensive Charles, with all the mordant, trenchant tools in my kit, like Jesus but not as harsh by a country mile, but that’s played out now that Dr. Collins honour is restored.

Now for the Chinese whispers of Hebrew to Aramaic to Greek to English.

The history of the translation ‘wrath of God’ is a fascinating epistemological and phenomenological one I’m sure you’ll agree.

Why were the words ‘wrath’ and ‘anger’ chosen? Throughout? From the array of nuanced original Hebrew (and its Canaanite relative Aramaic) and Greek?

From my friend Steve Chalke’s essential and highly acclaimed The Lost Message of Paul:

[The] two leading Greek words which are translated into English as wrath or anger are thumos (θυμός) and orge (ὀργή). Both have been regularly read as articulating the heat of God’s anger against human sin as well as those who commit it. It is often presented as fact that thumos speaks of God’s wrath poured out in the heat of the moment, whereas orge has more to do with God’s considered and ongoing angry response to our sin. So, for instance, Strong’s Concordance confidently states that orge can be defined as anger, wrath, passion; as punishment or vengeance.

But, once again, digging a bit deeper to take a look at the root meanings of these words reveals that thumos can indicate any kind of emotional response or outburst of emotion – rather than necessarily an angry one.

In the works of Homer, the legendary Ancient Greek poet and author of the Iliad and the Odyssey,2 thumos is simply used to denote emotion or desire; so when one of Homer’s heroes is under emotional stress, we read about how they will sometimes choose to externalize their thumos, whatever it is.

And then, in his book Phaedrus, the fourth-century bc Greek philosopher Plato depicts logos (knowledge) as a charioteer driving and guiding the two horses eros (erotic love) and thumos (spiritedness). Later, he picks up this same theme when, in the Republic, he argues that thumos is one of the three core constituent parts of the human psyche, which are:

epithumia (our appetites), our desires;
thumos (our passion), our emotional response to pain, suffering, injustice, attraction, etc.;
nous (our intellect or reason), which is, or should be, the controlling part that subjugates our appetites with the help of thumos.

Likewise, rather than necessarily referring to anger, orge, which comes from the verb orago, simply implies a longer-term and more sustained feeling.

It is highly informative, therefore, that, in his letter to the church in Ephesus, where Paul writes ‘Be angry (orge),3 and yet do not sin’, all agree that he is quoting King David who in Psalm 4 pens the phrase ‘Be angry (ragaz),4 and do not sin.’5 But, whereas in the 1984 edition of the New International Version, Psalm 4.4 reads, ‘In your anger, do not sin’, the 2011 edition of the very same version – with its updated understanding of Ancient Greek – has changed the words to ‘Tremble and do not sin’. What’s more, the New American Standard Version agrees, while the Good News translation gives us ‘Tremble with fear and stop sinning’.

The real irony here is that, once again, none of this is new. The old King James Version of 1611 always read: ‘Stand in awe, and sin not’. So there it is in black and white!

Ragaz really does simply mean any emotion that causes you to tremble or quiver, to catch your breath, to be taken aback, to shudder, rather than necessarily referring to a response of anger. No one knows that better than Paul, the Second Temple Jewish thinker, and that is the meaning that he imports into his usage of orge.

Some years ago I had the opportunity to ask Rabbi Jonathan Sacks, one of the UK’s senior Jewish leaders, about the concept of God’s anger. I will never forget his answer. ‘It is perhaps better, and far more accurate,’ he said, ‘to understand God’s anger as his anguish – a dimension of his love, but never an emotion in oppos­ition to it.’

I remember sharing this story of Jonathan Sacks’ amazing insight with another rabbi friend of mine. He smiled at me, with one of those kind but knowing smiles, and then said, ‘Well, if you are going to take the Hebrew Bible and build it into your Christian understanding of life, it probably makes sense to ask a Hebrew what the words you are reading might actually mean.’ *

But of course, even to those who read no Hebrew, all this should be obvious – because the most profound theological truth expressed in the whole canon of Scripture is that ‘God is love’.6 It is not that God approves of love. Love is not a quality that God possesses. It is the divine essence itself – God’s essential being. Indeed, the Bible never makes assertions about God’s anger, power or judgement independently of God’s love. God’s ‘anger’ (as we call it) is nothing more than an aspect of this love, and to understand it any differently must therefore be to misunderstand it

My critics will of course respond that surely, if God is love, God must also experience anger at injustice. But this misses the point. As the great theologian Karl Barth once explained, if God exhibits characteristics of anger, judgement and the like, they are never more than ‘repetitions and amplifications of the one statement that God loves’.7 If we forget this – if we ever talk about God’s anger outside of the context of God’s love – we make a great mistake.

‘*’ More on the Hebrew:

both the English words ‘wrath’ and ‘anger’ have different emotional, spiritual and psychologic­al loads for each individual reader. They often carry extremely negative connotations, undertones, associations and inferences which are personal to every reader, though frequently held unconsciously.

And, I put it to you, all this creates a giant problem, which is why we think that the piece of the picture of God we’ve labelled ‘wrath’ just doesn’t fit.

Let’s start with the Old Testament. There is an array of Hebrew words which all get translated as anger or wrath, even though each one has a specific and different meaning. However, a survey of them reveals that typically they depict God’s wrath in terms of a father’s discipline towards his children, or a broken-hearted husband’s yearning for an unfaithful wife, or a king’s yearning for his wayward people. In fact, surprisingly, the Old Testament even pre­sents God’s wrath as a motivating attribute in prompting people to respond to God’s overtures of grace. Which, once you stop to think about it, raises all sorts of questions about the way we have understood and applied this word.

So, let’s take a look at those original Hebrew words and their roots.

For instance, chemah is very often rendered ‘hot displeasure’ or ‘anger’, although in fact it is more accurately defined as meaning hot, fever, or gripped with passion. The point is that it is not only when you are angry that you become hot and red in the face. For instance, you blush and become hot when you’re embarrassed. So, chemah can mean embarrassment.

Or you might feel chemah when you’ve been betrayed. Is this anger, or a deep and burning sense of hurt? If a woman discovers that the husband she loves has been cheating on her, or a man feels betrayed by the woman he is utterly committed to, what do they feel? You may choose to call it anger; I think it is more complex than that. It is about the agony of rejection; the suffering of a broken heart. Perhaps God’s heart – the heart of the loving parent, husband or king – is wrung with pain when we choose to turn our backs on God.

Then we have ̀ebrah which means outburst of pas­sion, and qetseph, which means literally a splinter, but when translated metaphorically means to be displeased, to fret or to burst out. And kaac, which means to be grieved, hurt, sorrowful or troubled.

The Hebrew word aph, which we have already come across, and literally means ‘nose’, can in a freer sense imply rapid breathing in passion. But it too, as we’ve seen, is often translated simply as anger. And then, among others, there is ragaz, meaning to be emotionally agitated, excited or perturbed, to tremble or quiver.1

Although God has been so often painted as frightening and ferocious, the obvious impact of a deeper understanding of such Hebrew words is that we recognize that these have been the traits of the god of our theological assumptions, rather than the God of reality. Far from being driven into a red-hot rage by our sin, the Bible reveals to us a passionate God who is taken aback, troubled, pained and broken with sorrow by our rebellion and rejection of his ways

I guess I need to clarify. Jews attain forgiveness within Judaism. I don’t think God’s covenant with the Jews has been revoked by God. I’m also a universalist in that I believe God’s grace extends to all people.

It looks like there is the opportunity to use definitions of the same word to come to different conclusions. I still wouldn’t like to spend eternity with a god who is wrathful and angry and needs to be appeased. Even if it is only on special occasions. This sounds more like hell than heaven. I understand God to be Love and Grace.

This quote from today’s Richard Rohr Daily Devotional describes very well where I’m coming from:

Cynthia Bourgeault invites us to consider the meaning of the passion from a wisdom perspective, not as a spectator watching what Jesus did, but understanding what each of us is called to do: The passion is really the mystery of all mysteries, the heart of the Christian faith experience. By the word “passion” here we mean the events which end Jesus’s earthly life: his betrayal, trial, execution on a cross, and death. . . .

The spectacle of an innocent and good man destroyed by the powers of this world is an archetypal human experience. It elicits our deepest feelings of remorse and empathy (and if we’re honest, our own deepest shadows as well). . . . It’s been used to stir anger and scapegoating. It’s been used to fuel anti-Semitism, to induce personal guilt—“Christ died for your sins”—and to arouse devotion in a sentimental and even fanatical way.

From a wisdom point of view, what can we say about the passion? . . . The key lies in reading Jesus’s life as a sacrament: a sacred mystery whose real purpose is not to arouse empathy but to create empowerment . In other words, Jesus is not particularly interested in increasing either your guilt or your devotion, but rather, in deepening your personal capacity to make the passage into unitive life. If you’re willing to work with that wager, the passion begins to make sense in a whole new way. . . .

The path [ Jesus ] did walk is precisely the one that would most fully unleash the transformative power of his teaching. It both modeled and consecrated the eye of the needle that each one of us must personally pass through in order to accomplish the “one thing necessary” here, according to his teaching: to die to self. I am not talking about literal crucifixion, of course, but I am talking about the literal laying down of our “life,” at least as we usually recognize it. Our only truly essential human task here, Jesus teaches, is to grow beyond the survival instincts of the animal brain and egoic operating system into the kenotic joy and generosity of full human personhood. . . .

What is the meaning of the passion? First of all, God wasn’t angry. Again: God wasn’t angry! Particularly in fundamentalist theology, you’ll often hear it said that God got so fed up with the sins and transgressions of Israel that he demanded a human sacrifice in atonement. But of course, this interpretation would turn God into a monster. How can Jesus, who is love, radiate and reflect a God who is primarily a monster? And how can Christians theoretically progressing on a path of love consent to live under such a reign of terror? No, we need to bury once and for all those fear-and-punishment scenarios that got programmed into so many of us during our childhood. There is no monster out there; only love waiting to set us free.

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